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International Studies is a 12-course major composed of three elements:

  • a set of four core courses
  • a regional focus (four courses)
  • a thematic focus (four courses)

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, 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 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

Core Requirements (4 courses):

• Language at the 301 level
• ECON 110 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

  ECON 110 and ANTH 101 must be taken within your first two years at Holy Cross.

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

NOTE: The major curriculum must be approved through the application process, and changes in the curriculum must be approved by the director.

Students majoring in International Studies may count up to 2 courses from one semester abroad and up to 4 courses from a full year abroad toward the International Studies major requirements with the approval of the director.  Students pursuing a double major may count no more than two courses from the department of the second major toward the International Studies major.

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