BA in International Business


Program Description

International business is an interdisciplinary major that culminates in a Bachelor of Arts degree offered jointly by the College of Arts and Letters and the Fowler College of Business.

This program integrates coursework in business administration, foreign language, and regional/cultural studies. It offers students an opportunity to combine two emphases, one in a language and one in regional/cultural studies, and to create a focused program of study suited to their individual interests and career goals. All students are required to spend a semester abroad and to complete an internship.


Academic Workshop

Students must attend a mandatory Academic Workshop (formally known as "IB101 Orientation") within their first semester at SDSU. You will obtain important information regarding the requirements for the major and course planning.

Please note that you MUST attend an Academic Workshop before you can see an adviser, declare upper-division, or make a study plan.  

Semester Abroad Workshop

Students must attend a semester abroad workshop and apply to go abroad at least one year prior to their intended abroad term. This workshop will cover application procedures, available programs, and academic guidelines.

Success Workshops

These workshops are optional and will vary in topic every semester. Success workshops are intended to cover topics relevant to business, academics, career, and other related areas of interest to students.


Students should meet with the IB Academic Advisor during their first semester on campus to create a study plan. Creating a study plan will assist students with course planning, staying on track to declare upper-division, and preparing for your semester abroad.

It is recommended students take a language course every semester. Students are also encouraged to maintain a balance of business, language, regional, and GE courses every semester.

Declare Upper Division

Students declare upper division upon completion of their lower-division courses in the language, business, and regional cultural areas of your major and have achieved a 2.9 cumulative GPA. Declaring upper-division moves students from “Pre-IB” to “International Business” major status.

What you need to know:

  • We highly recommend students take ALL prep for the major courses at SDSU in order to prevent delays in registration.
  • Cannot double major in any department in the Fowler College of Business (i.e. Finance) Minor is OK.
  • Cannot double major or minor in the language or Regional/Cultural studies of choice (i.e. European Studies).
  • Cannot double count core business courses for a minor.
  • Can minor in the same area as a business focus, but the same course cannot be used to fulfill both the focus and the minor.
  • International business students whose high school language of instruction was taught in a language other than English may not take that language as their emphasis in the major (contact the international business office for further explanation).
  • English is not open to native speakers of English nor to students who graduated from a secondary school where English was the principal language of instruction nor to students with near-native fluency.
  • Japanese is not open to speakers of Japanese who have completed compulsory education through junior high school in Japan.
  • Complete lower-division courses in the major with C or higher (if you receive a C- you will have to repeat the course).
  • No courses may be taken for CR/NC unless indicated as such.
  • For graduation, a minimum of 2.0 in all areas of the major (Business/Language/Regional) is required.
  • Use the advising guide appropriate to your catalog year AND region/language of emphasis as a guide for required courses.

Four-Year Success Plan

From Academics to Career it is never too early (or late) to take control of your degree and make it work for you! The Success Plan is an academic and career resource intended to complement the degree program by encouraging students to engage early and effectively on campus. In addition to the succession plan, students also have access to our career-ready workshops and career advisor to help guide them throughout their degree program.

Explore - Freshman Year

The first priority of Freshman year is to adjust and learn to balance academics, campus activities, and develop a healthy college lifestyle. This year’s plan includes valuable resources on campus that are often overlooked such as the SDSU syllabus collection and Freshman Leadership Connection. Recommendations for career exploration, student organizations, and building a support network on campus are all part of a successful first year!

Engage Sophomore Year

Second-year is the time to dive in! The success plan this year is focused on students defining their professional self by engaging in professional activities. This includes participating in career services events, refining a resume, building leadership by joining student organizations, learning to network, and getting work/internship experience in the business. This is also the year student will take the first steps towards planning for study abroad by applying for scholarships, creating a budget, and renewing passports.

Envision Junior Year

Third-year will be a busy time applying for study abroad semester and beginning upper-division courses. The success plan this semester focuses on students preparing to go abroad while also continuing to achieve academic success in their courses. At the same time, this is the time students should envision their career and focus on a business area.   

Launch! Senior Year

In the final year, students will be going or just returning from abroad. The success plan in this year focuses on making the most of the abroad semester and thinking “business” while abroad. In addition, the plan integrates career preparation, job hunting, and graduate school planning. Essential graduation resources students often miss such as filing for graduation and Gradfest are also included. 

Semester Abroad Requirement

As part of degree requirements, students in the International Business major must complete a semester abroad requirement in their region and language of emphasis. In order to clear the semester abroad requirement, students must choose an IB approved program. We offer three different types of program options;

Option one: Study Abroad Program

Students must attend a study abroad information session at least one year prior to their intended semester abroad. Applications to study abroad are due one year prior to studying abroad.

  • Students who choose this option spend one semester (either fall or spring) in their region and language of emphasis on IB approved programs only.
  • Full-time enrollment required abroad (equivalent to SDSU 12 units)
  • Pay SDSU tuition and financial aid awarded as usual, unless otherwise indicated.
  • We partner with top universities/ business schools abroad 
  • Not your average study abroad program (academically rigorous abroad experience)
  • Program availability varies by semester, placement is not guaranteed.
  • Housing typically not included but the support provided by host universities.
  • Visit Aztecs Abroad for a list of current IB Exchange Programs. For students in Portuguese and Western Europe emphasis please see; Study in Portugal Network.

Option two: Internship Abroad

Students must meet with the internship advisor at least one year prior to their intended semester abroad.

