International studies (IS) is an interdisciplinary major with a broad background in international and transnational political, social, economic, commercial, and environmental affairs, together with a comparative study of politics, economics, security, and culture. The goal is to provide students with the necessary tools to understand global processes in their totality and how they are situated and lived in specific regions. The major provides an integrated program of courses that lays the foundation for professional training in a wide variety of areas. Such a foundation can be invaluable in securing a place in competitive graduate or professional schools, which, in turn, prepare students for government service, or for other careers with an international focus, including those in multinational corporations, international finance, non-governmental organizations, and institutions of teaching and research.

The IS major complements numerous majors across campus. Many students choose to double major or enhance their studies with one or more certificates, such as the global health certificate or those offered by the area studies centers.

This major is interdisciplinary, offering a wealth of options. Careful planning and consultation with the IS advisor is especially important.

IS Majors specialize in one of three options:

Option I: Global Security

In this option, majors explore conditions that challenge the ability of people and societies to survive. Students consider the causes of and solutions to political crises and violent conflicts in interstate, transnational, and domestic settings. Using historical and regional approaches, students develop a better understanding of the dilemmas the state and the global community face when confronted by threats to human rights, peace, and stability.

Option II: Politics and Policy in the Global Economy

This option offers a multidisciplinary survey of international economic and political institutions and transactions, as well as the policy issues pertaining to international commerce and trade, international finance and monetary relations, international macroeconomic policy coordination, U.S. trade imbalances, aid and development, and related environmental and natural resource problems.

Option III: Culture in the Age of Globalization

In this option, majors investigate cross-cultural interactions at different levels: local, national, and transnational. Students engage in such issues as cosmopolitanism; international and global flows of images, ideas, and people; questions of identity; changing assumptions of what it means to be indigenous and foreign; globalization and technology; and the impact of globalization on cultures.

Study Abroad

International studies and studying abroad are a natural combination. While study abroad is not a requirement for the major, all IS students are strongly encouraged to pursue a significant international experience during the course of the undergraduate career. Whether through a study abroad program, an internship, or service learning, the experience of studying or working in a foreign culture is invaluable. Many courses taken abroad will count toward the IS major. See the IS advisor for specific guidelines. More information about study abroad and internships is available through International Academic Programs.

Students are advised to declare the major by the end of the sophomore year and/or before studying abroad. To be eligible to declare the international studies major a student must have a GPA of 2.000 both in the major and overall, and have completed (or be in progress toward completing) the following courses, with a minimum combined 2.000 GPA:

INTL ST 101 Introduction to International Studies3-4
Complete the 5th unit of a foreign language 1
Select one of the following:4-8
Principles of Microeconomics
and Principles of Macroeconomics
Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics
and Principles of Macroeconomics
Principles of Economics-Accelerated Treatment 2

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Letters & Science Breadth and Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Students pursuing a bachelor of science degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum. View a comparison of the degree requirements here.


Mathematics Two (2) 3+ credits of intermediate/advanced level MATH, COMP SCI, STAT
Limit one each: COMP SCI, STAT
Foreign Language Complete the third unit of a foreign language
Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
L&S Breadth
  • Humanities, 12 credits: 6 of the 12 credits must be in literature
  • Social Sciences, 12 credits
  • Natural Sciences, 12 credits: must include 6 credits in biological science; and must include 6 credits in physical science
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework 108 credits
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work 60 intermediate or advanced credits
Major Declare and complete at least one (1) major
Total Credits 120 credits
UW-Madison Experience 30 credits in residence, overall
30 credits in residence after the 90th credit
Minimum GPAs 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
2.000 in intermediate/advanced coursework at UW–Madison


Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements and do not need to complete the L&S breadth and degree requirements above.  Please note that the following special degree programs are not considered majors so are not available to non-L&S-degree-seeking candidates:  

  • Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics (Bachelor of Science–Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics)
  • Journalism (Bachelor of Arts–Journalism; Bachelor of Science–Journalism)
  • Music (Bachelor of Music)
  • Social Work (Bachelor of Social Work)

Requirements of the Major

Students must declare the major, complete the common requirements, and the requirements for one of the options within the international studies major. 

