Mar 03, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Global Studies Certificate

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The Certificate in Global Studies is designed to show collaboration across all the undergraduate colleges in creating a focus for students’ scholarly work in international settings. Successful completers of this interdisciplinary Certificate have demonstrated their preparedness to live and work in a global community. There are four components: globally focused course work, second language course work, credit-bearing education abroad experience, and co-curricular programming.

Faculty Director: Dr. Julie Human, Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

Details and requirements for the Global Studies Certificate are listed below.

The Certificate of Global Studies will allow students to demonstrate their preparedness to live and work in a global community. By taking a series of courses with an international focus that amplifies the global dimension of their majors, by engaging in a credit-bearing education abroad experience, by enhancing their experience with a second language, and by participating in internationally- focused co-curricular activities, students will expand their view of the world and their place in it, and their perspectives on their own societies at home.

As the workplace seeks employees who can work in international or multicultural teams, and as participation in U.S. society increasingly demands the skills of global citizenship, students will benefit from an additional degree credential, alongside their major(s) and/or minor(s), that demonstrates their dedication to and experience with global perspectives. Having this Certificate on the transcript will also show that the students are interested in the international facets of their academic and/or pre-professional training, which will be attractive to potential graduate programs or employers.

The structure of the Certificate of Global Studies offers an academic credential as well as a coherently planned academic core, for students who otherwise might simply take a smattering of international courses or participate in some type of isolated international experience. At the heart of the Certificate is the required Education Abroad experience (study abroad, internship, research abroad), but the Certificate’s structure is designed to make that experience integral to the undergraduate program of study. A coherent program in which the time abroad is both preceded and followed by appropriate opportunities for reflection, and bolstered by rigorous academic course work, will enhance the impact of the international experience. Research has demonstrated that one advantage of education abroad is that, when appropriately designed, it can move students from dependent to independent learners, and can help them to acquire interpersonal and intercultural competence.

This Certificate facilitates development of both objective and subjective intercultural experience. It will appeal to a wide range of students. It is intended to encourage study abroad and cross-cultural experiences, and facilitate and credential that experience. Students in semester-long study abroad experiences as well as those students undertaking international programs during an 8- week summer period, a 4-week term abroad, or even a 1- or 2-week “study tour” will benefit by study in situ. The Undergraduate Certificate in Global Studies offers a curriculum and co-curriculum to bolster the learning that takes place abroad.

In the Certificate curriculum, the skills that are acquired during the student’s experience abroad is reinforced by course work that situates that experience in both academic and preprofessional growth, beyond that which is in the major or minor course of study. If the course work takes place before the program abroad, the student will be more receptive to the experience, better prepared to cope with cultural difference, and more educated about socio-historical contexts. If the course work takes place after the student’s return, it offers opportunities for reflection and enrichment of the lessons learned abroad. In either case, the experiential learning in the international context goes hand-in-hand with course work that has an intercultural and global focus. The Certificate curriculum is designed to be feasible across the array of UK academic majors. If the student already has selected a major with an international focus, the Certificate’s additional course work and required component abroad will extend and deepen that curriculum. And if the student has a major that does not have a visible and discrete international focus, the Certificate structure offers the student a context within which to understand the major from an international perspective.

Global Studies Curriculum

The Certificate of Global Studies curricula are as follows:

  • A minimum of 12 credits of course work taken for a letter grade.
  • At least 12 credits must be 200 level or above, and a minimum of 6 credits must be at the 300-level or above.
  • The student must complete a three-credit breadth component. The breadth component requires that a student take courses in at least two disciplines, with a minimum of three credits to be completed in a second discipline.
  • Student must earn a C or better in each required certificate course to receive the certificate.
  • Certificates will only be awarded to students who successfully complete a degree, or have completed a four-year degree.
  • No more than nine credits taken for a certificate can be used to satisfy the requirements for the student’s bachelor’s degree, a minor, or another certificate, exclusive of free or unrestricted electives.

The Undergraduate Certificate in Global Studies has four interlocking components: 1) globally focused course work, 2) second language course work, 3) credit-bearing education abroad component, and 4) co-curricular programming.

Globally Focused Course Work

Students must enroll in 12 hours of globally focused course work at the 200 level or above, in conformance with UK requirements for undergraduate certificates. As noted above at least 12 credits must be 200 level or above, and a minimum of 6 credits must be at the 300-level or above. “Globally focused course work” is satisfied as follows:

  • Any course that has been deemed as appropriate for the A&S International Studies major/minor, at the 200+ level; this compendium of courses from across the university currently numbers over 230 courses.
  • Any course within the UK Core category of Global Dynamics, at the 200+ level.
  • Any courses taken abroad as part of the education abroad component.
  • Other courses can be considered, by petition to the faculty Director, if they are deemed to meet the learning outcomes of the Global Dynamics or International Studies course categories.

Second Language Course Work

For an academic credential that certifies a student as a global scholar, experience with a second language is required at a level beyond that required for all undergraduates. Language ability enriches the international experience; further, because language courses incorporate significant cultural materials and exercise analytical facilities, they provide the tools for expanded student awareness and interaction within the international experience. Students may satisfy this requirement in one of two ways:

  • Complete the third semester of a language sequence (e.g., level 201), or the proficiency equivalent thereof;
  • Complete the first-semester level or above, or demonstrate the proficiency equivalent thereof, or a language not previously studied in high school.

Credit-Bearing Education Abroad

Students will participate in an education abroad experience that involves at least one academic credit hour. Internationally oriented experiences undertaken within the U.S. will not satisfy this requirement; students must travel to a non-U.S. region to fulfill the requirement. Examples might include, but are not limited to:

  • Education abroad programs facilitated by UK faculty or select customized programs offered in conjunction with Education Abroad at UK;
  • University-wide or departmental education abroad exchange programs;
  • Education abroad programs facilitated through UK consortia;
  • Education abroad programs hosted by international institutions in which UK students are directly enrolled; and
  • Education Abroad programs facilitated by third-party providers and other internship/ service-learning based programs.

Co-Curricular Programming

Successful completers of the Certificate of Global Studies will have participated in at least two approved co-curricular activities with an international focus after returning to the U.S. from education abroad. These co-curricula activities may include lectures, performances, workshops, volunteer work, or conferences. Some of the qualifying events are listed on the Global Studies web site:; or students may hear of others from professors, friends, and organizations located both on and off campus. To find out if an activity can be used for this requirement, contact the Certificate of Global Studies Director.

After the Director has approved an activity as the co-curricular event, students will write a reflective essay placing their responses within the context of the other experiences gained while earning the Certificate of Global Studies (including education abroad, language learning, and coursework). Note: Descriptions of courses, study abroad, and language acquisition in your essay will be compared to those recorded on your transcript.

When both of the essays have been reviewed and accepted as complete by the Certificate of Global Studies Director, the Director will submit this information along with a list of other required components that you have completed to a staff member who will update MyUK to reflect completion of the certificate.

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