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Global Security Studies

Global Security Studies Director: Maggie Clinton (Associate Professor of History)
Office: Axinn Center 237   Phone: 802-443-5648

Security concerns are generated by a constellation of forces (economic, environmental, historical, political, and religious, etc.). They are experienced at different scales—from the local to the global, and the individual to the state. By drawing on courses from various departments, this track exposes students to security issues along three dimensions: global, international, and societal. The track highlights strategic concerns and issues of injustice, as well as the causes of insecurity over time, how it is experienced cross-culturally, and how societies, governments, and states have tried to address it. 


Introduction to International and Global Studies. Students must take IGST 101 before studying abroad. IGST 0101 is not open to seniors except for those who declared the major as sophomores and spent the fall semester of their junior year abroad. Students who declare their major as a sophomore but have not taken IGST 0101, and plan to study abroad for only one semester must take it in the fall of their junior year prior to going abroad.

Thematic Specialization. Five thematic courses from this list in at least three departments, at least one of which should be in Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, Political Science or Sociology.  This five-course cluster will allow students to lay a foundation and gain breadth in security issues. It will consist of:

  • One Introductory course
  • Two courses on International security issues
  • One course on Societal security issues
  • One course on Global security issues

Language Study. Students must become proficient in one of the languages that Middlebury College teaches. Individual language departments determine what level of study constitutes proficiency. All majors must take at least one advanced course in the language of study upon returning from abroad and are encouraged to take more than one. Students who, upon declaring the IGS major, have been determined proficient in one of their region’s languages will continue to take this language at the advanced level and are strongly recommended to take one year or equivalent of another language. The additional language should be chosen in consultation with the advisor.

Students majoring in GSS and studying abroad in India must study an Indian language when abroad, but are not expected to complete an advanced language course once they return. Instead, they must take one additional regional or global course in their senior year.

Regional focus. Three courses focusing on the region where your language of choice is spoken: Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Russia and East Europe, or South Asia. See available courses here.

Study Abroad. Students must study abroad in their region of focus on one of Middlebury’s approved study abroad programs for at least one semester. Study abroad must be in the language of study at Middlebury. Students who study abroad for one semester may count up to two courses toward the major and those who study abroad for a full year may count up to four. Major credit will be granted, pending approval, upon the student’s return from abroad. For regional courses, approval is granted by the track director and for global courses by the IGS director. Students should share the syllabi and all written work for all courses they wish to count with the track or program director, respectively.

Because issues relating to global security transcend countries and regions, majors may study any language taught at Middlebury, and those wishing to study in programs that focus on Global Security in an English-speaking country may do so—provided they also study at least one semester at a Middlebury approved program in their region and language.

For the class of 2022, 2022.5, 2023 and 2023.5 only: in lieu of study abroad, students will take a minimum of two additional language courses at the 300 level and above.

Senior Program. The senior program consists of: (1) a senior IGST seminar at 400-level or with permission of IGS director, a thematic senior seminar in a department  and (2) an upper-level course, preferably two, in the language of emphasis after returning from abroad. The language departments will determine which courses fulfill this requirement, in consultation with the program director. Majors who study abroad in India do not take an upper-level language course, but rather, one additional regional or global course.

Honors. Students who seek to graduate with Honors may elect to write a two-term senior honors thesis. Students are eligible to write an honors thesis if they have a 3.5 GPA or better in all courses that count for the major. These include all language courses, all regional courses, all global courses, all courses taken abroad, and all courses with an IGST designation. Thesis grades do not count in the calculation of the GPA for honors. Thesis guidelines and procedures can be found at go/igsthesis

To assist you in tracking the completion of your requirements, please meet with your advisor to complete and submit the advising wizard for your track.