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Explore Global and International Studies at Carleton University

Programs / Global and International Studies

Program Summary

Carleton’s Bachelor of Global and International Studies (BGInS) program takes advantage of Carleton’s strengths and location to provide an undergraduate education in global and international issues that can give you an advantage in today’s job market. The program has four interconnected components. The core course sequence provides all students with a common multidisciplinary foundation in global and international studies. The 17 specializations cover specific international and global themes or geographical areas, giving you the opportunity to focus your studies according to your interests.

A second-language requirement and an international experience requirement are included so that you can graduate not only with new knowledge and skills, but also an expanded worldview.

Over 80 faculty members from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Public Affairs participate in the BGInS program. These faculty members include experts in a wide variety of topics related to global and international studies as well as specialists in a number of different world regions. Carleton is home to the Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs (the administrative home of the BGInS program), the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (the pre-eminent graduate school of international affairs in Canada), and numerous other departments, schools and institutes with an international focus, including the Institute of African Studies and Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies. Programs as varied as geography, film studies, and religion also offer credit courses taught at international locations.

Where better to study the world and the relationships among its peoples than Ottawa, the national capital of Canada? The seat of the Canadian federal government, the city is home to many of the country’s internationally-oriented institutions, including the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. Ottawa is a thriving cosmopolitan centre where you will find a multitude of embassies, consulates, international agencies, scientific and cultural institutions, and national and local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), as well as a large concentration of globally oriented high-tech firms.

Global and international perspectives

The BGInS program draws upon the two distinct but interrelated concepts of the “international” and the “global.” Scholars with an “international” focus tend to look at the world in and through the nation-state. They address issues relating to economics, law and politics, the international state system, and associated issues of trade, human rights and conflict. Scholars with a “global” focus look primarily at the shifting meanings of identity and belonging in the global community, especially in the face of the many changes wrought by globalization. They draw upon insights from the humanities (literature, religion, history and the arts) to look at the world outside and beyond the state, while problematizing the distinction of state and society in multiple ways.

The BGInS program is the first in Canada to emphasize both global and international approaches to the study of the world. It places these two viewpoints in creative tension with each other, allowing students to acquire a nuanced understanding of the world in which we live. It is multidisciplinary in that it examines the world through many different disciplinary perspectives; it is interdisciplinary in that it places these disciplinary perspectives in creative dialogue with each other.

Specializations

Specializations allow students to acquire deeper knowledge in one area of global and international studies which interests them. All students entering the BGInS program must select one specialization at the time of admission, although it is possible to change specializations after entering the program. 10 of the 13 specializations are thematically defined, while the other three are defined in terms of geographic areas of the world. Half the specializations are multidisciplinary, drawing on several academic disciplines to explore a theme or geographic area; the rest of the specializations are disciplinary, exploring the global and international dimension of a single academic discipline.

  • Africa and Globalization
  • Europe and Russia in the World
  • French and Francophone Studies
  • Global and Transnational History
  • Global Development
  • Global Genders and Sexualities
  • Global Inequalities and Social Change
  • Global Law and Social Justice
  • Global Literatures
  • Global Media and Communication
  • Global Politics
  • Globalization and the Environment
  • Globalization, Culture, and Power
  • International Economic Policy
  • Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Migration and Diaspora Studies
  • Teaching English in Global Contexts

More information on the specializations can be found below.

Language requirement

A basic requirement for engaging with the world is the ability to speak in more than one language. For this reason, the BGInS program expects students to pass a second-language requirement. Those incoming students who do not have skills in a second language can take courses offered by our School of Linguistics and Language Studies (SLaLS) or our Department of French. Options include Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Those incoming students who already possess second-language skills may “test out” of this requirement. Understanding another language will not only help you become a culturally literate global citizen, but may also enhance your future employment prospects.

International experience

It is one thing to study a part of the world, and another to live there. For this reason, the BGInS program features an international experience requirement as an integral part of the program. You can fulfill this requirement by studying abroad on a letter of permission, studying abroad under one of Carleton’s international exchange agreements, undertaking an international work placement, completing a Carleton University course taught abroad or taking our innovative internationalization @ home course. Many students find studying abroad to be an enriching, even life-transforming experience. As well, current research shows that students who have studied abroad have a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The workplace

A global perspective, intercultural understanding and second-language ability are increasingly important skills for success in the workplace. Graduates of the BGInS program will have acquired these skills through their experience of living overseas, their facility in a second language, and their knowledge of diversity and complexity in global social and cultural environments.

A BGInS degree can provide the foundation for careers in advertising, business, communications, foreign service, journalism, marketing, policy analysis, public relations, public service, sales and many other fields.

Graduate programs

The strong training in global and international studies that BGInS offers will make you a competitive applicant for a wide range of graduate programs, including both multidisciplinary programs in international affairs or public policy and programs in the various disciplines which contribute to BGInS. If you think that you may wish to pursue an advanced degree, you are encouraged to investigate graduate programs early in order to ensure that your program is suited to meet the relevant graduate-level requirements.

Explore Global and International Studies at Carleton University