Skip navigation

International Studies

  • Why Study International Studies

    Are you interested in international politics and American foreign policy? Do you follow current international and global events? Are you passionate about critical issues such as human rights, the global environment, economic globalization, global poverty and international security? Are you curious about how power and resources are distributed in the world?  

    Does all of this sound fascinating? If so, then international studies may be for you.

    The international studies major reflects the reality of globalization and prepares students to address, manage and resolve contemporary foreign policy and public policy challenges, problems and issues employing an international and comparative perspective. At its heart international studies is about how people work together across national borders, balancing the global common good and their national interests. 

    Degree Options

    • International Studies (B.A.) - Download Paradigm
      • The major addresses political, social, cultural and economic issues in their global and
        historical context, employing a multi-disciplinary approach, emphasizing core courses in
        political science, history and world languages. The program requires that students
        choose a minor or second major in another discipline to develop an additional skill-
        based or knowledge-based specialization according to the student’s specific career

    • Pre-Law Concentration (B.A. in International Studies)
      • This curriculum integrates courses in philosophy, business, and history with political science, and is a great option for students pursuing a law school degree or graduate studies in the legal field.

    See requirements: Visit the academic catalog and scroll to the School of Arts & Letters to view degree requirements.

    International Studies at SFU

    Our program is designed to help you develop to your full potential and these are some of the
    reasons why you should study international studies at SFU:

    Experiential learning: The program is built around experiential learning. Tying academic
    knowledge to real world experiences is vital to future career success. An experiential learning
    component is required to complete the degree. You will have opportunities to pursue internships
    in Washington, DC; study abroad in France, Mexico, Italy and elsewhere; and conduct
    independent research.
    Active learning: You should be engaged in your learning, not passive note-takers. The lecture
    has its place, but active learning is crucial to your development and growth. As such many of
    our classes emphasize classroom discussions, role-playing, simulations, debates, research
    presentations, moot courts, the use of social media, and field trips.
    Curriculum flexibility: The program requirements are flexible enough to permit you the
    opportunity to combine the international studies major with a second major or minors from other
    disciplines, developing a coherent program of study, preparing you for graduate school, law
    school or the workplace.

    International Studies Major Learning Objectives

    1. Critical Thinking: Students will develop the ability to think critically about information (e.g.,
    data or texts), theories, concepts, problems, issues, institutions and processes of American
    Politics and Government, World Politics and Political Theory before accepting or formulating a
    position or conclusion or proposing a solution to a problem.
    2. Citizenship: Students will develop a deeper and fuller understanding of political processes,
    acquiring a solid conceptual foundation that can be built upon in their lives as citizens.
    3. Research Methods: Students will be able to use and explain research methods used in the
    discipline of political science and evaluate conclusions derived from these methods. Students
    will develop skills that include the ability to identify, locate and access sources of information,
    the ability to critically evaluate information, the ability to organize information to present a
    sound central idea in a logical order, and the ability to use the work of others accurately and
    4. Communication Skills: Students will demonstrate the necessary oral and written skills
    (English and Public Speaking) to convey their knowledge to others about political science or
    other appropriate topics.
    5. Ethics: Students will demonstrate familiarity with theorists and ethical frameworks that can
    help them make hard decisions, evaluate the policy decisions that public officials make on their
    behalf, and recognize the implications of these choices; Knowledge of reliable frameworks of
    principles will help students evaluate ambiguous facts and define behavior as “right” or “good.”

    Career Possibilities

    Majoring in international studies at SFU can help you stand out in the job market and/or as you apply to graduate school or law school. Your research experience, internships, and skills will help to build career contacts and gain real-world experience. The international studies major at SFU is a gateway to a variety of international careers in law, government, the non-profit sector, and the private sector including:

    • International law
    • Foreign policy and national security
    • Intelligence analysis
    • International trade and finance
    • Economic and social development
    • Human rights
    • The global environment
    • International negotiation and diplomacy
    • International communications and media relations