Please see the SFS Bulletin for all major requirements.

The private sector has continued to play a significant role within all aspects of international affairs, interacting with governmental and non-governmental actors. A failure of a large firm can have real effects on people at all corners of the world. Development policies now recognize the critical role of private incentives at the most micro level. Corporations are under increasing scrutiny for their ethical and socially responsible behavior.

The Global Business (GBUS) major will provide BSFS students with a unique opportunity to combine a basic business education with their political and economic coursework, and their advanced language, research, and cross-cultural proficiencies. The major offers BSFS students access to courses offered by the McDonough School of Business (MSB) in accounting, international marketing, corporate finance, and business operations. Students are enabled to use the tools from the business disciplines to understand and analyze the firm and the private sector.

Through an integrated learning experience, the aim of the major is to produce a new breed of graduates who are fluent in the global languages of business, politics, economics, and culture. This fluency and the associated analytical capacity should allow graduates to pursue careers in the private and public sectors, non-profits, and academia, and allow them to freely move between those sectors as their careers evolve. Graduates of our GBUS major would be able to understand corporate ethics and social responsibility and how political and economic environments have made these strategic concerns of the global firm.

Goals of the Major

The Global Business major is designed to provide students with the multi-disciplinary, methodologically rigorous tools needed to understand and analyze business entities and their behavior in the context of the global social and cultural forces. Students acquire core tools in business disciplines from select MSB courses, and social science and humanity theories and methods from the SFS and University requirements.

The Learning Goals are:

  • Acquisition of quantitative and qualitative methods.
  • Acquisition of analytical tools of the business disciplines of accounting, finance, marketing, and operations.
  • Combining of business, social science, and humanity disciplines to understand and analyze the firm and the private sector, in the context of global social and cultural forces.
  • Understand the multinational corporation and its behavior.
  • Understand international investments and corporate finance.
  • Understand the interactions of businesses and governments in public sector policy making.
  • Understand corporate ethics, social responsibility, and environmental impacts, and how political, economic, and social conditions have made these strategic concerns of the global firm.

Honors in the Major

Parallel to the other majors, honors in the Global Business major requires a 3.5 overall GPA and 3.67 major GPA in the major. In addition, qualification for honors will require a thesis judged to be of honors quality by a committee of faculty members or completion of additional requirements as determined by the field committee.

GBUS Integrated Writing Requirement

The Global Business (GBUS) major explores the intersection of the private sector (especially the multi-national corporation) with international affairs. The economic, political, and financial institutions of today are all global and interconnected. Working within these organizations, and understanding these organizations, requires exceptional communication skills. The School of Foreign Service (SFS) has understood the centrality of communication since its inception. In addition to the university-wide requirements of a Writing and Culture class (WRIT 015), and a Humanities course (HALC), SFS also mandates a rigorous modern foreign language requirement, political and economic coursework, and cross-cultural proficiencies.

No communication skill is more central then that of writing. The rise of modern civilizations can be traced to, among other things, a system of writing. Large multi-national corporations, entrepreneurs, government agencies, and other non-state actors communicate primarily through the written word, and Global Business students are expected to graduate ready to participate in these conversations. Students must thus learn to think critically and communicate what they learn effectively. This requires being able to formulate meaningful questions, find information that will inform questions, evaluate information sources, effectively synthesize and analyze information, and present findings to varied audiences.

Modes of communication that Global Business students are expected to master during the course of completing the major include discussion and debate, oral presentation, and advanced level writing. The GBUS major seeks to help students build these communication competencies throughout the curriculum.

From the start, students are challenged with the complexities of international business and are required to synthesize these issues in writing. Subsequent semesters delve deeper into the organization, management, financing, delivery, and politics of business. They also require written reviews of the literature, data analysis, the development of positions, and ultimately the ability to define central questions.

Written assignments include memoranda, policy briefs, annotated bibliographies, literature reviews, argumentative and persuasive essays, case study analyses and research papers. Formal presentations include leading seminars, formal lectures, and poster presentations.

All Global Business students will participate in an International Business Core class. In these courses students learn to develop well researched academic essays in which they explore complex ideas and present written arguments supporting their position.

In their business core and quantitative classes students learn to summarize information from various data sources, critique published research findings, and present complex industry-specific material.

Once they have completed core coursework, students move into more advanced supporting courses. In these upper-level courses students deepen their analytical writing in supporting courses where they produce written material in which they compare and contrast two or more ideas, further developing their skills in making succinct and cogent written arguments. These courses all include advanced industry-specific writing components, ranging from one-page policy briefs and executive memos, to extensive reviews of the literature and research papers.

Students in the Honors Program have the option to write and defend a senior thesis, conduct extensive literature reviews and complete a formal research paper.

GBUS Requirements

The GBUS major requires 8 courses in addition to the calculus prerequisite.

