Jul 14, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

International Studies, B.A.

About the Program

International Studies Program Director: Dr. Jennifer Riggan

What to expect:

  • Preparation for careers in international development, non-governmental and non-profit management, social & sustainable enterprise, advocacy, education, small business development, social work, counseling, journalism, law, religion, the private sector, and government
  • Preparation for graduate school
  • Advanced study in the language and culture of another country
  • Semester abroad requirement
  • Opportunities to study abroad at some of the top universities in the world

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Arcadia University is its commitment to sociall and racial justice at home and around the world. Arcadia believes that students who learn firsthand about the interconnections among the peoples of the world will be truly prepared for life in a rapidly changing global society. Students who participate in global efforts to create a just world are poised to develop innovative solutions to global challenges such as environmental crises, migration, poverty, and war. Whether students study abroad at top universities around the world or engage in applied, experiential learning with Glenside faculty, International Studies majors learn to balance pragmatic and critical thinking and to situate global processes in local contexts.

Global Experiences

The Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, is an interdisciplinary major focused on global issues, interconnections, injustices and solutions. Faculty in the program have expertise in environmental and economic justice; migration; refugees; law and human rights; and violent conflict and peace. We promote critical, pragmatic thinking through applied, experiential learning that situates global processes in local contexts.

International Studies majors study abroad for at least one semester or engage in an immersive, global experience closer to home. All IS majors develop competence in a language other than English. Students are able to work in close contact with faculty with expertise in a number of different disciplines, including History, English, Sociology, Anthropology, Criminal Justice, Politics, Government & Law, Economics, and Modern Languages. 

Graduates may pursue careers in international development, emergency management, non-governmental and non-profit management, advocacy, education, social enterprise, social work, counseling, journalism, law, religion, business, government.

This program also prepares students for top graduate schools. 

The International Studies program also offers a minor in International Studies. 

The International Studies program also offers two different accelerated options for high-achieving students: a three-year accelerated program and a four-and-a-half year accelerated (B.A./M.A.) program in conjunction with the International Peace and Conflict Resolu tion Program.


International Studies majors take a total of 12 courses (typically 46-48 credits) consisting of a mix of four required major courses (IS 101; IS 201; IS 490; IS 491) , three Interdisciplinary Core classes (one class each in Anthropology; Politics, Government and Law; and History) from the following disciplines; four International Studies Core classes; and two electives. Three classes must be at the 300 level and one of the International Studies Core classes must have a writing designation. In addition, International Studies majors are required to study abroad for at least one semester. With permission, International Studies majors may substitute a sustained, immersive global experience for study abroad. Students must acquire intermediate-level proficiency in a modern language other than English (up to four courses, 0-16 credits, depending on prior knowledge). 

Requirements for the Major

Required Classes (16 credits):    

IS 101   Introduction to International Studies    

IS 201  International Studies Research Writing   

IS 490   & IS 491   International Studies Senior Thesis

3 Interdisciplinary Core Classes (12 credits)

3 International Studies Core Classes. One of these must be a 300-level class with a W designation. (12 credits)

2 Electives (8 credits)

At least three classes in the Interdisciplinary Core, International Studies Core, or Electives must be taken at the 300 level.

Study of a language through the 202 level

Study abroad for at least one semester or an approved immersive, global experience.

International Studies Core (12 credits)

Students must take three classes with an IS prefix. At least one of these classes must be a 300-level class with a W designation. 

Eligible courses: 

Interdisciplinary Core: (12 credits)

International studies majors must take at least one internationally focused course from each of the following disciplines: Political Science (Politics, Government and Law), Anthropology, and History. Students may take these courses at the 100, 200, or 300 level.

Electives (8 credits):

Students must take an additional two elective classes at the 200 level or above, except in exceptional cases. These classes may come from the interdisciplinary core list, the International Studies core list, or the classes below. With the approval of the major adviser, students may also count classes taken while studying abroad for this requirement.

Related Study at Arcadia

The three-year accelerated B.A. in International Studies requires that students complete all degree requirements listed above in three years. Students in the three-year accelerated program typically need to complete two credit-bearing summer experiences in order to complete all Undergraduate Curriculum requirements and major requirements within three years.  Students meet with their major adviser in their first semester to develop an individualized plan for completion of all requirements.

Master of Arts in International Peace and Conflict Resolution and Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (4+2 program)

Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and a Master of Arts in either International Peace and Conflict Resolution or International Relations and Diplomacy (3+2 program) 

Arcadia University’s College of Global Studies has affiliations with numerous overseas colleges and universities. More information is available at www.arcadia.edu/abroad. Students should contact the College for information on which overseas schools offer courses best suited to their interests.