International Studies

People today are connected more than ever before in a world of possibilities and challenges. In every facet of our individual and collective lives, we shape this world, just as we are deeply influenced by what transpires at its furthest corners.

International Studies enables you to gain knowledge and experience to navigate our global society. You will learn to speak a foreign language, engage with culturally diverse societies, study the economic dynamics of international trade and confront changing geopolitical lines. 


NC State offers a major and a minor in international studies for interested students. Students who major in international studies select from one of eight concentration options.  The degree also requires six credit hours from an approved Study Abroad program as well as the following required courses:

  • IS 200: Introduction to International Studies
    • This course provides students a knowledge base and vocabulary about International Studies.  
  • IS 393: Theories of Globalization
    • This course bridges introductory materials and capstone coursework for International Studies majors. This course offers an in-depth and interdisciplinary examination of various aspects of globalization including economics, human dimensions of environmental change, culture, ethics and power. The course builds student understanding of the relationship between theory and application in International Studies in light of topics such as international migrations, interethnic relations, human dimensions of environmental change, and global economic connections.
  • IS 491: Senior Seminar in International Studies:
    • This course is the capstone course for International Studies majors. As a senior seminar, students should take the class toward the end of their time at NC State. The course trains students in the formulation and investigation of research questions that are international in scope. Work in this course is similar to that of a senior or honors thesis.
  • Acquire foreign language skills (complete a 300 level or above course)

Students interested in pursuing a minor in International Studies will complete 15 hours of course work.

Search through Registration and Records to find International Studies courses: make sure to select IS when searching for subject.  


What do we really know about Africa? Look beyond common stereotypes and popular misconceptions to better understand the second most populous region of the world. Economics professor William Easterly writes, “Today, as I sip my Rwandan gourmet coffee and wear my Nigerian shirt here in New York, and as European men eat fresh Ghanaian pineapple for breakfast and bring Kenyan flowers home to their wives, I wonder what it will take for Western consumers to learn even more about the products of self-sufficient, hardworking, dignified Africans?" (L.A. Times, July 6, 2007)

Africa has a rich pre-colonial history, and became fully connected to the modern industrialized world during European colonialism, even though this left behind a controversial legacy of under-development.  Africa today is a continent with abundant resources and potential, as well as many enduring challenges. Students in this concentration will take steps toward understanding Africa—home to 2,100 native languages and one billion people—in its full complexity.

View Semester by Semester Plan

Located at the crossroads of cultural and economic interactions, the East and Southeast Asia region is home to some of the earliest cradles of civilization. With a third of the world population residing in this region, East and Southeast Asia has a very heterogeneous ethnic, political and cultural composition. The physical geography of the region offers a mix of continental, archipelagic and island environments that not only result in rich fishing grounds, beautiful harbors and vast reserves of geothermal and other natural energy, but has also served as the landscape for geophysical hazards such as tsunami, typhoon, earthquake and volcanic eruptions, not to mention maritime piracy and regionalistic thinking among its inhabitants. Ranging from religious practices such as Catholicism (Philippines), Shintoism (Japan), Buddhism (Laos/Cambodia), or Confucianism (China), to forms of governance such as absolute monarchy (Brunei), totalitarianism (North Korea), single-party socialism (Vietnam, Laos) and constitution-based democracy (Singapore, South Korea). East and Southeast Asia's diverse forms of geographic, political and cultural features make for a fascinating study from the local, national and regional scales.

View Semester by Semester Plan

Expand your knowledge of the political, social and economic processes that influence contemporary Europe. Europe has been a center of international power for centuries, and its individual nations continue to wield significant global influence. The continent has undergone profound political and economic transformations in the last half-century that include the emergence of the European Union (EU), whose institutions link 28 nations. Despite these developments, Europe remains very much an idea in progress and a reality under construction. Some of the arenas where we see this reality contested include challenges with continued expansion of the EU to include additional countries, transnational migration, monetary integration, and competing political ideologies. 