Prerequisite: Calculus I (MATH 035 or Advanced Credit)

All required:

  • Micro and Macroeconomics (ECON 001 and 002) or ECON 003
  • ECON 243
  • ECON 244

Statistics: (one required)

  • OPIM 172, OPIM 173, INAF 320, or GOVT 201

Business Core:

Track 1

  • GBUS 400

Track 2

  •  ACCT 101
  • ACCT 102
  • FINC 211


  • MARK 220

Int’l Business Core:

  • One (1) of the current listings

SFS Supporting:

  • Three (3) of the current listings

MSB Supporting:

  • One (1) of the current listings

See below by semester.

Note: Study abroad courses may be petitioned to fulfill GBUS requirements, subject to meeting criteria as to content and rigor.


Q: What are the criteria for admissions to the Major and the Fellows Program?

A: Like all majors, students are admitted to the Global Business Major during their sophomore year. While there are no set criteria, it is helpful if students can demonstrate an interest in the study of business as it relates to international affairs. It is also helpful to have some background and knowledge in math, statistics, and/or economics. While this is not a requirement for admission, it will be helpful.

Q: When and how do I apply to the Global Business Major?

A: Sophomores will be invited to applying in the Fall semester. Accepted Global Business students will be required to complete their official major declaration paperwork prior to pre-registration for Spring so that we can assist them in obtaining the coursework they will need. Students who are interested in Global Business but who have not taken Calculus or Statistics should begin to work with their assigned dean to determine their plan for completing these requirements.

Q: Does being in the Major or Fellows Program guarantee me a spot in courses in both schools?

A: A student who has officially declared either a Global Business Major or Fellows Program will have access to courses in both the SFS and MSB. However, we can never guarantee any student a spot in the specific course or section that they want and we encourage students to work proactively with their assigned dean in order to make sure that they are able to meet all the requirements of the Major and/or the Fellows program.

Q: Why should I pursue the Global Business Major in the SFS when I could transfer to the MSB?

A: The Global Business Major is not a business degree. The aim is to teach students to think critically about the role of the firm in terms of its effect on international affairs – not only in the economic realm, but also introducing philosophically grounded questions of international development and social responsibility. The Global Business Major educates students with a combination of MSB and SFS courses to prepare them to ask critical questions and allow them to examine these issues from multiple perspectives.

Q: Am I really going to get a strong business education from the classes I take in the MSB and still have elective space for classes in the SFS?

A: Like any SFS major, choosing to be a Global Business Major or to participate in the Fellows Program will require you to make choices in how you wish to utilize your elective space. In general, most SFS students have at least 12-13 courses for elective space (some of those being language study) and many times even more (depending on an individual student’s advanced credit). Each student’s record should be evaluated individually with their dean. The Global Business Major and Fellows Program are meant to offer SFS students more options.

Q: Are the Global Business Major and the Fellows Program mutually exclusive?

A: No. Students may apply – and can be accepted – to both the Global Business Major and the Fellows Program. However, acceptance to both is not guaranteed. While the application process is streamlined, students are evaluated separately and by different committees for the Major and Fellows Program respectively. Therefore, acceptance into one does not preclude acceptance (or rejection) to the other. We encourage students from all majors to apply to the Fellows program.

Q: What sort of jobs is this major supposed to prepare its students for?

A: Many SFS students already take jobs in the business world when they graduate. The Global Business Major distinguishes itself from other majors not in its outcomes (we expect that GBUS majors might work at corporations, not-for-profits, the government or move into academia, etc.), but rather by providing students with a basic fluency in the language of business and how it relates to politics, economics, and culture. The major also includes an analytical capacity in its math, economics, statistics, and accounting requirements that are unique to the major. The curriculum Father Edmund A. Walsh designed in 1919 was to combine the practical dimensions of diplomacy, commerce, and language, with a liberal education and moral values. As with the other BSFS majors, the GBUS major roots itself firmly in this tradition.

Q: How does study abroad fit with this major?

A: Students are able to study abroad as GBUS majors. Depending on when a student starts the GBUS major, how many advanced credits they have, their language ability, and where they want to study abroad, it may be very compatible with the major. Like any BSFS major, each student should work in close consultation with their advising dean to map out a study abroad program that fits with his/her individual program.

Q: Who determines if my study abroad credits will transfer to the Global Business Major?

A: The Global Business Major is housed within the SFS and is run by BSFS faculty and deans. Any questions regarding accommodations for course registration, approval for study abroad, and transfer credits should be addressed to the BSFS dean that a student is assigned to work with.

Q: Once I complete the application process and am accepted am I now a Global Business Major?

A: No. Students accepted to the Global Business major may determine that this is not the major they wish to choose in the long-term. All students must still complete a major declaration form. Once a student is accepted to the Global Business Major they should talk to their assigned dean to determine if they wish to complete the process and declare their major.

GBUS Courses:

To find the most up to date list of classes, as well as past semester course lists, visit MyAccess > Student Services > Registration > Schedule of Classes > Select Term > In the subject menu, select Global Business > Scroll down and click Class Search button