MA Curriculum Requirements

The MA in Global Thought degree requires 30 credits (10 courses), which must be completed in two full-time semesters. Students must work closely with the MA Faculty Director and MA Director of Studies to plan an individualized program of study and to ensure that they are progressing toward a timely completion of the program.

The degree requires two Residence Units and completion of 30 points, including the five core courses (Global Governance, Global Political Economy, Global Politics and Culture, and two semesters of the MA Seminar) and five specialization elective courses. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher to remain in good academic standing. Students submit an essay based on original research that is the length and quality of an article in a scholarly journal. Students work with faculty in designing and pursuing their topics. Students must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in a language other than English equivalent to four semesters of collegiate study.

Core Curriculum

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.

View descriptions of the five Core Courses here.


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.

Find a list of elective courses taken by MA Global Thought students here.

Language Proficiency

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.

View sample program plans of MA Global Thought students here.