312 North Shafer Street
P.O. Box 842021
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2021
Phone: (804) 827-1111
Fax: (804) 827-3479
worldstudies.vcu.edu

Mark Wood, Ph.D.
Associate professor and director

Angelina Overvold, Ph.D.
Associate professor and associate director

The School of World Studies explores what it means to be human and prepares students to participate in the work of building a healthy world community. With training in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, the school’s faculty complete research on the diversity and universality of human existence and creative expression, generating a rich intellectual understanding of the evolving and dynamic nature of human beings. Faculty and students consider the development, composition and interaction of language, religion, art, film, literature, poetry and culture. They also consider the relationship between these forms of human life and matters of gender, nationality, race, social justice, human rights and the environment. World School students acquire interdisciplinary knowledge, cross-cultural communication skills and global perspectives on real-world issues, and they graduate from the school with the ability to act and live well as global citizens.

Degree programs

The School of World Studies offers baccalaureate degrees in the following fields:

Anthropology – Bachelor of Science

Foreign Language – Bachelor of Arts

  • French
  • German
  • Spanish

International Studies– Bachelor of Arts

Religious Studies – Bachelor of Arts

Minors are awarded in these areas:

  • African studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arabic and Middle Eastern studies
  • Asian and Chinese studies
  • Catholic studies
  • European studies
  • French
  • German
  • International social justice studies
  • Islamic studies
  • Italian studies
  • Judaic studies
  • Latin American studies
  • Mediterranean studies
  • Religious studies
  • Russian studies
  • Spanish
  • World cinema

Undergraduate certificates are awarded in these areas:

  • International management studies (in conjunction with the School of Business)
  • Spanish/English translation and interpretation

Information regarding curricula is provided on the respective program pages.

Languages

The School of World Studies offers students significant opportunities to broaden their knowledge of diverse cultures through language study, including:

  • Arabic
  • Biblical Hebrew
  • Chinese
  • French (major and minor)
  • German (major and minor)
  • Italian (Italian studies minor)
  • Latin
  • Russian (Russian studies minor)
  • Spanish (major and minor)

In cases where the appropriate level of instruction is unavailable, the School of World Studies Advising Office will assist the student in identifying language study options at other U.S. institutions or abroad.

Study abroad

Summer study-abroad programs provide students with opportunities for short-term immersion in the language, culture and civilization of the countries they visit. A list of current VCU study abroad opportunities can be found at global.vcu.edu/abroad. VCU is a member of the International Student Exchange Program, which offers junior year abroad programs at one of 40 universities worldwide. For more information about study abroad visit the School of World Studies website at worldstudies.vcu.edu.

School of World Studies courses

Foreign language courses

School of World Studies courses

Anthropology

ANTH 551. Anthropology for the Museologist. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A discussion and investigation of contemporary anthropological themes and questions and identification of how they can be depicted with museum materials. Students are expected to develop a research design for an exhibit.

ANTH 556. Historical and Cultural Landscapes. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Open only to seniors who have completed ANTH 302 or 303 and graduate students with permission of instructor. Students will study historical and contemporary landscapes as the products of the producers of human culture, with particular attention to riverine landscapes. Focus will be on the ways in which humans shape and respond to their ecosystems. Students will participate in an active field research program, including the archaeological recovery and analysis of historical landscapes. Crosslisted as: ENVS 556.

International studies

INTL 500. Globalization and Transformation: Concepts and Realities. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Examines how globalization significantly affects cultural processes at both local and national levels. Transformations of cultural understandings and practices under such circumstances will be explored. Virtual course components will bring causes, processes and consequences of the transformations of Western, Eastern and developing countries into focus. Crosslisted as: SOCY 515.

INTL 514. International Perspectives on Community Health in Developing Countries. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 2 laboratory hours. 3 credits. This course may be taken for a maximum of 6 credits in two different world areas. Open to undergraduate (junior or senior level) and graduate students. Explores the impact of national and international policy decisions on the health and well-being of individuals and communities (country varies semester to semester). Examines the relationship of cultural beliefs and values on health-seeking behaviors. Allows students to become immersed in a culture different than their own. Evaluates the impact of international conflict and economic development on the health status of the community. See the Schedule of Classes for location. Crosslisted as: NURS 514.

INTL 591. Topics in International Studies. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Open to undergraduate (junior or senior level) and graduate students. A detailed study of selected topics in one or more geographic areas or comparative studies of global phenomena. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

Religious studies

RELS 592. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

Semester course; 1-4 credits. Determination of the amount of credit and permission of the instructor and department chair must be procured prior to registration for the course. Open only to graduate students. An independent study course to allow qualified graduate students to do research in an area of major interest.

