Global Studies (GLST) 205

Building Blocks of Global Studies: Overview of Approaches, Concepts, and Issues (Revision 2)

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None. It is recommended that students should have successfully completed a first-year university course in development, political science, political economy, sociology, or a related discipline before taking this course.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Global Studies Home

GLST 205 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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What is globalization? How old are the processes of globalization? How do global interactions and institutions affect our lives? How do I navigate the “post-truth era” and the spread of misinformation? This course will help you find some answers to such questions.

GLST 205 begins with a broad overview of the discipline of Global Studies and an introduction to some of the analytical tools for understanding global issues. It then examines historical and contemporary institutions and structures from traditional and alternative perspectives—such as feminist, Indigenous, and environmental—to understand the causes and consequences of globalization. Finally, the course considers significant global contemporary issues and patterns, and wraps up with a critical retrospective on the state of our world, as the crisis of rising inequality and climate change is laid bare in the wake of emergent infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

Due to its inclusive disciplinary approach outlined above, this course is an ideal complement to majors in the arts, humanities, social sciences, life sciences, and other disciplines. Bearing this in mind, GLST 205 is primarily intended for: 1) students who want to do advanced research in globalization and need an overview of the building blocks of the field; and 2) professionals and practitioners in any field who want to supplement their skills with the basics of a global approach.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Examine current scholarly literature, theories, and debates to engage critically with globalization as a concept.
  2. Identify the relevant actors, institutions, perceptions, histories, and ideologies to understand the building blocks of the global political and economic system.
  3. Discuss and employ critical tools of analysis to explain the interconnectedness of the political, economic, cultural, environmental, technological, and social spheres at the local and the global levels.


  • Unit I: What Is Global Studies? Setting Up the Course
  • Unit II: Some Approaches and Tools of Analysis for Examining Globalization
  • Unit III: Actors, Institutions, and Ideologies in the Global Era
  • Unit IV: Why Does History Matter in Understanding Contemporary Globalization?
  • Unit V: Where We Are: How Are the Local and Global Connected? (Cultures, Communication, Commodities, and Climate)
  • Unit VI: Where We Are Headed: Increasing Inequality and Entrenched Ideologies (Austerity, Animosity, Anthropocene, Automation)
  • Unit VII: Alternative Global Future(s): Transforming Worldviews


To receive credit for GLST 205, you must achieve a minimum grade of D (50 percent) on the final examination, and an overall grade of D (50 percent) for the entire course. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 20%
Assignment 2 20%
Assignment 3 30%
Final Examination 30%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials

All course materials are available online.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the GLST 205 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least C- (60 percent) on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

View previous revision

Opened in Revision 2, September 15, 2020.