Global Citizenship Program

Living and working in today's society demands expert thinking, problem-solving and complex communication skills.

Webster University’s Global Citizenship Program prepares our students for future professional success through a set of undergraduate degree requirements that will help them confront global challenges, and provides them with the skills necessary to generate permanent solutions.

About Our Global Citizenship Program

The mission of the Global Citizenship Program (GCP) is to ensure that every undergraduate student emerges from our University with the core competencies required for responsible global citizenship in the 21st century.

These competencies include both knowledge and skills, as reflected in the GCP learning outcomes. Responsible global citizenship requires knowledge of the world: its physical and natural aspects, how humans and their social institutions work, how humans derive meaning and express themselves artistically, how forces pull people of the world together or push us apart, and how to support arguments with quantitative date.

To be effective in the 21st century, whether in the workplace, in community organizations, in the neighborhood or at home, we need critical skills: creative and critical thinking, both oral and written communication abilities, quantitative literacy, intercultural competence, assessing ethical values and being able to apply and evaluate ethical perspectives and concepts, the ability to connect academic and life experience and to apply learning to complex problems or in new situations, and the ability to collaborate as one member of a team.

To complete the Global Citizenship Program, students will take two seminars, the First-year Seminar as new students and the Global Keystone Seminar as juniors. In addition, students will complete eight courses of at least three credit hours each in the general education portion of the program.

Global Citizenship Program:

If your requirements fall under the Global Citizenship Program, you will complete 30 credit hours.

Degree Requirements — 6 credit hours

  • FRSH 1200 First-year Seminar: 3 credit hours (Required for all students; see below for substitute courses for transfer students.)
  • Global Citizenship Program Keystone Seminar: 3 credit hours (Required for all students.)

General Course Requirements: 24 credit hours of knowledge/skills courses. Each GCP course is coded for a knowledge area and a skill. You need:

Knowledge Areas — 24 credit hours

  • 6 credit hours from courses with two different prefixes designated Roots of Cultures.
  • 6 credit hours from courses with two different prefixes designated Social Systems and Human Behavior.
  • 3 credit hours from courses designated Physical and Natural World.
  • 3 credit hours from courses designated Global Understanding.
  • 3 credit hours from courses designated Arts Appreciation.
  • 3 credit hours from courses designated for Quantitative Literacy.

Skills Requirements

All students must complete three credit hours in courses coded for each of the following skills:

  • Written communication
  • Oral communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Intercultural competence
  • Ethical reasoning

Students will usually complete the skills requirement with courses in the GCP course requirements but may also complete it with appropriately coded courses within their major, or within other coded courses not part of the GCP.

Students who successfully complete the program will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of human cultures and the sources of meaning (Roots of Cultures).
  • Demonstrate knowledge of human cultures and how people and their cultures and institutions work (Social Systems and Human Behavior).
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the physical and natural world (Physical and Natural World).
  • Demonstrate knowledge of cultures foreign to them, international languages, or the forces that draw people of the world together and forces that push them apart (Global Understanding).
  • Demonstrate knowledge of human artistic expression (Arts Appreciation).
  • Demonstrate an understanding of and create arguments supported by quantitative evidence and clearly communicate those arguments in a variety of formats (Quantitative Literacy).
  • Recognize when there is a need for information and identify, locate, evaluate, and responsibly use and share information relevant for the problem at hand.
  • Explore ideas, issues, images, and events comprehensively by analyzing and evaluating assumptions and arguments, constructing well-supported arguments, and developing innovative plans or ideas to solve problems.
  • Assess their own ethical values and, in the social context of problems, apply and evaluate ethical perspectives and concepts.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the complexity of elements important to members of another culture in relation to history, values, politics, communication styles, economy, or beliefs and practices.
  • Communicate ideas, opinions, and information effectively by preparing and delivering purposeful oral presentations designed to increase knowledge, to foster understanding, or to promote change in listeners' attitudes.
  • Use language effectively to communicate in a variety of written genres.
  • Demonstrate — through effective use of genre, context and syntax — understanding of the purpose of their writing and appropriate approach to a particular audience.
  • Make connections between academic learning and life experiences across disciplines and perspectives.
  • Apply knowledge, skills, and responsibilities to new settings and complex problems.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work constructively as part of a team by contributing directly, facilitating others' contributions, fostering a constructive climate, and responding well to conflict.

