The International Studies Program offers a flexible and rigorous interdisciplinary undergraduate major and minor in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences that develops keen analytical skills and ethical reasoning amidst complex global dynamics. Our faculty is drawn from many departments across the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. Students in our major take seven IS Core courses and six courses in one of four concentrations, study abroad, and satisfy a rigorous foreign language requirement and complete a senior research project. Students in the IS minor complete six courses in one of four concentrations.
** Please consult the International Studies website for the most accurate and up-to-date information about requirements for the IS major and minor.
Applying to Be an International Studies Major
Students are accepted into the International Studies major only through an online application process. We accept approximately 105 students into the major each year. Applications from freshmen are due the first week of February; applications from transfer students should be made the spring or summer before they enroll as sophomores at BC. Visit the International Studies website for exact dates and more information about the process.
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. All students completing the IS minor must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in a modern foreign language. Visit the International Studies website for more about how to meet these requirements.
The International Studies major requires at least 13 courses, totaling 45 credits. This includes seven classes (24 credits) in the IS core; six classes (18 credits) in one of four concentrations; and a senior seminar (3 credits) or thesis (6 credits, 3 of which count toward an elective). At least 27 of these credits must be applied exclusively to the IS major and cannot fulfill requirements for another major or minor. Courses to meet the major’s language requirements (noted above) are not included, although they confer university credit and meet the university’s language requirements. Visit the International Studies website for complete details.
The four concentrations available to IS majors and minors are:
- Cooperation and Conflict
- Ethics and Social Justice
- Global Cultures
- Political Economy and Development Studies
The International Studies minor requires 6 courses, totaling 18 credits. Students select one of four concentrations (Cooperation and Conflict; Ethics and Social Justice; Political Economy and Development Studies; or Global Cultures) in which they take two foundation courses and four electives, offered from at least three different academic departments. Courses to meet the language requirements (noted above) are not included, although they confer university credit and meet the university’s language requirements. Visit the International Studies website for complete details.
Information for First Year Students
The responses you give on your IS major application are the most important factor we use to admit students into the major, but grades and courses taken your first semester play a role as well. To prepare for your application, we encourage students to read about the IS Program online and talk with current IS majors; you might consider starting with our Peer Advisors or with members of the International Studies Student Association. We also encourage freshmen to enroll in one or more classes that take up international issues and/or are taught by an IS faculty member. Your application will ask you to list a faculty member who can give you a reference, so we encourage you to get to know a faculty member, rather than simply list the professor who gave you the best grade of the semester.
There are no specific courses you need to have taken to apply for the IS major, but there are some introductory courses you will need to take to complete it that also count for the University Core requirements (e.g., Principles of Economics). A comparative politics course in the political science department could be a useful way to test the waters. But we encourage freshmen to take the interdisciplinary Core Renewal courses or others that meet University’s Core requirements, even if they don’t count for IS major requirements. The IS major is just one part of your university experience, and we understand that you won’t necessarily focus on that your first semester.
Information for Study Abroad
IS majors are expected to study abroad for a semester, but are not required to do so. Nearly 90% of our majors study abroad for a summer, semester, and/or full academic year. IS majors who are unable to study abroad because of family, professional, athletic, or other academic commitments can take advantage of other opportunities to engage with international students, use their language skills, and meet people and groups from around the world via video links and other programming. IS majors can apply up to 8 credits to their IS major if abroad for one semester and up to 12 credits if abroad for two semesters. IS minors can apply a maximum of 8 credits toward their International Studies minor.