Bachelor in International Studies


Program Description

Bachelor in International Studies

Ohio Wesleyan’s distinctive International Studies major focuses on experience and connections. As a student, you have many opportunities to gain real-world experience through internships and research projects in Washington, D.C., and locations around the world. Just as important, you have daily international opportunities on campus – meeting international policy experts and scholars, Skyping with leaders at NATO and other international organizations, interacting with OWU alumni at the height of federal agencies, and living on a campus with fellow students from around the world.

Introduction to the Program

In the International Studies program, you will explore how countries interact in our ever-shrinking world. Whether you are interested in examining issues in the world in general, or in a particular region of the world, the cross-disciplinary nature of International Studies gives you a chance to work closely with a variety of professors and develop a major that satiates your intellectual interests.

Program Features

  • You’ll be encouraged to study abroad and supported in your efforts with approved off-campus programs on six continents, including OWU programs in Spain, Ireland, and Tanzania, and Great Lakes Colleges Association-approved programs in China, Europe, India/Nepal, Japan, Russia, and more.
  • Ohio Wesleyan’s unique Theory-to-Practice Grants let you compete for University funds to support independent research throughout the world as you lay the foundation for your future.
  • You’ll find plenty of internship opportunities, including the Wesleyan in Washington program, where you can earn academic credit for working in the nation’s capital, and The Philadelphia Center, where you live independently and complete an internship in a government, business, or social service setting.

About the Major

The cross-disciplinary nature of OWU's International Studies major provides you with a holistic understanding of global issues and interactions. And the setting in a national liberal arts university means you can work closely with a faculty mentor to develop a major and deeply explore research projects that fit your interests and goals.

In the major, you can pursue general international studies or concentrate on a specific region - Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, or the Middle East. The core curriculum covers global issues, international economics, and international politics, and you’re encouraged to study at least one foreign language and spend at least one semester studying or interning abroad. You’ll cap off your major with an integrative senior seminar to help tie everything together.

International Studies Major

Students preparing for careers related to international studies and for graduate study in international relations programs or who wish to pursue international studies as a field within the liberal arts tradition may adopt an international studies major. The major will consist of at least 12 units including a core curriculum and a concentration in either general studies or area studies. An integrative Senior Seminar is required as part of the core curriculum. In addition, some proficiency in a foreign language is required as are two cognate/humanities electives. See the international studies program booklet for a detailed description of the major.

Each international studies student is strongly urged to spend one semester on either an approved program of study abroad or an approved international internship program. No course in the major program may be taken credit/no entry. One directed reading or independent study course may be substituted for an elective. Students are encouraged to undertake such study, particularly when it is interdisciplinary in nature.

An International Studies Committee composed of four faculty members, one each selected by the departments of economics, history, politics and government, and modern foreign languages, must approve the student’s precise program and subsequent modifications. Current committee members are Chairperson Sean Kay (Politics and Government); Goran Skosples (Economics); Jeremy Baskes (History); and Thomas Wolber (Modern Foreign Languages).

Learning Objectives

Specific intended student goals are to gain:

  • knowledge in the disciplinary categories of the field broadly or regionally/comparative and in related language and cognate courses;
  • skills in critical thinking and qualitative and quantitative analysis, and in written and oral communication;
  • value knowledge in a global context
  • ability to build upon existing knowledge and synthesize interdisciplinary thinking via capstone
  • intercultural skills that are attained via study abroad, travel-learning courses, theory-into-practice grants in addition to participation in on-campus lecture series, Global Studies Institute, on-campus international living experiences and student club participation (i.e. Model United Nations), and national and international internship opportunities.

Core Curriculum

The core curriculum consists of four units: PG 112 Global Issues or PG 113 Comparative Political Issues; PG 360 - International Politics or PG 344 Comparative Political Topics: Democratization; PG 499B Senior Seminar in International Relations; and ECON 370 - Economic Systems or ECON 372 - International Economics.


Concentrations are offered in general international studies or in particular areas of the world (Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East). The latter concentrations occasionally involve one country.

Major Requirements

Three units are specified: PG 362; ECON 353 OR GEOG 345 OR PG 364; and either HIST 380 or PG 361. Three elective units chosen from among PG 346, PG 361, PG 371; HIST 352, HIST 380, and possibly HIST 377 or HIST 378; ECON 366, ECON 354/HIST 354, ECON 376; BUS 376; GEOG 345 (if not taken as a specified unit), GEOG 245; GEOL 270; HIST 360; SOAN 367; WGS 300 4. Two cognate units are chosen from among the humanities, including the art, English, humanities-classics, modern foreign languages, music, philosophy, religion, and theatre & dance departments. Note: A few courses are being revised, and electives may be modified. Contact program chairperson with any questions.

Area Studies

Area Concentrations

Three units are specified: ECON 353, SOAN 360, and PG 349 (Asia) or PG 344 (Africa) or PG 348 (Latin America) or PG 344 (Middle East). Three elective units are chosen to focus on the specific area from the economics, history, politics and government, and sociology/anthropology departments. Two cognate units are chosen from the humanities, including the art, black world studies, comparative literature, modern foreign languages, music, and religion departments.

European Area

Three units are specified: PG 346, HIST 352, and either ECON 357 or ECON 354/HIST 354. Three elective units are chosen to focus on the specific country or area from the economics, geography, history, or politics and government departments. Two cognate units are chosen from the humanities, including the art, English, comparative literature, modern foreign languages, music, philosophy, religion, and theatre and dance departments.


Two units beyond the level of 111 are required and may be taken from the offerings of the modern foreign languages department and study-abroad programs, or a combination of the above, as arranged by the student. Offerings at Ohio Wesleyan in languages such as Italian and Russian are limited, so these languages can be used to satisfy this requirement only if the student completes the language study abroad or at another university. Exemption if the student is international and is fluent in another language if the student does not have a concentration.

Think Big

We emphasize intellectual curiosity, creativity, initiative, and synthesis. OWU provides many research opportunities for you to explore an existing problem or process — or perhaps to develop a totally new avenue of exploration. You can work with a faculty mentor and apply for grant funding.

You can present your research at the Student Symposium in the spring and at other conferences.

Go Global

OWU offers a wide variety of ways for you to journey to a distant land and immerse yourself in another culture.

From your first year on campus, you can get off campus with Travel-Learning Courses, a key part of The OWU Connection. You can also spend a semester at an overseas university or apply for OWU grants for shorter research projects around the world.

Get Real

Every OWU student has a variety of opportunities to connect classroom learning with real-world experience. You can take on an internship, or work with a professor to create a unique project - and get OWU funding to help carry it out.

Many International Studies majors take advantage of OWU's Wesleyan in Washington internship program, where you work for a semester in a setting that aligns with your goals.

Last updated Aug 2018

About the School

Ohio Wesleyan University is a community of people who have an insatiable appetite for life and learning. We are passionate and eager to make connections with the world around us and the world within. ... Read More

Ohio Wesleyan University is a community of people who have an insatiable appetite for life and learning. We are passionate and eager to make connections with the world around us and the world within. Why? Because connecting disparate ideas, perspectives, and experiences fuels innovation and discovery. Our 200-acre campus offers endless opportunities to explore. Pursue them all. Dream up new ideas. Seize mind-blowing and future-shaping opportunities. Fully experience the richness and connectedness of a liberal arts education. Read less