International Studies

Many problems or issues which have been regarded as primarily domestic can no longer be understood or resolved without consideration of their international or comparative contexts. The International Studies major is offered through an interdisciplinary curriculum which integrates social, economic, political, and historical perspectives in the examination of the dramatic trends toward increased interdependence among nations, and of the contested and contrasting patterns of change in different parts of the world. The program also equips majors with a grounding in a specific non-English language as a key skill for better comprehending international issues.

International Studies majors are strongly encouraged to take advantage of study abroad opportunities. 

The International Studies major is a good foundation for careers in international organizations, business, and government or in fields like teaching, journalism, community development, and dispute resolution. The major is good preparation for entry into a variety of graduate programs, including those leading to Master’s degrees in International Affairs as well as Law, Management, Public Policy, Urban and Regional Planning and other professional fields of endeavor.

Requirements for the International Studies Major (48 semester hours)

Core courses (12 semester hours)

  • ECON 132 Introduction to Economic Inquiry (4)
  • INTST 214 International Politics (4)
  • INTST 499W Seminar in International Studies (4)

Non-English Language at the 232 level (4 semester hours)

Elective Courses (32 semester hours)

Choose from among the following offerings in Economics, History, International Studies, Law, PPLE, and Sociology. Must include at least four hours in ECON, eight hours in HIST (at least four above the 100 level), and four hours in either INTST or SOC.
  • CHNSE 331 Third Year Chinese I (4)
  • CHNSE 332 Third Year Chinese II (4)
  • ECON 351 Comparative Economic Systems (4)
  • ECON 352 The Economics of Developing Countries (4)
  • ECON 355 The World Economy (4)
  • ECON 372 The Political Economy of Oil (4)
  • ECON 375 Topics in Economic Inquiry (topic dependent) (1-4)
  • ECON 453 International Economics (4)
  • ECON 454 The Next System (4)
  • FREN 331W French Composition and Discussion (4)
  • FREN 340 Readings in French Literature (4)
  • GERM 331W German Composition and Discussion (4)
  • GERM 333 Contemporary German Culture and Society (4)
  • GSM 6011 International Management (4)
  • HIST 116 Western Civilization Since 1650 (4)
  • HIST 118 East Asia Civilization Since 1800 (4)
  • HIST 171 History of the Modern Middle East (4)
  • HIST 237 History of Modern Iran (4)
  • HIST 254 20th Century Europe (4)
  • HIST 255 Cities and the Making of Modern Europe: 1750 to Present (4)
  • HIST 258 Modern Latin America (4)
  • HIST 270 Cinema in the Middle East (4)
  • HIST 281 Modern Japan (4)
  • HIST 282 China in Revolution (4)
  • HIST 331 Asian Environmental History (4)
  • HIST 372 History of Modern Russia (4)
  • HIST 379 Studies in Comparative History (4)
  • HIST 383 Mao's China 1949-1979 (4)
  • HIST 388W Democracy and Nazism (4)
  • HIST 390W Germany from Bismarck to Hitler (4)
  • HIST 391W Germany Since 1945 (4)
  • HIST 440W History of Modern Socialism (4)
  • INTST 205 Comparative Politics (4)
  • INTST 216 Comparative Democratic Systems (4)
  • INTST 261 International Simulation (4)
  • INTST 326W Globalization and Equity (4)
  • INTST 328W Political Metaphors (4)
  • INTST 340W Everyday International Relations (4)
  • INTST 370W Europe and the International System (4)
  • INTST 373 International Security and Cooperation (4)
  • INTST 374 Asia and the International System (4)
  • INTST 380 Asian Politics and Development (4)
  • INTST 382 Capitalism, & Democracy (4)
  • JAPN 331 Third Year Japanese (4)
  • JAPN 332 Third Year Japanese II (4)
  • PPLE 372 American Foreign Policy (4)
  • RUSS 330 Advanced Russian Grammar: Stylistics and Translation (2) 
  • RUSS 333 Russian Civilization and Culture (4) 
  • SOC 184 Global Sociology: Nation/Empire/Race (4)
  • SOC 350 Pan-African Revolutions and Black Liberation (4)
  • SOC 364 Transnational Feminism (4)
  • SOC 382 Human Rights: Research and Advocacy (4)
  • SPAN 331W Spanish Composition and Discussion (4)
  • SPAN 333 Hispanic Civilization (4)
  • SPAN 335 Cultural Institutions of Spain (4)
  • LW 247 Foreign Relations (3)
  • LW 316 International Law and Dispute Resolution (3)
  • LW 372 International Litigation and Arbitration (2)
  • LW 386 Global Sustainability (2)

