To complete the International Studies major, students complete core coursework in international politics, economics, and history; a foreign language requirement; four courses in the concentration of their choice; a senior research seminar; a course to prepare for the comprehensive written and oral exams at the end of the senior year; and the comprehensive exams themselves.
INST/POSC 170—International Relations
ECON 111—Introduction to Microeconomics
ECON 112—Introduction to Macroeconomics (prerequisite: ECON 111)
INST/INBM 200—Global Economy (prerequisites: ECON 111 and 112)
INST/POSC 280—American Foreign Policy (prerequisite: INST/POSC 170)
A course in diplomatic history—choose one:
HIST 358—19th-20th Century European Diplomatic History or
HIST 282—Diplomatic History of the United States or
INST 260—History of International Relations
Two courses beyond the intermediate level in the chosen foreign language (usually 4-5 semesters for students starting a language as an absolute beginner)
The requirement is waived for international students for whom English is not a native language. American Sign Language cannot be used to fulfill the foreign language requirement for the International Studies curriculum.
Four elective courses in one of three following concentration areas:
A Country or Region of Specialization or
Globalization and Sustainability or
Security Studies (3 electives and POSC 281: American National Security
Courses must be drawn from at least two different departments and should be selected in consultation with the INST faculty advisor. A list of courses will be posted regularly and updated on the International Studies webpage. The four electives must come from at least two departments.
: International Studies majors pursuing the concentration in Security Studies are not eligible for a certificate in Security Studies.
INST 401—Interdisciplinary Seminar Research (Senior research seminar) (fall of senior year)
INST 404—Integrated Study (Review and preparation for the International Studies Oral Examination) (spring of senior year)
Senior comprehensive examination process
An especially challenging—and rewarding—aspect of the INST major is the comprehensive written and oral examinations at the end of the senior year. Students prepare for the exams both individually and, in the context of the capstone course all seniors take in their final semester, in groups. The written exam takes three hours. Students are expected to demonstrate substantive knowledge in all four core areas of the major; international relations theory, American foreign policy, international economics, and diplomatic history. The oral exam lasts for 40 minutes and involves questions about the student’s area of concentration and the core areas of the International Studies program.
Suggested curricular flow through the major
Coursework for the International Studies major includes six core courses; a foreign language requirement; four courses in the chosen concentration; and two capstone courses during the senior year. While carefully planning with an IS academic advisor is important ensuring satisfactory completion of the major, the International Studies curriculum was designed to be flexible enough to permit students to spend a year abroad and offers considerable freedom in choosing the electives that satisfy students’ area of concentration.
There is no one preferred pathway through the major, although course prerequisites mean that certain courses must be taken before others. The guidelines below are written for entering students who know they want to major in International Studies. Students beginning the major requirements in their first year have considerable freedom to re-order the course sequence outlined below (being mindful of prerequisites) to suit their interests. Students who come to the major later can and do complete the major requirements in a shorter time period. Majors and prospective majors should discuss their options with an IS faculty advisor.
ECON 112 (prerequisite ECON 111)
Start or continue foreign language (both semesters)
INST/POSC 280 (prerequisite INST/POSC 170)
One of three required diplomatic history courses
INBM 200 (prerequisites ECON 111 and 112)
INST electives (choose in consultation with academic advisor)
Continue with foreign language
Junior Year (abroad)
INST electives (choose in consultation with academic advisor)
Finish foreign language requirement for the major
INST 401 (offered in fall semester only)
INST 404 (offered in spring semester only)
Finish all other IS requirements (core courses, electives, language) as needed
A student will be awarded Honors if the student has a 3.50 average overall and in the major, an A or A- in International Studies 401 and International Studies 404.
Opportunities for off-campus study
We hope and expect (but do not require) that all of INST majors will study abroad for at least one semester. In practice, this is generally best undertaken during the students’ junior year, although students should discuss their individual study abroad plans with their academic advisor. Going abroad during the junior year allows INST majors two years to complete many of the core courses required for the major and to return in their senior year for the required capstone courses. The core coursework and the senior seminars are expected to be completed while in residence on campus. Courses taken abroad may – with approval from the academic advisor – be appropriate as electives for students’ area of concentration (a region, globalization and sustainability, or international security).
170 International Relations
An introduction to global politics which examines the interaction of states, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in the world arena. Topics covered include traditional concerns such as war, balance of power, the UN and international law along with the more recent additions to the agenda of world politics such as international terrorism, human rights, and economic globalization.