First-year seminar is required for all new full-time degree-seeking freshmen (who have not previously matriculated at another post-secondary institution or who have fewer than 16 credit hours of college credit and are also younger than 20 years old).

It is only open to students who are newly matriculated to Webster University. At the campus in Webster Groves, Missouri, it is offered only in the Fall semester (some international campuses also offer it in the Spring).

As part of the Global Citizenship Program, completing First-year Seminar is an undergraduate degree requirement. Students who earn a grade lower than "C-" must fulfill the requirement with an approved substitute course that addresses interdisciplinary and integrative learning.

Similarly, students who transfer to Webster University meet the requirement by completing three credit hours from a list of approved substitute courses. See the list at the top of the GCP Degree Audit in Connections or contact an academic advisor for more information.

Q: Can I use courses from my major in the GCP?

A: No, courses from the major will not count to fulfill GCP requirements, except for double majors.

Q: If I double major, how many courses can I use toward GCP from each major?

A: No courses used to fulfill the course requirements of a student's first major may be used to satisfy Global Citizenship Program course requirements.

Courses in a second major or in a minor or certificate program may be used to satisfy Global Citizenship Program requirements. Special accommodations are made adjusting this requirement for a small number of majors with high credit-hour requirements, as indicated in the description of the specific major.

Q: I transferred after my first semester, and FRSH 1200 is only for first-semester students. What do I do?

A: Several Webster courses have been available as substitutes for the First-year Seminar requirement. Like FRSH 1200, each of these emphasizes integrative learning (making interdisciplinary connections and connections between life experiences and academic knowledge).

Non-traditional students and transfer students without an AA need a substitute course for FRSH 1200 chosen from the following: HRTS 1100*, MUSC 1051, MUSC 1052, PHIL 1010*, PHIL 1200, PHIL 2320*, POLT 1550, SCIN 1030*, SOCI 2375*, SPCM 1040 or SUST 1100. FYS substitute courses may not also fulfill a Knowledge or Skill.

In addition, a limited number of courses at other colleges have been identified as FRSH 1200 substitutes. These include the IDS "Cornerstone" courses in the St. Louis Community College system and transfer courses equivalent to the Webster courses listed here with an asterisk (*).

Sarah Hill
Global Citizenship

“Using the values of global citizenship, diversity, equity and inclusion that Webster has helped me foster, I will advocate for more inclusive diplomatic practices and foreign policy.”

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill, BA in Political Science, '22

Leif J. Sverdrup Endowed International Study Scholarship recipient

Our Global Keystone Seminar Mission

The mission of our Keystone Seminars is to provide an integrative experience that allows students to address complex problems using the practical and intellectual skills developed in the Global Citizenship Program (GCP). The Keystone Seminar is designed to be one of the final courses students take in the GCP.

In Keystone Seminars students will:

  • Engage in critical thinking and ethical reasoning
  • Use an interdisciplinary approach in addressing a real-world project
  • Integrate prior academic learning and personal life experiences
  • Collaborate with a team to develop solutions to a real-world problem
  • Effectively communicate their thinking and proposed solutions to an authentic audience

All undergraduate students completing Global Citizenship Program requirements must earn a C- or better in a Global Keystone Seminar. Students pursuing a BA or BS degree should take a Keystone as juniors or seniors. Questions about Keystone requirements may be directed to Dr. Jody Spiess, Keystone Seminar director, at .

Global Citizenship Program Keystone Seminars

This course explores the contributing factors and ethical implications of global poverty. The United Nations Millennium development goals are used as a framework to explore issues of hunger, universal education, gender equality, child and maternal health, sustainability and development assistance.

Experiential component: Students will participate in a global poverty learning simulation at Heifer Ranch Global Village or an equivalent simulation experience. This four-day trip takes place over fall break.

Fall Semester Only

Water concerns are among the most important and controversial global issues of the 21st century. As evidence, recent years have witnessed: critical shortages of, and limited access to, water used for drinking and agricultural production; increasing incidents of local communities struggling with corporate control over water resources; difficulties for poorer human populations related to water-borne diseases; and significant increases in cost of water through utilities. This course examines the many factors that have contributed to this global water crisis.

Experiential component: Students will test water samples; explore different types of aquatic ecosystems; interview people about water access, quality and usage; and then will compare their position relative to water usage with the majority world position.

