Hong Kong: Global Studies

Three students sit and admire the view of buildings, water, and mountains.

Program Term:


Language Requirement:



 Naira Ovsepyan

Application Deadline:


Please note: Offered in alternating years. Following the Winter 2025 program, the next program will run in Winter 2027.

The College is pleased to announce a new offering in Hong Kong during the 2025 Winter quarter. The Hong Kong: Global Studies Program will offer students the opportunity to learn more about the transdisciplinary field of global studies through a sequence of three courses that will cover the theoretical foundations of the field, analyze empirical cases, and provide methodological grounding for independent projects. These courses cover the three core requirements for the Global Studies major.

    The winter quarter Hong Kong: Global Studies Program offers students an introduction to the field of global studies, analyzing the interconnected nature of our modern world through multi-scalar, transdisciplinary approaches to the study of global connections. The three-course sequence covers three main requirements for the Global Studies major, and introduces students to the main theories anchoring the field as well as to empirical cases in areas as diverse as global political economy, climate change, human rights, international law, migration, urban studies, and transnational mobilization. Courses in this sequence will emphasize discussions of power, global flows (of capital, people, ideas), and transnational relations and interdependencies. The sequence is taught in English by University of Chicago professors, and the methodological focus of the third course will shift from year to year in accordance with the interest and expertise of that year’s faculty. In addition to the three Global Studies courses, students take a fourth course in either Beginning Conversational Cantonese or Mandarin, taught at the appropriate beginner, intermediate, or advanced level by local language instructors.

    Hong Kong itself, long considered one of the most important crossroads of the Asia Pacific region, plays a key role in this program. This modern mega-metropolis is a flourishing cultural, economic, and geopolitical nexus for people and populations from across the world. As a city known for its “East meets West” cosmopolitanism, Hong Kong offers numerous opportunities to engage with otherwise abstract ideas about colonialism, globalization, and transnational interconnectedness, making them alive in the present. Excursions and site visits help connect the courses with the physical reality of the global city.

    Global Studies I – Callie Maidhof, Associate Director and Assistant Senior Instructional Professor of Global Studies

    What is the “globe” in Global Studies? This course introduces the Global Studies major by considering how people have organized and conceptualized political and social difference across space. From World Systems theory and coloniality to the movement of global capital and the problem of the nation-state, we will prioritize approaches offering insight into the unequal distribution and flow of power worldwide. Most of the texts we read will be broadly theoretical and expansive in scope; as you move forward in Global Studies the goal won’t be to emulate this sort of scholarship, but to make use of these theoretical framings as you develop your own research interests in a given corner of the world. Throughout the course—and the major!—we will ask the question: to what extent is “the globe” a useful unit of analysis? How do various conceptualizations of global histories, movements, or discourses help or hinder us from understanding local specificities?

    Global Studies II – Caterina Fugazzola, Assistant Senior Instructional Professor of Global Studies

    This second part of the introductory course sequence for Global Studies familiarizes students with empirical work within this interdisciplinary field, and guides them through the practical steps of putting together a research project. How do we move from a research interest to a research question? How do we approach the study of social dynamics from a global perspective that emphasizes interconnectedness? How do we track the movement of ideas, people, culture, and capital across borders? How do we incorporate considerations of power, positionality, and reflexivity in our research practice? We will engage with scholarship across the social sciences and cover topics related to the four thematic tracks in the Global Studies major. As we analyze a variety of empirical cases, we will discuss approaches to case selection, theoretical grounding, data collection and analysis, and ethical research practices.

    Qualitative Research Methods: An Introduction – Kristen Schilt, Associate Professor of Sociology

    This course offers an intensive introduction to qualitative research methods in sociological research. We will focus on in-depth interviews, ethnographic observation, and analysis of digital content. Students will learn about the logic of research design and method selection and read exemplary studies that illustrate the use value of each method. Additionally, students will get experience conducting data through these different methods and will end the course with a research proposal on a topic of their own design.