This course is cross-listed as POSC 170.
200 Global Economy
Concentration upon strategies pursued by nation states in their interaction with international business enterprises and nongovernmental organizations. Students will work from an interdisciplinary perspective, with case studies of episodes in U.S. economic history and of selected countries from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. To facilitate their analysis, students will study concepts drawn from trade theory, commercial and industrial policy, balance of payments accounting, exchange rate determination, and open-economy macroeconomics. As such, the course will draw heavily from the introductory economics courses. This approach will help develop an appreciation for the complex environment in which both political leaders and corporate managers operate.
Prerequisite: ECON 111 and 112; concurrent enrollment in ECON 112 by permission of the instructor. This course is cross-listed as INBM 200.
260 History of International Relations
This course is designed to give students an opportunity to apply theories of international relations to major events and issues in world history. Concepts such as balance of power, appeasement and imperialism will be studied against the backdrop of world historical events such as the Congress of Vienna, World War II, and the Algerian War.
Prerequisite: INST 170 or POSC 170.
270 European Union
The European Union (EU) remains a work-in-progress, and this course will help students to contextualize the EU's development since the mid-1950s, understand the way that it currently functions, and think about how it is likely to evolve in the future. Substantively, the course covers the theory and history of European integration; the EU's unusual ( and evolving) institutional structure and political processes; the major policy areas of the EU; and the power dynamics between the EU and its member states.
This course is cross-listed as POSC 270. This course fulfills the Social Sciences (Division II) distribution requirement.
271 Ethics and International Security
A course in applied ethics that examines the role ethical considerations both do and should play in the pursuit of national and international security objectives. Among the specific topics to be examined are the decision to go to war, rules governing how wars are fought, the ethics of weapons of mass destruction, the ethics of terrorism, the torture debate, economic sanctions, and humanitarian intervention.
Prerequisite: POSC 170, or permission of the instructor. This course is cross-listed as POSC 271.
273 International Political Economy
This course examines the politics of global economic relations. Specific topics discussed include: trade and protectionism, international monetary relations, foreign direct investment, global institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and World Trade Organization (WTO), regional economic integration (e.g. the European Union [EU] and North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA], economic development, and the economic emergence of China and India. The larger issue serving as the backdrop to all of this is economic globalization -- its significance, sources, and consequences.
Prerequisite: POSC 170, or permission of the instructor. This course is cross-listed as POSC 273.
277 International Politics of the Middle East
This course examines key factors and events in the formation of the modern Middle East state system and evolving patterns of conflict and cooperation in the region. Students will apply a range of analytical approaches to issues such as the conflicts between Arabs and Israelis, Iraq's wars since 1980, and the changing place of the region in global politics and economics.
This course is cross-listed as POSC 277 and MEST 266. This course fulfills the Social Sciences (Division II) distribution requirement and Comparative Civilizations graduation requirement.
280 American Foreign Policy
A survey of U.S. foreign policy. American approaches to such issues as containment, detente, arms control, deterrence, international law, and third world economic development will be discussed. Students will also address issues of U.S. foreign policy formulation, including the roles of the public, Congress, and the president in the foreign policy process.
Prerequisite: POSC 170 or INST 170. This course is cross-listed as POSC 280.
281 American National Security Policy
Analysis of formulation and implementation of American national security policy within the context of American society and the international system. National security will not be considered simply in a military/strategic sense but as connoting the preservation of the core values of a society.
Prerequisite: POSC 170 or 120 or INST 170. This course is cross-listed as POSC 281.
282 Diplomatic History of the United States
Description and analysis of the nation's role in world affairs, from the earliest definitions of a national interest in the 18th century, through continental expansion, acquisition of empire, and world power, to the Cold War.
This course is cross-listed as HIST 282.
290 Selected Topics in International Studies
Special topics not usually studied in depth in course offerings are examined.
Prerequisite dependent upon topic. This course is cross-listed as POSC 290 when the topic is "Transatlantic Relations."
358 19th-20th Century European Diplomacy
European diplomatic history from the Congress of Vienna through World War II.
This course is cross-listed as HIST 358. Offered occasionally.
390 Topics in International Studies
Various topics of interest will be taught on an occasional basis.
Prerequisite dependent upon topic.
401 Interdisciplinary Seminar Research
Integrated the various disciplines in the major, normally involving the student's geographic area.
404 Integrated Study
The purpose of the course is to help students review and integrate the diverse components of the International Studies major.
Prerequisites: senior standing in the INST major and prior completion of INST 401.