International Studies Major

Home > Academics > International Studies Major

Earn Your Major in International Studies

The international studies major is a combination of interdisciplinary and disciplinary courses to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the interrelationships among people as they function in different cultural, economic, and political settings. The primary goal of the major is to train students as leaders who will be cognizant of and sensitive to the requirements of changing realities in the international community in the belief that such knowledge will enable them to value diplomacy over other methods of dispute resolution.

It focuses on cultural predispositions, historical underpinnings, systems of governance, and diversity of interests in the global arena. The courses span a number of disciplinary boundaries including political science, economics, history, and geography.

International Studies Major

Department Contact Info

International Studies

350 Spelman Lane, S.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30314


9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

The major is designed to offer students an opportunity to understand the diverse cultures of the world as well as to prepare them for an international career. It includes a study abroad experience that will increase language competency as well as improve cultural understanding by exposing students to a different geographic setting. Students will be offered an opportunity for an in-depth examination of the issues and problems associated with increasing world interdependence through coursework, as well as through interaction with international scholars and practitioners.
The major is designed to be both intense and rigorous. It will provide a core of knowledge to prepare students for graduate and professional schools or the job market. In addition, it will increase opportunities for student research on international topics that will enable them to achieve a better understanding of themselves and their roles within their own culture.

International Studies Major


Students should begin the major in the sophomore year.

In addition to the completion of major core courses and electives, the international studies major should successfully complete at least two courses in a foreign language beyond the 200 level.

One semester of study abroad is also required. It is suggested that international studies majors go abroad during the first semester of the junior year. The major advisor will work with the study abroad advisor to maximize the effectiveness of the study abroad experience. International students may be exempt from the study abroad requirement.

A grade of “C” or better is required for the successful completion of major courses.

The major will consist of 40 credit hours: 20 hours of core courses designed to represent the concepts and organizing frameworks, and 20 hours of elective courses. The elective courses must all be at the 300 level or above and in at least two departments.

Core Courses

  • IS 211 Introduction to International Studies
  • IS 212 World Politics
  • HIS 303 Foundations of the Modern World
  • ECON 324 Economic Development of Emerging Nations
  • IS 411 Senior Internship and Thesis

The remaining courses must be chosen from the following issue area or area concentrations. International Development, Cultural Studie, Latin America, Africa, or Asia.

Cognate Course

  • Economics 241, Principles of Macroeconomics. This course may also be used to satisfy the Social Science requirement.

Department Objectives

Upon completion of the international studies major, a student will be able to . . .

  1. Demonstrate familiarity with a variety of cultural histories, economic theories, and political orientations
  2. Recognize the contributions of target disciplines in the feld of international studies
  3. Conduct scholarly research using several interdisciplinary perspectives
  4. Demonstrate analytical and critical thinking skills in the interpretation of international issues and events

Download & View Spelman College Bulletins

College Bulletin


College Bulletin


College Bulletin


College Bulletin


Campus Tour

It's time to explore our beautiful campus! Sign-up today, bring your family, and let us show you what will make Spelman College your home away from home!

Take a Virtual Tour