Courses taught on a one-time basis, or special topics course in Economics, History, International Studies, PPLE, or Sociology that contain significant international content may, with the chair's approval, be counted towards the required elective coursework.

Indicators of Achievement

Student Learning Outcomes for the International Studies Major

  1. Knowledge of international/comparative/global issues: develop an understanding of important international (comparative and/or global) processes and conditions:
    • Students read widely about, follow, and be able to discuss topics of current international significance, with an ability to relate them to economic, historical and political contexts;
    • Students attend or participate in co-curricular events that discuss international affairs (events or trends);
    • Students formulate a research proposal for the senior seminar that draws on and integrates their courses and co-curricular experiences.
  2. Capacity for multidisciplinary and analysis: develop an ability to undertake critical analysis of issues of international, comparative, or global significance that draws on and integrates economic, historical, and political approaches:
    • Students can identify and discuss multiple dimensions of single international trends or problems, including some combination of those issues' economic, historical, political, and economic elements;
    • Students formulate and carry out a research project that reflects a multi-disciplinary approach to such a problem.

Course Listings

INTST 199 Topics in International Studies (1-4)

A semester-long study of topics in International Studies. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

INTST 205 Comparative Politics (4)

This course introduces ideas and approaches key to understanding the political systems of different countries. Using examples and case studies from around the world, it introduces concepts that illuminate their similarities and differences, considers theoretical perspectives that explain those patterns, and examines trends of continuity and change in the political systems of countries around the world. Possible topics include: states (formation, structure, and strength, weakness or failure); state-society relations; collective identities and social movements; civil society; political regimes (democracy, authoritarian, and hybrid) and regime dynamics; electoral systems, bureaucracy and governance; formal, contentious, and revolutionary politics.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: Closed to seniors
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Felker

INTST 214 International Politics (4)

Analysis and evaluation of the contending paradigms that inform the study of international politics. Examination of the relevance of these paradigms for understanding the nature and dynamics of the contemporary international system with special emphasis on selected international issues, e.g., nationalism, race and gender, global political economy, human rights, international law, national security and the global environment. Closed to seniors except with consent of instructor.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Felker, Marks

INTST 216 Comparative Democratic Systems (4)

Comparative examination of the processes of change that give rise to new patterns of political and social behavior in advanced industrial society; analysis of the causes of these changes and their impact on political, social and economic life in selected countries. Closed to seniors except with consent of instructor.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Marks

INTST 261 International Simulation (4)

This course involves active student participation in specifically designed semester-long simulations that reproduce some aspect of global politics. The theme of each simulation will be determined by the instructor teaching the course. Among the simulation scenarios to be offered are parliamentary politics, activities of non-governmental organizations, and negotiations within and among intergovernmental organizations. The course also emphasizes aspects of equity, diversity, and inclusion, highlighting mutual understanding, equity, and inclusion under conditions of diversity along culturally-significant dimensions.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences; PDE
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Marks, Felker

INTST 299 Topics in International Studies (1-4)

A semester-long study of topics in International Studies. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

INTST 318 Politics in the Developing World (4)

Comparative study of politics, development and change in selected countries. Topics include state-society relations, political and economic regimes and their patterns of change, the politics surrounding various aspects of social and economic development, and the developing world within the international system.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: INTST 214 or INTST 216
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Felker

INTST 326W Globalization (4)

This course examines the complex process of globalization that is transforming contemporary politics, economics and culture. The course addresses the movements of political and cultural forms, people, knowledge, capital, technology and consumer goods across national boundaries; and analyzes their effects on state autonomy, public policy, political and cultural change and resistance and equity. Not open to first-year students.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: INTST 214 or INTST 216 or INTST 205 or ECON 355
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Felker