Slavery is illegal globally yet more people are enslaved/trafficked today than they were at any point in history. There are approximately 27 million slaves in the world, which is more than the total number of people taken from Africa during the three centuries of the transatlantic slave trade. Work performed by slaves has become an important part of the global economy; many of the products we use and consume, from children’s toys to clothes and electronic goods, are made from materials and components that have been produced by slaves.

This course begins with a brief history of slavery in the ancient world through to the present time. The local, national and global economic, political, social, cultural and legal policies, structures, institutions, conditions and practices (or lack thereof) that sustain contemporary slavery and the trafficking of human beings will be examined. The question of what can and must be done to eradicate slavery will be addressed throughout the course.

Experiential component: Documenting and understanding one’s own slavery footprint will help students identify ethical dilemmas in counteracting modern day slavery in everyday life. Students will have an opportunity to interact with local organizations involved in combatting slavery and human trafficking and will also participate in transcribing interviews for the Bijlmer Project.

Although architects, artists, scientists and other community members have designed ingenious, innovative solutions to meet needs, we have not fully addressed how these solutions affect interconnected systems.

What are the dynamics of these systems? How can observing the systems in nature to determine form and function drive a sustainable future? How do we take a systems-based approach to design from the micro to macro? How do we design individual products? How do we design cities and buildings to provide for the health and well-being of its citizens?

Experiential component: Participants will compare and contrast environmental, economic, and social aspects of community-based and global problems; will examine existing and green products and projects; design and implement green projects and products.

This course will examine the status of women and women’s rights locally, nationally and globally. This includes analyses of the economic, political and cultural policies, structures, institutions, constraints and conditions that affect the status and rights of women. Possible topics addressed may include violence against women, women’s health women’s education and economic development, women in leadership and LGBT rights.

Experiential component: Trip to the United Nations Commission on Status of Women conference, interviews of NGO workers or service learning at homeless or women’s shelters.

This course will explore what it means to have a place, whether that place is a nation, an ethnic identity, a physical dwelling or a valued and meaningful position in society. We will examine all dimensions of place starting at the highest levels of place such as citizenship and working our way down to the highly individual.

Along the way we will investigate how many other social, cultural, environmental and political problems intersect with our understanding of place and the various meanings attached to it.

Experiential component: Students will construct and execute service-learning projects through available resources. Students will also produce a Public Service Announcement, ad campaign, documentary or game

Education is the foundation for economic, social and personal success, and yet for millions of children primary education is inadequate or unavailable. In this course, educational inequities affecting elementary and secondary students and the systems contributing to these inequities will be examined at the local, national and global levels.

Students will consider populations particularly vulnerable to educational inequities and evaluate the unique effects they have on these populations. Students will explore possible solutions to these issues at the local, national and/or global levels.

Experiential component: Multiple observations in formal and informal education settings as well as a problem-based learning project involving the design of an experiential project for students at a local school.

This interdisciplinary course explores leadership styles and assists students in developing their strengths in order to develop a distinctive philosophy of leadership. Students will be given the opportunity to develop their leadership through an assessment of their own strengths, projects to develop leadership and learn how to exercise leadership in teams, and reflections on these experiences.

Experiential component: A team leadership project with a real-world application to address a challenge in the students’ community.

At this point in college, we are either firming up who we are or our lives are turning upside down. Identity is a fluid, ever changing aspect of who we are, what we want to be, and what we value. We see it in how we view others and how others view us.

In this class, we will examine theories of personal, cultural, and societal identities and locate them in texts to create reflections of them in ourselves. Through this, we will move forward into examining what we love to do, what we are good at and how we can use this to make a positive difference in our communities.

Experiential component: Cultural plunges, overnight retreat, and portfolio development will be involved.

Students in this course will explore democratic processes at the local, national and international levels. This course will challenge students to define what a democracy is, and what cultural and political developments make democracy possible.

It will give students the chance to reflect on their own responsibilities as citizens, and to put their insights into practice as they work as part of a team to advocate for a particular issue or position of their choosing.

Experiential component: In groups, students will choose a local or state issue that is important to them. With the guidance of the instructor, they will design a plan to advocate for a particular position.

Possible activities could include participating in a political campaign, mounting a petitioning campaign or lobbying local or state lawmakers. At the conclusion of the project, students will reflect on what effect their participation in the democratic decision-making process had.

How do you define torture for international law? How can the Christian Bible include references to homosexuality if the word homosexual did not exist until 1892? What are the ethical issues of teaching university courses in English in countries where English is not the native language of the people?

