About the Masters Program

The University of California at Santa Barbara offers a Master of Arts in Global Studies. The two-year degree program, launched in the fall of 2006, currently admits approximately 12-15 students each year.  Fellowships are offered each year to incoming students on a competitive basis and are intended to support a student in his or her first year of studies. It is especially well suited for students who wish to engage in or study the dimensions of global civil society that affect our contemporary world in significant ways.

Why do a Masters in Global Studies?

This degree is intended to prepare students for international careers in non-governmental organizations (NGOs), businesses, and government, or for a Ph.D. in a related social science or humanities field.  This M.A. degree is designed to provide an understanding of the economic, political, social, and cultural forces that are shaping global organizations. Through internships and/or study abroad opportunities, policy and training seminars, and a variety of “hands-on” activities,  graduates are prepared to meet the intellectual and practical challenges facing those who serve the growing “third sector” of non-profit, non-governmental civil society organizations.

In recent years the number of officially registered international NGOs has increased dramatically. Governments are increasingly channeling assistance through these organizations, which in many countries are among the fastest growing employment sectors. Whether it is tsunami relief in Southeast Asia, earthquake relief in Haiti, or medical assistance in African communities ravaged by AIDS, NGOs now play a critical role in responding to global crises. During a time of political polarization, this vital sector of civil society is playing an ever-more important role in world affairs and global governance. At the same time, the degree to which this is a desirable and effective solution to challenges of governance in an increasingly globalized world is much debated.  A critical understanding of these issues is a central concern of the Masters program.

Program Specializations

The Masters curriculum is sectioned into three areas of specialization: 1) global culture, ideology, and religion; 2) global governance, human rights, and civil society; 3) political economy, sustainable development and the environment.  Students complete gateway coursework in all three areas before focusing on a specific area to research. The program completion typically involves an internship and/or study abroad component, graduate elective coursework in an area of specialization, mastery of a second language, and a thesis to earn the degree.

Fellowship Opportunities

The Masters program is made possible in a large part through the generosity of Paul Orfalea and the Orfalea Family Foundation. This gift, as well as individual and corporate donors enhance the M.A. program through graduate student fellowships and internships, and visiting professorships.

Up to six Orfalea Fellowships are offered each year to incoming students on a competitive basis. These fellowships are typically worth $15,000 each, and are intended to support a student in his or her first year of studies.

For prospective students: the online application for the upcoming academic year will be available in early September. Please use the Admissions link for detailed information and useful application links.

Graduate Placement

Graduates have found rewarding career placement in a variety of educational settings as well as nonprofit, private, and public sectors:

  • Academic and Educational Institutions include law schools (Harvard University, University of California Berkeley, University of California San Diego), Ph.D. programs (Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, Religious Studies at UCSB, the New School for Social Research, and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas Austin), and MA programs in public health (University of Minnesota).
  • Nongovernmental organizations include the Clinton Foundation (Associate Director of Commitments, Haiti Project), Direct Relief International, Free2Work, the Institute of Palestine Studies, the Eleos Foundation, the World Justice Project, Catholic Charities, the Goodman Family Foundation, Global Glimpse-Nicaragua, Educación Plus de Nicaragua, and the Somalia Education Program.
  • Private sector firms include Google, BMW of North America, The Gap (CSR department), Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Harrington (Socially Responsible) Investments, RBC SRI Wealth Management, Springer Science+Business Media (Pune, India), Trujillo Caston Solutions, Rothman Healthcare, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, Cage Free Productions, and MANU KAI Educational Services. 
  • Public Sector agencies include the State Department, Defense Department, the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations), and the Housing Trust Fund of Santa Barbara.