What is the M.A. in Global Thought?
The Master of Arts in Global Thought is an interdisciplinary academic course of study that challenges students to explore new concepts and categories intended to encompass and explain the complexities of our interconnected and changing world. This distinctive M.A. is offered by the Committee on Global Thought (CGT), which includes more than thirty renowned scholars drawn from departments and schools across Columbia University.
The intensive, nine-month M.A. in Global Thought includes three core courses, which provide a broad-based conceptual and interdisciplinary foundation in global governance, global political economy, and global politics and culture, as well as a two-semester M.A. seminar. The M.A. seminar combines substantive engagement with CGT faculty members with workshop sessions that help students develop the original research, analytic argument, and persuasive writing of their capstone M.A. essays. Understanding global thinking as a process rather than a product, CGT’s faculty support students in their development of insights about the changing world, drawing upon local views of global processes that affect all of us, if not in the same way. Students choose the rest of their courses (15 credits) from elective options across the university, which means that each student in the diverse and closely connected cohort pursues an individualized course of study.
Throughout the degree, students develop their ideas in conversation with some of the university’s most accomplished scholars, including CGT members and other Columbia faculty. Core instructors include Saskia Sassen, Kian Tajbakhsh, David Park, Linda Tvrdy, and Vishakha Desai. The CGT Academic Director and M.A. Director of Studies provide individual advising and connections to other Columbia faculty. CGT Vice Chair Vishakha Desai and M.A. Director of Studies Tori Gross teach the M.A. Seminar sequence where guest speakers include Professors Carol Gluck, Rosalind Morris, Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Brian Larkin, Andreas Wimmer, Yasmine Ergas, Michael Morris, Reinhold Martin, Benjamin Orlove, Joseph Stiglitz, and others.
Located in the diverse and vibrant city of New York, Columbia is a pioneer in the pressing task of creating a global university for the 21st century. The Committee on Global Thought, established by Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger in 2006, brings together senior scholars to seek new analytic categories and concepts to comprehend the changing and increasingly globalized world. In addition to the CGT faculty, students benefit from Columbia’s resources in the academic and professional schools, expansive library collections, a full calendar of campus events, and opportunities in New York. Connections to Columbia’s network of Global Centers allow students to explore research and internship opportunities beyond New York upon completion of the degree.
Global Thought Graduates
An innovative academic offering, the M.A. in Global Thought prepares students for a wide range of future careers in development, nongovernmental organizations, government, public policy, academia, research, and the private sector. The combined focus on developing nuanced research and broadly ranging knowledge prepares students for employment, as well as for further study in professional schools or Ph.D. programs.