INTST 328W Political Metaphors (4)

This course provides an opportunity for students to critically interrogate the use of metaphors in politics, civic communication, and global discourse. Metaphors often are deployed by a variety of societal actors to frame societal issues, shape policy debates, influence public discourse, and persuade government officials, non-governmental actors, and the population at large to act in specified ways. Through readings, in-class discussion, and extended writing students will investigate metaphors in politics and civic communication and their role in policy matters and ethical debates.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: One 200 level course in CCM, INTST, or PPLE
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Marks

INTST 340W Everyday International Relations (4)

This course provides an opportunity for students to critically interrogate orthodox theories of international relations by shifting the focus of analysis away from the large-scale “structures” and institutions to everyday acts and everyday people. Traditional theories of international relations analyze world affairs in terms of entities such as international organizations, military alliances, states, and governments. Often missing from these analyses are individual human beings, who through their actions both affect and are affected by the actions of other individuals throughout the world. Through readings, in-class discussion, and extended writing students will investigate how everyday international relations constitutes an important aspect of global relations. An integral element of the course will involve regular opportunities during class sessions to discuss the everyday acts of people as they take place in the contemporary world.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: INTST 214
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Marks

INTST 370W Europe and the International System (4)

This course is designed to introduce students to politics and foreign policy in modern Europe. Special emphasis is placed on the evolving relationships among European countries in a rapidly changing international environment. Through lectures and discussions, students will explore the political, economic and security relations among European states and Europe's interactions with the rest of the world. The course will also examine various theoretical approaches designed to explain the changing relationships among countries in post-Cold War Europe.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: INTST 214 or INTST 216
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Marks

INTST 373 International Security and Cooperation (4)

This course introduces students to various important theoretical approaches to the study of international security and cooperation. It also applies these approaches to empirical cases and concrete issues of international harmony and discord. Among the strategies of cooperation examined are strategic interaction and institution-building. These approaches will be analyzed in light of traditional theories that focus on military relationships and armed conflict. Special emphasis is placed on security and cooperation in the post-Cold War world.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: INTST 214
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Marks

INTST 374 Asia and the International System (4)

This course analyzes Asia’s international relations on the regional and global levels, identifying and analyzing factors and forces that influence stability and instability, conflict and cooperation, integration and fragmentation in political, strategic, political economy, and sociocultural dimensions. Drawing on historical and contemporary dynamics, it examines the foreign policies of various nation states in Asia, models of diplomacy, key meanings and challenges to international security, regionalization and regionalism, and topics of emerging significance in Asia’s international relations.


INTST 380 Asian Politics and Development (4)

Comparative examination of political systems and political economies in Asia, including China, Japan, India, and select countries in Northeast, Southeast and South Asia. Explores key historical and contemporary controversies in Asian politics. Highlights similarities and contrasts in patterns of change in pursuit of an over-arching intellectual inquiry: to what extent, and in what ways, does Asia's experience reflect distinct forms of political and economics modernization?


INTST 382 Capitalism and Democracy (4)

This course examines the nature of the relationship between capitalism and democracy, in various areas of the world including the U.S.A., from a range of theoretical and historical perspectives. Student will critically assess theories of the development of democracy in capitalist societies as well as of the market's effects on political representation and policy making, and review debates about the tensions and affinities between those systems in the contemporary period. Questions to be addressed include: What explains democratic and authoritarian pathways to economic modernization in the 19th and early 20th centuries? Does the relationship between capitalism and democracy show distinct regional variations, and if so, why? In what ways do capitalism and democracy function in harmony or in friction, and why? What role does market consolidation play in democratic transitions, and vice versa? Are welfare states and distinct national patterns of capitalist organization viable in the 21st century?


INTST 399 Topics in International Studies (1-4)

A semester-long study of topics in International Studies. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

INTST 429 Topics in International Studies (1-4)

A semester-long study of topics in International Studies. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

INTST 499W Seminar in International Studies (4)

Interdisciplinary examination of international issues with emphasis on global interdependence.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: Senior standing in International Studies
  • Offering: Spring semester
  • Instructor: Staff

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