The international studies major offers three options:

  1. Culture in the Age of Globalization
  2. Global Security
  3. Politics and Policy in the Global Economy 

A student may not declare or earn more than one major option.

Common Major Requirements

introductory requirements 

INTL ST 101 Introduction to International Studies3-4
Complete the 5th Unit of a Foreign Language (see course list below) 1
Select one of the following:4-8
Principles of Microeconomics
and Principles of Macroeconomics
Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics
and Principles of Macroeconomics
Principles of Economics-Accelerated Treatment 2
Total Credits7-12

5th Unit of Foreign Language Course List

AFRICAN 435 Advanced Studies in Swahili Language-Grammar3
AFRICAN 436 Advanced Studies in Swahili Language-Readings3
AFRICAN/​LCA LANG  445 Readings in Advanced Arabic Texts3
AFRICAN 475 Fifth Semester Yoruba3
AFRICAN 476 Sixth Semester Yoruba3
AFRICAN 493 Fifth Semester, A Language of Southern Africa3
AFRICAN 494 Sixth Semester, A Language of Southern Africa3
AFRICAN 495 Fifth Semester, A Language of Northern Africa3
AFRICAN 496 Sixth Semester, A Language of Northern Africa3
AFRICAN 497 Fifth Semester, A Language of West Africa3
AFRICAN 498 Sixth Semester, A Language of West Africa3
ASIAN 355 Modern Japanese Literature3
E ASIAN 301 4
E ASIAN 302 4
E ASIAN 303 4
E ASIAN 304 4
E ASIAN 335 Intermediate Japanese Conversation3
E ASIAN 347 3
E ASIAN 348 3
E ASIAN 351 Survey of Chinese Literature3
E ASIAN 401 3
E ASIAN 402 3
E ASIAN 403 3
E ASIAN 404 3
E ASIAN 405 3
E ASIAN 406 3
E ASIAN 431 3
E ASIAN 432 Chinese Linguistics II3
E ASIAN 501 Fifth-year Chinese3
E ASIAN 563 Readings in Modern Japanese Literature3
E ASIAN 573 Readings in Classical Japanese Literature3
E ASIAN 651 History of Chinese Literature3
FRENCH 227 Exploring French: Intermediate-Level Course for Entering Students3
FRENCH 228 Intermediate Language and Culture3-4
FRENCH 271 Introduction to Literary Analysis3-4
FRENCH 311 Advanced Composition and Conversation3
FRENCH 312 Advanced Oral and Written Expression: Writing Across the Humanities3
FRENCH/​INTL BUS  313 Professional Communication and Culture in the Francophone World3
FRENCH/​INTL BUS  314 Contemporary Issues in Government, Organizations, and Enterprise3
FRENCH/​INTL BUS  315 Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies in Professional Communication3
FRENCH 321 Introduction to Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern Literature3
FRENCH 322 Introduction to Literature of Modernity3
FRENCH 325 Visual Culture in French/Francophone Studies3
FRENCH 347 Introduction to Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern Civilization3
FRENCH 348 Modernity Studies3
FRENCH 350 Applied French Language Studies1-3
FRENCH/​ITALIAN/​PORTUG/​SPANISH  429 Introduction to the Romance Languages3
FRENCH 430 Readings in Medieval and Renaissance Literature3
FRENCH 431 Readings in Early Modern Literature3
FRENCH 433 Readings in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature3
FRENCH 449 Francophone Modernity Studies3
FRENCH 461 French/Francophone Literary Studies Across the Centuries3
