Academic Bulletin 2020-2021 
    Jul 21, 2024  
Academic Bulletin 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

International Studies Major

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International Studies Learning Outcomes

Allegheny students who successfully complete a major in International Studies are expected to demonstrate the following competencies and skills:

  • Global Awareness Skills: The Partnership for 21st Century Skills defines global awareness as “the ability to understand global issues; learn from and work with people from diverse cultures; and understand the cultures of other nations, including the use of non-English languages.” By taking courses in various disciplines (especially in the departments of Economics, History, World Languages and Cultures, and Political Science), students are expected to demonstrate awareness of global issues.
  • Cultural Competency: Students are expected to demonstrate knowledge of the culture of a foreign country through a semester-long study abroad program approved by the college. Cultural immersion would enable students to understand cultural aspects such as culinary habits, indigenous religions, political culture, family structures, values and ethics.
  • Regional Competency: While being knowledgeable in global issues, students are also expected to demonstrate knowledge of a specific region. Upon graduation, an International Studies student will become a “specialist” in one of the following regions: Latin America, East Asia, Middle East and North Africa, or Europe. Competency could also be gained in other regions through a self-designed curriculum approved by the International Studies Steering Committee.
  • Foreign Language Competency: Students work toward proficiency guidelines in one of the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, or Spanish. Language competency will be demonstrated by the ability to complete both an oral and written component to the senior project in a foreign language.
  • Research Capabilities: Ability to undertake original, independent, and interdisciplinary research on an international topic. Students are expected to complete and defend a well-researched senior project by the end of their coursework.
  • Interpersonal Skills in a Global Context: We expect International Studies students to be global citizens by developing the skills for interacting with people from different cultural, ethnic, socio-economic, and religious backgrounds.

The International Studies Major

The interdivisional major in International Studies leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree and requires the completion of a minimum of 54 semester credit hours. Because this major is interdivisional, students may complete any minor to satisfy the college requirement that the major and minor be in different divisions. International Studies majors must achieve an average GPA of at least 2.0 in all coursework presented for the major at graduation. All courses submitted for the major, except transfer credits, must be taken on the letter-grade basis. Normally no more than 16 transfer credits are accepted toward the major, and none of these may substitute for the Senior Project. Only the most recent grade is considered for courses that have been repeated.

The major in International Studies requires the successful completion of both a Junior or Senior Seminar and a Senior Project. A minimum of four courses (16 credit hours), in addition to the Seminar and Senior Project, must be taken at the 300-level or above. In addition, students must complete a semester of study abroad. Under normal circumstances, study abroad must be in a country where the focus language is spoken. Students must apply for off-campus study through the International Education office in the Allegheny Gateway and must meet all College requirements for study abroad, including maintaining a 2.75 minimum GPA. If a student is not accepted to study abroad in an Allegheny-sponsored program, s/he should consult with the International Studies Chair about other possibilities for completing the study abroad requirement for the major.

From the following, all majors must complete the required number of courses in each category. Double counting of courses between categories is not permitted.

Please note: courses marked with an asterisk (*) have a prerequisite.


Five courses, two each from Economics and Political Science, and one from History:

Economic Theory:

Two courses:

Note: certain sections of FSECO 201  may also be used to satisfy the Economics component of this requirement; consult the program Chair.

Area of Focus:

Four courses from one of the following regional areas:

East Asia; Europe; Latin America; or the Middle East and North Africa. Courses may be selected from the following list, and they may include those taken while studying abroad on a program approved by the International Studies program. At least two of these courses must be taken in the social science division, and one of the two social science courses must be a history course.


Students wishing to specialize in a European country should orient their coursework accordingly.

An approved seminar:

  • An approved seminar. A list of approved seminars is provided on the International Studies web site.

Senior Project:

The Senior Project is a joint effort involving the Departments of Economics, History, Modern and Classical Languages, and Political Science.

Facility in a Modern Foreign Language:

Facility in a modern foreign language at a level of skill acceptable to the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. In all cases, students are encouraged to consult with the Modern and Classical Languages Department faculty.

  • Students studying German, French or Spanish must complete three courses at or above the 300-level in the language of focus. Language courses listed under the Area Studies category may be used to demonstrate this facility, which is also assessed through the use of the foreign language in the Senior Project and student performance in the Senior Project Oral Examination. Students will write a 15-page summary of the Senior Project in the language selected, and at least ten minutes of the oral defense of the Senior Project will be conducted in the language.
  • International Studies majors focusing on East Asia should take at least five semesters of Chinese language courses, including one course at or above the 300-level.Students will write a summary in Chinese of approximately 1,500 characters, and a short oral examination (approximately ten minutes) will be conducted in that language during the final oral defense.
  • International Studies majors focusing on Middle East and North Africa must take four courses in Modern Standard Arabic. Students will write a 200-word (minimum) summary in Arabic as well as a glossary of terms, and a short oral examination (approximately five minutes) will be conducted in that language during the final oral defense.

Any exceptions or exemptions to the requirements for the major must be approved by the program Chair.

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