The International Affairs major offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of diverse global issues. Not only do students learn about the complexities of world politics; they also gain an understanding of other cultures, societies, economies, and languages in order to confront the challenges of our increasingly globalized world. All of the faculty members in our department have lived and studied in another country for a significant period of time. Thus, we bring first-hand experience to many of the courses we teach.
The major has two tracks: Area Studies and Political Economy. In both tracks students take a core of classes in political science within the subfields of comparative politics and international relations. They also choose from a wide variety of internationally-related courses in other disciplines like sociology, anthropology, economics, geography and environmental studies. The political economy track combines in-depth study of economics and political science, while also offering students a choice of courses from other disciplines. Within the area studies focus, students can choose a concentration in Africa and the Middle East, Asia, Europe or Latin America. Students are required to be proficient in a foreign language. Both tracks promote the development of analytical, research, writing and speaking skills that are necessary to think critically and reflect upon contemporary international issues and institutions.
The International Affairs major opens up a wide variety of career and educational opportunities. Students will be well prepared for further study of international and global affairs at the Master’s and Doctoral levels as well as in such fields as law, journalism and economics. Students can go directly into work for international organizations, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, state and national agencies, and other organizations at the state, national and international levels.
All International Affairs majors are encouraged to either spend a summer, semester or year studying at a university in another country, or to do an internship that is internationally-oriented. For more information about studying at a university in another country contact the Study Abroad office. For more information on internships contact Christiane Olivo, our internship coordinator.
All International Affairs majors must take the following courses:
- PSCI 110 Global Issues
- GEOG 100 World Geography or GEOG 200 Human Geography
- A senior seminar in Comparative Politics or International Relations
We advise that you take PSCI 110 and GEOG 110 or GEOG 200 as a freshman or as soon as you declare a major.
All International Affairs majors are required to demonstrate language proficiency. There are two ways to fulfill the language requirement: (1) Take 9 credits in a language at the 200-level or above. You should start taking foreign language courses as soon as you can; (2) you can test out of the foreign language requirement by taking the oral proficiency exam through Language Testing International, providing that you receive a score at the intermediate/mid level. The list of languages that they offer is quite extensive. You will find the list of languages, the fees charged, and more at their site. If you choose this option you should consult with your advisor before making arrangements to take the exam.
If you don’t find the language that you want to study offered on campus you might consider studying at an intensive summer language institute offered by another university or one sponsored by the U.S. State Department through its “critical languages” scholarship program.
There are two tracks available in the International Affairs major.
For the Political Economy track, you will be required to take three additional Political Science courses within comparative politics and/or international relations, such as:
- Introduction to International Relations
- Evolution of the Modern State
- Comparative Public Policy
- International Law and Organizations
The Political Economy track also requires five courses in Economics as well as two courses with an international focus in disciplines such as business, anthropology, sociology, history and environmental studies.
For the Area Studies track, you will be required to take three additional Political Science courses in comparative politics and/or international relations and four courses from a wide variety of internationally related areas, including:
- Environmental Studies
- Women’s Studies
You will also fulfill an area concentration in Africa and the Middle East, Asia, Europe or Latin America by taking three courses from the foreign language, geography, history and political science departments.
For further details, please see
- International Area Studies Catalog Information
- International Political Economy emphasis area catalog information