  • Students that select this option must spend 250 hours at an internship located in their region and language of emphasis.
  • Choosing this option allows students to complete both their semester abroad requirements and internship requirements at once.
  • Programs vary in length from full semesters abroad to 8-10 weeks completed in any semester. 
  • Internships abroad can be done in Fall, Spring or Summer
  • Financial aid does not apply to internships abroad.
  • Housing is included in some program costs.
  • Please note we do not have options in all regions.
  • Credit is received through SDSU - IB495 International Business Internships
  • Visit IB Homeroom on Blackboard for a list of current programs.  

Option three: Study + Internship

  • Students selecting this option will combine courses with an internship.
  • Programs vary in length and availability.
  • Each program has a different format for the internship, please read descriptions carefully.
  • Some programs require enrollment in internship credit via the host university - others grant credit via SDSU IB495 International Business Internships.   
  • Visit IB Homeroom on Blackboard for a list of current programs.  

Internship Requirement

As a requirement for the major, the internship is a unique opportunity for students to gain valuable experience and apply knowledge and theory learned in the classroom in a professional setting. Students gain hands-on experience, develop practical skills, and have the opportunity to network and make connections in the professional field.

Students complete their internship hours while concurrently enrolled in the course IB495 International Business Internships. The internship consists of 150 hours at the internship site and additional coursework for three units of credit/no credit. 

Students complete the internship in their junior or senior year once they have obtained upper-division status in the major. We highly recommend students complete the internship in their last semester of senior year.

Internships can be completed locally, anywhere in the U.S., or students can pursue an internship abroad for a complete immersion into their foreign language emphasis. We partner with companies locally and around the world giving students various options when planning their internship experience. Internships abroad can also fulfill the semester abroad requirement in the major.

Non-IB majors are welcome to add the course with approval from the Internship Coordinator.

Global Business Project

The Global Business Project (GBP) is an opportunity for International Business students to create a link between their semester abroad experience and their future careers. Studying and/or interning abroad provides students an opportunity to observe and reflect on global business practices. The Global Business Project will help you to verbalize the value of their abroad experience and aid students in providing real-life experiences in a job interview.

The GBP is comprised of three required blog posts to be completed before and during your semester abroad. Each blog post should be equivalent to two-three pages and can include pictures and/or videos to illustrate your text.

Blog 1: Research

Before going abroad, research is conducted on business aspects of the specific country, region, and/or city the student will be studying in. Topics include the current economy, leading companies and occupations, top industries, marketing and management styles, and more. 

Blog 2: Business Culture Observation

Students will reflect and analyze the business culture around them. In their day-to-day interactions and experiences as a customer, they will observe different aspects of the business culture such as what is valued and prioritized.

Blog 3: Business Practices Abroad

When abroad, it’s beneficial to observe varying business practices and to compare and contrast these with those of other countries. Blog entries will analyze the cultural, political, and business environments of the country. Students will need to actively engage with professors and local businesses to better understand how businesses and organizations operate.

Estimated Cost of Attendance (2020-21)

The total estimated cost of attendance includes tuition expenses for which you are billed, housing expenses, which include food and housing, and transportation, and additional expenses, such as books, supplies, and personal expenses. Costs of attendance are subject to change by the Trustees of the California State University without prior notice. The amounts indicated are the estimated minimum costs required to attend SDSU full time for the 2020–21 academic year (9 months):

Domestic undergraduate

Tuition Expenses California Residents Nonresidents (Out-of-State)
Basic Tuition and Fees $7,720 $7,720
Nonresident Tuition* $0 $11,880
Living Expenses - -
Housing and Food† $18,531 $18,531
Additional Expenses‡ - -
Transportation $1,121 $1,121
Books and Supplies $1,079 $1,079
Miscellaneous and Personal $1,789 $1,789
Total $30,240 $42,120

*Undergraduate nonresident tuition is based on 15 units each semester at $396 per unit. Graduate nonresident tuition is based on 9 units each semester at $396 per unit.

†Freshmen from outside SDSU's local admission area are required to live on campus for two years. Be sure to review the on-campus food and housing payment schedule on the Rates web page of the Housing and Residential Education website. Your total cost and payments will vary depending on the meal plan and room type (double, single) you request. The cost listed for an upper-division transfer is based on a student living off-campus.

‡Plan for additional expenses that will increase your cost of attendance. For domestic undergraduates, we estimate the average annual cost of books and supplies to be $1,969, transportation to be $1,587, and personal expenses to be $1,704. For domestic graduate students, we estimate the average annual cost of books and supplies to be $1,969; transportation to be $2,316, and personal expenses to be $1,704. For international freshmen, the average annual cost of books and supplies is $1,969, transportation is $1,587. For international upper-division transfers, the average annual cost of books and supplies is $1,969, transportation is $2,038. For international graduate students, the average annual cost of books and supplies is $1,969, transportation is $2,316.

International undergraduate

Tuition Expenses First-Year Freshman Upper-Division Transfer
Basic Tuition and Fees $7,720 $7,720
Nonresident Tuition* $11,880 $11,880
Living Expenses - -
Housing and Food† $18,531 $13,860
Additional Expenses‡ - -
Books, Supplies, Transportation‡ $2,200 $2,149
Health Insurance*‡ $1,703 $1,703
Total $42,034 $37,312

*‡Based on one academic year of JCB student health insurance.

Last updated Aug 2020

About the School

San Diego State University (SDSU), a truly global learning community, is an ideal place to begin your international education. Part of the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system, SDSU is t ... Read More

San Diego State University (SDSU), a truly global learning community, is an ideal place to begin your international education. Part of the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system, SDSU is the third-largest university in the state with an enrollment of more than 35,000 students. We offer 97 bachelor's, 84 masters, and 21 doctoral degree programs. Read less