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International Studies

Degree: BS, BA

Campus: Columbus

College: Arts and Sciences

The undergraduate international studies program provides internationally focused, cross-cultural course work at Ohio State. In cooperation with departments in several colleges, it offers undergraduates interdisciplinary major and minor programs of study concerning different world regions as well as contemporary global themes. The program is housed in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

There are 11 separate specializations in international studies, divided into two groupings below.

Contemporary world affairs

  • Development studies
  • Globalization studies
  • International relations and diplomacy
  • Security and intelligence
  • World economy and business

Areas studies

  • Africa
  • East Asia
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia and Eastern Europe
  • Western Europe

Students can major or minor in any of these specializations or double major in international studies by combining one world affairs and one area studies specialization. 

Upon admission to the university, students can declare a pre-major in international studies within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Students interested in international studies should consult with an international studies advisor as soon as possible. Advisors work with students to plan a course of study, including General Education (GE) courses and introductory and upper-level international studies courses.

Students may choose to pursue either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree in international studies.

The BA requires completion of a foreign language minor. The BS requires completion of a minor in agribusiness, business, city and regional planning, environmental science, geographic information science, global public health, information security, international business, or quantitative economics.

Acomprehensive advisory service works with majors and minors to create individualized programs of study, international studies provides the opportunity to study important world regions and global themes coherently and in-depth. The courses available to students are either offered by the international studies program itself or drawn from departments and colleges across the university. These courses make use of different teaching formats, ranging from the conventional through Model Arab League and United Nations simulations to overseas internships. 

Major and minor students are strongly encouraged to participate in a study abroad program at least once during their undergraduate career. Academic credit earned overseas can be used towards the international studies degree. For a full listing of study abroad opportunities and scholarship information, visit International studies has a number of small study abroad grants for its majors.

International studies runs its own student internship program (IS 5191) for academic credit. All majors are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. Applicants should be juniors or seniors (some sophomores may qualify) who possess a strong background in social science and a foreign language. Student interns are placed in an approved agency either locally or in another U.S. city, such as Washington, D.C. Students may also intern in another country.

Honors sections of international studies courses are offered at both the introductory and advanced levels. The senior Honors thesis affords suitably qualified students the opportunity to specialize in a topic of their own choosing and to work closely with a faculty supervisor.

Students writing an honors thesis are often funded to carry out their own field research in countries such as Canada, Cuba, Great Britain and South Africa. Other research opportunities are available through the university’s Office of Undergraduate Research. 

Students are encouraged to be active in the student-run International Studies Club and Sigma lota Rho, the national honors society for international studies.

Graduates of the international studies program are widely recognized as having taken a demanding curriculum designed to make them well-informed about world issues, proficient in a foreign language, and possessed of good skills in research, writing and public speaking. 

The fundamental strengths of the international studies degree are its flexibility and its interdisciplinary character. Profiting from the wide range of curricular options available to them, students have a range of choices that allow them to prepare for graduate/professional school or for careers in a variety of fields, including the private sector, government service and international development agencies.

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Unparalleled study abroad opportunities

Most international studies students take advantage of the numerous study abroad opportunities offered by Ohio State’s Office of International Affairs, which runs more than 200 established programs in 50 different countries.