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Global Studies in Education Minor

Japanese World MapGlobal citizens know about the world. They communicate in many languages about problems and solutions that affect the global community.

Students of Global Studies strive to understand the effectiveness of educational policies and practices in an increasingly interconnected world. Our leaders’ decisions—and indeed many of our own personal choices— about the economy and trade, education and human rights, global security, sustainable development, energy usage and the environment – may affect people’s lives far beyond our national borders.  Global Studies build global awareness. Global Studies suggest that education can help build working relationships among people.

Program Life

What is the Global Studies in Education Minor?

The Global Studies in Education minor is part of the Curry School’s Social Foundations of Education program on Grounds in Charlottesville. The minor provides an interdisciplinary view of social theories and comparative frameworks that stretch beyond traditional definitions of teachers and school administrators to delve into concepts of school and society; history, philosophy and culture; and educational policy, theory and practice.

By investigating global and national educational problems from different perspectives, students engage with real-world issues. They examine many of the most pressing concerns facing 21st century schools; to wit: poverty, inequality and human rights; the role of states, the international community, NGOs and civil society in policy making and implementation; the influence of history, culture and tradition in schooling; and intersections among the economy, societal and social policy.

This minor is appropriate for undergraduate students considering careers and/or further study in education, including:

  • law
  • policymaking
  • business 
  • education leadership and social entrepreneurship
  • non-profit work
  • domestic and international NGO work
  • teaching, including Teach for America or teacher certification programs
  • government positions in education both in the US and abroad
  • the Peace Corps and other international development or education work


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Course Overview

The minor consists of 18 credits which include two required courses and a capstone course as determined by your Curry advisor. Candidates for the minor should complete one language course beyond the 2010 level of any language at UVa or an approved study abroad course.

Two Required Core Courses (6 credits):

EDLF 4606 Comparative Education
EDLF 5500 Globalization and Education or EDLF 5711 Globalization, Childhood and Culture

Electives (12 credits):

In order to complete the undergraduate minor, students must enroll in four of the following elective courses*:

EDLF 4620 International Human Rights Activism and Education
EDLF 4610 Civil Rights Movement and Education
EDLF 2995 So You Want to Change the World: Foundations of Community Engagement
EDLF 4605 Anthropology of Education
EDLF 5500/ANTH 5559 Anthropology of Global Health, Development, and Education
EDLF Ethnography and Education
EDLF 5000 Multicultural Education

*additional courses can be included with prior approval of the advisor.


The course provides an overview of history, methods, major concepts and current trends in comparative and international education. It will enable students to identify strengths and limitations of international comparative research, investigate the role of the state/regional bodies and international organizations in educational planning, and learn about relevant studies and scholars dealing with methodological and conceptual issues of comparative education. The assignments will support these learning objectives, and in addition, help graduate students to develop specific research skills that are necessary to develop academic literature reviews and write research papers.


Globalization is a multidimensional phenomenon with social, economic, political, and cultural dimensions. Through new technology the compression of time and space has brought images, messages, beliefs, and ideologies into closer contact with one another, giving rise to various notions of identity and interconnectivity. Educational systems are far from impervious to these trends. Norms of accountability and parental choice are emerging in schools throughout the world. At higher education levels, reconfigurations of fields of study and academic governance are now common phenomena, as the “knowledge society” of the 21st century requires people with advanced technical skills and competitive attitudes. Migration—fostered by the increasing imbalance between economic situations in poor and industrialized and oil-rich countries—is bringing new student populations and making challenging demands on schools. The impact of globalization on education is characterized by innovation, from the increased use of testing to the proliferation of advanced distance-education degrees. In these dynamic times, paradoxically, attention to rights in education, cultural diversity, gender equity, and social justice is difficult to sustain.

The seminar will cover developments reflecting different influences and ideas shaping particular manifestations of globalization and their impacts on education in both industrialized and developing countries. We will consider a range of theoretical approaches, disciplinary paradigms and research methods, these will help us explore the ways in which current global forces are differentially shaping education in various communities. The nature of the state—both its autonomy and its responsibilities for ensuring that education remains a common good—will be examined through a combination of evidentiary sources: the dominant forms of discourse, educational policies being implemented, demographic and educational statistics, and qualitative accounts of changes at the school and school district levels. We will use a variety of readings, films and other media to help contextualize global changes internationally. An important component of the course will be a public Global Justice Film series on international education issues. These will be held on several evenings throughout the semester and will be open to the UVA community.

GSE Minor Declaration Form

Contact Us

Rachel Wahl

Locations Offered

  • Charlottesville

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