    Participants in the Hong Kong: Global Studies program remain registered as full-time students in the College. They take and receive credit for four courses: two Global Studies courses, one Methods course, and a Chinese language course. The Global Studies and Methods courses may be used to meet three requirements of the Global Studies major (the core sequence of Global Studies 1 and 2 as well as a Methods course). If a student is not a Global Studies major, they may use these courses as electives. The use of any of these courses in another major is subject to the approval of the undergraduate chair of the respective department.

    The language course (Cantonese or Mandarin) will normally count as an elective. This course is neither keyed to Chicago’s Chinese language sequences nor equivalent to any specific on-campus course. It is possible, however, for a program participant to take a Chinese placement test after returning from Hong Kong and continue the study of Mandarin at Chicago (indeed this is very much encouraged). Students in the Global Studies major can count the language course as fulfilling one of the six quarters of language instruction required for the major. Course titles, units of credit, and grades are placed on the College transcript.

    The College’s study abroad programs in Hong Kong are based at The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex | The University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus in Hong Kong. Located on Mount Davis, the campus in Hong Kong features classrooms, offices for faculty, student gathering spaces, computer facilities, and conference areas. For participants in Chicago’s programs, the campus in Hong Kong provides a focus for academic activities, a central meeting place, and a continuing Chicago “presence” within one of the most dynamic cities in Asia and the world.

    Participants reside in program-provided housing within commuting distance of the Yuen Campus in Hong Kong. Public transportation is extensive in Hong Kong and it is normal for students to travel by train or bus every day. A Chicago Graduate Assistant will reside nearby.

    It is important to recognize the cultural context of student housing in Hong Kong and understand that the amenities of the housing may vary. Housing in Hong Kong tends to be significantly smaller than what we are used to in Chicago. Although some of these differences may take some getting used to, remember that cultural differences extend to all aspects of your experience abroad. Having realistic expectations for your term in Hong Kong will help you approach the study abroad experience with a positive attitude.

    Study abroad students pay regular College tuition, a program fee, and a nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee. The tuition and program fee are paid in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, and the nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee is submitted when accepting a place in a program. Precise figures for the Hong Kong: Global Studies program during the 2024–2025 year are listed below:

    Winter tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

    Study abroad administrative fee: $675

    Hong Kong: Global Studies program fee: $5,960

    Program fee includes:

    Out-of-pocket expenses include:

    • round-trip airfare to and from the program site
    • passport/visa fees
    • transportation on site
    • meals
    • course materials
    • personal entertainment and travel
    • communications (including cell phone usage)
    • health insurance and upfront payments for care
    • other miscellaneous expenses  

    Previous program participants report spending in the range of $200 to $250 per week on meals and incidentals while on the program, though frugal students may spend less, and others could spend much more. Bear in mind that while the cost of living in Hong Kong is typically lower than in the US, it is also possible to run short of money if you are unwary. It is therefore essential that you budget your funds prudently, apportioning your resources so that they last for the duration of the program. If you are planning to travel before or after the program or on weekends, you should budget accordingly.

    Study abroad students retain their financial aid eligibility. For more information about financial aid resources, please see our Tuition, Fees, and Funding section.

    The Hong Kong: Global Studies program is open to University of Chicago undergraduate students only. Applications from outside the University are not accepted.

    The program is designed for undergraduates in good academic and disciplinary standing who are beyond their first year in the College. While the program stipulates no minimum grade-point average, an applicant’s transcript should demonstrate that they are a serious student who will make the most of this opportunity. Because the program courses (aside from the Chinese class) are taught in English, there is no language prerequisite, although students are encouraged to take Chinese on campus before the program begins.

    Each application is examined on the basis of the student’s scholastic record and personal statement. If you are interested in applying for this program please fill out the online application.

    To discuss the Hong Kong: Global Studies program and the possibility of participating, please contact Naira Ovsepyan.