International Studies Major

International Studies Learning Outcomes

Allegheny students who successfully complete a major in International Studies are expected to demonstrate the following competencies and skills:

  • Global Awareness Skills: The Partnership for 21st Century Skills defines global awareness as "the ability to understand global issues; learn from and work with people from diverse cultures; and understand the cultures of other nations, including the use of non-English languages." By taking courses in various disciplines (especially in the departments of Economics, History, Modern and Classical Languages, and Political Science), students are expected to demonstrate awareness of global issues.
  • Cultural Competency: Students are expected to demonstrate knowledge of the culture of a foreign country through a semester-long study abroad program approved by the college. Cultural immersion would enable students to understand cultural aspects such as culinary habits, indigenous religions, political culture, family structures, values and ethics.
  • Regional Competency: While being knowledgeable in global issues, students are also expected to demonstrate knowledge of a specific region. Upon graduation, an International Studies student will become a "specialist" in one of the following regions: Latin America, East Asia, Middle East and North Africa, or Europe. Competency could also be gained in other regions through a self-designed curriculum approved by the International Studies Steering Committee.
  • Foreign Language Competency: Students are expected to be proficient in one of the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, or Spanish. Language competency will be demonstrated partly by the ability to undertake a senior project in a foreign language.
  • Research Capabilities: Ability to undertake original, independent, and interdisciplinary research on an international topic. Students are expected to complete and defend a well-researched senior project by the end of their coursework.
  • Interpersonal Skills in a Global Context: We expect International Studies students to be global citizens by developing the skills for interacting with people from different cultural, ethnic, socio-economic, and religious backgrounds.

The International Studies Major

The interdivisional major in International Studies leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree and requires the completion of a minimum of 54 semester credit hours. Because this major is interdivisional, students may complete any minor to satisfy the college requirement that the major and minor be in different divisions. International Studies majors must achieve an average GPA of at least 2.0 in all coursework presented for the major at graduation. All courses submitted for the major, except transfer credits, must be taken on the letter-grade basis. Normally no more than 16 transfer credits are accepted toward the major, and none of these may substitute for the Senior Project. Only the most recent grade is considered for courses that have been repeated.

The major in International Studies requires the successful completion of both a Junior or Senior Seminar and a Senior Project. A minimum of four courses (16 credit hours), in addition to the Seminar and Senior Project, must be taken at the 300-level or above. In addition, students must complete a semester of study abroad. Under normal circumstances, study abroad must be in a country where the focus language is spoken. Students must apply for off-campus study through the International Education office in the Allegheny Gateway and must meet all College requirements for study abroad, including maintaining a 2.75 minimum GPA. If a student is not accepted to study abroad in an Allegheny-sponsored program, s/he should consult with the International Studies Chair about other possibilities for completing the study abroad requirement for the major.

From the following, all majors must complete the required number of courses in each category. Double counting of courses between categories is not permitted.

Please note: courses marked with an asterisk (*) have a prerequisite.


Five courses, two each from Economics and Political Science, and one from History:

Economic Theory:

Two courses:

Note: certain sections of FSECO 201 may also be used to satisfy the Economics component of this requirement; consult the program Chair.

ECON 200 - Microeconomic Theory *
ECON 201 - Macroeconomic Theory *
ECON 251 - International Economics * (Prerequisite: ECON 101 only)
ECON 256 - Economic Development * (Prerequisite: ECON 101 only)
ECON 451 - International Business * (Prerequisite: ECON 200 or ECON 201)
ECON 452 - Theory of Trade * (Prerequisite: ECON 200 or ECON 201)

Area of Focus:

Four courses from one of the following regional areas:

East Asia; Europe; Latin America; or the Middle East and North Africa. Courses may be selected from the following list, and they may include those taken while studying abroad on a program approved by the International Studies program. At least two of these courses must be taken in the social science division, and one of the two social science courses must be a history course.


Students wishing to specialize in a European country should orient their coursework accordingly.

FRNCH 301 - French Society and Culture *
FRNCH 310 - From Romance to Revolution *
FRNCH 320 - The Avant-Garde *
FRNCH 330 - "The Empire Writes Back" *
FRNCH 365 - Health, Illness, and Bodies *
FRNCH 370 - Writing and Public Life *
FRNCH 375 - Back to Nature: French Culture and its Environment *
FRNCH 380 - Laïcité: State-Secularism and Religion à la française *
GERMN 305 - Advanced German in a Cultural Context *
GERMN 325 - German Culture *
GERMN 360 - Topics in German Culture *
HIST 109 - Europe in the Age of Modernization and Revolution, 1648-1914
HIST 110 - Europe in the Age of Dictatorship and Democracy, 1914-Present
HIST 155 - The Soviet Century, 1917-Present
HIST 157 - History of Modern France, 1789-Present
HIST 159 - History of Modern Germany
HIST 306 - Enlightenment and Absolutism *
HIST 310 - Europe at the Turn of the Century, 1880-1917 *
HIST 312 - State and Society Under Communism and Fascism *
HIST 313 - The Third Reich and the Holocaust *
POLSC 226 - Government and Politics of Europe
POLSC 329 - Islam, Migration & Race in Western Europe
POLSC 427 - The European Union
SPAN 320 - Stories and Storytelling *
SPAN 330 - Topics in Hispanic Popular Culture *
SPAN 360 - Contesting Authority *
SPAN 385 - Introduction to Hispanic Culture through Film *
SPAN 420 - Nationalisms *
SPAN 430 - Race, Gender and Power *
SPAN 440 - Narrating Selves: Hispanic Literature in Contemporary Cultural Context *
SPAN 445 - Topics in Hispanic Film *
SPAN 485 - Hispanic Film, From Text to Screen *

An approved seminar:

  • An approved seminar. A list of approved seminars is provided on the International Studies web site.

Senior Project:

The Senior Project is a joint effort involving the Departments of Economics, History, Modern and Classical Languages, and Political Science.

INTST 600 - Senior Project I
INTST 610 - Senior Project II

Facility in a Modern Foreign Language:

Facility in a modern foreign language at a level of skill acceptable to the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. In all cases, students are encouraged to consult with the Modern and Classical Languages Department faculty.

  • Students studying German, French or Spanish must complete three courses at or above the 300-level in the language of focus. Language courses listed under the Area Studies category may be used to demonstrate this facility, which is also assessed through the use of the foreign language in the Senior Project and student performance in the Senior Project Oral Examination. Students will write a 15-page summary of the Senior Project in the language selected, and at least ten minutes of the oral defense of the Senior Project will be conducted in the language.
  • International Studies majors focusing on East Asia should take at least five semesters of Chinese language courses, including one course at or above the 300-level.Students will write a summary in Chinese of approximately 1,500 characters, and a short oral examination (approximately ten minutes) will be conducted in that language during the final oral defense.
  • International Studies majors focusing on Middle East and North Africa must take four courses in Modern Standard Arabic. Students will write a 200-word (minimum) summary in Arabic as well as a glossary of terms, and a short oral examination (approximately five minutes) will be conducted in that language during the final oral defense.

Any exceptions or exemptions to the requirements for the major must be approved by the program Chair.

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