Richmond Home

International Studies Major

International Studies is a rigorous but flexible interdisciplinary major that combines courses across departments and schools at the University of Richmond and at least a semester of study abroad. Students majoring in International Studies select one of seven concentrations, each coordinated by advisors with special expertise in the areas. The IS major and these concentrations provide a well-rounded liberal arts education, awareness of different nations, cultures, and global issues, and preliminary preparation for a variety of careers in the international arena.

The International Studies major begins with the gateway course, Perspectives in International Studies and at least one of two other foundational courses, Geographic Dimensions of Human Development or Introduction to International Relations. Students also reach advanced proficiency in a second language and experience living in another academic culture. During the final year, after study abroad, IS majors complete a capstone Senior Seminar by researching and writing an original scholarly paper on an important international issue.  Successful completion of IS 290 is a prerequisite for IS400.

Students work with faculty advisors to choose additional electives, including courses taken abroad, within each concentration. Selections typically mix courses from anthropology, communications, economics, environmental studies, geography, history, literature, political science, religion, sociology, women’s studies, and the fine arts. Within each concentration, eight units must be taken from three or more departments (with no more than four units from a single department). While studying abroad students are encouraged to work with faculty advisors to identify courses not listed in the Richmond catalog that complement their academic program.

The International Studies Major

Note: The grade point average of the coursework comprising the major must be no less than 2.00 with no course grade less than C- (1.7).

13 units, including

A. Foundational Study in Language and Culture

Students specializing in International Studies should be competent in at least two languages. For many students this requirement can be met by completing two courses taught in a language other than English at the 300 or 400 level in the departments of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures or Latin American, Latino and Iberian Studies. 

B. Approved Experience Abroad

All International Studies students should experience significant cultural immersion via a study abroad program of at least one semester in length, related to the major concentration. Students requesting an exception to this requirement may submit a written petition to the program coordinator for review by a committee of International Studies faculty. 

C. International Studies Coursework (three core units and an IS concentration)


One unit, chosen from:
PLSC 250 Introduction to International Relations
GEOG 210/IS 210 Geographic Dimensions of Human Development

IS 290 Perspectives in International Studies
IS 400 Senior Seminar

An international studies concentration (within the concentration: eight units selected from three or more departments with no more than four units from a single department)

Note: With prior approval, study abroad courses may be applied toward the major.

Students are expected to fulfill all prerequisites necessary for courses within the major. Prerequisites do not count toward the major unless otherwise noted.