The Department of International Studies offers two degrees: the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and the Bachelor of Science (B.S.). The two degree options begin the same way, making it easy to adjust your path as your interests develop. Advanced students pursuing the B.A. also have the option of applying for the new five-year Integrated BA/MA degree.
The curriculum for the BA/BS degree consists of a minimum of 120 credit hours attained through required and elective courses. Of these 120 credit hours, 42–45 credit hours are devoted to general/supportive liberal arts courses and 35 credit hours to international studies courses. The remaining required credits are earned through elective courses.
Students select a thematic concentration through which they gain an understanding of a topic or set of issues across several different cultures. They also choose a regional focus in order to develop a depth of knowledge about a particular region. All students are also required to fortify their degree through extensive foreign language study, an overseas experience, and a minor that connects to their thematic or regional focus.
Drawing from social and natural sciences and humanities, this concentration focuses on theories and analytic tools useful for understanding and addressing the social, political, and economic contexts of global health and environmental issues.
Focus on understanding how social, political, and economic processes, along with geographic and environmental considerations, shape and are shaped by development at the local, national, and global levels.
Focus is on social movements, the meanings of human rights and humanitarian activism, and the interpretation and enforcement of international accords on human rights at multiple scales through cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, and historical perspectives.
Focus on institutions, practices, and identity formations and their effects on world political events. Issues include the global circulation of subcultural and high art forms; museums and the cultural production of soft power; cultural heritage work as soft diplomacy; art and activism; the possibilities and limits of digital technologies. Concepts such as performance and cultural representation in global and local cultures, indigenous cultures and youth cultures offer students analytic strategies for the interpretation of and interconnection with diverse peoples and their distinctive modes of expression and being-in-the-world.
Peace and Conflict takes students beyond conventional approaches that privilege great power politics, state sovereignties, and the material aspects of war and conflict. Instead, this multi-disciplinary concentration offers a capacious understanding of conflict as a complex process with divergent outcomes, burdens, and histories. Issues include the emergence and development of armed conflicts, war-fighting and peace-building strategies and their cumulative effects in social, political and economic spheres. Courses also focus on how analytic concepts such as nation, state, nation-state, ethnicity, race, gender, and religion have contested intellectual genealogies that resonate in the world with real consequences for peoples’ lives.
The focus is on understanding the evolution of international society and how states, international institutions, and non-state actors grapple with diplomatic, security, and global governance challenges.
A region can be defined:
- linguistically (example: the French-speaking world)
- religiously (example: the Islamic world)
- ethnically (example: the African diaspora outside the United States)
Students should consult with their academic advisor to discuss how to fit in their regional interests.
Foreign language study
All students in the College of Arts & Sciences must study a foreign language through the fourth semester. International Studies majors must study a language for an additional two semesters. This can be more of the same language or a new language.
Note: American Sign Language and Lakota may fulfill the foreign language requirement of the College of Arts & Sciences but not the additional foreign language requirement for International Studies.
Non-native speakers of English may establish proficiency in their native language by completing the Foreign Language Proficiency Form.
For Special Credit consult with the academic advisor to find out how to get credit in your particular language.
All International Studies majors are required to complete an overseas experience of at least six weeks, either through a study abroad program or internship. The following are some resources students may utilize when making their plans:
- Explore the many study abroad programs offered through the Office of Overseas Study
- Utilize the Walter Center for Career Achievement to explore internship options
- Plan ahead financially, and apply for funding to offset additional costs of going abroad
Most importantly, students should discuss their plans with their academic advisors, who will help with understanding options and finding appropriate resources.