Global Studies

Street hawker in India
MORE ABOUT THE MAJOR
How has globalisation shaped and changed the ways humans live in the world? And how can we manage, shape, and change globalisation in ways that improve human lives? These questions form the core of Global Studies. As a Global Studies major you will investigate these questions by studying issues of global significance: for instance, global problems, like environmental degradation and human trafficking; global processes, like economic exchange and the spread of disease; and global practices, like the everyday conduct of transnational business and inter-cultural communication.

Through these investigations you will acquire: (a) concrete knowledge of the diverse facets of specific global issues and (b) a distinctive set of analytic skills that allow you to discern their myriad consequences.  In short, the Global Studies Major will equip you to think holistically, or globally, about concrete aspects of globalisation and their implications for how humans live (or could live) in the world.

There are five key components of the major that work together in this pedagogical process.
1. MULTIDISCIPLINARY
 
Global Studies examines the impact of globalisation on human life through inquiry into the impact of issues of global significance. But an issue can only be of global significance if it transgresses or transcends bounded territorial and political spaces and operates at multiple levels of social life.  No one discipline or department, however, can provide an adequate picture of such a global phenomenon. The Global Studies major, thus, is multi-disciplinary. The multi-disciplinary nature of Global Studies is crucial to providing students with a complete picture of the global issues upon which they choose to focus.
2. DISTINCTIVE ANALYTIC TOOLS
 
To assess the implications of some global issue for human life requires more than just knowledge of that issue. It also requires skills to discern its causes and consequences. Since global phenomena are boundary-transgressing and socially complex, this requires a distinctive set of analytic skills. It requires the ability to think globally, or holistically, about the various players, relationships, and dynamics involved. The core modules of the Global Studies major are designed to provide students with such a global analytic framework. Through a substantive focus on three domains of human life—social, political, and economic—each core module teaches students to think about the world through a multi-level, multi-actor global analytic framework. These analytic skills are further refined in the GL3101 module on Inquiry and Method (currently quantitative methods) and applied to policy-relevant problem solving in Task Force (GL4102).
3. THEMES
 
While Global Studies, as a field of inquiry, is organised around the big question of how globalisation shaped and changed the ways humans live in the world, Global Studies majors at NUS pursue this inquiry through a substantive focus on a theme of their choosing from the list. Each theme explores a complex of interconnected global problems, processes, and/or practices, thus providing a concrete entry point to questions about how globalisation has shaped human life. The particular themes in Global Studies may change over the years as the phenomena that transgress and transcend boundaries and levels change. But themes will always be some subset of those which are most significant in the world and in which our FASS faculty have the most collective expertise.
  (i) Business and Transnational Cultures
   
Networking. Deal-making. Workplace interactions. Information exchange. Even in a global economy, business is ultimately conducted through everyday practices that are carried out by concrete human beings in specific cultural contexts.  And cultures – which are non-territorial or transnational systems of meaning – shape human action at all levels of social life.  Modules in this theme expose students to the connections and interactions between the everyday practices entailed in doing global business and the transnational cultural contexts within which those practices are enacted.  Core issues include the significance of ‘doing business’ globally for cultural difference and/or homogenisation.
  (ii) Colonialism and Post-Colonialism
   
The practice of colonialism both created and transgressed boundaries. It has profoundly shaped human life on a global scale, by inscribing social, political, and economic hierarchies and by provoking resistance to them. In this theme students deepen their knowledge of colonialism and the post-colonial condition with an eye toward their effects and implications as global structures that organise human life.
  (iii) Global Economics and Development
   
It is commonplace to speak of economies as ‘belonging’ to particular countries. But markets, by their very logic, know no bounds. In this theme students will deepen their knowledge of the causes and consequences of economic globalisation. Particular attention is paid to the processes that drive and change the global distribution of wealth, especially between developed and less developed economies.
  (iv) Global Health and Environment
   
In this theme students will deepen their knowledge of the causes and consequences of ‘disasters without borders.’ Issues include, for instance, the global spread of disease and epidemics, demographic trends, climate change, pollution, and other environmental challenges.
  (v) International Communications
   
