The International Studies major provides a focused educational experience aimed at familiarizing students with the key structural features and dynamics of the international system and preparing them to enter the growing international job market. Processes of globalization, in part driven by global capital flows, expanding trade and the unrelenting development of communication and information technologies, have affected virtually everyone in every country, often in ways we are just beginning to understand.  These developments often pose serious problems for government and other societal institutions, while also creating a demand for individuals who understand international processes.  Jobs in virtually all sectors have acquired a decidedly international dimension, whether in trade, tourism, finance, public policy, government, or education. INS Graduates have moved on to the corporate world, the public sector, started their own businesses, or have continued their studies at the graduate level (i.e. Law, Business, and International Studies).


International Studies seeks to provide students with the ability to understand:

  • International politics within the context of interstate relations and foreign policy.
  • International economics and its sub-discipline international political economy, including such issues as trade and production, money and finance, and development.
  • Social science research methods including qualitative, quantitative, comparative case study and formal modeling.

Students are encouraged to explore interdisciplinary options that further their understanding of international studies. This type of coursework can be taken in other disciplines offered at the university or taken outside the institution, either through exchange programs or other inter-institutional options provided by UM.  Students will demonstrate the ability to synthesize the various thematic areas of the discipline through required participation in advanced seminars. Seminars will stress analytical participation, oral presentations and the ability to interpret and critique core theoretical readings.


International Studies provides both a major and minor option for students.  The flexibility of the program often allows students to double major without the need to extend their university studies.  Students are encouraged to speak with the International Studies advisor to explore such possibilities. The major in International Studies leads to the degree of Bachelor of Arts.




Requirements for the Major in International Studies (30 credits)

The International Studies major consists of three components:
I. Core Requirements
II. Thematic Core
III. INS Electives

I. Core Requirements (12 credits)
INS 101* Global Perspectives – Introduction to International Studies.
INS 102   Global Economics.
INS 201* Globalization and Change in World Politics.
INS 202   Research Methods in International Studies.

* These courses must be completed before taking the Thematic Core courses.

II. Thematic Core (12 credits):
Students should choose at least one course from each of the following four fields. Additional classes will be counted toward the elective portion of the INS major, if taken. Other courses, including classes in other disciplines, may be taken with the approval of the INS Advisor.

International Politics, Foreign Policy and Peace Studies:
INS 341 Nationalism, Ethnicity and Conflict
INS 540 International Peace and Conflict Resolution
INS 542 Drug-Trafficking in the Americas
INS 560 US Foreign Policy
INS 561 Negotiation and Bargaining
INS 566 US-Latin American Relations

Comparative Studies of Politics and Societies in a Globalizing World:
INS 330 Introduction to Comparative Analysis
INS 335 Democratization
INS 533 Transnational Social Movements
INS 534 The Military, State and Society
INS 565 The World Before European Domination
INS 584 Latin American Thought

International Economics, Political Economy and Development:
INS 320 Global Economics II
INS 321 Global Political Economy
INS 322 Economics of Development and Environment
INS 420 Global Trade
INS 520 Environmental Economics and Policy
INS 571 International Development and Human Welfare

International Law, Organizations, and Global Governance:
INS 460 United Nations Seminar
INS 564 International Law
INS 570 Globalization and Health
INS 573 Disasters, Terrorism and Global Public Health
INS 591 The European Union
INS 595 European Social Movements
III. INS Electives and Interdisciplinary Options (6 credits):
Students are required to take a total of 6 additional credits of elective course work from INS courses at the 300 level or above. With the approval of the INS Advisor, students may take courses from other departments outside of INS such as Geography and Regional Studies, History, Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, Economics, Religion, Art History, Foreign Languages, Environmental Science, et cetera.  Appropriate study abroad courses, an approved internship (INS 519), or an honors thesis (INS 418 & 419) may also be used to fulfill elective credit requirements.

Important Advising Notes for all International Studies Majors

1)  Double Counting
Of the combined courses in the Thematic Core and the INS Electives, no more than 6 credits may count double towards a second major. A student may not count any course used to fulfill the requirements of the INS major toward a minor requirement.

2) Study Abroad
Students are strongly encouraged to study abroad for a summer, a semester, or an entire year, depending on the program. Study abroad at carefully selected institutions will complement the student’s curriculum and area of specialization, will enhance fluency in the foreign language, and will result in heightened affinity for a foreign culture. The study abroad experience need not result in credit overloads or extended time spent in the program.

3) Internship Credit
Students are encouraged to find a suitable internship during their undergraduate career. Upon approval by an advisor in the International Studies Undergraduate Program Office, 3 credits may be earned with an internship (INS 519), either toward the major or as elective credits (depending on the relevance of the particular internship to the INS major). The University’s Toppel Career Planning and Placement Center regularly advertises internships.

4) Academic Standing
Only courses in which a grade of C- or better is attained, may be counted towards the International Studies major and students must maintain a GPA of 2.75 or better in all major requirements (30 credits).


Requirements for the Minor in International Studies (15 credits)
The International Studies Minor consists of two parts: (I) a 6-credit set of introductory courses; (II) 9 credits in advanced courses.

I. Base (6 credits)
Two of the following core requirements must be taken:
INS 101 — Global Perspectives - Introduction to International Studies
INS 102 — Global Economics
INS 201 — Globalization and Change in World Politics
INS 202 — Research Methods in International Studies


II. Advanced courses (9 credits).
In order to graduate with a minor in International Studies, students must take three INS courses at the 300-level or above. Advanced level courses from other departments may be taken if approved by the INS advisor.

Only courses in which a grade of C- or better is attained may be counted towards the minor in International Studies, and students must maintain a GPA of 2.75 or better in all minor requirements (15 credits).


The Department of International Studies encourages its majors to intensify and deepen their knowledge of the field through its departmental honors program. The program is designed to give students the opportunity to explore various topics and problems in international studies that are of particular interest to them, to work more closely with departmental faculty, to develop skills in research and thesis preparation, and in some cases to prepare for graduate work in international studies and related fields.

Minimal requirements for the program are as follows:
1) a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.30;
2) a cumulative grade point average in international studies of at least 3.50; and
3) a thesis that is approved, with a grade of at least B+, by a member of the departmental faculty.

After reaching agreement with a member of the faculty who will serve as the honors thesis advisor, students writing a senior honors thesis will enroll in INS 418 and 419, Honors Thesis, for a total of six credits [the credits may be spread over two semesters or taken in a single semester]. The thesis itself is expected to be an extended, coherent work of scholarship on an issue of relevance in the field of international studies.

International Studies Course Listing