Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Enrollment in the major is by competitive application at the end of the Freshman year. The minor is open to students who submit an acceptable course of study. The Carroll School of Management provides an International Studies minor specifically for CSOM students. Eligible students wishing to declare an IS Minor must do so by the first semester of their Junior year, no later than the last day of drop, in October of the fall semester. Please note this date changes from year to year. Check the academic calendar for the specific date.



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 (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; contact Josephine Xiong in Fulton 360 for further details.



When do I apply to the IS major?

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.



Is there a language proficiency requirement?

Yes for both the IS major and minor there is a language proficiency requirements as follows:

Language Requirement (IS Major)
The Academic Advisory Board of the International Studies Program has approved a policy change that all students completing the IS Major, regardless of school, must demonstrate advanced proficiency in one modern foreign language or intermediate proficiency in two modern foreign languages. Advanced proficiency will be met by taking at least two courses beyond the intermediate level of a modern foreign language. This policy affects all students entering the major starting in Fall 2017. Students entering the major before Fall 2017 must demonstrate intermediate-level proficiency in a modern foreign or classical language as required by the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences.

Language Requirement (IS Minor)
The Academic Advisory Board of the International Studies Program, following a recommendation by the deans of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, has approved a policy change that all students completing the IS Minor, regardless of school, must demonstrate intermediate-level proficiency in a modern foreign or classical language as required by the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. This policy affects all students entering Boston College starting in the Fall 2016.



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 ECON 1131, Principles of Microeconomics and ECON 1132, 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:

  • COMM/INTL 2262 Online Communication and Global Society
  • ENGL 4503/INTL Global Englishes
  • HIST 1005-1006 Asia in the World I and II
  • HIST 1019-1020 Democracy, Rights and Empire I and II
  • HIST 1023-1024 Eurasia in the World I and II
  • HIST 1055-1056 Globalization I and II
  • HIST 1059-1060 Islam and Global Modernities I and II
  • HIST 1063-1064 Latin America in the World I and II
  • HIST 1077-1078 Globalization I and II
  • HIST 1083-1084 Globalization I and II
  • HIST 1087-1088 Globalization I and II
  • HIST 4496 U.S. Foreign Policy II/1945-present
  • SOCY 1003 Introductory Anthropology
  • SOCY 1040 Global Sociology
  • THEO 1161-1162 The Religious Quest


How many people are accepted to the major?

For the last few years, the approximate number of students accepted were as follows:

2017-18, Class of 2020: 102 students were accepted
2016-17, Class of 2019: 95 students were accepted
2015-16, Class of 2018: 90 students were accepted
2014-15, Class of 2017: 92 students were accepted
2013-14, Class of 2016: 88 Students were accepted

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 (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?

The International Studies major is 43 credits. All IS majors must take 22 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.


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. Note: Students must still take 14 courses to complete the major, and should therefore enroll in higher level ECON or POLI 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. Note: If students choose a thematic concentration of Ethics, & Int'l Social Justice or Global Cultural Studies, they must further define their "cluster" within that concentration. See our website for more information.



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.