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Global Studies and Maritime Affairs, B.A.

Program Description

The Global Studies and Maritime Affairs (GSMA) program leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree. Students in the major develop a solid theoretical background in the social sciences, applied to the needs of the greater maritime and transportation industries.

Students also develop applied knowledge relevant to government agencies, non-profit organizations, international organizations, and businesses dealing with maritime issues. Specifically, students acquire a solid foundation in economic and political globalization theories, and the theories of the policy process; an understanding of global maritime history and the importance of maritime power to the power of the state; and an awareness of, and facility with, current global maritime issues as they relate to security, trade, and the environment.

Students gain the intellectual tools necessary to understand maritime policy issues in an increasingly globalized world. These include critical thinking, quantitative and non-quantitative research capability, leadership skills, and cultural and diversity awareness.

The GSMA major emphasizes four maritime policy areas:

  • International Maritime Security
    This policy area focuses on maritime issues from a security perspective. These issues include the different threats in the coastal and near-coastal zones, in international waters, and on the high seas. Topics covered include: sea-lane security, maritime piracy and terrorism, illegal immigration, innocent passage, force majure, and changing naval policies both in the United States and in key countries around the world. A specific focus is on the identification of emerging maritime threats and the policies needed to counter these threats effectively.
  • International Maritime Environmental Policy
    This policy area focuses on maritime environmental issues. The course offerings extend to marine policy in general, rather than just policies with a focus on shipping and trade. Whaling, fisheries management, and the environmental standards of shipbuilding are examples of issues covered. Policy ramifications of each are examined in depth.
  • Maritime Law and Organizations
    This policy area focuses on international maritime law and international maritime organizations, such as the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), the International Maritime Organization, the International Maritime Bureau, and the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD). Policy impacts of these and other organizations are examined in detail.
  • International Maritime Trade and Policy
    This policy area focuses on maritime issues from the perspective of international political economy. Economic globalization is one of the most profound and far-reaching events of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. Its implications reach well into the trade and economic relations of all nations, the United States included. Here, the specific focus is on changing patterns of international trade and transportation, the globalization of the shipping industry, and the global political and economic forces behind these phenomena.

The objective in each of these core areas is to give students a theoretical foundation drawn from the social science fields of international relations, political science, public policy, history, and economics.

The theoretical tools employed will allow students to understand and analyze shipping and maritime policies in a global economic, political, and environmental context.


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