Area and Global Studies Programs
African/African American Studies
The African/African American Studies (AAA) program develops an understanding of the variety and complexity of Africa, a deep appreciation of the African American experience, and an enriching knowledge of the various historical trajectories and contributions of the global African diaspora.
AAA is an interdisciplinary minor and ideal complement to many disciplinary majors. Two tracks or areas of emphasis are possible, allowing students to tailor the minor to their own interests and needs.
East Asian Studies / Chinese Studies
Throughout much of its history, China was the most culturally, intellectually, economically, and technologically dominant civilization in Asia and the world. With the recent developments in China, the country is exerting an ever-broadening influence on the world community, and Japan, with its unparalleled economic success, demand attention from the world.
The East Asian studies (EAS) program balances a liberal arts and professional approach to understanding the economic potential, rich cultural resources, and the basic need for intercultural relationships with China and Japan. Students who minor in East Asian studies gain intercultural knowledge and competence that benefits them in this increasingly globalized world. The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Chinese studies (CHS) degree allows one to not only build a solid knowledge of China and its culture but also develop new perspectives on the U.S. culture and an enriched self-understanding.
Global Studies and Social Impact
The world's greatest challenges - food, security, climate change, human rights, religious freedom, and conflict - emerge from interacting global systems and affect everyday lives of people in local communities. Addressing these challenges demands creative thinking across national an disciplinary boundaries.
Global Studies and Social Impact (GSI) addresses this need by placing contemporary issues center stage, and preparing students to be creative, flexible thinkers within local and global communities.
Students earn a B.A. or B.S. in GSI by taking courses organized around interdisciplinary global themes. Students also choose two world regions to study in more depth.
Latin American and Latino/a Studies
Knowledge of Latin America and its people, including those in the U.S., is an essential part of a liberal education today. Latinos now constitute the most populous ethnic group in the country. U.S. economic, political, and cultural relations with our Latin American neighbors from Mexico and the Caribbean to Central and South America continue to grow in importance.
The Latin American and Latino/a studies (LAS) minor is for the student who wishes to learn more about the fascinating history and diverse cultures of Latin America. The minor complements most majors and professional programs, making a variety of career opportunities available.
Latino/a Studies Certificate
The Latino/a Studies certificate program is designed to increase students' knowledge of the diverse histories, demographics, and cultures among Latinos/as in the United States. It is a useful program for students in any profession, as it will prepare them for working with people of Spanish-speaking Latin American or Caribbean heritage--an important and growing demographic in the American landscape.
Learn more about an important demographic in the United States and in Michigan; explore cultural, historical, and professional issues related to Latinos/as; engage with the West Michigan Latino/a community via the certificate's coursework; and gain important intercultural understanding and competency skills that you can apply to any workplace context.
Note: Students must be degree seeking students to receive the certificate. The certificate will be awarded at the same time as the degree is awarded. All undergraduate certificates have received Higher Learning Commission approval, and students are eligible for financial aid because they are seeking a degree.
Middle East Studies
Middle East studies (MES) focuses on the area stretching from Morocco in the west to Oman in the east, from Iran and Turkey in the north to Sudan in the south. This history and art of this region contributed to Western civilization and the area today is central to issues of global peace and prosperity.
In the tradition of liberal education, the MES minor introduces students to the heritage, problems, and perspectives of Middle Eastern cultures, thus helping them to better understand their own culture. Michigan, for example, is home to the nation's largest Arab American community, half Christian, half Muslim, with substantial Jewish congregations.