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The International Studies Major Provides the Foundation for...
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University Core Curriculum
USI Students Ask for International Studies Program

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Department Chair
Christopher Rivera, Ph.D.

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The International Studies major is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students for the multicultural world in which we live. In a modern world of increasing interdependence and rapid change, the need to understand complex and evolving relationships among nations and regions is critical. Knowledge of the world enriches the mind, challenges prior conceptions and fosters a sophisticated appreciation of diverse traditions and global connections.


  • Increase awareness of and sensitivity to the traditions, values, aspirations and concerns of people throughout the world.
  • Provide an excellent background for careers in international affairs, international law, foreign trade, journalism, media, education, management, health and environmental management, economic development, Foreign Service, diplomacy, international community outreach, or graduate studies.

The International Studies Major Provides the Foundation for:

  • informed and productive citizenship in the world community
  • graduate studies in a wide variety of programs and disciplines
  • career opportunities in government, non-governmental organizations, and businesses with international interests and programs

Job Opportunities with an International Studies Major

The demand for graduates in International Studies is growing fast in the private sector and in government. Job opportunities include international, government and non-government organizations, foreign trade, diplomacy, international law, marketing, health administration, foreign affairs, defense, intelligence, foreign aid, humanitarian services, politics, education, language services and journalism. The IS major provides skills desired for jobs in management, administration, consulting firms, the media, the public service, commerce and industry. These include skills in research, communication, policy and political analysis, and information management. 

An undergraduate degree in International Studies also provides an excellent background for the study of law and advanced graduate study in a number of social science disciplines, business, and journalism.

An overview of “Careers in International Studies” developed by the International Studies Program at DePaul University points out that “There are more executive branch agency jobs available to international specialists than congressional positions and judicial posts combined…A good government position can be found in the literally thousands of positions that require related social science training, experience, and skills".

Other careers include: “program officer (country programs), relief services (religious organizations), institutional development, economic/community development coordinator, monitoring and evaluation specialist, human resource recruitment manager, and regional advisor on children. Among the organizations that have job openings listed with the International Career Employment Center are the U.S. Agency for International Development, Peace Corps, Catholic Relief Services, American Refugee Committee Amnesty International, World Neighbors, Care USA, International Rescue Committee, The Ford Foundation, The American Red Cross, Mercy Corps International, European Centre for Common Ground, Open Society Institute, Radio Free Europe and The Asia Foundation.” (Virginia Commonwealth University IS)

Curriculum Summary

The International Studies major is an interdisciplinary 124-hour course of study, including a 39 hour major, a 50 hour University Core Curriculum requirement, and 35 or more hours of open electives.  Students will also complete a minimum of two years (four semesters) or equivalent study in one foreign language.  International study or work is strongly recommended. 

University Core Curriculum Download Checksheet for the University Core Curriculum

In addition to the departmental degree requirements, a minimum of 50 hours in the University Core Curriculum must be met.

USI Students Ask for International Studies Program

In a survey of USI students taken in 2002, 77% felt that an International Studies major would benefit their careers; 71% that it would be helpful for self-enrichment.  What USI students wrote about the need for International Studies at USI:

  1. “Please, please, please let us study the non-European areas of the world as soon as possible…as it is not, I feel like I’m only part of a small portion of the earth instead of being a citizen of the whole planet. I would have loved to have learned about the East, Africa and South America.”
  2. “There seems to be a growing sense of isolationism in the US, and I think we, as educated people, need to be working against this.”
  3. “I believe it would be a wonderful major, as it would afford students the opportunity to learn about different cultures and possibly give the opportunity to travel abroad.”
  4. “If it were offered, I would change my major; I am very interested in learning about other countries and their cultures.”