Over the past four years, the Stanford Global Studies (SGS) Division of the School of Humanities and Sciences welcomed two new undergraduate academic degree plans offered only as minors. These programs — the Global Studies minor and the Human Rights minor — provide central academic structures for students with interdisciplinary interests in global social affairs.
Before the Global Studies minor was established, SGS Executive Director Katherine Kuhns said, the Center for African Studies and Center for Latin American Studies each offered their own minor. In autumn 2015, the Global Studies minor was created to bring these two areas as well as four new ones — Islamic Studies, Iranian Studies, European Studies and South Asian Studies — under a unified minor of six total sub-plans.
The minor focuses on an area-studies approach that dives into the culture, history and language of a particular region. In this way, Global Studies differs from international relations, which approaches the world through a broader, nation-state lens.
Students pursuing the Global Studies minor must take 28 units as well as a capstone seminar and presentation. Three of these units come from the gateway course GLOBAL101: “Critical Issues in Global Affairs,” and the rest come from the student’s chosen sub-plan.
“We really rethought GLOBAL101 and how to make that more meaningful to students and give them a broader exposure to global issues,” Kuhns said. “So bringing in more case studies from different regions of the world … and being more nimble to be able to reflect on things happening in real time in the world.”
According to Kuhns, the Global Studies program currently has over 20 enrolled students with a cohort of around three to six students in each regional sub-plan. The program is now focusing on building a sense of community among the students across all of the sub-plans.