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International Studies

Saint Louis University's undergraduate major in international studies explores intercontinental issues of diplomacy, human rights advocacy and socioeconomic relationships. You’ll take classes that will discuss the responsibilities of the world's multinational corporations. You’ll examine the impact of technological innovations. And you’ll gain a deeper understanding of ecological and environmental concerns.

Major in International Studies

SLU's undergraduate degree in international studies is offered through the College of Arts and Science's Department of Political Science.

A wide variety of courses will fulfill your program requirements, from economics, political science and sociology to art history, philosophy and theology.

As part of your degree program, you will demonstrate proficiency in a modern language and have the option to complete an internship in international studies that can take place either in the United States or abroad. International studies students are strongly encouraged to study abroad. The program director will work closely with you to locate courses in study abroad programs that will fulfill international studies major requirements.


The major requires 36 credit hours. No class can fulfill more than one requirement in the major. Requirements for the major include:

  • Cultural Anthropology (three credit hours): ANTH 2200: Cultural Anthropology
  • International Politics (three credit hours): POLS 1600: Introduction to International Relations
  • International Economics (three credit hours) - choose one of the following:
      • POLS 1510: Politics of Developing World
      • POLS 2600: Introduction to International Political Economy
      • ECON 3790: Economies of Latin America and Iberia
      • ECON 3850: Political Economy of the European Union
      • ECON 4300: International Trade
      • ECON 4310: Exchange Rates and Global Economy
      • ECON 4560: Economic Development 
  • Foreign language (three credit hours) - choose one of the following:
      • CHIN 3020: Oral and Written Proficiency in Chinese II
      • FREN 3040: Society, Nation & the Arts in Pre-Revolutionary France
      • ITAL 4020: Oral Communication in Italian II
      • SPAN 3040: Advanced Oral Communication
      • GR 4010: Fluency in German
      • RUSS 4010: Fluency in Russian

Fluency in a language other than English can substitute for this requirement. Students who meet this requirement without taking a class will add one ISTD elective to meet the 36-hour requirement of the major.

  • Thematic focus (nine credit hours): Three classes pertaining to a single theme. Thematic foci and samples are described below. Courses in this category focus on contemporary implications of the phenomena being studied.
      •  Arts and Culture in an Age of Globalization (attribute ISTD-Arts): Ideas move rapidly across boundaries. This information takes a variety of forms – words, images, sounds – and moves across a variety of media. Participating in this great cultural exchange requires students to transcend disciplinary boundaries – bringing together art and politics, music and religion, language and history – in order to understand the creation and global diffusion of shared meaning across time. Courses with the Arts attribute focus substantially on the international and contemporary implications of the subject being studied.
      • Global Health and the Environment (attribute ISTD-Health): Many of the most critical contemporary issues – from climate change, to pandemics, to sustainable development – transcend national boundaries, and solutions must also transcend boundaries. Courses in this theme address the scientific facts, the ways societies adapt to those realities, and the political process through which change could occur.
      • Global Economy and Economic Development (attribute ISTD-Economy): Trade links people and places that are very distant and sometimes different from each other. While global markets can be a force for progress and rising living standard, they can also be a source of conflict and forced homogenization, as some prosper at the expense of others. Courses in this section address the past, present and potential of the global economic system from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.
      • War and Peace in the Contemporary World (attribute ISTD-War): International conflict leaves untold human suffering in its wake, including refugees unable to return home, damaged social and political institutions, and environmental devastation. Courses with this attribute examine the roots and forms of contemporary international conflict and the mechanisms that allow people to work toward a more peaceful and just world. 
  • Regional focus (nine credit hours): Three classes covering a single region of the world. Ideally, these will match the student’s language focus. Courses that meet this requirement either focus on multiple countries in the region or focus on a single country broadly across time.
      • Asia (attribute ISTD-Asia)
      • Africa (attribute ISTD-Africa)
      • Europe (attribute ISTD-Europe)
      • Latin America (attribute ISTD-LatAm)
      • Middle East (attribute ISTD-MENA) 
  • Internship, field research, or elective class (three credit hours) - choose one of the following:
      • ISTD 4910 Internship in International Studies
      • ISTD 4970 Field Research
      • Any class with an ISTD attribute
  • Capstone seminar (three credit hours): A rotating selection of seminars designated ISTD 4960-4969. The capstone seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of an international phenomenon or area. Students complete research projects and examine the contributions of various approaches.

Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA in the major to continue in the program and have at least a 2.0 in major courses at the time of graduation.

Internships and Careers

An undergraduate degree in international studies prepares you for a global career and can make you more attractive to future employers. Some examples of fields where a degree in international studies can be beneficial include:

  • Public service with NGOs or governmental agencies
  • Global health
  • Education
  • Immigration law
  • Research
  • Environmental
  • Social reform

The faculty includes internationally recognized scholars from SLU’s College of Arts and Sciences and other academic units.

Tuition and Fees

Saint Louis University takes pride in being one of Barron's Best Buys in College Education and Kiplinger's Best Values in Private Colleges.

For information regarding the upcoming academic year’s tuition rate, fees and financial aid, visit SLU Financial Services.

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