Global Studies MA

The MA degree in Global Studies (GS) is a one-year Masters program. It is an interdisciplinary program designed to provide students with the fundamentals of contemporary international issues, as well as detailed knowledge about particular world regions. The MA degree in Global Studies provides students with wide flexibility in crafting an individual program, and is appropriate for students who plan to pursue careers in a wide variety of fields. Students can tailor the content of their programs within a defined framework to help them pursue specific career goals. Courses are selected in consultation with a faculty adviser.
GS MA Degree Requirements
  • Students must COMPLETE a minimum of 24 units, at least twelve of which must be graduate-level course work (course numbered 200-299). Two-thirds of all course work must be letter-graded. Thus no more than a third of all units may be taken on an S/U or P/NP grading basis.
  • Students are required to complete two Global Studies proseminars, one in the fall, the other in the spring. They must also enroll in at least two social science and two area studies courses (in the same area).
  • Capstone – The Capstone project focuses on synthesizing the material from students’ coursework and independent research on their declared region of interest. This project includes two parts: a Capstone paper and a Conference presentation. Students will write a 20-25 page Capstone paper during the Spring term (Due one week before the conference) and present their paper on a panel at the Capstone Conference in early May.

    The Capstone project is designed to give students an opportunity to further develop their regional expertise and hone their research, writing, and public speaking skills. While the capstone is an individual project, each student will benefit from working closely with their Global Studies seminar professors and their classmates with similar regional interests. Though the capstone will be formally carried out in the second semester, each student is expected to synthesize what they have learned across all of their coursework.

    At the end of the Spring semester, in early May, there will be a day-long conference open to the Global Studies community. Students will be grouped together on a panel by region. Two faculty members from Global Studies and other departments on campus will serve as Discussants for each panel. Each student will have 15 minutes to present their capstone project. After the students on the panel present, the Discussants will facilitate a conversation in which the students reflect on what they have learned about the region. The students will be responsible for reading the papers of the other students on their panel beforehand and should be prepared to share their reflections during the discussion that follows.


The application for this program is available through the Graduate Division website. Applications are due January 8, 2024.

1. ONLINE APPLICATION: Fill out the graduate admissions application available on the Graduate Division website at

2. TRANSCRIPTS: Upload unofficial transcripts with the online application for the initial departmental review. You do not need to send the department paper copies. Official transcripts of all college-level work will be required only if admitted. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) you have attended. Request a current transcript from every post-secondary school that you have attended, including community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs.

3. LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION: Send three letters of recommendation from three recommenders who are familiar with your work, preferably in an academic setting. We will accept online letters of recommendation only. Instructions on how to submit letters are included in the Graduate Admissions application.

4. ACADEMIC WRITING SAMPLE: Writing samples must be 10-15 pages in length and in English. Examples include an essay or book review. You can upload the writing sample as part of the online application. Do NOT send or email writing samples to the department.

5. TOEFL (INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS ONLY): All applicants from countries in which English is not the official language are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency through the TOEFL or IELTS exams. If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a U.S. university, you do not need to take the TOEFL. For Fall 2024, tests taken before June 1, 2022 will not be accepted even if your score was reported to Berkeley. The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) — a score of 90 or higher on the TOEFL iBT or 550 or higher on the paper-based exam is required. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) — a score of 7 or higher on the academic module. Scores must be sent directly by ETS to UC Berkeley (institution code 4833 for TOEFL). Do not send test scores directly to our department.

Applicants are also required to read and meet the admissions requirements of the Graduate Division listed at Applicants will be notified of our decision in late-February. Decisions will be sent via email to the address that you list on your application.

Tuition and fees
2023-2024 tuition and fees for new graduate students are $10,932.75 per semester for California residents, and $18,483.75 per semester for non-California residents (includes international students). Please note these fees are likely to change for the class entering in 2024.. Please consult the Registrar’s Office for the latest information. Non-resident students can gain California residency if they follow the residency requirements listed by the Registrar’s Office. For additional information, please refer to the financial support section of the Graduate Division at For international students, please refer to the information listed at

Financial Assistance
Admitted Students are eligible for varying amounts of departmental aid. Some aid is based on California residency status. Students can apply to become Graduate Student Instructors (teaching assistants), and Graduate Student Researchers. These positions, which are open to international students, come with a significant tuition remission and a monthly paycheck.

More information can also be found at the following websites:
• Graduate Division
• Financial Aid office (domestic graduate students)
• Berkeley International Office (international students)

Profile of a successful applicant
• The profile of a successful applicant is likely to include such attributes as:
• An upper division grade point average of 3.5 or higher (In evaluating grade point average, particular emphasis is placed on the applicant’s last two years of undergraduate study and on his or her work in the area in which he or she intends to specialize.). For assistance calculating your major GPA, please consult the GPA Calculator. GPA Calculator (Excel file)
• A writing sample of high caliber.
• Excellent letters of recommendation from academic sources that can comment in detail on scholarly attributes.
• A concise, mature, and directed statement of purpose that fits within the interdisciplinary Global Studies program requirements and capabilities.

We welcome your application. If you have further questions (after thoroughly reading all of the information listed above), please contact Dreux Montgomery at

Global Studies, University of California, Berkeley
101 Stephens Hall, Berkeley, CA 94706-2306

More Information
Dreux Montgomery
Graduate Student Affairs Officer
International and Area Studies
101 Stephens Hall

Students with a focus on the humanities of Asia (such as literature, art, religion, or history) may fit better with and therefore may have a better chance of admission to the Asian Studies MA program. See detailed information here. Please contact the Graduate Advisor for East Asian Languages and Cultures:

Grant Tompkins
3414 Dwinelle

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