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The Major

The International Studies major is an intensive, interdisciplinary program with five required elements:

  1. 14 courses, taken across at least five academic departments;
  2. foreign language study through the 202 level;
  3. a semester-long study-abroad experience;
  4. an experiential learning activity; and
  5. the senior thesis.

IS majors are encouraged to pursue a concentration, either regional or functional, to add focus and depth to their course of study.


1. 14 required courses

Five lower-level courses, chosen from:
  • ANT 105. Introduction to Anthropology
  • ECN 111. Introduction to Macroeconomics
  • ECN 218. Economic Development (typically offered fall semester only)
  • HIS 101. Early Origins of Western Civilization I
  • HIS 102. Early Origins of Western Civilization II
  • HIS 103. Modern World History I
  • HIS 104. Modern World History II
  • POL 104. Introduction to World Politics
One upper-level course in Economics, International Business, or Political Economy, chosen from:
  • ECN 410. International Trade
  • ECN 411. International Finance
  • BUS 310. International Business
  • BUS 311. Global Business Strategy
  • POL 375. Internattional Political Economy
  • An equivalent course taken abroad
One course focusing on theories of international politics, chosen from:
  • POL 201. Theories of Peace and Conflict
  • POL 371. International Politics
  • POL 374. International Organization and Law
  • An equivalent course taken abroad
Five upper-level elective courses related to International Studies
  • These courses are offered in a wide range of academic departments at Washington College and abroad, including Anthropology, Business Management, Economics, History, and Political Science as well as most foreign language courses above the 301 level and courses in departments such as Art, English, Philosophy, and others.
  • A list of pre-approved courses is published in the on-line schedule of classes each semester.
  • At least three of these courses are typically completed at a Washington College abroad program.
The international studies senior seminar
  • INT 491. International Studies Seminar (taken in the first semester of the senior year)
The senior capstone
  • INT SCE Senior Capstone Experience (taken in the final semester at Washington College)

2. Foreign language requirement

  • Option One: completion of the 200-level of a language taught at Washington College
  • Option Two: study of an additional approved foreign language at a Washington College abroad program.

Note: students with a documented learning accommodation related to language acquisition may substitute two additional courses towards this requirement.


3. Semester abroad requirement

Majors must study abroad for one semester at one of the programs offered through the Global Education Office before the fall of the student’s senior year.

Note (1): students must attain a GPA of at least 2.5 to be considered for study abroad.  Failure to achieve this GPA by the fourth semester at Washington College will require students to pursue a different major.

Note (2): a combination of short-term study abroad programs shall not be substituted for this requirement, though short-term study abroad does satisfy the experiential education requirement discussed below.

Note (3): students may petition the Director of International Studies to pursue a semester-long equivalent at a non-Washington College program to satisfy this requirement, though ordinarily this would require withdrawal from the College during the time of this experience (apart from a semester-long summer experience).


4. Experiential education requirement

Majors must complete one experience from an approved list of activities, including an internship or volunteer work related to international studies, study abroad beyond the one-semester requirement, or an off-campus Model United Nations simulation.  A worksheet with details on how to complete this requirement is posted on the International Studies web-site.

Note: An internship or volunteer work should consist of at least 80 hours of work and may or may not be pursued for academic credit.


5. Senior thesis requirement (SCE)

The senior capstone requirement for International Studies is a year-long self-directed project that culminates 50-page minimum research thesis completed under the direction of a thesis advisor.  Ordinarily students initiate the project together with the required International Studies Seminar (INT 491) during the fall semester of the senior year.

Note: Students who wish to complete their studies at Washington College in the fall semester must begin working on their senior thesis in the preceding spring semester under the direction of an assigned thesis advisor.

Learn more about the senior capstone experience.


Additional lower-level coursework related to International Studies

Several academic departments offer introductory-level courses that nicely complement the International Studies program and may satisfy College-wide distribution requirements for our majors.  Such courses include:

  • Philosophy 111,112. Comparative Religion: Western/Eastern
  • Art 200. Introduction to the History of Western Art
  • Music 104. Introduction to World Music.

Concentrations in International Studies for both majors and non-majors

To give additional focus to a student’s individualized program, majors may elect a concentration area in African Studies, Asian Studies, European Studies, Global Business Studies, Latin American Studies, Near Eastern Studies, and/or Peace and Conflict Studies.