International Studies - Requirements

Students majoring in International Studies begin with foundational coursework in international relations, economics, geography, and sociology/anthropology, and complete their degree requirements with a senior capstone research project. To prepare for this, they develop their own specialization drawing on courses in the thematic areas of Global Development; Conflict, Diplomacy and Peace Building; and Humanitarianism and Social Justice. The challenges and perils that face the global community are multifaceted and complex. Students acquire different sets of knowledge, skills, and values to deal with the complexities that face local to global communities.

Complementary Studies and International Opportunities

Students complement their International Studies major with coursework in related departments like Politics, Economics, Sociology and Anthropology, History or Modern Languages, and in the Dolan School of Business. Many students also pursue related interdisciplinary programs, such as Environment, Women's Studies, Peace and Justice, and area studies programs with which International Studies works especially close - Asian Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Russian and East European Studies. 

The International Studies Program reinforces multidimensional learning with real-world experience through language studies, service learning, Model United Nations, the Undergraduate Journal of Global Citizenship, internships, and study abroad opportunities, and through work with our faculty in research projects. Therefore students are expected to engage in one or more of these forms of experiential learning.

Graduation with Honors in International Studies

Fairfield University has a campus chapter of Sigma Iota Rho, the national honor society for international studies. Students must have attained a junior standing and completed at least twenty-one hours of course work toward the International Studies/Business major, and nine hours towards the International Studies minor. Students with an overall GPA of 3.3 or greater and a GPA of 3.4 or higher in their International Studies/Business major, International Studies minor are nominated for membership.


International Studies Major

For a major in International Studies through the College of Arts and Sciences, students:

1. Complete the following foundational courses in the major:

  • IL 50 People, Places and Global Issues
  • IL 51 International Relations: Theories and Challenges
  • IL 52 Culture and Political Economy
  • IL 53 Introduction to Economics (or EC 11 and EC 12, as required for International Business majors)
  • IL 300 Senior Capstone Seminar

2. Complete 15 credits of electives selected from any three thematic areas, with at least two theory and two applied courses, to develop a specialization in International Studies. These electives may be taken any time during the student's undergraduate studies, though students may wish to spread these courses over their junior and senior year. Students in study abroad may take approved courses to satisfy these electives. However, students are encouraged to complete IL 50, 51, 52, and 53 in their Freshman and Sophomore years, as described below. Students may also complete 15 credits of electives through a self-designed study, with approval of the director.

View the program chart (PDF)

Suggested Course of Study

Freshman Year

  • IL 50

Sophomore Year

  • IL 50 (if remaining)
  • IL 51
  • IL 52
  • IL 53 (usually offered in the Fall Semester)

Junior Year

  • IL 51, 52, or 53 (if any remain)
  • Choose 5 electives from the thematic areas (at least two theory and two applied courses)

Senior Year

  • Complete any remaining electives from the thematic areas (at least two theory and two applied)
  • IL 300 Capstone

International Studies Minor

The College of Arts and Sciences offers a six-course, 18 credit minor in International Studies consisting of:

  • IL 50 People, Places and Global Issues
  • IL 51 International Relations: Theories and Challenges
  • IL 52 Culture and Political Economy
  • IL 53 Introduction to Economics (or EC 11 and EC 12)
  • Two electives from the thematic areas, with one theory and one applied course.

View the Program Chart (PDF)


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