Global Citizenship Program

A First-Year Ampersand Program

Refugees, Asylum-Seekers, and Internally Displaced Persons

Today, the number of displaced people is at its highest: one out of every 113 people on Earth. Saint Louis has a long history of refugee resettlement, which uniquely positions us to question our concepts of both local and global citizenship. This two semester course sequence will equip first-year students to think critically and skeptically about the different factors, such as internal and international displacement, legal and clandestine border crossing, the role of international aid organizations, the concept of asylum, language learning and education, integration, among others, that impact the lives of refugees, asylum seekers, and the internally displaced across the world. This unique, yearlong opportunity led by four instructors from different disciplines brings together a community of engaged students and faculty interested in understanding global affairs and exploring how our own mental maps compare to the realities of a globalized world.

An additional weekly workshop will foster critical thinking and push students to explore themes from their faculty-led courses. An optional trip during Spring Break will provide further opportunities for hands-on learning and interaction with organizations and people involved in the themes of the course.


Jordan Hughes, Class of 2019

"Becoming involved in GCP is something that came to define my time so far at WashU, and I’m so incredibly thankful to have done so. The nature of the program -a rigorous academic class, an engaging seminar, and a focus on collaboration on work -created a community of students I likely never would have met otherwise, many of whom are my best friends still today. At a time when everyone was adjusting to college, it offered us a community to fall back on, and very quickly we were celebrating each other’s birthdays and attending shows together in addition to the program work."

Julia Zigman, Class of 2019

"My GCP classmates are still some of my closest friends at Wash U going into my senior year. Being together for the whole year meant truly understanding how each other learns, and being able to build on that throughout the year. But even more, it meant that we all were going through the twists and turns of freshman year together, which is something I’m really thankful for today."

Melissa Kay, Class of 2018

"Because part of the Global Citizenship Program is a trip during spring break, our trip to D.C. was tailored to the research topic we chose, which was examining the efficacy of international aid as prescribed by the government and the military. We had the opportunity to meet with representatives from USAID, the Pentagon, and think tanks like the Wilson Center to learn about international aid directly from those involved on a day-to-day basis. The hands-on aspect of learning during this freshman seminar is exciting and a valuable early experience in professionalism."

Katherine Story, Class of 2018

"For students who come to WashU without a large group of friends/peers, GCP provides an automatic group of likeminded individuals who share your interests and desire to be involved in the international sphere. You will meet people who will be in your classes throughout your four years at WashU, people who will study abroad with you, and people who will encourage you to do your best in whatever path you decide to take."

The GCP Curriculum Path

This unique, yearlong opportunity led by four instructors from different disciplines brings together a community of engaged students and other faculty interested in understanding global affairs and exploring how our own mental maps compare to the realities of a globalized world.

See the full curriculum path on the GS website

Admission FAQ

How do I apply for admission to the GCP?

After you have committed to coming to Washington University, you will receive a publication entitled “Getting Started” which lists GCP as well as a number of other first-year programs. You are asked to register your interest and submit a brief essay to apply. For the essay (no more than 500 words), you must address a topic of international concern, highlighting your own interests and qualifications.

When do applications open?

The application process for first-year programs and seminars opens on Thursday, May 13, at noon (CT) and closes on Monday, May 17, at noon (CT). You will need your WUSTL Key to apply, so please be sure to sign up for your WUSTL Key by Tuesday, May 11 to give it 24 hours to activate.  There will be a link to the application webform on the First-Year Programs homepage during this time for you to sign up.

What criteria are used in selecting participants?

We try to make the best match we can between students and program by looking at your background, your current interests, and your academic achievements. A strong essay is key in the application process.

What if I am not admitted into GCP but would like to get started on Global studies? 

There are many ways to gain an international perspective during your first year of college. Courses like World History, International Politics, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and civilization courses are available to all incoming students and provide a wonderful foundation for advanced study. You can also enroll in foreign language classes in preparation for studying abroad. Finally, if you are certain you want to be a Global Studies (GS) major, you may want to apply to be a part of the GS Honor Society.

Will this program's travel component be affected by COVID-19? 

This Ampersand Program typically has an international and/or domestic travel component, which could be affected by federal and local guidelines related to health, safety, and security considerations. This program's main academic component will not be affected.