College of Liberal and Fine Arts

What is Global Affairs?

The Bachelor of Arts Degree in Global Affairs at UTSA

“It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the forces of gravity.”

                                                                                 Kofi Annan (Former UN Secretary-General)


Globalization has profound impacts on all aspects of our lives. One of the most important changes we are witnessing is the transition away from a state-centric world to a more pluralistic global order involving international organizations, NGOs, and corporations along with nation-states. The Bachelor of Arts Degree in Global Affairs is meant to equip students with the tools necessary to understand, assess, and guide this transition.

What is Global Affairs?

Global Affairs can be defined in two ways. First, Global Affairs is a specialization within Political Science dedicated explicitly to the study of world politics. While situated within Political Science, however, Global Affairs is an interdisciplinary field that borrows from economics, sociology, geography cultural and legal studies, public administration, communications, and criminal justice. Second, and more substantively, global affairs captures and describes the totality of political dynamics and interactions between a wide range of actors (states and non-states) occurring across borders in an interconnected and interdependent world. It explores the different activities and relationships between actors and the institutions, rules, and processes that are created to maintain order.

How is Global Affairs taught at UTSA?

Our department offers a broad range of exciting courses in Global Affairs offered by nationally and internationally recognized faculty who are dedicated to helping students understand current world events in their broader contexts. Our classes give students the opportunity to learn about transnational crime, terrorism, trafficking, pandemics, global development, human rights, and environmental issues such as global warming. The program curriculum is organized so that students are first introduced to global affairs in a gateway course on the United States in the global arena. Students can then choose from regional and topical classes as they complete their course work. Intro-level courses are taught in a lecture format, while more advanced courses are taught in a seminar format with smaller study, work and discussion groups. All classes are offered in a practically-focused manner which prepares our students for careers in global contexts. The program also gives students an opportunity to engage in study-abroad programs and take advantage of internships to help students develop their interests and enhance their chances of finding a rewarding career. Finally, majors in Global Affairs can participate in multiple extracurricular activities, such as the Model United Nations conference, organized every year during the fall semester.

Why pursue a major in Global Affairs at UTSA?

Are you interested in learning about cultures, societies, and politics around the world? Are you curious to travel overseas and learn other languages? Are you puzzled why some countries are wealthier and more powerful than others? Have you wondered why peace is elusive and wars are still rife? Do you envision yourself working for the United Nations or helping promote human rights abroad? Would you like to know more about global warming and other environmental issues affecting the globe? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you might be a good candidate for the Major in Global Affairs. 

The Global Affairs degree offers a coherent curriculum that allows students to develop analytical skills to understand different regions of the world and the interactions between people, states, international organizations and private entities that occur in world politics. Overall, the degree aims to provide majors with a unique and transferrable set of skills that are attractive to future employers in a variety of careers:

  • Critical & analytical thinking skills
  • Oral & written communication skills
  • Leadership skills & ability to identify (global) community needs and find solutions through diplomacy, dialogue, and compromise
  • Deep factual knowledge of world politics & its underlying processes

All these skills as well as the ability to assess and engage in problem-solving on a global scale are highly valued in different sectors in a globalized world. As outlined above, the global dimension of the degree is underscored by a number of opportunities for students to increase their learning through study-abroad programs to Europe, Mexico, and other parts in the world.

What can you do with a BA degree in Global Affairs?

Future students have to be prepared for pursuing their careers in a globalized world, independent of whether they search for local or global job openings. Throughout the program, our students will develop many different strengths and talents that make them attractive for a myriad of professional careers in a globalized world. Some will obtain expertise in specific regions of the world or become dedicate to a particular topic such as economic development, human rights, or cyber security. Others will be fluent in foreign languages and will be able to live and work in other countries around the world. Some students will pursue double majors as they combine Global Affairs with Political Science, Geography or others degrees to deepen their understanding of global politics. All in all, Global Affairs is an excellent liberal arts major that will help students develop analytical, reading, writing, research, presentation, and leadership skills required for careers in government, the non-profit sector, business, legal careers, and education.

Government-related career opportunities

Almost 17 percent of all jobs in the United States are federal, state, or local government positions. Whether it is the city council or state and federal agencies, all are engaged in their own global affairs and look for employees with an understanding of global relations – remember that even the Department of the Interior has its own Office of International Affairs! As such, government careers are available in Foreign Service, embassies around the world, and other countries’ consulates in the US.

Military and intelligence career opportunities

The US military is a major global player. As such, it needs officers and civilians capable of understanding and engaging with global affairs. At the same time, increased interconnections have increased our vulnerabilities as recently evident in terrorist activities in Europe and elsewhere. Hence, to provide security in a globalized world, we not only need a strong but also a smart military relying on high-quality intelligence provided by country experts.

Intergovernmental and non-governmental career opportunities

In addition to government agencies, there is a long list of intergovernmental or even non-governmental agencies engaged in global affairs. Whether it is the United Nations, Amnesty International, or a local agency engaged in security, public health, immigration, development and trade, or the environment, all need employees who understand the global nature of issues and are willing to commit themselves to them!

International business & finance career opportunities

In today’s globalized economy, more than 80,000 corporations in more than 800,000 subsidiaries operate across the world. Not everyone in these corporations has a business degree. In fact, most corporations and banks on a global level seek people who can think outside the management box and engage with the larger corporate role in global society. Whether it is in public relations, human resources or global marketing, someone with the unique skill set outlined above is a strong asset and a likely candidate for job interviews.

International law & legal career opportunities

Many students in Global Affairs continue their education in law school and use their prior studies to succeed as they enter legal careers. With literally thousands of international treaties in existence, politicians, lawyers, and legal counselors equally run world politics. As such, international law has become a subfield in Law School and students equipped with a Global Affairs degree are better equipped to succeed!

Policy analysis & consultancy career opportunities

Increased complexity has become a theme of our everyday lives in the 21st century. As such, policy analysts and consultants are increasingly needed to understand global affairs and propose new policies and regulations. Whether it is research and analysis or direct policy advice, communication, and public relations, analysts and consultants work with public figures and politicians and thereby directly affect world politics.

Education & teaching career opportunities

Career opportunities are numerous in the educational field as teachers are needed to prepare students for a globalized world. This can be at a community college or at a school abroad! Also, the BA allows you to pursue advanced degrees such as Ph.D.’s in political science and other social science related fields. Our major is thus a pathway to an academic career as a professor or advanced researcher in a university or research center.  

Media & journalism career opportunities

International broadcasting and foreign news correspondence depend on people knowledgeable in global affairs. Whether it is freelance work or working for a major network or press, journalists are engaged in investigative research and cover world politics in all its dimensions. A Global Affairs degree can provide students with the tools and skills necessary to engage successfully in this important line of work.

Become part of something greater than yourself – join Global Affairs @ UTSA

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University of Texas at San Antonio

College of Liberal and Fine Arts

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