What is the new major in Global Affairs?

The Global Affairs major provides students with a rigorous program of study that integrates knowledge, theory and methods of inquiry from many disciplines. The major focuses on global challenges to human flourishing such as climate change, increasing inequality and poverty, flows of refugees and migrants, human and civil rights violations and deadly conflict, and the policies and practices that address them. In addition to conventional coursework, students in the new major engage in multidisciplinary problem-solving, language training and cross-cultural literacy, and hands-on experience with public, social, and professional communities and organizations around the world.

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What will students in the program do?

Learning activities in the program are informed by the framework of Integral Human Development (IHD), a holistic vision of human flourishing grounded in the dignity of each person. Students in the program take a required course in IHD as a global development paradigm and required courses in global politics and policy, economics, quantitative reasoning, and comparative cultures and societies. In addition, they choose from an array of electives designed to build depth of expertise in regions, global issues, and skill areas, and they complete a capstone requirement to complete the major. A key element of the primary major is a cross-cultural experience typically in a non-English-speaking setting.

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What are the School-level and major-level requirements for the Global Affairs major?

Students who declare a primary major in the Keough School will be required to complete School-level requirements in addition to the Global Affairs Major requirements. Students who enroll in the Global Affairs major but whose primary major is in another College or School will fulfill the college- or school-level requirements of that unit.

Keough School Requirements, for students whose primary major is in the Keough School (13-30 credits): 

  • Language requirement (3-20 credits) 
  • Cross cultural requirement (4 credits)
    (including a cross-cultural experience and pre & post experience courses) 
  • Keough Interdisciplinary Seminar (3 credits) 
  • Ethical Practice Seminar (3 credits) 

Global Affairs Major Requirements (33 credits) 

  • Introduction to Global Affairs and IHD (3 credits) 
  • Introduction to Global Politics and Policy (3 credits) 
  • A course in Statistics or Quantitative Methods (3 credits) 
  • Principles of Economics (or other Economics) (3 credits) 
  • Six Electives (6 x 3cr = 18 credits)
  • Capstone Seminar (3 credits)

Details of these courses and requirements are available on our website or through an advising appointment.

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What is the language requirement?

By graduation students must have achieved intermediate proficiency in a language (other than their native tongue) that is spoken in the contemporary world. Students who have already achieved this level of language competence before entering Notre Dame must take at least one 3 credit language course at the University. These students may choose to pursue the additional course as either an advanced course in the language in which they have achieved proficiency, or an introductory course in a new language that would expand and enrich the direction of their Notre Dame studies and career aspirations, and potentially lead to deeper study of the new language.

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Who will be eligible for the new primary major?

Students matriculated at the University of Notre Dame in the fall 2022 will have the option to declare Global Affairs as either their primary major or as a second major. Students who matriculated in fall 2021 can choose either 2021-22 or 2022-2023 as the catalog year in which they declare Global Affairs as either their primary major or a second major. Before declaring, however, students are required to meet with their advisor and discuss the expectations and requirements of the new program.

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Which Notre Dame students will be attracted to this new major?

Students interested in focusing on global issues and challenges, including threats like climate change, war, disease and poverty, might be attracted to this major, especially those who are interested in specific regions, issues and policy initiatives. Global Affairs students are often interested in interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to global issues, and majors may take one or more courses in global politics, development economics, cultural anthropology, social ethics, human rights, the modern history of war and peace—in order to see how these various ways of knowing the world complement one another and contribute collectively to global problem-solving. Students who prefer to go deeper into a single discipline might major in Political Science, Economics, Finance, Biology, or History, for example, and double-major in Global Affairs.

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Will the current supplementary major in Global Affairs continue to exist?

The supplementary major in Global Affairs will continue to exist for students currently enrolled in the program to complete their coursework. It will be gradually phased out as students currently enrolled in the program graduate. Starting the fall 2022, the supplementary major will cease to take in new students. Students interested in Global Affairs are advised to declare Global Affairs as either their primary major or a second major.

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How can students declare the major in Global Affairs?

First year students should meet with their first year academic advisor. Students in their second year or above must meet with the Keough School’s director of undergraduate studies (keough-undergrad@nd.edu) to discuss requirements and expectations prior to declaring. 

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What can I do with a major in Global Affairs?

The multi- and interdisciplinary Global Affairs major will provide students with the understanding and skills to pursue a range of career paths, such as work in non-governmental organizations, government service, multilateral organizations, and the private sector. The Keough School’s Global Affairs major will also serve as a foundation for the pursuit of graduate training at the master’s or PhD level. Keough School faculty as well as advisors in the Center for Career Development will help students explore future paths. The School will support students’ exploration of personal, academic, and professional goals and aspirations in the broad field of global affairs.

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Is there a special application for the major or second major?

There is no special application, but you will need to book an appointment with an academic advisor. First-year students should meet with Kasey Swanke, and all other students meet with the Keough School’s director of undergraduate studies (keough-undergrad@nd.edu).

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