Department of Global Studies and Maritime Affairs
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.
Student Learning Objectives
Students in the Global Studies and Maritime Affairs program:
- gain an understanding of the key issues in maritime policy and international business and logistics.
- understand the importance of the environment and geography to the maritime policy and business worlds.
- think critically about the key issues in the maritime policy field and transportation industry.
- acquire the ability to analyze and develop new and innovative solutions to emerging challenges in the maritime world.
- have the ability to use and understand mathematical and statistical tools relevant to the maritime policy and management fields.
- analyze and solve complex problems within the maritime policy and transportation fields.
- assess and analyze the appropriateness of information within maritime policy and management fields.
- articulate and analyze, both verbally and in writing, the current issues facing the maritime policy and management fields, and can develop appropriate solutions.
- select and use appropriate technologies in research projects and presentations, and understand the importance of technology in their future careers.
- develop an ethical awareness of key social, business and policy issues and hold themselves to high personal and professional ethical standards.
- understand the importance of cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding, and develop a sense of civic responsibility and global stewardship.
- develop teamwork and leadership skills.
Career Opportunities for Majors
GSMA students will be prepared for policy careers in maritime trade and economics, maritime security (port security, piracy, and maritime terrorism), and maritime law. They typically pursue careers with:
- U.S. federal, state, and local governments, MARAD, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Commerce, and allied areas
- agencies specializing in maritime security, including the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of Transportation, and the United States Coast Guard
- international organizations such as the International Maritime Organization and the International Maritime Bureau
- graduate study in maritime law at institutions such as Tulane, Roger Williams, and the University of Virginia, each of which has program specializations in maritime law
- insurance and underwriting firms specializing in shipping and maritime issues
Additionally, the curriculum will provide rigorous preparation for further study at the graduate level in International Relations, Public Policy, Maritime Affairs, and Business Administration, especially International Business and Trade.