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international programs

International Studies Majors and Minors

office of international programs

International studies majors are encouraged to spend at least a semester abroad to complement their course of study. Many international programs provide courses on topics that may not be available at Boston College and students are urged to seek out these programs. Due to the diverse nature of the international studies curriculum, students should plan carefully when considering study abroad, so as to ensure that they can fulfill all requirements. Our faculty join with the Office of International Programs in strongly recommending study abroad for all international studies majors.

When Can I Study Abroad?
International Studies majors and minors are eligible to study abroad during either the fall or spring semester of their junior year. For students who plan ahead, it may be possible to study abroad for an entire academic year, but students must be in early contact with the Program Administrator.

What Classes Should I Take Before Studying Abroad?
Early planning is essential to make sure that students will meet all BC requirements, and to ensure that they will have a strong international studies background for study abroad. Since most international education systems require a higher degree of specialization at an earlier level, this strong background will allow students to take advantage of the best offerings at the host institution, including upper-level seminars.

At a minimum, students should take one or both of the basic courses in Economics (ECON1131 Principles of Economics I: Micro and ECON1132 Principles of Economics II: Macro). These courses will fulfill core requirements for the International Studies major as well as social science requirements of the university core. Students should also considering taking at least one of their track requirements (whether in Economics, Political Science, Ethics and International Social Justice, or Global Cultural Studies).

Students may also consider taking one of the following two-semester courses in Theology or History, which fulfill the History, Culture, and Society core requirement of the International Studies major as well as university core requirements in Theology or History:

  • HIST1005-1006 Asia in the World I and II
  • HIST1019-1020 Democracy, Rights and Empire
  • HIST1055-1056 Globalization I and II (HIST1077/78, 1083/84, 1087/88)
  • HIST1059-1060 Islam and Global Modernities I and II
  • HIST1063-1064 Latin America in the World I and II
  • THEO1161-1162 The Religious Quest


International Studies majors must meet with their academic advisor before studying abroad. Prior to this meeting, students should obtain their degree audits (on Agora) and map out a tentative schedule for the semester(s) abroad and for the remaining time on campus at Boston College to show how students plan to meet the remaining major requirements.

What Classes Should I Plan To Take Abroad?
The ideal type of course is one that fits with the international studies major. Courses that focus on the region in which students are studying and those that reflect the academic strengths of the host university department are highly recommended.

To receive major credit for courses taken abroad, students must obtain prior approval from the Program Administrator of the International Studies Program (Patricia McLaughlin, by providing a course syllabus and indicating which major requirement is being fulfilled.

What If I Am Planning To Do An Honors Thesis?
In recent years, many students have used their experiences abroad to help generate or supplement a compelling honors thesis. For students who already have a topic in mind, studying abroad provides an excellent opportunity to conduct on-site research and establish contact with faculty at the host institution. All students are strongly encouraged to think about how their semester or year abroad can be integrated into an honors thesis.

It is imperative for students doing an honors thesis to plan ahead. Such students are strongly urged to go abroad in the fall. Students are advised to complete their Methodology course, establish a thesis topic, and contact the Thesis Coordinator before departing.


Department Information


Department Contacts

Course Approvals & Program Administrator

Patricia McLaughlin, Program Administrator

Associate Director, Thesis Coordinator & Course Approvals Hiroshi Nakazato, Adjunct Assistant Professor