Jul 21, 2024  
2023 - 2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023 - 2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Global Studies



View the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Faculty.  

View the Asian and Pacific Islander American Studies Faculty.  

View the European Studies Faculty.  

View the Latin American Studies Faculty.  

View the Russian and Post-Soviet Studies Faculty.  

The Global Studies Programs

Students who major in Global Studies (GBST) collaborate with a faculty advisor to design their interdisciplinary sequence of courses in one of the following area concentrations: Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Asian and Pacific Islander American Studies, European Studies, Latin American Studies, and Russian and Post-Soviet Studies. Through coursework in the arts, culture, history, languages, literature, politics, and religions of major world regions and communities, students explore the specificity of a given region, the ways in which global forces are realized in and through local contexts, and the interconnections between global communities. Majors often combine their program of study with service learning, internships, or study abroad. Familiarity with a specific region or global community provides a foundation for grappling with the emerging possibilities and the ethical responsibilities of living in a globally interconnected world.

Language Requirement. Degrees in Global Studies include or encourage coursework in a modern foreign language component which exceeds the College’s proficiency requirement. Students meet the requirement by completing a specific level of language instruction as detailed in their concentration.

Major Writing Requirement (MWR). The major writing requirement may be satisfied in Global Studies by (1) completing the appropriate senior seminar of the individual program, or 2) completing a writing project designed to meet the MWR with special permission from the Program Director of the relevant concentration (ie. AMES, APIA, EURS, LAS, or RPSS).Students should consult with their area concentration advisor on how best to fulfill this requirement.

Study Abroad. Students are strongly encouraged to seek overseas opportunities and pursue summer and semester-long programs of study, scholarship, and service in all areas of Global Studies, or at approved institutions in the United States. Contact the Global Education Office at the Reves Center for International Studies for information on William & Mary study abroad programs and on programs offered by other institutions. With prior approval, courses taken abroad may be applied to the major or used for other requirements. Funding for independent research projects may be available from the Charles Center for Interdisciplinary Study; students should also investigate scholarship opportunities available through the Reves Center’s Global Education Office for language study.

Major Declaration. Prospective majors in Global Studies should discuss their plans for study with an affiliated faculty in one of the five area concentrations by the end of the sophomore year. Declaration forms and instructions for majors and minors are available on the Global Studies website.

Minors. In Global Studies students may complete a minor in Asian & Pacific Islander American Studies, East Asian Studies, European Studies, Latin American Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Russian and Post-Soviet Studies, or South Asian Studies.

Senior Honors Students who wish to conduct an honors project must apply for admission to the Departmental Honors program, which is administered by the Charles Center. As part of the application, students must get the approval of an honors project by a faculty member in their area concentration (AMES, APIA, EURS, LAS, or RPSS). Application, which includes a faculty signature and a prospectus, should be made to the Charles Center by the end of classes in the academic semester before the project is to begin. A prospectus includes: (1) a clear statement of the problem to be researched; (2) a brief, critical review of scholarly literature on the research topic; (3) a description of the methodology to be employed; (4) and an approximate schedule of work. Eligible applicants must carry a 3.2 grade point average in Global Studies and must also meet the College eligibility standard of 3.0 overall or in their junior year. For further information and an application, contact the Charles Center.

Students admitted into the Honors program in Global Studies will enroll in the honors courses (495-496) appropriate to their area concentration during both semesters of their senior year. Honors candidates are responsible for (1) formulating and completing a program of study in consultation with a faculty advisor; (2) preparation and presentation, by two weeks before the last day of classes in the spring semester, of an honors essay; and (3) satisfactory performance in a comprehensive oral examination which focuses on the subject matter of the honors essay. For College provisions governing admission to the Senior Honors program, see the discussion of major honors elsewhere in this catalog and the Charles Center web site. Students considering Honors projects will please consult with their concentration major’s program director to clarify requirements unique to that program. 

Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES) is a multidisciplinary program that aims to enrich the understanding of a broadly conceived “Asia” in relation to other parts of the world. The AMES curriculum includes the study of history, politics, religion, literature, fine and media arts, performance, expressive and ritual culture, and the major languages of the continent. Its curriculum consists of course offerings encompassing a diverse range of topics that involve East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific. Students select a track in either East Asian Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, or the new Comparative Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (which begins in fall 2021). The AMES curriculum includes four minor programs of study including minors in East Asian Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, South Asian Studies, and Comparative Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. AMES concentrators and AMES minors are encouraged to combine their academic study with service learning, study away, or study abroad.

AMES concentrators are required to complete 33 credit hours, including AMES 250 (core course) and AMES 493 (capstone course).  AMES students are encouraged to look into allied programs such as Global Studies for complementary courses and intellectual exchange. Students are encouraged to pursue advanced research through AMES 495 - AMES 496 (Senior Honors). Please consult with a faculty member in AMES if you are interested in the program.

Asian & Pacific Islander American Studies

The Asian & Pacific Islander American Studies (APIA) program advances interdisciplinary and global research, scholarship, and praxis immersed in the experiences and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and their global diasporas. The major and minor in Asian and Pacific Islander American Studies provide students with the research, interpretive, analytical and creative skills needed to examine the historical and contemporary experiences of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States and in a global context.  The curriculum seeks to educate students with the breadth of knowledge about the cultural, political, and economic organization of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in order to deepen and expand their understanding of diverse and multicultural perspectives within American society and the world. 

