Academic Program

The Department for Global Interdisciplinary Studies is tasked with the primary purpose of providing students with a set of skills that will foster critical and analytical thinking and the problem solving tools that will prepare them to assume their roles as responsible global citizens. Students who elect to major in this highly rigorous and relevant course of study do so under the guidance of a caring, dedicated, and nurturing faculty, highly skilled in their specific disciplines, who also collaborate with each other to help students integrate their coursework.

MAJOR (31-34 credits) The central dynamic of the GIS major is the emphasis on the interdisciplinary and the global through a specialization in one of the following areas and thematic studies, namely: Africana Studies, Arab & Islamic Studies, Asian Studies, Cultural Studies, Irish Studies, Latin American Studies, and Russian Area Studies. A student may also consider an Individually Designed Specialization after meeting some requirements, including meeting with the Chair of the department. Each specialization emphasizes the core tenets of the major: Interdisciplinary research, global impact through the local, and the application of knowledge to world affairs.
Required Major Courses:
• GIS 2000: Introduction to Global Interdisciplinary Studies (3 cr)
• GIS 5011: Team-taught Topics Student takes two different topics, the first of which counts as the Junior Research Seminar for the Major (6 cr)
• GIS 6500: Senior Capstone 1: Research (3 cr)
• GIS 6600: Senior Capstone 2: Thesis (3 cr)
• GIS 5000: Special Topics (1 cr)
• One semester of Study Abroad

One specialization from those listed below (15-18 cr)

Program Notes:

Seven Area Specializations:

  • GIS offers seven specializations in interdisciplinary areas of study – Africana Studies, Arab and Islamic Studies, Asian Studies, Cultural Studies, Irish Studies, Latin American Studies, and Russian Area Studies. The additional requirements of each specialization are listed below. Students must indicate their specialization at the time of declaring the GIS major.

    • Individually Designed Specialization:
    A student may opt to design a 15-credit specialization of their choosing. This specialization must be proposed at the declaration of the major, with a clear rationalization for all selected courses. The proposal must be approved by a faculty mentor and the Department Chair and include at least three courses regularly offered at Villanova University.

    • The Department of Global Interdisciplinary Studies also offers minors in the following programs: Arabic Language and Cultural Studies, Chinese Language and Cultural Studies, Japanese Language and Cultural Studies, Russian Language and Cultural Studies. Visit these individual pages to view requirements.

GIS: Africana Studies (18 credits) (GAFR)

Six courses with the AFR attribute for a minimum of 18 credits, of which the following must be included:

Required Major Courses:
• GIS 2000: Introduction to Global Interdisciplinary Studies (3 cr)
• GIS 5011: Team-taught Topics Student takes two different topics, the first of which counts as the Junior Research Seminar for the Major (6 cr)
• GIS 6500: Senior Capstone 1: Research (3 cr)
• GIS 6600: Senior Capstone 2: Thesis (3 cr)
• GIS 5000: Special Topics (1 cr)
• One semester of Study Abroad

Required Courses:

• AFR 3000: Constructs of Blackness (3 cr)
• One course in either Africana History or Literature: HIS 2292, 2293, ENG 2501, 2502, 2530, 3690

Program Notes:

• Students may also combine three 1-credit IGR courses to count as one of the undesignated Africana courses
• Courses taken as part of a study abroad program may be counted
• A GIS 5011 with AFR attribute may be counted among the six courses, as long as the two required GIS 5011 courses for the GIS major have been fulfilled.

GIS: Arab Studies (15 credits) (GAIS)

Five courses with the AIS attribute for a minimum of 15 credits, of which the following must be included:

Required Major Courses:

  1. GIS 2000: Introduction to Global Interdisciplinary Studies (3-credit);
  2. GIS 5011: Topics (team-taught 3-credit courses, one of which counts as the Junior Research Seminar for the major);
  3. GIS 5000: Special Topics (1-credit);
  4. GIS 6500: Senior Capstone 1: Research (3-credit, taken in fall of senior year);
  5. GIS 6600: Senior Capstone 2: Thesis (3-credit, taken in spring of senior year)

• One semester of Study Abroad

• Two courses of Arabic at the intermediate or above level (6-10 cr)
• One Political Science course with an AIS attribute (3 cr)
• One History course with an AIS attribute (3 cr)
• One Theology course with an AIS attribute (3 cr)

Program Notes:
• Courses taken as part of a study abroad may be counted.

GIS: Asian Studies (15 credits) (GASN)

Five courses with the ASN attribute for a minimum of 15 credits, of which the following must be included:

Required Major Courses:
• GIS 2000: Introduction to Global Interdisciplinary Studies (3 cr)
• GIS 5011: Team-taught Topics Student takes two different topics, the first of which counts as the Junior Research Seminar for the Major (6 cr)
• GIS 6500: Senior Capstone 1: Research (3 cr)
• GIS 6600: Senior Capstone 2: Thesis (3 cr)
• GIS 5000: Special Topics (1 cr)
• One semester of Study Abroad

Required Courses:
• Three Chinese, Japanese, or other Asian language courses at the intermediate level or above (9 cr)
• Two non-language courses with the ASN attribute (6 cr)

Program Notes:

• Courses taken as part of a study abroad may be counted.
• One internship course may be counted.
• Coursework must be done on more than one country in Asia and in more than one discipline.

