MA Curriculum Requirements
The Master of Arts in Global Thought requires 30 credits, which must be completed in two full-time semesters (2 residence units). Included within the 30 credits are 5 core courses: Global Governance, Global Political Economy, Global Politics and Culture, MA Seminar I, and MA Seminar II. The remaining elective courses can be selected from across the university according to the student’s interest. While most courses in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are open to students, registration in professional school courses can be subject to availability.
In rare cases, courses taken Pass/Fail can count toward the degree. Courses taken for R credit, in which a student is exempt from the final exam or essay, do not count toward the degree. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher to remain in good academic standing. Language courses do not count toward the degree. Students must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in a language other than English (roughly equivalent to four semesters of collegiate study) in an exam taken during the fall semester. (See “Language Proficiency” below).
The degree requires an MA essay based on original research and comparative in most cases to an article in a scholarly journal. Students work with Columbia faculty and CGT advisers in the context of the year-long MA seminar to design, research, and write their essays.
Process Including Mid-Program Report
Students collaborate closely with the MA Faculty Director and the MA Director of Studies to plan individualized programs of study, and to ensure their progress toward the timely completion of the program. The MA Director of Studies provides close support throughout the year, including connecting students to resources on campus, ensuring the selection of appropriate courses, and advising in the development of the final essay. At the end of the first semester, students submit a mid-program report in collaboration with the MA Director of Studies to confirm that they are meeting the requirements for the degree.
Five Core Courses
The purpose of the core curriculum is to ensure that every MA student in the Global Thought program receives a theoretical, broad-based, interdisciplinary foundation in the concepts behind global thought. Each of the core courses will expose students to a range of approaches, methods, and theories, while allowing them to work directly with leading scholars in global thought. This includes graduate-level course work in trans-national relations, economics, politics, philosophy, and cultural analysis. Students are required to take a one-semester long course in global governance, a one-semester long course in global political economy, a one-semester long course in global politics and culture, and a two-semester long research seminar course to help students hone their research interests within an essay.
Five Elective Courses
Students choose five elective courses over two semesters, with the advice of the MA Director of Studies. They may choose from courses offered by CGT Faculty as well as from hundreds of available graduate courses across the university. The students shape their own course of study to accommodate and develop their interests. Courses must be taken at 4000-level or higher, except in cases where students can demonstrate, in conjunction with the course’s professor and the MA Director of Studies, that the course is suitable for a graduate level education.
Students may harmonize their electives with the topic of their thesis, or split their electives between their thesis concentration, global themes, methodological work, or other areas of interest that enhance their intellectual and professional prospects.
Use Columbia’s Directory of Classes to find the widest range of courses open to students of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Proficiency in a language other than English
To complete the MA degree, students must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in a language other than English by completing the Columbia language placement exam or an ACTFL recognized qualifying exam. Further details are available upon admission.
Students whose native language is not English may meet the language requirement if they can produce evidence that shows they have completed secondary schooling (high school) or tertiary studies (bachelor’s degree) in an institution where the ordinary language of instruction is not English. They may also submit evidence of professional translation work.
Sample Program Plans
Sample Individualized Program Plans
Our students arrive from all over the globe and pursue interests that take them throughout Columbia’s rich resources. These sample program plans illustrate the MA in Global Thought degree program format and provide examples of some different types of individualized degree programs.