What is the M.A. in Global Thought?

The Master of Arts in Global Thought takes an interdisciplinary approach to exploring critical global issues. This academic program challenges students to engage with new concepts and generate innovative questions as they examine the complexities of our interconnected and always evolving world. Students take courses taught by members of the Committee on Global Thought, an international roster of renowned scholars from across Columbia University.

This is a challenging and customizable program, designed for global citizens who are ready to rethink conventional paradigms, tackle urgent questions, and take full advantage of New York City and Columbia University’s resources and professional opportunities.

1 year-long seminar – introduces students to CGT faculty and supports them in conceptualizing, researching, and writing their MA capstone essays

3 core courses – provide broad conceptual and transdisciplinary foundations in global governance, political economy, and cultural politics

5 electives – allow students to design their education to reflect their professional goals.
9 months – students complete their M.A. research and degree in one academic year

10 graduate schools – offer a wealth of course offerings and opportunities

At the heart of the program, the capstone M.A. essay asks students to develop an original research question, hone their scholarly skills, and produce an analytical essay with publishing potential. See past essay titles in alumni class profiles.

Understanding global thinking as a process rather than a product, the Committee on Global Thought supports 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.

Renowned Global Scholars

Throughout the degree, students develop their ideas in conversation with some of the university’s most accomplished scholars from around the world, including CGT members and other Columbia faculty, including José Antonio OcampoKian TajbakhshDavid Park, Carol Gluck and Vishakha Desai. The core seminar introduces students to a variety of CGT members, from world famous scholars to new thinkers doing cutting-edge research.

Global Columbia

New York City, one of the world’s most vibrant and global cities, is a unique place from which to think about our shared future.

Columbia University is a pioneer in creating a globally structured and oriented university for the 21st century.

The Committee on Global Thoughtestablished by Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger in 2006, brings together diverse scholars to seek new analytic categories and concepts to comprehend the changing and increasingly globalized world.

Global Thought students enjoy access to Columbia’s resources in the academic and professional schools, expansive library collections, and a full calendar of campus events. They take advantage of their NYC location to connect with organizations, institutions, and opportunities across the city. On campus, their diverse cohort provides a dynamic learning community.


nationalities among alumni


of graduates work outside the US

Professionalization and Careers

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.

During or after the program, students pursue internships and volunteer positions at UNICEF, UNDP, Bain Capital, The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies, International Chamber of Commerce, Wondersauce, and more.

Global Thought alumni provide a robust and growing network of savvy mentors around the world.