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The International Studies minor allows students to build a framework consisting of a region, a language, and a theme, and then construct their own curriculum from an extensive menu of courses from across campus.

The International Studies minor provides undergraduate students with: a challenging program of study including seven thematic or regional courses; advanced proficiency in a foreign language; access to special interdisciplinary seminars on international topics; and opportunities for study abroad.

The International Studies minor is an excellent complement to nearly any major, or for students planning to pursue advanced degrees in many fields including international relations, international law, or public policy.

Students considering international careers, careers in government or public service, and employment with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) would benefit from participation in the International Studies minor.

Requirements for the Minor

Language Requirement

Sixth-term proficiency in a language other than English must be fulfilled through study of a language used in the country or world area that is the focus of geographic coursework. The Director of the Program for International and Comparative Studies (PICS) will consider requests involving a different language, but it is expected that students will in all cases complete at least one year of coursework in a language used in the region of geographic emphasis. Any exceptions to the language requirement must be approved by written consent of the PICS Director.


18 credit hours of course work, exclusive of language courses.

Required Courses

  • Geographic emphasis composed of 3 courses devoted to a single world region or country.  
    At least 2 of these courses must be 300-level or above. 
  • Thematic emphasis composed of 3 courses devoted to a given theme or topic.  
    At least 2 of these courses must be 300-level or above.

At least two courses must give primary attention to countries or world regions beyond the United States. A third course devoted to the same theme may give significant attention to United States if there is a clear intellectual reason for doing so.

Geographic and thematic course selections must possess intellectual coherence, with a clear and logical connection between the focus of the selected geographic and thematic courses. Courses must be taken from at least 2 academic disciplines, with no more than one offered by a student’s major department. One (but no more than one) course may be “double-counted” for both geographic and thematic requirements.

One International Studies advanced topics seminar—an interdisciplinary seminar at the 400 level is offered every year. This course cannot be taken prior to the second semester of the junior year. 

Education abroad experience is strongly encouraged, although not required.

Student-Designed Program of Study

Students design their own plan of study drawn from an extensive menu of courses from across campus. The list below shows examples of possible themes and regions, although the list is by no means complete. Students may also propose their own thematic and regional focus, which would require the approval of a PICS advisor. Students who have taken an approved course before declaring the minor should request on their proposal that it be counted toward the minor.

Examples of Thematic Areas of Study Examples of Regional Areas of Study
Human Rights Africa
International Economics and Development Middle East
International Conflict and Security Europe
Religion Russia
Race and Ethnicity Latin America
Gender and Sexuality India
Global Health China
Governance and Democracy Japan
Comparative Environmental Studies Caribbean
Globalization South America