World studies

WRLD 530. Concepts in World Cinema. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Can be repeated for credit with different themes. Prerequisites: permission of instructor and/or graduate standing. Exploration of aspects of film theory combined with a study of cinema across national traditions and movements. Each semester a different thematic focus is engaged to illuminate issues in film composition and reception. Themes will include: the Holocaust, film and screen theory in the digital era, decolonizing the gaze: Black African and Caribbean cinema.

WRLD 535. World Filmmakers. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Can be repeated for credit with different themes. Prerequisites: permission of instructor and/or graduate standing. Centers on the distinct yet interrelated roles of directors (as individual "authors" or as part of a movement or tradition), studios, audiences, national film industries, etc. in the production, development and interpretation of screen media. Each semester a different vantage point, i.e. gender, is used to open new perspectives on film, a critical evaluation of national film traditions and the elements of cinematographic style. Topics include: women filmmakers in world cinema, Spanish and Latin American filmmakers, filmmakers of the "New German Cinema.

WRLD 593. Internship With French Film Festival. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 8 hours per week in festival office during semester and 8 hours per day during festival in Byrd Theatre. 3 credits. Provides students practical hands-on experience working in the French Film Festival office. Students will research and write questions to ask French actors, directors and cinematographers during the festival. The students edit a final audiovisual project of their actor/director interviews. Students work closely with the founders/directors of the French Film Festival.

Foreign language courses

Foreign languages

FRLG 510. Language Learning and Technology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Introduces the variety of ways technology can be used to enhance language instruction and student learning. Targeted technologies include audio/visual media, language learning software, the Internet and multimedia resources. Attention also will be given to considerations of learning style, curricular integration and enhancement.

FRLG 575. Intercultural Communication. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An experientially oriented seminar for persons preparing for or in careers necessitating intercultural communication among persons of differing cultural and/or national backgrounds. Special attention is given to teachers and other professionals who work with a clientele from Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. American cultural patterns broaden understanding of specific groups and engagement in intercultural communication. Crosslisted as: TEDU 575.

FRLG 591. Topics in Foreign Languages. 1-4 Hours.

Semester course; 1-4 lecture hours. 1-4 credits. A detailed study of selected topics in one or more of the foreign language or comparative courses offered by the department.

French

FREN 500. French for Graduate Students. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. This course is designed to prepare graduate students for the reading knowledge examination for higher degrees. Each graduate department will determine the nature and form of certifying examination.

FREN 501. French Communication. 1-4 Hours.

Semester course; 1-4 lecture hours. 1-4 credits. An intensive study of communication in French. Variable credits; primarily oral, written and listening skills.

FREN 511. French Civilization. 1-4 Hours.

Semester course; 1-4 lecture hours. 1-4 credits. Prerequisite: functional fluency in French since the class will be taught in French. A comprehensive study of the civilization and culture of France and its global expressions.

German

GRMN 500. German for Graduate Students. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. This course is designed to prepare graduate students for the reading knowledge examination for higher degrees. Each graduate department will determine the nature and form of the certifying examination.

GRMN 502. German Communication. 1-4 Hours.

Semester course; 1-4 lecture hours. 1-4 credits. An intensive study of communication in German. The content of this course will emphasize primarily oral, written and listening skills.

GRMN 512. German Civilization. 1-4 Hours.

Semester course; 1-4 lecture hours. 1-4 credits. Prerequisite: functional fluency in German since the class will be taught in German. A comprehensive study of the civilization and culture of Germany and its global expressions.

Spanish

SPAN 533. Spanish for the Professions. 1-4 Hours.

Semester course; 1-4 lecture hours. 1-4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credits. Prerequisites: SPAN 301; SPAN 305 or 307 or 311; SPAN 320 or 321; SPAN 330 or 331; SPAN 404. An intensive study of specialized communication in Spanish. The content of this course will emphasize the knowledge and language skills for particular professions, which may include business, education, health sciences and translation. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topic offered each semester.

SPAN 543. Texts and Contexts in Spain and Latin America. 1-4 Hours.

Semester course; 1-4 lecture hours. 1-4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credits. Prerequisites: SPAN 301; SPAN 305 or 307 or 311; SPAN 320 or 321; SPAN 330 or 331. Restricted to seniors in Spanish concentration with at least 85 credit hours taken toward the degree. An exploration of themes concerning Spain, Latin America and/or Latinos in the U.S. as reflected in a variety of textual genres, including film.