Master of Arts, Comparative Global Inquiry

Students abroadThis 34 credit master's degree is designed to give students a unique worldview and experience through successive residency and participation at Valpo's study abroad centers or international partner institutions. The program is designed for completion in 15 months. Hallmarks of the program are:

  • Study at a minimum of two international sites, one of which must be a Valpo Overseas Study center.
  • One semester pre-departure orientation along with coursework aimed at developing a cross-cultural research project with the specific disciplinary orientation defined by the student's interest.
  • Preparation for and carrying out a cross-cultural project during two semesters abroad, with the final product culminating in a master's thesis. This project would provide both focus and coherence to the experience.
  • Coursework specific to the global region (language, culture, trade, etc.) of each study center.
  • Final 6 week term to complete and defend the thesis.

The program may have particular value for those for whom substantial international experience in their defined area of interest will serve or enhance their professional development toward meeting career goals.


Applicants must meet all the admission requirements of The Graduate School and provide evidence of being able to carry out academic coursework independently

  1. An undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. Evidence of high performance in all prior academic study (minimum 3.3 grade point average is preferred).
  3. Essay indicating expected personal and professional outcomes from the program.
  4. Other documentation (e.g., written papers or projects) attesting to sustained, independent coursework.
  5. Recommendations from faculty advisers or instructors.



Each student will spend a pre-departure semester on campus residing in the International House to prepare for the thesis and study abroad. Students then choose two overseas study sites, where they enroll in regional coursework and undertake thesis implementation. A final 6-week term is spent on campus to complete and defend the thesis.

Pre-departure Semester 12 credits
Global Strategies (Program Director) 1 cr
Intercultural Perspectives (ICP 621/620 or COMM 645)                      
3 cr
Project Development 2 cr
Graduate Content Electives 6 cr
Choose Two Concentrations:               
Emerging Powers Semester (China or Korea) 9 cr
   Chinese Culture or Korean Culture 3 cr
   Chinese or Korean Language OR Asian Business 3 cr
   Cross-Cultural Project 3 cr
Developed Nations European Semester (Germany or England)          
9 cr
   British History or Economics/Language 3 cr
   British or German Culture Course 3 cr
   Cross-Cultural Project 3 cr
Developing Nations Semester (Examples: India, Mexico, Africa)
9 cr
   Course related to region 3 cr
   Language, Business, or Culture Courses 3 cr
   Cross-Cultural Project 3 cr
Re-Entry Semester (Requires at least partial residency on campus)
         4 cr
Thesis Writing and Defense 4 cr



A critically important component of this program is the thesis, carried out in four phases with each eventually representing a separate chapter of the thesis. During the pre-departure phase, the student develops, in conjunction with a faculty mentor, a research proposal based on an area of interest and/or proficiency, for example, related to the student's undergraduate major or professional activities, During this period, the student reviews the pertinent literature, develops a thesis or hypothesis, specifies a methodology including the resources needed to carry out the proposal, obtains necessary approvals, (e.g., use of human subjects, access to materials, etc.), establishes a thesis review committee consisting of the mentor and at least one other Valpo faculty member (other Valpo faculty or faculty from other institutions may be included beyond these two members), and submits the written proposal for review and feedback from the mentor. Proposals should include a strong cross-cultural element, such that the information and data obtained will reflect ideas, values, and issues embedded in the culture of the location of the study abroad program. An assumption is that students will discuss their ideas with individuals having an understanding of those cultures and countries.

Upon revision and subsequent approval by the mentor, the actual research and information/data collection is carried out during the two semesters abroad. Each semester should pay special attention to the cultural and social aspects of the environment, but methodologies should attempt to be consistent (to the extent possible) across study sites so as to generate information that can be compared and contrasted across cultures. During this phase, each student should be in frequent electronic contact with the thesis advisor so as to provide updates, seek advice,and receive feedback on work undertaken as well as problems or issues that may arise. Each study site will generate an additional chapter, consisting of an introduction, cultural orientation, and the salient findings (including data) related to the work carried out at that location. These three chapters are to be submitted to the thesis committee for preliminary review.

The final phase is implemented on the Valparaiso University campus and includes the development of the fourth chapter. This chapter provides analysis of the research findings. a critical analysis of the results within the context of the introductory chapter and literature review, and conclusions and models that have resulted from the study. The final product must be submitted to the thesis committee for review and feedback at least three weeks prior to the defense. The defense, typically a 1 - 2 hour exercise with the full thesis committee present, will call upon the student to explain and defend any and all elements of the project. When the thesis is accepted by all thesis committee members, the student submits an electronic copy to The Graduate School and members of the thesis committee. Students are encouraged to seek a conference venue or publication as a way to share their findings with the public.

A comprehensive project of this nature would typically involve about 100 pages of double spaced text, although more or fewer pages may be appropriate depending on the specific nature of the thesis. In addition, variation to this format is possible, for example, an individual embarking on the writing of a monograph or book, working in research laboratories located near the study site, or engaging in projects that may be largely empirical and less theoretical.

Financial Considerations

Students may be surprised to discover the affordable tuition rate at Valparaiso University. Tuition for the 2011-2012 academic year is $560 per credit hour, highly competitive for a private institution of recognized national quality. Full-time graduate students pay a $183 general fee each fall and spring semester. Other program fees will vary depending on the student's choice of study centers; please contact the Graduate School for more specific information.  Financial aid is available through direct and indirect student loans for students taking 6 credits or more during fall and spring semesters.

Interested students should request an information packet from The Graduate School through our website or by e-mailing

To apply, please contact The Graduate School at (219) 464-5313