The future of Europe includes some major challenges, including the integration of new member states as the European Union expands, issues related to transnational migrations and trafficking, the difficulties of the Euro-Zone and monetary union, and the rise of competing ideologies, particularly far-right political parties. 

View Semester by Semester Plan

Globalization encompasses a series of long-term processes that have prompted profound cultural changes around the world. Globalization has, in many ways, made the world a smaller place while expanding our horizons. How do music, philosophy, religion, language and other cultural qualities vary around the world? Choose from a list of courses that draw heavily from the Humanities and that allow you to explore a variety of cultural traditions, including the historical basis for these traditions and their expression in modern life.

View Semester by Semester Plan

Is the world a single, global system? What factors support global integration and the continued importance of national and local-level societies?Learn theories of globalization and explore the limits of global interconnectedness. Additional topics include the role of religion in international settings, ideas of global justice, and the historical antecedents to global organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank.

View Semester by Semester Plan

How might we improve the well-being of people around the world? How might we protect the global environment? How does global trade and international development operate? Explore these and other questions in the Global Sustainability and Development Concentration. Additional topics include the role of new technologies in internationals contexts and the global politics that affect economies and environments.

View Semester by Semester Plan

Examine a region of sharp contrasts and rich cultural history. In addition to its European ancestry, some parts of Latin America are strongly Native American. Sixty-two Native American languages are spoken in Mexico alone. Other parts show an unmistakable African heritage. Along the Caribbean coasts of Belize and Guatemala and south to Colombia and Venezuela, Afro-Caribbean people speak Creole languages. Parts of Latin America, especially Brazil, are widely expected to dominate the global economy. Other countries count among the poorest in the world (Honduras and Nicaragua) or house some of the starkest differences in wealth and poverty (Colombia and Mexico). Latin America houses 9% of the world’s population in 20 countries. Some 17% of U.S. citizens describe themselves as Latino. As with other parts of the world, when we study Latin America, we also study ourselves.

View Semester by Semester Plan

South Asia and the Middle East (SAME) have a rich history, contemporary governance and religion, and extraordinary popular music, cinema and fine arts. Extending from the Maldives and Bhutan to Egypt, SAME is home to languages and cultures practiced by more than half of the world’s population. Some of the world’s newly-influential cities, such as Dubai, are located here, alongside the largest and oldest urban centers in the world, including Delhi, Baghdad, Karachi, Jerusalem and Beirut. Look beyond popular stereotypes and misunderstandings that Western nations have about SAME in order to better understand the unique and diverse world views of these vital regions.

View Semester by Semester Plan

Study Abroad

The study abroad component of the International Studies major adds depth to your education through sustained engagement with people and communities outside the United States. The major requires study abroad experience equal to six hours of college credits. Approval of these credits for the major is contingent on consultation with your IS faculty advisor. In making this assessment, the advisor will take into account the knowledge and experience offered by the study abroad program. In descending order of preference, IS faculty strongly recommend study abroad programs that offer one year, or one semester, or 4-6 weeks of summer study. 

Please visit the Study Abroad Office and for information about study abroad opportunities and to submit your application.  Also visit our FAQ page for more information about the study abroad program.

Scholarships and Research Opportunities

International Studies students include some of NC State's most engaged and intellectually active undergraduates.  We encourage undergraduates to seek out scholarship and research opportunities and speak with your advisors about possibilities. Check out our Scholarships and Research Opportunities Page for more information. 

Clubs and Organizations

International Studies Club

The IS Club meets regularly for discussions and participates in other NC State activities. For information contact the IS Club Faculty Advisor, Dr. Carol Ann Lewald.

Sigma Iota Rho - International Studies Honors Society

NC State has a local chapter of the International Honors Society, "Eta." The college’s International Studies Director, Dr. Murray, organizes chapter meetings. Please contact him if you are interested in joining.

Also Check Out


Graduates from International Studies go on to work in foreign markets, multinational corporations, humanitarian and relief organizations, international media and journalism.