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

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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?

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
  • 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.

Upcoming in Global Studies & Social Impact


Beaver Island Field School- Info Session

March 31, 2023 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Attend this virtual information session to learn more about the Beaver Island Field School , a 3-credit course offered by the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program. Students participating...

Lessons From Ghana

April 4, 2023 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies is proud to present Dr. Richard Amfo-Otu and Dr. Anthony Amoah from the University of Environment and Sustainable Development, visiting GVSU all the way...

Global Express series: Oindrila Mukherjee's Dream Builders - Survival & Identity in a Globalized Society

April 6, 2023 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

The Area & Global Studies department welcomes author Dr. Oindrila Mukherjee for our next Global Express series. Dr. Mukherjee is a GVSU professor in the Department of Writing and will discuss...

Student Scholars Day (SSD) Alumni Panel: Taking Your Research into the World INT 100/201 APPROVED!

April 6, 2023 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Thursday, April 6th from 4-5pm via Zoom  Join us as we talk with recent GVSU alumni about their experiences after undergrad. Learn from former students about how they utilize their undergraduate...

ENS Drop-In Advising

April 10, 2023 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Students of Environmental & Sustainability Studies: Stop by one of our open advising sessions, and meet with an advisor to plan out your 2023-2024 class schedule. Don't wait! Course offerings...

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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

Distinguished Contribution in a Discipline 2021 recipient is Dr. Jack Mangala

Distinguished Contribution in a Discipline 2021 recipient is Dr. Jack Mangala

Dr. Jack Mangala's research in African politics was recognized by GVSU, granting him the award for Distinguished Contribution in a Discipline for 2021. Click the title above to read more.

Jan 25, 2022

Faculty, students support global sustainable development project

Faculty, students support global sustainable development project

Marina Kaneti, Assistant Professor of Global Studies and Social Impact and four GSI students are contributing to an initiative supporting global sustainable development.

Mar 28, 2018

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Page last modified February 6, 2023