International Studies Program


international festival day - students with international flags

 

International Studies will provide you with a unique and marketable global perspective, and one that promotes an understanding of the different cultures, economies, and governments around the world.  WCU offers a B.A. degree in International Studies, and students are required to take a total of 30 hours to fulfill the program's requirements.

All International Studies majors must choose a concentration, or focus, for their studies, and the choices are listed below:

  • Peace, Violence, and Security
  • Global Governance, Human Rights, and Law
  • Global Poverty and Economic Development
  • Religions, Cultures, and Civilizations
  • Regional Concentration (Africa/Middle East, Asia, Europe, or Americas)

Overall, the International Studies B.A. degree contains five components - introduction and capstone classes, language courses, concentration courses, an elective, and an engaged experience (study abroad, internship, travel course, Model United Nations course, etc.). 

Additionally, all International Studies majors are required to have a second major. This means that while you're learning about international politics, world cultures, languages and global citizenship from faculty with international expertise, you also will be studying business, communication, history, political science, anthropology or any other discipline offered at WCU. The result will be a unique program of study that better prepares you for a variety of career fields with a global perspective.

For more detailed information on the major's requirements, please see the attached INST major advising sheet.

WCU also offers an international studies minor, which requires 18 credit hours.

For more detailed information on the minor's requirements, please see the attached INST minor advising sheet

Thanks to donations from friends of the program, International Studies is now able to award up to three individual $500 grants for International Studies majors who plan to study abroad for a semester.  Applications for this award are competitive. To apply, students must 1) be a declared International Studies major, 2) must have completed 45 hours of undergraduate coursework, 3) must be registered for study abroad in the next semester, and 4) must hold at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

If you meet the qualifications, and you are interested in applying for this award, your application is due to Dr. Schiff via email (jsschiff@wcu.edu) by October 31, 2017.  Click here to download a copy of the award application.

International Studies FAQs

what career paths are available to me upon graduation?

The possibilities are endless!  Our International Studies graduates have gone on to have amazing careers in a variety of fields, including the U.S. government, international business, global public health, education, and non-profit organizations.  Our graduates are also thriving in a variety of graduate programs, including law school, and master's programs in global affairs and/or foreign languages.  Please click on this link for more information on potential careers.  The attached document also offers you some guidance regarding which second major you might choose, depending upon the career field in which you're interested.

Who will serve as my International studies advisor?

The International Studies (INST) program is housed in the Political Science and Public Affairs Department.  Dr. Jennifer Schiff serves as the Director of the program, but she is aided by an advisory board of faculty members with international interests that also help to govern the major.  Your International Studies advisor will either be Dr. Schiff or a member of the advisory board, all of whom serve as wonderful advisors/mentors for our students!  You'll find a list of all all current advisory board members on the right side of the page.

which language classes should I take?

The INST major requires that students take 231 and 232 in their chosen language, and then three additional hours in either that same language or another one offered by the Department of Modern Foreign Languages: Spanish, French, German, Japanese, and Cherokee are all currently offered. Through UNC Online (search for courses and then foreign languages), students also have access to instruction in a variety of languages not taught at WCU.  Students can also satisfy the language requirement by studying at other universities, either in North Carolina, the US, or abroad. 

Where can I study Abroad?

The world is literally full of options for studying abroad.  See the International Programs and Services website for more information.

Courses taken at a foreign university may be applied to the International Studies major, when approved by the Director.  Students can choose a shorter study abroad experience (typically through a faculty-led trip over the summer or university holidays) or a more immersive experience (typically in the form of a semester of study at a foreign university).


For students who choose to study abroad for a semester, the International Studies Program may offer some financial support to help off-set costs.  Interested students can apply for a $500 Global Catamount Award (see elsewhere on this webpage for more details).

What about internships?

Internships are a smart way for students to gain work experience and try out different career paths.  As an International Studies major, you can earn three hours of class credit toward an internship.  Students are encouraged to research and find internationally-related internship opportunities on their own (credit for those internships is contingent upon the approval of the International Studies Director).  We also have many of our International Studies majors engage in internships for credit on campus, through the International Programs and Services office, which offers you a way to see if you're interested in a career in international education.  We also have students who have interned with internationally-oriented local non-profits, like Folkmoot, and this kind of administrative experience looks fantastic on any resume.  Please stop by Dr. Schiff's office (Stillwell 350) if you are interested in one of these internship opportunities.

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