Communication is an expression of culture but it is also a social, political, and economic instrument that is limited only by our ability to project our message. In this theme students deepen their knowledge of communication as a culture and an instrument. Core issues include the role of the media and information technology in the global projection of communicative cultures and the connection between global communication and politics.
  (vi) Policy Making 
   
Globalisation has affected the content and process by which states make policies, possibly in ways that are affecting a global change in state-society relations. This theme investigates the changing character of state-society relations by examining the evolving character of policymaking. Students acquire knowledge of change over time in policy processes and outcomes in both foreign and domestic spheres and of the ways in which societies—subnational, national, and transnational—impact upon those processes and outcomes.
  (vii) Population and Migration
   
This theme pertains to the movement of humans across the earth. Migration, one of the oldest forms of globalisation, is seen today as primarily an economic issue. But it also has profound social consequences. It alters the composition of populations and in turn, the nature of societies including its cultural forms, practices, and policies. In this theme students acquire deeper knowledge of the causes of migration and the global population dynamics that follow from it.
  (viii) Religion and Ethnicity
   
Religion and ethnicity, two of the most prominent markers of community and belonging are fundamentally global. Neither is contained by territory and both organise human life at multiple levels. In this theme students examine the role of religion and ethnicity in organizing human relations on both a local and global scale. Issues include, for instance, the global significance of religious diversity and patterns of conflict and accommodation between particular religious and ethnic groups.
  (ix) Technology and Globalisation
   
Technology is commonly understood as a core driver of globalisation. It provides the platform for greater interaction and flow of information across borders. Technology, in short, connects human life across its varied levels and forms. But it also divides the world, as differential access to technologies is a key feature of persisting global inequalities.  In this theme, students deepen their knowledge of technology as it relates to evolution, stability, and change in social, political, and economic orders.
  (x) War and Security
   
Although war is often fought between countries it has also become increasingly global.  It creates effects that transgress borders (e.g. refugee flows); and affects varied actors at multiple scales of human social life (states, individuals, non-state organizations, international organizations). In this theme students deepen their knowledge about the complex of actors and processes that cause and follow from wars. This theme differs from international relations in that it approaches war and security as a global phenomenon with global consequences rather than as one that can be analysed through a focus on inter-state relations.
   
4. REGIONS
 
In order to concretise substantive thematic knowledge, Global Studies majors also focus on a specific region of the world. Students should select regions in which their theme is a particularly prominent concern.
  (i) East Asia: China, Japan, Korea
  (ii)
Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, East Timor, Brunei, Philippines
  (iii) South Asia: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives
  (iv) Americas: U.S.A., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, Columbia, Chile, etc.
  (v) Europe: Germany, France, Russia, etc.
   
5. LANGUAGE
 
Language study helps students gain exposure to and expertise in a region of the world. GL students are required to study a language for two years. Language courses provided by the Centre of Language Studies at NUS are Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Malay, German, French, Vietnamese, Arabic, Indonesian, Hindi and Thai.
     
GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS
A. Single Major [B.A. (Hons.)]
  Pass at least 100 MCs ( Refer to Note 3) of non-language GL or GL-recognised modules and 16 MCs in a language, which includes the following:
     
  (i) CORE MODULES
    GL1101E Global Issues
    GL2101 Origins of the Modern World
    GL2102 Global Political Economy
    GL2103 Global Governance
  . GL3101 Inquiry & Method
    GL4101 Readings in Global Issues
    GL4102 Task Force
     
  (ii) THEME (16 MCs from a single Theme) - Refer to Note 1
    Business and Transnational Cultures
    Colonialism and Post-Colonialism
    Global Economics and Development
    Global Health and Environment
    International Communications
    Policy Making
    Population and Migration
    Religion and Ethnicity
    Technology and Globalisation
    War and Security
     
  (iii) REGION (16 MCs from a single Region)
    East Asia: China, Japan and Korea
    Southeast Asia
    South Asia
    Europe
    Americas
     
  (iv) LANGUAGE (16 MCs in a single Language)
  *
Please refer to the Centre for Language Studies for languages offered. Language has to be relevant to the Theme and/or Region Components.
  * While this is a major requirement, the 16 MCs of language modules will be classified under the student's Unrestricted Electives which is on top of the 100 MCs required for the major.
  *
Students with prior knowledge in a language and place in high are encouraged to read another language to fulfill the major requirements where there is a clear line of progression. Waivers/exemptions are not awarded for GL majors.
     