GIS: Cultural Studies (18 credits) (GCST)

Six courses with the CST attribute for a minimum of 18 credits, of which the following must be included:

Required Major Courses:

  1. GIS 2000: Introduction to Global Interdisciplinary Studies (3-credit);
  2. GIS 5011: Topics (team-taught 3-credit courses, one of which counts as the Junior Research Seminar for the major);
  3. GIS 5000: Special Topics (1-credit);
  4. GIS 6500: Senior Capstone 1: Research (3-credit, taken in fall of senior year);
  5. GIS 6600: Senior Capstone 2: Thesis (3-credit, taken in spring of senior year)
  6. CST 2100: Introduction to Cultural Studies;
  7. 3 Core Courses in Cultural Studies, one from each of the following three categories:

I.  Representation

CST 4100: US and Global Pop Culture
• PHI 2750: Philosophy of Art
• PHI 2170-001 Mass Media Ethics
• PHI 2760: Philosophy of Literature
• PHI 4140: Philosophy of Contemporary Music
• PHI 4150: Philosophy and Film

II.  Gender

• PHI 2410: Philosophy of Sex and Love
• PHI 2420: Philosophy of Women
• PHI 2430: Eco-Feminism
• PHI 4900: Feminist Theories  

III.  Race

• PJ/PHI: Gender, Race and Class
• PHI 3160: History of Islamic Philosophy
• PHI 2140: Philosophy of Criminal Justice
• ENG 4646: Race & Ethnicity: American Novel;

2 elective courses with Cultural Studies attributes. Courses taken as part of a study abroad program may be counted; one internship course may be counted.

One semester of Study Abroad, preferably in a non-English speaking region.

GIS: Irish Studies (15 credits) (GIST)

Five courses with the IS attribute for a minimum of 15 credits, of which the following must be included:

Required Courses:

• One course of Irish language at the intermediate level or above (IS 1121 or 2222) (3 cr)

• One literature survey (ENG 2450 or 2500) (3 cr)
• One history survey (HIS 3216 or 2286) (3 cr)
• Two electives with IS attribute (6 cr)

Program Notes:

• Courses taken as part of a study abroad may be counted.
• One internship course may be counted.

GIS: Russian Area Studies (18 credits) (GRAS)

Six courses for a minimum of 18 credits, of which the following must be included:


Required Major Courses:
• GIS 2000: Introduction to Global Interdisciplinary Studies (3 cr)
• GIS 5011: Team-taught Topics Student takes two different topics, the first of which counts as the Junior Research Seminar for the Major (6 cr)
• GIS 6500: Senior Capstone 1: Research (3 cr)
• GIS 6600: Senior Capstone 2: Thesis (3 cr)
• GIS 5000: Special Topics (1 cr)
• One semester of Study Abroad

Required Courses:

• Two Russian language courses at the intermediate (6 cr)
• Four Courses with the RAS attribute for a minimum of 12 credits (12 cr)

Program Notes:

• Up to two courses taken as part of a study abroad program may be counted.

GIS: Latin American Studies (18 credits) (GLAS)

Six courses with a minimum of 18 credits, of which the following must be included:

Required Major Courses:
• GIS 2000: Introduction to Global Interdisciplinary Studies (3 cr)
• GIS 5011: Team-taught Topics Student takes two different topics, the first of which counts as the Junior Research Seminar for the Major (6 cr)
• GIS 6500: Senior Capstone 1: Research (3 cr)
• GIS 6600: Senior Capstone 2: Thesis (3 cr)
• GIS 5000: Special Topics (1 cr)
• One semester of Study Abroad

Required Major Courses:
• GIS 2000: Introduction to Global Interdisciplinary Studies (3 cr)
• GIS 5011: Team-taught Topics Student takes two different topics, the first of which counts as the Junior Research Seminar for the Major (6 cr)
• GIS 6500: Senior Capstone 1: Research (3 cr)
• GIS 6600: Senior Capstone 2: Thesis (3 cr)
• GIS 5000: Special Topics (1 cr)
• One semester of Study Abroad

Required Courses:
• Four courses with the LAS attribute (12 cr minimum)
• Two advanced Spanish courses above 1122 (6 cr)

Program Notes:

• Courses taken as part of a study abroad may be counted.
• One internship course may be counted.

Contact Information

Dr. Chiji Akoma
Associate Professor
Chair, Department of Global Interdisciplinary Studies
chiji.akoma@villanova.edu
(610) 519-6967

Ms. Joyce Harden
Administrative Assistant
joyce.harden@villanova.edu
610-519-6302

Apply Now

To apply to GIS, please choose and fill out the form which applies to you.

Option 1: For New Students NOT Previously Declared
Change/Declare Major to GIS/Specializations, GWS OR PJ


Option 2: Current GIS, AIS, CST, LAS OR GWS Students

Change of Major to GIS/Specializations, GWS OR PJ


And download and fill out the PDF form which must be completed, printed, signed and returned to OUS.
OUS Declare/Change Major Form