College Launches New Global MA

by B.J. Koubaroulis

This fall, students at George Mason University will have the opportunity to earn a MA in global affairs. The MA in global affairs is an interdisciplinary degree based in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, but students in the program take courses in other academic units across the university.

Designed to cultivate advanced perspectives across a broad range of international and global issues, the new program will position its graduates for success in a rapidly growing international community.

“In the past, graduate students have either become experts in a particular world region, like the Middle East or South Asia, or they have become experts in a particular disciplinary approach, such as comparative politics or developmental economics,” says program director T. Mills Kelly, Associate Professor in the Department of History and Art History and Associate Dean. “The increasing complexity of globalization means that these older approaches aren't really sufficient for some students. For this reason, we've built the global affairs MA on an interdisciplinary foundation that prepares our graduates for this complexity.”

Building on Mason’s commitment to global education, the MA gives students an opportunity to further explore globalization and choose from a variety of courses as they fulfill the 30 credit hours required for the degree. Students study a wide range of topics, including business, economy, health, environment, culture, peaces studies and more, depending on their personal interests and career plans.

“Whether students want to work in the United States or abroad, the MA in global affairs will position them to step into responsible and exciting careers at an advanced level,” said Kelly.

A central course in this curriculum is a two-week study abroad seminar. Each year, this seminar is taught in one or more locations, including Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa. “Rather than just teaching our graduate students about the world, we are taking them into the world,” Kelly said.

The culminating course in the core curriculum is the capstone seminar, in which students pursue original research on a topic of their choice.

Highly-qualified undergraduates may apply to the accelerated master’s degree in global affairs and obtain both a BA and MA degree in five years of full time study. Undergraduate students, regardless of major and who have excellent academic credentials, may apply to the MA in global affairs as they near completion of 90 credits in their undergraduate program.

George Mason expects the new MA program to grow rapidly in the next several years. The BA in global affairs, launched just a few years ago, is one of the university’s most popular programs.

“Graduates of this program will be very well-positioned for employment in a variety of contexts in a marketplace that is increasingly globalized,” Kelly said. “They will be better global citizens because they will understand the forces that are shaping our world now and will shape that world in the future.”