This course will explore issues of language and power as they relate to global religions, literature, international law and official language policies.

Experiential Component: Students will volunteer with an organization that works with international students or immigrants and journal at assigned intervals within their online workspace over the course of the term on the language and power issues they learn are of importance to the people with whom they are working.

Is space merely a container of social action? Is the city merely the background, the context, of urban research? In this interdisciplinary course, we will examine the city as cultural construct and the city as the site and object of local and global social struggles. Students will explore themes and concerns in the study of urban spaces/places, including how the city has informed imaginations of the social, inequality, justice and the good life.

For example, the city has nurtured modernist dreams of the perfectible society, and conversely, has fed rabid fears of social disorder and violent contagion. The city is an object of contention, complexly entwined with notions of class, gender, race, ethnicity and the global.

Experiential component: The experiential component will be tailored to fit the urban problem being investigated by the class. Some possibilities include shelter and soup kitchens, work with refugees, work with local government agencies, interviews with stakeholders.

Creu Gwir fel gwydr o ffwrnais awen (Creating truth like glass from the furnace of inspiration) — Gwyneth Lewis

What fires innovation and creativity? Often, creativity and innovation are seen as mysterious qualities that only certain people have, but creativity is a quality everyone possesses. This course offers an opportunity to learn about innovations of the past, to work creatively toward solving some problems of today, and to think about the effects of today’s new ideas on tomorrow.

Experiential component: Students will be encouraged to discover how innovation has affected their everyday lives in ways they have probably never considered — for instance, why are there wheels on their luggage?

What historical, sociological and situational forces have pushed for luggage that is small, lightweight and can easily be pulled along? Students will identify a current problem or inefficiency in the world, devise practical solutions/improvements, get feedback from users and modify their inventions.

Students will explore social movement thematic topics including: the history of social movements, the connection between social justice and social movements, social movement theories and ethics. Social movement case studies may consist of some of the following movements: American Civil Rights Movement, Black Panthers Movement, Apartheid, Student Activism/Vietnam Protest, Women's Movement, LGBTQ+ Movement, Environmental Movement, American Right-Wing Movement, White Nationalism, Antifa, Extremists Movements, Global Movement and new movements such as BLM.

Those seeking social change have always made use of the communications technology of the day to promote causes. Hence, the impact of technologies will be an ongoing thread that weaves through each theme with an emphasis on technological systems including social networks and social media. Connections to current-event examples of social movement and protest activity will regularly supplement course material.

Applied real-world opportunities: Students will conduct research on a current social movement issue(s) and contribute data to that topic. Research will also include the use of technology to reach a wide audience. Students will disseminate research findings to the Webster community or other appropriate stakeholder groups.

This course focuses on how and where food is produced, as well as issues of food scarcity, distribution and pricing. It addresses local, national and international influences as well as the ethical issues surrounding these topics.

Experiential component: Multiple trips to food production and distribution centers, food stamp budget or social welfare simulation, and service learning at foodbank/soup lines.

This course will examine the intersection of business, behavior, health and society. We will consider the business of health (e.g., weight loss companies, 24-hour gyms, advertising of the fad-type health products and programs, advertising of health products and of unhealthy products such as fast food). We will also examine the culture of health and illness (e.g., comparing cultures to look at healthy and unhealthy behaviors and the cultural perceptions of those behaviors). Across these questions we will consider how these issues play out in the context of contemporary societies.

Experiential component: Students will conduct an audit of their own access to health-supporting environments (e.g., memberships) and compare this familiar access to something new (e.g., a different culture). The experiential component also includes options for assisting with human subject studies on the effects of advertising on diet or the success of weight loss or get-fit programs and creating a business plan for a health-related company.

This course will look at the bicycle as transportation, as exercise, and as industry. The place of bicycles in different societies will be examined, including their social, economic, political and cultural impact. Ethical concerns related to bicycling will also be explored. Students will analyze issues related to bicycling and participate in a local bicycling event or project.

Experiential component: Local bicycling events, such as a ride for charity, group project to identify an area of need and to plan actions/advocacy to fill that need.

What is art? What is community? This course explores how a community is reflected in art and how its arts are a reflection of that community. After developing an awareness of what kinds of artistic efforts exist in a particular community, students will bolster these efforts through practical, hands-on activities.

