Planning for Success in Global Studies and Batten

Global policy is a popular field of interest for prospective students, and a number of majors at UVA focus on global issues. In this post, I will be recounting my experience and opinions as a Batten School and Global Development Studies (GDS) double major. 

The Global Studies program is a collection of application-based majors in the College of Arts and Sciences offering six different concentrations: Global Development Studies, Global Public Health, Global Security and Justice, Global Commerce in Culture and Society, and the Middle East and South Asia tracks. Batten and Global Studies are both relatively recent and increasingly popular majors. The Global Studies webpage offers insight into each track, as well as how to apply to the tracks, deadlines, major requirements, and prerequisites. There are also event postings you can attend if you are interested in learning more about the programs, application workshops, and guest speaker series. You are able to apply to two Global Studies tracks with ranked preferences, but if accepted you can only matriculate into one of the tracks. 

I am incredibly passionate about what I learn across my majors, and I enjoy making connections in my research to bridge the accumulation of knowledge. If you’re interested in double majoring with Batten and another major, it is very doable. It may seem like a daunting task to ensure you meet requirements across the majors, and scheduling classes may initially appear complex. Picking the right classes early on in your time at UVA opens up opportunities to explore your interests across different areas of study. There are a substantial number of students double majoring in Batten across different Global Studies tracks. The intersections between the two are so popular that students in Batten and Global Studies can double-count 12 credits of electives across the majors–the only program where this is allowed. Both of my majors have defined my UVA experience, and I do not think I would have enjoyed my college experience as much as I have without both of my majors. 

I came to UVA knowing that I wanted to apply into the Global Studies program. My sister is a GDS alum, and she sparked my initial interest in the program. When I was in high school, she would come home and share what she had learned in some of her GDS classes, which seemed incredibly interesting to me. Since my first year, I have explored various courses within the Global Studies program. These courses eventually drew my attention to policy, and I became curious to learn more about the intersection between “The Global” and the public policy space. 

My advice if you’re interested in double majoring starts with planning early. If you’re set on two programs, I recommend starting out by taking courses that meet both general education requirements and potential major elective courses. There are several benefits to this approach, including contingency planning depending on your scheduled enrollment times. Additionally, it allows for academic exploration across different departments at UVA. You receive the benefit of proactively completing requirements across both majors prior to matriculation into the programs. This allows more flexibility and freedom in your schedule later on for major requirement courses in your third and fourth year. 

While it is beneficial to plan early, you may not be sure what you’re interested in pursuing, which is also okay! Global Studies offers a wide range of electives, across numerous departments, that are generally accepted for major elective credits. If you are in the College of Arts and Sciences, it is important to keep in mind the College’s credit requirements. Before joining my majors I only took courses that were on this list that were at the 3000-level or higher AND met general education requirements. This allowed me to explore potential paths, gave me different options for classes if my first choices were filled, and contributed to a growing body of knowledge that allows me to connect what I’m learning across different fields of study. For example, even if you do not plan on pursuing economics as a major, Introduction to Microeconomics is a prerequisite for Batten, the Global Development Studies track, and several other programs. This is a course that I recommend taking early if you’re unsure about your path or if you plan on applying to Batten and GDS. 

My experience with Batten and Global Development Studies has offered me an invaluable balance in divergent means of thinking about change. I have found similarities across perceived differences between my majors: both are rooted in genuine interest in the content and creating authentic connections in your community. Leadership is everywhere, and you can find policy anywhere. If you’re interested in the intersections between public policy and The Global, I encourage you to look into double majoring. Batten and Global Development Studies diverge in several ways, yet they are similar in the sense that they are both incredibly unique in their approaches to learning.