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Global Studies: The Niche Yet Somewhat Iconic Major At UCLA

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

When I was a senior in high school, I was dead set on becoming a journalism major. My heart was sold on becoming a writer, and I was eager to immerse myself in the world of college journalism and kickstart my career.

Then, I got into UCLA.

While UCLA boasts a great number of accomplishments, the one thing it lacks is a journalism department. The university has over 125 majors for undergraduates to choose from, including everything from marine biology to Nordic studies. Yet, they still don’t offer a journalism major. I had struggled to pick an area of study when applying to UCLA given they didn’t have my dream major; however, after hours of pouring over each offering in detail, I stumbled across global studies.

Most college students know global studies as its snobbier older sister, international relations. International relations encompasses a variety of topics and studies, but it is most well known for its focus on political science in a global context. Global studies, while similar, is different at UCLA. The major is catered to students with an interest in globalization and its expanding influence on modern-day international politics. While highly selective, the program is very inclusive when it comes to accepting interested students.

One of the reasons I love my major is because of its flexibility in class requirements and diversity in study topics. Global studies serves as an examination into the linkages between people across the world that defy geographic and political boundaries. There are three pillars of globalization that make up the core of the global studies curriculum: culture and society, governance and conflict and market and resources. The inclusions of so many categories gives students more wiggle room to navigate their classes and fulfill their major requirements. For example, I took a Russian history class my freshman year that satisfied my culture and society requirement while also allowing me to pursue a class I was excited to take. The three pillars help students to find their interests while maintaining a solid structure of curriculum focused on global education.

Another reason global studies at UCLA is one of the more iconic majors is due to its travel study requirement. Study abroad has always been one of my dreams when attending college, and my major gave me the opportunity to pursue a travel study program over the summer. Global studies offers an immersive study abroad experience over the summer in one of three locations over a 4-week time period. Students in the major are required to attend at least once to take the required class in an abroad setting to fully absorb the meaning of globalization and its impact on different societies.

I traveled to Den Haag, Netherlands over the summer, and it was truly one of the best experiences I’ve had at UCLA so far. The core curriculum of the two global studies courses I took in the duration of the program not only allowed me to expand upon my research with international relations, but I also explored human rights at the international Court of Justice. I love the fact that the major allows a host of topics for students to explore without limitation, especially when it comes to broader subjects that interconnect with political science and history.

If you are like me and are struggling to find a major to choose, I highly suggest global studies. Not only does the program allow for course flexibility, but the overall perks and requirements give students multiple opportunities to pursue subjects without constraint. The size of the major, the advisors and the variety in course structure makes for the perfect UCLA experience.

Megha is currently a third year global studies major with a passion for digital journalism at UCLA. She loves exploring the arts beyond writing, including photography, graphic design, and painting. In her free time, she loves reading classic literature, making jewelry, and learning new languages!