Experiential component: Multiple field trips to arts events, an arts advocacy team project focusing on identifying an arts lack in a community and rectifying it.

Whether visual art, performance art, music, film, dance or theatre — art surrounds our lives daily and mirrors our interactions as social beings. The arts are one of the principal drivers of social change, while social engagement also forms a fundamental motive for artistic expression. This course will examine the socio-political implications of art production.

To approach the cultural settings of art and social engagement, students will consider (through readings, discussion, written essays, audience involvement and personal projects) how art histories (i.e. essays, reviews and criticism and the academic disciplines of art history, musicology, theatre history, etc.), art receivers (viewers, audience and participants), and art producers (artists), interact in creating and experiencing works of art that address social and political events.

Experiential component: Students will reflect on the production of socially engaged art and on themselves as primary actor/audience via discussion, audience involvement (attending/experiencing), lecture/presentations, and group and/or personal projects.

One of the earliest fables that has come down to us is that of the sorcerer’s apprentice, where a bumbling assistant learns how to turn on his master’s creation but doesn’t also learn how to turn it off. Whether it is a golem, Frankenstein’s monster or the artificial intelligences of The Matrix movies, the fear that what we create will ultimately overpower us, enslave us or even destroy us, is evident throughout literature and art. Yet, we live in a world where we can hardly exist without the constant assistance of computers.

Every day, computers become more integrated into our daily lives, such as phones that talk to us, and even into our bodies, such as cochlear implants, gene therapy cures for cystic fibrosis, contact lenses that track blood sugar and prosthetic limbs that respond to thought. In the future, when machines become ever more a part of our selves, what will it mean to be human? What will it mean to be a machine? And will we in control, or will they?

Applied real-world opportunities: Students will be offered the opportunity to tour at least one local facility that demonstrates, in some fashion, the future of humans and their daily interactions with technology and will be researching and interviewing people from local firms who are designing the future today.

This course will explore the methodologies and best practices that have been identified by the citizen science community. The course will model an integrative approach and involve the direct involvement of multiple institutions and departments to explore the relationships between the different disciplines involved such as biological sciences, education, social sciences, data management and volunteer management. This course will also highlight and explore current citizen science projects from the global, national, and regional level through hands-on activities and projects.

Applied real-world opportunities: Participation in a class Bioblitz event, a group project, and a group presentation will be required.

This course explores generosity as an essential component of a happy life and global citizenship. The different ways to be generous will be examined along with the benefits for both the giver and the receiver. Programs and organizations will be analyzed to determine which ones provide the greatest relief and the most impact in improving quality of life. A person plan for generosity will be developed.

Applied real-world opportunities: Students will experience the joy of giving through acts of kindness and generosity. Students will affect positive change in the community as a volunteer and through participation in a team project.

The focus of this course will be on the current state of global health. The Institute of Medicine defines global health as "health problems, issues, and concerns that transcends national boundaries and maybe best addressed by cooperative action." The course will explore the best ways to solve the many issues and problems associated with global health. Methods of furthering productive partnerships transcending cultural differences and political boundaries will be presented.

Applied real-world opportunities: Students will conduct an audit of their own "access" to health supports and environments and compare this familiar access to a different culture). Students will complete an agency review that offers services to immigrant and/or refugee populations. There will be a team project to collect health products for distribution.

Family violence is a global problem that occurs in virtually every country and culture. Victims of family violence face many challenges in accessing protection, healthcare, social services and legal assistance. From a global perspective, this course provides an overview of the current knowledge related to family violence and identifies services, programs and policies to assist children, adults and communities.

Topics include characteristics and consequences of family violence; violence as a human rights issue; types of family violence across the lifespan; services and programs to assist individuals, families, and groups affected by family violence; and global efforts to prevent and end violence.

Applied real-world opportunities: Students will participate in a community or campus event to increase their awareness of violence prevention programs and services. Examples of community or campus events may include plays, documentaries, art exhibits, presentations, agency interviews, high-profile legal cases or campaigns (e.g., Take Back the Night march, V-Day activities, The Clothesline Project, Candlelight Vigil and Walk). For this event, students will be encouraged to work in small groups.

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International Distinction Award

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Students who complete their undergraduate requirements and satisfy three core components of international education earn our University’s prestigious International Distinction award. We annotate your diploma and transcript with the International Distinction, which reflects significant and practical international field experience in a country other than your own.

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