Global Studies Minor

The Global Studies Minor is available to Stanford undergraduates from any major, and is designed to provide students with the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary study in one of six specializations, including in-depth language study, while integrating this knowledge into a larger vision of global affairs:


Students who have participated or plan to participate in the Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP) are especially encouraged to enroll as most units earned through the BOSP program satisfy the Global Studies minor.

All students are required to complete 28 units, including a 3 unit gateway course GLOBAL 101: Critical Issues in Global Affairs.The remaining 25 units are unique to each specialization. 

To declare the Global Studies minor, students must:

  1. Set up an appointment with the appropriate specialization adviser (see appropriate specialization page for contact information).  
  2. Declare the Global Studies minor and subplan in Axess.

Who to contact

Dr. Katherine Kuhns, Executive Director, Stanford Global Studies

kkuhns [at] (kkuhns[at]stanford[dot]edu)

Encina Commons, Room 128C

Global 101

In this introductory course, students explore global themes that span international borders, such as health, development, migration, and security. This course encourages students to think comparatively across major world regions, and to work on issues that integrate specific regions within the larger international community.

What is Global Studies?

Global studies encompasses the insights and knowledge base of area studies: the interdisciplinary study of world regions and their intersecting cultures, languages, history, politics, and societies. By applying multi-disciplinary knowledge, from human biology and earth sciences to music and engineering, students can better understand the character of world regions, their respective developmental trajectories, and the way those trajectories fit within the larger context of globalization.

How does the Global Studies minor differ from other international-related programs at Stanford?

Global studies builds upon the long tradition of area studies, and offers a pathway to study different world regions—and their intersecting cultures, languages, histories, politics, art, technologies, and societies—within a larger global context. The global studies minor is open to students from any major, and is comprised of six subplans (African, Europe, Iranian, Islamic, Latin American, and South Asian studies) that enable students to develop an in-depth understanding of a particular region, and to do so as part of a cohort developing language skills and area expertise in a comparative global context. While departments such as history, political science, and religious studies offer students an opportunity to explore regional interests, the global studies minor gives students a unique opportunity to deeply engage with a world area, as well as to put their studies in a larger global context through a common core course. 

Stanford offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate major and minor in International Relations (IR), which focuses on the changing political, economic, and cultural relations within the international system of the modern era by using the nation-state as the main unit of study. The program explores how global, regional, and domestic factors influence relations between actors on the world stage (i.e., nation-state governments, United Nations, international non-governmental organizations). Students are equipped with both the foundational skills and specific knowledge necessary to analyze the choices and challenges that arise in this arena.

While IR is primarily situated within a social science framework, Global Studies encourages humanistic, social science, and interdisciplinary methodologies. Moreover, while regional specialization is included in IR electives, the focus is not on immersion within specific regions.

Stanford also offers degrees in French and Italian, Iberian and Latin American Cultures, German Studies, and Slavic Languages and Literatures through the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages (DLCL). The minor in Russian, East European & Eurasian (REEES) studies is managed by the DLCL Slavic Languages & Literatures Department. DLCL brings together scholars and teachers dedicated to the study of literatures, cultures, and languages from humanistic and interdisciplinary perspectives. It is distinguished by its intense focus on the mastery of languages and wide variety of approaches to literary conventions and cultural practices.

The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford is dedicated to the study of the languages, literatures, linguistics, and cultures of East Asia. The department prepares students for B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in Chinese and Japanese, and has a thriving program in Korean language. The undergraduate minor in East Asian Languages and Cultures has been designed to give students majoring in other departments an opportunity to gain a substantial introduction to Chinese (Mandarin) or Japanese language, as well as an introduction to the culture and civilization of East Asia.