  Notes:
  1.
Students who demonstrate strong interest in a topic that is outside of the ten themes may design their own theme in consultation with an academic advisor.
  2. To qualify for honours track, students must have completed at least 110MCs including 60MCs of GL major requirements AND have a minimum CAP of 3.20.
  3.
The 100MCs of non-language modules must include a minimum of 60 MCs of Level-3000 or higher GL or GL-recognised modules (including GL3101), with
    (i) a minimum of 40 MCs of Level-4000 or higher GL or GL-recognised modules (including GL4101 and GL4102)
    (ii) a maximum of two Level-5000 GL or GL-recognised modules (subject to the department’s approval).
Important: Level-5000 LKY SPP modules are pegged at 4MCs.
  4.
The Honours Thesis / Project (15 MCs) is optional. To qualify students must complete 110 MCs including 60 MCs of GL major requirements with a SJAP of 4.0 and a minimum CAP of 3.5. In order to obtain Honours (Highest Distinction), students must achieve a CAP of 4.5 or higher AND at least an 'A-' in the Honours Thesis / Project.
  5.
Students who do not attempt the Honours Thesis / Project will read Level 4000 modules to fulfil the Honours Requirement.
  6.
Students may read a level 4000 Independent Studies Module (ISM) worth 5 modular credits. The Level 4000 ISM carries a pre-requisite of 100 MCs completed, including 60 MCs in the Major, with a minimum CAP of 3.2. It precludes the Honours Thesis / Project.
     
IMPORTANT NOTE: There is no double major/degree option for Global Studies.
     
B. Single Major [B.A.)
  Pass at least 60 MCs of non-language GL or GL-recognised modules and 16 MCs of Language Requirement, which includes the following:
     
  (i) CORE MODULES
    GL1101E Global Issues
    GL2101 Origins of the Modern World
    GL2102 Global Political Economy
    GL2103 Global Governance
    GL3101 Inquiry & Method
     
  (ii) THEME (16 MCs from a single Theme) - Refer to Note 1
    Business & Transnational Cultures
    Colonialism & Post-Colonialism
  . International Communications
    Global Economics & Development
    Global Health & Environment
    Policy Making
    Population & Migration
    Religion & Ethnicity
  . Technology & Globalisation
    War & Security
     
  (iii) REGION (16 MCs from a single Region)
    East Asia: China, Japan and Korea
    Southeast Asia
    South Asia
    Europe
    Americas
     
  (iv) LANGUAGE (16 MCs in a single Language)
  *
Please refer to the Centre for Language Studies website for languages offered. Language has to be relevant to the Theme and/or Region Component/s.
  * While this is a major requirement, the 16 MCs of language modules will be classified under the student's Unrestricted Electives which is on top of the 60MCs required for the major.
  *
Students with prior knowledge in a language and place in high are encouraged to read another language to fulfill the major requirements where there is a clear line of progression. Waivers/exemptions are not awarded for GL majors.
     
  Notes:
  1.
Students who demonstrate strong interest in a topic that is outside of the ten themes may design their own theme in consultation with an academic advisor.
  2.
Read and pass a minimum of 20 MCs of Level-3000 or higher GL or GL-recognised non-language modules (including GL3101).
    (i) Students are allowed to read level 4000 modules subject to departmental approval.
     

IMPORTANT NOTES:
(1) Double Major:
Global Studies (GL) Majors may undertake a second major but the Programme does not strongly recommend students to do so. This is because the major is content heavy as it requires a total of 116MCs (for honours which includes 16MCs of language requirement) to be completed rather than 100MCs for other major programmes. [For the three year bachelors programme, GL Majors will have to complete a total of 76MCs]

(2) The Major can be undertaken by students from Cohort 2012 and onwards only.