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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
October 21, 2014
Canadian Excellence

Global Studies

Global Studies at Laurier 

The first of its kind in Canada, the Department of Global Studies at Laurier offers a program that provides students with the opportunity to develop a coherent understanding of the world as a whole, and of their own place within it. 

Global Studies offers an interdisciplinary program of study with a range of courses in the fields of international development, peace and conflict, and globalization and cultures. Students specialize according to their interest. 

Take advantage of the opportunity to travel abroad through the Global Studies Experience (GSE) program. Laurier has exchange agreements with institutions in 27 countries.

Students can add a Research Specialization Option to their degree by completing the GSE requirement, language requirement and meeting a minimum GPA. 

Program highlights 

  • Subsidized international opportunities

More than one third of global studies students either volunteer or study abroad for periods of 4 to 20 weeks. The Department of Global Studies now has more than $40,000 per year to subsidize student learning abroad, with NGOs and at other universities. 

  • Language requirement

Global Studies students are required to take at least a half credit in a modern language other than English.

  • Dynamic Faculty
We’re passionate about teaching. We bring our research into the classroom, challenging students to hone their critical learning skills and to think of themselves as active members of the global community.

  • Broad Curriculum 
Faculty research interests include human rights, peace and security studies, international development, food studies, humanitarianism, social theory, Islam and Modernity, political ecology, and citizenship studies. Our research is situated in Europe, Africa, South and South East Asia, Central and South America, and the Middle East.

Courses offered 

First year

  • Intro to Global Studies
  • Global Studies - A Case Study
  • non-English language course

Popular courses

  • Refugees and Diasporas
  • Peace building in the Shadow of War
  • Nature, Culture and Conflict
  • Ethical Encounters

Admission Requirements

Honours BA Global Studies

4U Requirements IB Requirements  Admission Range
English at 60% HL or SL English at 4

Mid 70s 

IB Minimum score: 28

Student experience 

0000Azaglo__2010.jpgTK Azaglo decided to move to Waterloo, Ontario, Canada from Ghana, Africa to attend Wilfrid Laurier University. During his four years as an honours student double-majoring in Political Science and Global Studies, Azaglo felt he’d found his place at Laurier. 

“In our challenging world of complexities, Global Studies at Laurier serves as an eye-opening experience that moves students beyond the theoretical frameworks and discussions in class.”

During his time in Global Studies, TK was inspired to start an advocacy based club, Future of Africa, participated in a service learning journey to Uganda for 10 weeks, and worked with the Diversity & Equity Office and Laurier’s International Office. 

“It is not enough to read, think or talk about the challenging issues of our world. We need to get involved and act for change.”

Faculty experience 

000Sliwinski.jpgIn a world where natural disasters and conflict make daily headlines, humanitarian aid and post-disaster reconstruction are becoming increasingly important. For Dr. Alicia Sliwinski, the anthropology of humanitarian assistance is an area of great interest that contains many different levels of meaning and understanding.

Before coming to Laurier in 2006, Sliwinski completed her PHD in social anthropology at the University of Montreal. During her studies, she lived in El Salvador for a year conducting field research. Now she is working on a book exploring the politics of post-disaster reconstruction in El Salvador.

“My research lies at the crossroads of the anthropology of development and humanitarian aid as well as the multidisciplinary fields of development studies and social studies on disaster”, says Sliwinski.

In one of her seminar courses, Sliwinski presents her students with a history of humanitarian assistance that moves from the traditional, Western concepts of charity to more contemporary and international humanitarian action.

“I want to introduce students to cross-cultural understanding of gift-giving,” she says. “This can further enrich our interpretations of humanitarian action.” 

Alumni experience 

000_McKinley_headshot.jpgChristine McKinlay is a global studies and religion and culture graduate. “Religion is becoming such a big part of our world now,” she says. “You have to understand how religion is a part of culture and culture is a part of religion to make sense of the world. It’s absolutely fascinating to see what makes people tick.” 

McKinlay was a recipient of the Garfield Weston Scholarship, which helped fund her participation in a six-week research seminar in Malawi, where she studied the plight of children in Africa’s AIDS crisis. 

After graduating from Laurier, she completed internships with both the International Development Research Centre and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and completed a master’s degree in Immigration and Settlement Studies at Ryerson University were her research focused on refugee scholarship.