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Columbia University Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :28 Apr 
International :28 Apr 

MA Global Thought

 Course Level
Masters / PG
Full Time

2 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

54360 USD
54360 USD

Application fee

International 105 USD
National 105 USD
Committee on Global Thought
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7.5
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600
GRE (avg)315

World University Ranking

About this course

The MA in Global Thought is an interdisciplinary, research-based course of study designed to understand and address the challenges and opportunities arising in our world today. This innovative MA is offered by the Committee on Global Thought (CGT), whose more than thirty faculty members include some of Columbia’s most renowned scholars from departments and schools across the university. Its one-year program enables students to explore global connections and commonalities in contemporary politics, economics, society, and culture, tailoring their curriculum to their intellectual and professional interests. 

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Eligibility Criteria

The MA in Global Thought welcomes applicants with a background in the social sciences and humanities and an interest in the study of global issues in an interdisciplinary setting. Given the thematic and disciplinary range of the program, applicants from a range of professional backgrounds and undergraduate experiences are invited to apply. Applicants should demonstrate an interest in global issues through professional, international, research, or other experience. 

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Course Modules


The MA in Global Thought degree requires completion of 30 points of course work to be completed in two semesters. Students must work closely with MA Faculty Director David K. Park and the MA Academic Director Sara Brooks to plan an individualized program of study and to ensure that they are progressing toward a timely completion of the program.
The degree requires two Residence Units and completion of 30 points, including the five core courses (Global Governance, Global Political Economy, Global Politics and Culture, and two semesters of the MA Seminar) and five specialization elective courses. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher to remain in good academic standing. Students must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in a language other than English equivalent to four semesters of collegiate study.

Core Curriculum

Five Core Courses
The purpose of the core curriculum is to ensure that every MA student in the Global Thought program receives a theoretical, broad-based, interdisciplinary foundation in the concepts behind global thought. Each of the core courses will expose students to a range of approaches, methods, and theories, while allowing them to work directly with leading scholars in global thought. This includes graduate-level course work in trans-national relations, economics, politics, philosophy, and cultural analysis. Students are required to take a one-semester long course in global governance, a one-semester long course in global political economy, a one-semester long course in global politics and culture, and a two-semester long research seminar course to help students hone their research interests within an essay.

Global Governance

Global Governance explores the challenges of governance in a global era, including the international legal order, global public goods, and the mechanisms and processes of global governance.

Global Political Economy
Global Political Economy explores the economic forces that shape globalization and its effects on different countries and their citizens, from trends in human development to global financial systems and debt crises.

Global Politics and Culture
Global Politics and Culture explores the impact of globalization on cultural diversity, including cosmopolitanism, feminism and religion in relation to secularism and “tolerance”.

MA Seminars I and II
MA Seminars are composed of a two-semester sequence that concentrates in the Fall on different research methodologies and disciplinary approaches as well as on the choice of research topic for the essay. The Spring semester is dedicated to developing the argument and completing the research project.


Five Specialization Elective Courses

Students choose five specialization elective courses over two semesters, with the advice of the MA Faculty Director David K. Park and the Academic Director Sara Brooks. They may choose from courses offered by CGT Faculty as well as from hundreds of available graduate courses across the university. The students shape their own course of study to accommodate and develop their interests. Courses must be taken at 4000-level or higher, except in cases where students can demonstrate, in conjunction with the course’s professor and the MA Academic Director, that the course is suitable for a graduate level education.

Students may harmonize their electives with the topic of their thesis, or split their electives between their thesis concentration, global themes, methodological work, or other areas of interest that enhance their intellectual and professional prospects.

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How to Apply

Application Requirements

  • CV
  • Transcripts showing courses and grades from all post-secondary schools attended.
  • Statement of Academic Purpose not to exceed 1,000 words, emphasizing academic goals, anticipated program of study and expected impact on career.
  • Writing sample of maximum 10 pages in English, composed of one piece or a combination of up to three pieces or selections.
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons with direct knowledge of the applicant’s academic background and abilities. No more than one letter should be submitted from supervisors or colleagues at an applicant’s place of employment.
  • GRE general test scores (strongly recommended but not required).
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)/IELTS is required for all international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English.
  • Language proficiency equivalent to two years of post-secondary study of a language appropriate to the applicant’s plan of study.

Please note: only applicants who are admitted should send materials (i.e., official transcripts) by mail to the GSAS Office of Admissions. Unofficial transcripts and other supplemental application materials should be uploaded through the online application system.

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