FRENCH 462 French/Francophone Cultural Studies Across the Centuries3
FRENCH 472 French/Francophone Literature and Women3
FRENCH 590 Advanced Phonetics3
FRENCH 595 Theory and Practice of French/Francophone Drama4
GERMAN 221 Introduction to German Literature and Culture I3
GERMAN 222 Introduction to German Literature and Culture II3
GERMAN 225 Composition and Conversation I3
GERMAN 226 Composition and Conversation II3-4
GERMAN 235 Dutch Conversation and Composition3
GERMAN 249 Intermediate German - Speaking and Listening3
GERMAN 258 Intermediate German-Reading3
GERMAN 262 Intermediate German-Writing3
GERMAN 303 Literatur des 19. Jahrhunderts3-4
GERMAN 305 Literatur des 20. und 21. Jahrhunderts3-4
GERMAN 313 Third Semester Dutch for Graduate Students3
GERMAN 325 Topics in Dutch Literature3
GERMAN 337 Advanced Composition & Conversation3-4
GERMAN 351 Introduction to German Linguistics3-4
GERMAN 352 Topics in German Linguistics3-4
GERMAN 367 Study Abroad in German Literature2-5
GERMAN 368 Study Abroad in German Culture2-5
GERMAN 369 Study Abroad in German Linguistics2-5
GERMAN 377 Study Abroad in Dutch Literature2-5
GERMAN 378 Study Abroad in Dutch Culture2-5
GERMAN 379 Study Abroad in Dutch Linguistics2-5
GERMAN 410 Kultur 1648-19183-4
GERMAN 411 Kultur des 20. und 21. Jahrhunderts3-4
GERMAN 625 Letterkunde der Lage Landen3-4
GERMAN 632 A Theme in German Literature3
GERMAN 645 Cultuurkunde der Lage Landen3-4
GERMAN 677 Seminar in German Culture Studies3
GREEK 401 Greek Drama3
GREEK 402 Greek Drama and Lyric Poetry3
GREEK 505 Elementary Prose Composition3
GREEK 510 Homer3
GREEK 511 Hesiod3
GREEK 512 Greek Lyric Poets3
GREEK 520 Greek Comedy3
GREEK 521 Greek Tragedy3
GREEK 532 Thucydides3
GREEK 541 Plato3
GREEK 551 Attic Orators3
GREEK 560 Hellenistic Greek3
GREEK 564 Plutarch3
HEBR-MOD/​JEWISH  301 Introduction to Hebrew Literature3
HEBR-MOD/​JEWISH  302 Introduction to Hebrew Literature3
HEBR-MOD/​JEWISH  401 Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture I3
HEBR-MOD/​JEWISH  402 Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture II3
HEBR-BIB/​JEWISH  513 Biblical Texts, Poetry3
HEBR-BIB/​JEWISH  514 Biblical Texts, Poetry3
HEBR-BIB 701 Aramaic I3
HEBR-BIB 702 Aramaic II3
HEBR-BIB 703 Ugaritic Texts3
HEBR-BIB 704 Canaanite Dialects3
HEBR-BIB 705 Syriac I3
HEBR-BIB 706 Syriac II3
HEBR-BIB 723 Classical Hebrew Linguistics: Historical and Descriptive3
HEBR-BIB 751 The Book of Isaiah3
ITALIAN 230 Modern Italian Culture3
ITALIAN 311 Advanced Italian Language3
ITALIAN 312 Writing Workshop3
ITALIAN 321 Studies in Italian Literature and Culture I3
ITALIAN 322 Studies in Italian Literature and Culture II3
ITALIAN 423 Corso Di Stilistica Applicata3
ITALIAN/​FRENCH/​PORTUG/​SPANISH  429 Introduction to the Romance Languages3
ITALIAN 450 Special Topics in Italian Literature3
ITALIAN 452 Special Topics in Italian Studies: Culture, Film, Language3
ITALIAN 453 Special Topics in Italian Studies: Culture, Film, Language1
ITALIAN 601 L'Ottocento3
ITALIAN 621 Il Settecento3
ITALIAN 631 Lineamenti Di Letteratura Italiana3
ITALIAN 636 Il Romanzo Italiano3
ITALIAN 637 La Poesia del Novecento3
ITALIAN 651 Il Rinascimento3
