BGA Signature Course Descriptions

The BS in Business and Global Affairs is distinguished by an innovative and integrated approach to understanding the complex interactions among a myriad of forces that operate at the intersection of business and international affairs. The jointly designed and delivered signature course sequence extends throughout the program, first year through senior year, including three 1-credit on-location experiential units.

The BGA signature course sequence integrates the content and approaches of multiple disciplines that together contribute to a sophisticated understanding of the nexus of business and international affairs. Each of the Signature Courses is custom-designed for the BGA program to address complex interactions at the intersection of business and international affairs – cultural, social, environmental, economic, business and commercial, diplomatic and governmental, among others. The signature sequence begins with an overview of global markets and politics, and then progresses to focus on culture and leadership, firm, organization and institutional behavior, and societal concerns

BGAF 101: Global Markets and Policy (Signature Course 1)

This course introduces students to the study of politics and markets in the global economy with a focus on the political and economic foundations of the contemporary world economy. It will survey the evolution of the international economic system since the first phase of globalization, with particular reference to contemporary concerns, debates, and issues, and will analyze international and domestic political and economic explanations for these developments. Students will learn about the complexity and multiplicity of actors, interests, and institutions that mediate those interests, and how they impact international economic policies and global flows of trade, capital, ideas, and people.  

BGAF 220: Global Organizations and Culture (Signature Course 2)

Global Organizations and Culture: Theory, Methods and Practice examines the role of regional, national, organizational, occupational, and other cultures in shaping communications, teamwork, leadership, and management in a global context. The course addresses what culture is and why it matters; how different scholarly traditions have approached it (in terms of data and methods); and how it changes. To put the theory and methods into practice, students will engage in a semester-long project analyzing the effects of culture on how a specific firm expands internationally.

BGAF 230 and 231: Signature Courses 3a and 3b (global operations)

This set of two courses (6 credits) examines the causes and consequences of the distribution of economic activity around the world with an innovative focus on the networks of suppliers, investors, and partners orchestrated by multinational corporations’ global value chains (GVCs). The distribution of employment and investment around the world has profound effects on development, inequality, prosperity, firm performance, political stability, security, and human rights. Topics include advanced international political economy and international finance, development and policy topics related to global value chains, as well as traditional international business topics such as firm-level strategy, international operations and supply chains/logistics, transfer pricing, and global corporate social responsibility.

BGAF 232: Signature Course 3c (on location)

The international, multi-location, 1-credit experience integrated with BGAF 230 and 231 at the end of the junior year is designed to explore the causes and consequences of the distribution of economic and business activity through the lens of a particular commodity, product, or firm. The project-based experience examines global value chain networks at both the “bottom” (commodity production in lower-income countries) and the “top” (activities in higher-income countries) associated with topics such as economic policy making and international economic relations, climate change and water use, foreign direct investment, sustainability, development, human rights, labor standards and workforce development, and global financial flows.

BGAF 240 and 241: Signature Courses 4a and 4b (business, policy, and society)

This two-semester, two-course sequence (6 credits) blends interdisciplinary instruction, project-based learning, open-ended research, problem solving, and on-location community engagement. In an unstructured class environment, students explore complex societal problems at the nexus of business and global affairs. Student teams identify specific real-life challenges in a particular community or location, develop innovative yet practical approaches or solutions, and share their ideas directly with the relevant community.

BGAF 242 and 243: Signature Courses 4c and 4d (on location)

Two 7-10 day, single-location, international 1-credit experiences, one during the junior year spring break and one during the senior year winter break are extensions of BGAF 240 and 241.

BGAF 201, 202, 203: Washington, Business, and the World (three-semester “thread” course sequence)

Washington, Business, and the World extends and deepens understanding of current global economic challenges and policy debates and integrates writing instruction. The set of three 1-credit courses threads through the fall semesters sophomore through senior year.  The “classroom” extends throughout Washington, DC, where learning opportunities related to international policy and the complexities of the global economy abound across and beyond the Hilltop.