Created more than 40 years ago, the International Studies (IS) major was among the earliest interdisciplinary program to be developed at Dickinson. Our faculty teach and research at the intersection of international relations, international economics, international security, international development, comparative politics, demography, and foreign policy. We believe that combining insights from these individual fields in an interdisciplinary major helps students to attain a well-rounded, multi-faceted understanding of global developments and trends. More than that, it helps to prepare our majors to succeed in the globally-connected world of the 21st century.
IS majors complete core coursework in international politics, economics, and history and also gain proficiency in a foreign language. Beyond that, majors individually select a cluster of courses in their choice of one of four areas of concentration. Students may choose to concentrate on (1) a geographical area or a specific country; (2) sustainability and the global environment; (3) world economy and development issues; or (4) global security. Two capstone seminars – one each semester of the senior year – provide opportunities for majors to complete a significant research project related to their area of concentration and to review and prepare for the comprehensive written and oral examinations that all IS majors take at the end of their senior year. While it is not a requirement, virtually all of our majors spend a semester or a year abroad—typically during the junior year. Most study at one of Dickinson’s own study abroad centers, which are located throughout the world.
The International Studies department seeks to provide its majors with experience abroad, the ability to communicate in a foreign language, and substantive, interdisciplinary knowledge of global issues. These experiences and skills help to open the world to our students. As the world grows increasingly inter-connected they are also valuable professional attributes. After graduating from Dickinson, IS majors pursue numerous paths. Our alumni have pursued careers in foreign service, government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the military, schools and institutions of higher education, and a variety of private sector employers. Many alums go on to graduate school or professional school to further develop their knowledge and expertise.