The International Studies program prepares students to work in today’s global marketplace in any field or to continue their studies in graduate school or law school. Studying international politics, world cultures and languages makes international studies graduates competitive for a broad range of jobs. Students may go on to join the Peace Corps, serve in the military or work with an organization or business with international missions, partners and clients. They also may pursue careers as diplomats, policy and security analysts, researchers and civil servants.
International Studies is a “coordinate major,” which means students complete the degree in addition to a second major such as business, communication, history or art. Students take an introductory course and global issues course, and research a global issue or event as part of a capstone experience. They also choose an elective and internationally focused politics, culture and globalization courses (one each) that best match their interests. Course offerings range from Global Justice, Religion and Human Rights to History of Capitalism. In addition, students become proficient in at least one world language through the intermediate level. Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Cherokee are offered at WCU. Students also can satisfy the language requirement through studies at other institutions, including study abroad experiences.
Employers in every field are looking for people who understand global processes and cultures, and a degree in International Studies can only help job candidates and graduate school applicants stand out. Students may seek graduate degrees in order to become more competitive for jobs as foreign service officers or diplomats. They may pursue careers with federal agencies such as the CIA or FBI as translators, analysts or researchers. Graduates may be prepared to work as a civil servant or private contractor helping people in other countries with tasks such as building infrastructure or developing policies for environmental sustainability. Other jobs may be with organizations centered on international causes or services such as Oxfam, Doctors Without Borders or the World Wildlife Fund.