Global Studies and Social Impact (B.A., B.S.)

GSI Banner

The world's greatest challenges—for example, international migration, food security, climate change, human rights, religious freedom and conflict—emerge from interacting global systems and impact the everyday lives of people in local communities.  Addressing these challenges demands creative thinking across national and disciplinary boundaries. 

Global Studies and Social Impact (GSI) addresses these challenges by placing contemporary issues center stage, in historical context, while engaging students in interdisciplinary exploration and problem solving, and preparing them to be innovative, flexible thinkers within their local and global communities.

Students earn a B.A. or B.S. in GSI by taking courses organized around interdisciplinary global problems and themes. Students also choose two world regions to study in more depth.

Our Program

GSI Coordinator
Professor Jack Mangala
101 Lake Ontario Hall
Phone: (616) 331-8512
Email: [email protected]

Global studies and social impact is an interdisciplinary major with a focus on understanding, through multiple perspectives, global issues and how they affect people in all areas of the world. Students who choose the global studies and social impact major will engage in critical reflection on how the world works as an interlinked, interactive set of systems, processes and relationships that operate across broad spheres of social, political, economic, cultural, religious and environmental experiences. Global studies and social impact helps students to understand the interconnectedness of the world, and how distant events have local effects. Global studies and social impact at GVSU also emphasizes social transformation and social change to prepare students to be global citizens who can positively impact their worlds.

Why Study Global Studies and Social Impact?

  • Learn to think in an integrated, interdisciplinary way about problems and issues affecting people across the globe.
  • Plan a course of study around the global and social justice issues for which you have a passion.
  • Build intercultural competency and communication skills through the required experiential learning opportunity such as taking a course that includes a service learning project, studying abroad, or completing an internship.
  • Gain important foreign language capabilities or build skills in research methods and statistics, depending on your future career plans, and how you wish to take action in the world.

Through core courses drawn from across the University, students learn how to pose questions and explore problems and solutions through a variety of academic and professional lenses on topics impacting our world, such as:

  • Global systems, such as health care, agriculture and food, and economics
  • The movements of peoples and ideas across the globe such as immigration, human trafficking, communications, and Geotourism
  • Cultural, religious, or gender identities and expressions
  • Regional study of African & African American, East Asian, Latin American & Latino/a, and Middle East cultures


GSI prepares students for employment in a wide variety of fields, including:

  • Nonprofit and social service agencies
  • Government and non-government agencies
  • Education
  • Global human resources
  • Public affairs
  • Intercultural consultation
  • Business and communication

Upcoming Events



GSI Senior Showcase 2022

GSI Senior Showcase 2022

Global Studies & Social Impact seniors share original research.

Apr 11, 2022

Senior Showcase

Senior Showcase

Global Studies & Social Impact seniors share their work

Mar 25, 2022

GSI is the major of the month! Hear from one of our Alum on her experience as a GSI major

GSI is the major of the month! Hear from one of our Alum on her experience as a GSI major

Misgana Kurban graduated with a double major in GSI and Anthropology in 2020. Read about what she looks back on - why she chose GSI, what tips she has for those interested in the field, and what she is doin now with her degree.

Jan 26, 2022

View More News

Photo Gallery

Page last modified March 25, 2022