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Frequently Asked Questions

international studies program

What is the International Studies program?

International Studies provides interdisciplinary major and minor programs that help students understand the realities of a globalized world and prepare them to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

For the class of 2014 and beyond
Enrollment in the major is by competitive application at the end of the Freshman year. The minor is open to enrollment by students up until the second semester of Junior year, no later than the drop period on or about February 15.


How do I enroll in the IS minor?

The IS minor through the International Studies Program at Boston College is open to students as long as they enroll, no later than the last day of drop/add or about October 3 in their junior year.  Fill out an enrollment form on this website and bring it to our office in Gasson 109.

The Carroll School of Management offers its own International Studies minor for CSOM students.

When do I apply to the IS major?

For the class of 2014 and beyond
You apply to the IS major at the end of your Freshman year. Applications change little from year to year and are available to download online. They are generally due the first Friday at the beginning of May.

What can I do to increase my chances of getting accepted to the major?

Look at the application and begin thinking about your personal statement. Also consider which faculty member you might be able to approach to provide a reference, if necessary.

Take courses towards the major during your freshman and sophomore years. Consider taking EC 131, Principles of Microeconomics and EC 132, Principles of Macroeconomics, which can fulfill both a few of the requirements of the International Studies core and the Social Science requirements of the University Core.

In addition, you may choose to fulfill the two-course History, Culture, and Society requirements of the IS core by taking one of the two-semester course sequences listed below, which can also fulfill either your theology or history University Core requirements:

  • TH 161-162 The Religious Quest I and IIHS 005-006 Asia in the World I and II
  • HS 019-020 Democracy, Rights and Empire I and II
  • HS 023-024 Eurasia in the World I and II
  • HS 055-056 Globalization I and II
  • HS 059-060 Islam and Global Modernities I and II
  • HS 067-068 Latin America in the World I and II
  • HS 077-078 Globalization I and II
  • HS 083-084 Globalization I and II
  • HS 087-088 Globalization I and II


How many people are accepted to the major?

In 2012-13, around 90 people were accepted to the major (Class of 2015). Although the major is open only to a limited number of students, all students are eligible to enroll in the IS minor, as long as they declare the minor before, no later than the last day of drop/add or about October 3, in their junior year, by filling out the enrollment form found on this website and dropping it off at the International Studies Program office in Gasson 109.

As mentioned above, the Carroll School of Management offers its own International Studies minor for CSOM students.


How many classes is the major?

For the Class of 2014 and beyond
The International Studies major is 42 credits. All IS majors must take 21 credits of IS core courses. Students then take 18 credits towards their selected disciplinary base. Students fulfill either a three or six credit senior year requirement.

For the Classes of 2012 and 2013
The International Studies major is composed of 14 required classes. All IS majors must take the seven core courses and the International Studies Seminar during their Senior year, and each concentration is composed of six additional courses. IS students may also choose to write a Senior thesis or to complete an internship, but doing so is not a requirement for majors.

Can I use AP credit to help fulfill my IS major?

Students can use AP credit to place out of the Macroeconomics, Microeconomics,  Fundamentals of Politics II, or Comparative Politics requirements within the IS major. See the Economics and Political Science websites for details concerning which tests and scores grant AP credit. Students must still take 14 courses to complete the major, and should therefore enroll in higher level EC or PO electives, or receive pre-approval from ISP to take a different class related to their field of study.


Which courses fulfill the IS major HCS core requirements?

The list of acceptable courses is revised each semester. View the current list of acceptable courses. Students should be aware that a sequence of two courses (i.e. Religious Quest I & II) fulfills both requirements for the HCS core. Students can also mix sequences to fulfill this requirement (i.e. Globalization I & Asia in the World II). If you plan on using these sequences to fulfill University core requirements as well, check with the appropriate department regarding their core requirement policies.

How many classes is the minor?

Six, two foundation courses and four electives. Courses must be from at least three different departments and are chosen according to a thematic concentration selected by the student.

Can I go abroad as an IS major?

Yes, as an International Studies major you are able and encouraged to spend at least a semester abroad to complement your study. Due to the large size of the major, you should plan for your semester or year abroad as soon as possible.

What are the different things I can focus on during my studies as an IS major?

The IS major has four different tracks that a student may choose from: Political Science, focusing on the political aspect of international relations; Economics, focusing on International Economics; Ethics and International Studies, focusing on a normative framework for analyzing international issues; or Global Cultural Studies, which covers a number of possible academic disciplines: for example, comparative literature, comparative identity studies, area studies, etc.


What would I do with a B.A. in International Studies?

Past IS majors have gone into a variety of different fields after graduating. Learn about some of our past IS majors in the News section.