The Global and International Studies master’s program opens this quarter at UCSB, making a debut both as a department on campus and as a degree in the United States.

The two-year program, the first of its kind in the U.S., focuses primarily on non-governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations around the world – a concentration not previously explored in a master’s curriculum. According to professor Richard Appelbaum, director of the new program, students will explore such topics as how to create jobs in third world countries without the use of corporations,

“We mix practical issues with academics,” Appelbaum, who is also the co-director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, said. “We want to get out of the ivory tower and really make a difference.”

Eddie Saade, a global studies graduate student, said he and his classmates are determined to make positive changes around the world.

“No one in the program wants to get a PhD and sit down and teach,” Saade said. “[The admissions committee] chose people who want to make physical change.”

Required classes for the program include “Global Governance and World Order” and “Managing Development Organizations, Nonprofits and Other NGOs: Theory and Practice.” Students must also complete courses focusing on contemporary issues as well as micro and macroeconomics.

Appelbaum said he has dreamed of this program for fourteen years.

“This is a vision we have been pushing for a long time,” he said.

Various campus committees supported the program when it was conceived several years ago, but the chancellor at the time, Barbara Uehling, turned it down, Appelbaum said.

The program came together with the help of professor Mark Juergensmeyer, co-director of the Orfalea Center, as well as with funding from Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko’s, and the Orfalea Family Foundation.

Appelbaum and Juergensmeyer met with academic committees and drafted numerous blueprints for the program over the years. They received the final approval needed to begin the program in April 2005.

According to Appelbaum, the past year has been dedicated to hiring faculty and creating the course schedule.

For its inaugural year the program accepted 18 applicants, but Appelbaum said he foresees that the number will gradually rise to 50 per class year, resulting in a total of 100 students.

Students are required to take three predetermined classes a quarter, complete a six-month internship abroad and prepare a master’s thesis.

The Orfalea Center, which is within the College of Letters and Science social sciences division, provides assistance to the program and offers a place for students to further their learning outside of the classroom.

“The Orfalea Center is the programmatic side of the Global Studies Department,” Juergensmeyer said. “We host conferences and seminars to provide academic support to the students.”