International Studies

International Studies Major. International studies is an interdisciplinary major that combines several fields of study to develop the knowledge and skills to approach challenges and devise responses. While there are several distinct focus areas, the common link in the international studies education is the global perspective used to address social, cultural, economic, political and scientific issues and the interdisciplinary approach to tackling large-scale subjects of concern that cross national boundaries.

Learning goals:

  • Students will possess factual knowledge and in-depth understanding of their chosen focus area.
  • Students will be able to compare theoretical and methodological frameworks for understanding and critically read scholarly work.
  • Students will develop strong research skills - including the ability to frame research questions for analysis and apply theoretical knowledge to study real-world events.
  • Students will understand the global diversity of populations and societies, as well as the political, social and economic effects of those differences.
  • Based on their international experiences, students will understand the breadth of human interactions, and that problems often elicit complex, conflicting and ambiguous responses.

Off-Campus Study Opportunities. Students majoring in international studies are required to participate in a semester-length off-campus international experience, and those who minor in the program are strongly encouraged to do so. Whether domestic or abroad, programs appropriate for international studies students include but are not limited to those that expose participants to conflict resolution, international organizations, sustainable development, public health and diplomatic work in the transnational arena. In recent years, international studies students have traveled to countries such as the United Kingdom, Senegal, India, Jordan, France, Australia, Tanzania, Germany, Turkey, Austria, Japan, Costa Rica, The Gambia and China. International Studies minors have done their off-campus internationally focused educational experience domestically. Washington semester programs and United Nations programs in New York offer opportunities for international studies students to integrate study of international issues with internships.

Internships. Because it is critical to gaining professional opportunities and placement post-graduation, students are strongly encouraged to pursue internships in the wide field of international studies. International studies majors have interned while abroad in Belgium, France, Austria, Senegal, India, Britain and other locations. Others have interned domestically in the field. The program adviser works with students to identify internship opportunities.


Regional focus. Students in the major are also encouraged to develop a specialization in the study of a particular world region (e.g. Africa, Asia, Latin America, or Europe) as part of their coursework and study abroad experience.

Requirements for the International Studies Major.

International studies majors must complete a minimum of 46-48 semester hours of approved coursework in the major, all with grades of C- or better and an overall average of at least 2.00 in courses for the major. No more than 16 semester hours in the major may be taken at the 100 level, and at least 14 semester hours must be taken at or above the 300 level. All majors must take INTD-201 International Studies Theory and Practice.

All international studies majors must complete the 202 level of a relevant foreign language.  All majors must take a capstone course in a relevant department. Some departments, such as anthropology/sociology, history and political science, require the research methods preparation courses the year before the capstone. The preparation courses may also have prerequisites that should be taken in advance of the methods course. Students should begin planning their capstone path well prior to their senior year.

Students in the major must engage in an off-campus, internationally focused educational experience, preferably consisting of a semester or year abroad. Shorter-term experiences, such as focus programs offered by Susquehanna University or an internship with an international-based organization, also qualify when approved by the adviser.

All majors maintain a cumulative portfolio of their academic work in international studies. Materials in the portfolio include research papers, essays or other assignments representative of the student's work; a resume; and other relevant materials evidencing the student's academic performance and growth. The portfolio is to be updated each semester in accordance with program requirements.

Double-counting restriction: no more than 12 semester hours may be double-counted between the international studies major and any other major or minor.  The capstone requirement is fulfilled for majors who have already successfully completed an approved capstone requirement from another degree program.

Focus Areas. Students choose one of three focus areas for the international studies major: diplomacy, comparative cultures, and trade and development. Course requirements vary, depending on the focus area.



Semester Hours View Full Course Catalog >>
4 INTD-201 International Studies Theory and Practice
4 POLI-131 World Affairs
4 POLI-121 Comparative Government and Politics

8          Non-U.S. history (two courses)

8          Upper-level (non U.S.-based) political science (2 courses)

4          Non-U.S. literature or Religious Studies course

4          ECON-202 Principles of Microeconomics

or         ECON-338 International Political Economy

or         ECON-335 Economic Development

4          Economics

8          Relevant electives (two courses)

2-4      Senior seminar/capstone

Completion of 202 level of modern foreign language

46-48     Comparative Cultures

4          INTD-201 Internation Studies Theory and Practice

4          Introductory Anthropology

4          ENGL-250 World Literature

or         ENGL/JWST-255 Jewish Literature

or         ENGL-240 Literary Themes (when specific topic has been approved)

4          Non-U.S. upper-level anthropology

8          Non-U.S. literature or art history (two courses)

4          RELI-105 World Religions

4          Additional religious studies or world philosophy

4          Non-U.S. history

8          Relevant electives (two courses)

2-4      Senior seminar/Capstone

Completion of 202 level of modern foreign language

46-48     Trade and Development

4 INTD-201 International Studies Theory and Practice
4 POLI-131 World Affairs
4 ECON-201 Principles of Macroeconomics
4 ECON-202 Principles of Microeconomics
4 ECON-338 International Political Economy
or ECON-335 Economic Development

4          History of any non-U.S. region

8          Upper-level internationally-focused courses in economics, management, marketing, or                      luxury brand marketing and management, ecology, earth and environmental science, or                    environmental studies

4          One upper-level, non-U.S.-based course in political science, sociology or anthropology.

8          Relevant electives (two courses)

2-4       Senior seminar/capstone

Completion of 202 level of modern foreign language

Minor in International Studies. International studies is a superb complement to a number of other majors. Students may choose to minor in international studies by completing 24 semester hours in a focus area. Only courses completed with a grade of C- or above may be counted toward the minor. No more than eight semester hours may be taken at the 100 level. It is strongly recommended that all students minoring in international studies take INTD-201 International Studies Theory and Practice.

Double-counting restriction for interdisciplinary minors: only 8 semester hours of this minor may be double-counted toward the student's major.

Semester Hours View Full Course Catalog >>

24        Diplomacy

4          Non-U.S. history

4          Non-U.S. literature or religion

8          Political science (two courses, non-U.S.-based, POLI-131 World Affairs encouraged)

4          Economics ((ECON-202 Principles of Microeconomics, ECON-338 International Political                    Economy, or ECON-335 Economic Development encouraged)

4          Relevant elective

24          Comparative Cultures

4         Introductory anthropology

4         Non-U.S. upper-level anthropology

4         Non-U.S. literature or art history

4         Religious studies or philosophy

4         Non-U.S. history

4         Relevant elective

24        Trade and Development

4 ECON-201 Principles of Macroeconomics
4 ECON-338 International Political Economy
or ECON-335 Economic Development

4          History of any non-U.S. region

8          Two upper-level internationally-focused courses in economics, management, marketing, luxury brand marketing and management, ecology, earth and environmental sciences, or environmental studies (two courses)

4          Relevant elective

INTD-201 International Studies Theory and Practice

This course provides an overview of theories and approaches common in the field of international studies. Students will grapple with what makes this field interdisciplinary and why that may prove critical in problem-solving on an international scale. Students are introduced to how and why the field draws from many different disciplines, such as economics, anthropology, health sciences, public planning, public policy, linguistics/language, history, political science, business and the arts. Students begin a portfolio that includes course work, a CV and an analysis of the interdisciplinary nature of international studies. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. 4 SH. CC: Interdisciplinary.

Honors. To graduate with honors, international studies majors must do the following:

  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.50 in the program and 3.25 overall,
  • Request admission to the program at the beginning of the senior seminar/capstone course, and
  • Complete and publicly present an honors-quality project in the spring of their senior year.

Director: Andrea Lopez, Ph.D.