Students receive sustained individualized advising and mentorship from faculty drawn from the arts, humanities, education, and social sciences, making it possible to study APIA communities in various contexts, including Asian and Pacific Islander diasporas, racialization, globalization, the American Civil Rights movement, decolonization, and Third World solidarity. APIA faculty mentor students with a view towards their general welfare, wellness, and self-determination by offering courses and experiences that develop not only the creative expressions, voices, critical pedagogies, and analyses of APIA peoples but also inculcate a commitment to social justice, equity, and activism within Asian American communities, and respect for differences, especially ethnic diversity. The 33 credits required for the APIA major culminate in a praxis capstone designed for students to integrate this knowledge base into its practical application in their chosen disciplinary methodology or career path such as medicine, law, business, government, public policy, film, theater, and education.


The AMES and APIA programs collaborate with the Charles Center and the Reves Center in officiating the APIA-AMES Freeman Intern Fellowship in Asia where students can apply to intern in Asia on fully funded fellowships. As APIA-AMES Freeman Fellows, they further their research and community engagement in APIA-AMES 385, a COLL 300 course taught by Professor Francis Tanglao Aguas, the fellowships faculty director.


European Studies

A concentration in European Studies provides interdisciplinary exposure to Europe’s history, culture, and politics, emphasizing both Europe’s regional specificity and its historical and contemporary interactions with other global regions. The concentration prepares students culturally and linguistically for professions in the public and private spheres in the US and Europe.  Majors must have the following prerequisite, which does not count toward the 18 required credit hours: 202 or equivalent in one European language.

ES concentrators are strongly encouraged to participate in study abroad programs in Europe. Courses taken abroad are evaluated toward the ES concentration on a case-by-case basis.

Declaring a concentration in European Studies requires meeting with an ES advisor to create a plan of study that focuses on a particular region, chronological period, and/or theme. This plan of study must be filed with the Director of European Studies on behalf of the Area Concentration Faculty Committee. Students should keep in mind that not all courses listed as eligible for the ES concentration are offered each year and should work closely with a European Studies advisor to ensure their plan of study is viable given actual course offerings. Students are also advised to check with professors in contributing departments to confirm the frequency with which specific courses are taught.

Course prerequisites are indicated in brackets after the appropriate course titles (slashes between course numbers indicate that students must take one of the listed courses).

Latin American Studies

Latin American Studies (LAS) is a multidisciplinary program that aims to help students make connections across different scholarly approaches to “the Americas” and to make sense of interdisciplinary frameworks for understanding the people, economies, cultures and politics of one of the world’s most dynamic and diverse regions. The LAS curriculum includes the study of history, political economy, sociology, literature, fine and media arts, culture, and major languages of the region. Course offerings cover a wide range of topics and geographical focuses in departments including Anthropology, Art and Art History, Economics, Government, Hispanic Studies, History, Religious Studies, and Sociology.

Requirements for the major are listed below. (Total credits for the major: 33)

Major Declaration: Prospective majors in LAS should discuss their plans for study with an affiliated faculty by the end of the sophomore year. Upon declaring the major students will select two fields of emphasis that will serve as “concentrations” within the multi-disciplinary major, which will enable them to pursue an in depth course of study within a focused area. Disciplinary concentration fields include: Anthropology, Art and Art History, Economics, Government, Hispanic Studies, History, Sociology.  Students can also, in consultation with the LAS program director, design a thematic or global field relevant to the region, choosing courses (at least 9 credits) from any discipline or program that together allow for in-depth study of a chosen topic relevant to Latin America.  Declaration forms and instructions for majors and minors are available on the Global Studies website and at the Registrar’s Office.

Immersion Experience: The immersion experience is defined as an experience beyond the William & Mary classroom clearly linked to Latin America or Latinos residing in other parts of the world. Its purpose is to develop students’ awareness of issues impacting Latin American countries and people. The immersion experience is designed to give students an opportunity to apply their in-class learning to real-world situations and develop frameworks for engaging real-world issues affecting Latin American cultures, nations, and communities. The immersion experience may be tied to a service learning opportunity or study abroad. Students can also satisfy this requirement through an internship that focuses on Latin American or Latino issues in the United States. This is a non-credit bearing requirement. Students who fulfill this requirement by participating in a William & Mary study abroad program or through a LAS-affiliated program such as the Border Studies Program, SOMOS, MANOS or the National Security Archives programs should complete a pre-approval form (available on the LAS web-site) and enroll in LAS 400. In other cases fulfillment of the immersion requirement is subject to the approval of the student’s major advisor or the LAS program director.

Language requirement: The concentration in Latin American Studies includes a language requirement that exceeds the College-wide proficiency requirement. The requirement can be met with three credits at the 300-level or above taught in a target language spoken in the region. Although the College is not currently able to offer languages beyond Spanish, a student could count another language (for example, Portuguese or Nahuatl) provided they can demonstrate proficiency through accredited academic courses taken domestically or abroad. In special cases this requirement can also be satisfied by an equivalent language immersion experience subject to approval by the LAS program director.

Russian and Post-Soviet Studies

Russian and Post-Soviet Studies (RPSS) is an interdisciplinary program that introduces students to culture, history and politics of a vast region spanning from East-Central Europe to Siberia and Central Asia. The curriculum for the RPSS concentration and the RPSS minor includes courses in politics, history, literature, film, and media of the region, and the Russian language.  Russian and Post-Soviet Studies concentrators and minors are strongly encouraged to combine their academic study at William & Mary with study abroad.  The concentration prepares students culturally and linguistically for professions in the public and private spheres in the US and in Eurasia, as well as for graduate study.

Majors are required to complete 33 credit hours.  All courses with the RPSS designator (see below) fulfill major and minor requirements for the concentration.  Please consult with a faculty advisor about specific lines the course fulfills.  The rest of the courses for the major and minor are selected from those available in the curriculum of the various departments.  See the requirements for the RPSS major and RPSS minor.

Programs and Course Descriptions

For courses in the following areas, please visit the links to those programs.