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The International Studies major is composed of three elements:

  • a core set of four introductory courses,
  • a thematic focus,
  • and a regional focus (including the study of a foreign language).

The language and introductory courses provide the foundation for the major. The thematic focus relates to the social scientific study of some aspect of relations among states and peoples. Potential majors can choose from themes such as Development Studies, International Conflict and Conflict Resolution, Global Governance and International Law, and International Political Economy. Students with a major in International Studies may seek to develop their own thematic focus, but the onus is on the student to demonstrate that the theme is appropriate and that there are sufficient courses to support the theme. The thematic focus should provide the student with a significant degree of breadth and depth in the theoretical study of their theme.

In addition to the thematic focus, students with a major in International Studies are expected to develop a degree of regional expertise. They should have sufficient knowledge of the states in a particular region of the world so that they can effectively apply their thematic coursework to that region. The study of a language from their proposed region is central to the major. Students completing the major must pursue a minimum of foreign language study at the 300 level of their language. Students are also strongly advised to study abroad in their language, and (with the exception of varsity athletes) most have studied abroad for at least one semester. Experiencing the part of the world that is the focus of the major and achieving competency in the language is considered an important aspect of the major.

Students pursuing a major in International Studies are required to complete a substantial research project that creates an opportunity for them to integrate the multidisciplinary elements of their coursework. This requirement can be fulfilled in several ways: a significant research project from a class (typically a seminar), a thesis on an appropriate topic, or an independent study project or tutorial. The course, thesis, or independent project normally counts toward the 12 required major courses. The student will be expected to propose a project to meet this requirement, which must be approved by the International Studies director.

Students interested in the International Studies major should contact the program director to discuss their interests. Students must apply for the major through the Student Program Application system. This is a non-competitive application. There is no cap on the number of majors or minimum GPA requirement for the major. The application is intended to assist students in developing an appropriate major curriculum related to their regional focus and major theme.

Outline of International Studies Major Requirements

International Studies Major Requirements for Class of 2021 and onward:

Core Requirements:

• Language at the 301 level
• ECON 199 Principles of Economics
• 2 of the following 3 courses:

  POLS-102: Introduction to Comparative Politics
  POLS-103: Introduction to International Relations
  ANTH-101: The Anthropological Perspective

Geographic Region:

• One History Course from the region
• Three electives related to the region (Your geographic region should correspond to the language you are studying)

Major Theme (4 courses):

• 4 courses related to the theme

International Studies Major Requirements for Class of 2020:

If you have not taken either ECON 111 (Macroeconomics) or ECON 112 (Microeconomics), the same requirements apply as noted above for the Class of 2021.

If you have taken ECON 111 or 112, you must take the other half of the sequence in the Fall 2017 term. Having completed both ECON111 and ECON112, the regional requirement will be three courses instead of four.

The final authority on degree and major requirements is the College Catalog.