ITALIAN/​MEDIEVAL  659 Dante's Divina Commedia3
ITALIAN/​MEDIEVAL  660 Dante's Divina Commedia3
ITALIAN/​MEDIEVAL  671 Il Duecento3
JEWISH/​HEBR-MOD  301 Introduction to Hebrew Literature3
LATIN 301 Latin Literature of the Roman Republic3
LATIN 302 Latin Literature of the Roman Empire3
LATIN 505 Elementary Prose Composition3
LCA LANG 501 Fifth Semester Asian Language3
LCA LANG 503 Fifth Semester Burmese3
LCA LANG 504 Sixth Semester Burmese3
LCA LANG 505 Fifth Semester Filipino3
LCA LANG 506 Sixth Semester Filipino3
LCA LANG 507 Fifth Semester Hmong3
LCA LANG 508 Sixth Semester Hmong3
LCA LANG 509 Fifth Semester Indonesian3
LCA LANG 510 Sixth Semester Indonesian3
LCA LANG 513 Fifth Semester Khmer3
LCA LANG 514 Sixth Semester Khmer3
LCA LANG 515 3
LCA LANG 516 3
LCA LANG 517 Fifth Semester Thai3
LCA LANG 518 Sixth Semester Thai3
LCA LANG 519 Fifth Semester Vietnamese3
LCA LANG 520 Sixth Semester Vietnamese3
LCA LANG 527 8
LCA LANG 528 8
LCA LANG 529 8
GNS 531 Fifth Semester Kazakh3
GNS 532 Sixth Semester Kazakh3
GNS 539 Fifth Semester Turkish and Azeri3
GNS 540 Sixth Semester Turkish and Azeri3
LCA LANG 553 Fifth Semester Hindi3-4
LCA LANG 554 Sixth Semester Hindi3-4
LCA LANG 557 Fifth Semester Tibetan4
LCA LANG 558 Sixth Semester Tibetan4
LCA LANG 563 Fifth Semester Persian3
LCA LANG 564 Sixth Semester Persian3
LCA LANG 571 Fifth Semester Urdu3-4
LCA LANG 572 Sixth Semester Urdu3-4
LCA LANG 601 Seventh Semester Asian Language3
LCA LANG 602 Eighth Semester Asian Language3
LCA LANG 616 3
LCA LANG 617 3
LCA LANG 618 3
LCA LANG 631 3
LCA LANG 644 3
LCA LANG 648 3
LCA LANG 653 Advanced Readings in Hindi Language3
LCA LANG 654 3
LCA LANG 675 Advanced Readings in Sanskrit3
LCA LANG 677 Advanced Readings in Tibetan3
PORTUG 225 Third Year Conversation and Composition3
PORTUG 226 Third Year Conversation and Composition3
PORTUG 311 Fourth Year Composition and Conversation3
PORTUG 312 Fourth Year Composition and Conversation3
SCAND ST 251 Readings in Norwegian Literature3-4
SCAND ST 261 Readings in Swedish Literature3-4
SCAND ST 271 Readings in Danish Literature3-4
SCAND ST 373 Masterpieces of Scandinavian Literature: From the Middle Ages to 19003-4
SCAND ST 374 Masterpieces of Scandinavian Literature: the Twentieth Century3-4
SCAND ST 375 The Writings of Hans Christian Andersen3-4
SCAND ST 401 Contemporary Scandinavian Languages3
SCAND ST 419 Scandinavian Children's Literature4
SCAND ST 420 The Woman in Scandinavian Literature4
SCAND ST 422 The Drama of Henrik Ibsen4
SCAND ST 423 The Drama of August Strindberg4
SCAND ST 424 Nineteenth-Century Scandinavian Fiction3-4
SCAND ST 425 Knut Hamsun and the 20th Century Norwegian Novel4
SCAND ST 426 Kierkegaard and Scandinavian Literature4
SCAND ST 427 Contemporary Scandinavian Literature4
SCAND ST 433 The Scandinavian Tale and Ballad4
SCAND ST 434 The Art of Isak Dinesen/Karen Blixen4
SCAND ST 435 The Icelandic Sagas4
SCAND ST 496 The Scandinavian Heritage in America3
SLAVIC 275 Third Year Russian I3-4
SLAVIC 276 Third Year Russian II3-4
SLAVIC 277 Third Year Polish I3
SLAVIC 278 Third Year Polish II3
SLAVIC 302 Zarys historii literatury polskiej3
SLAVIC 307 Study Abroad in Poland1-4
SLAVIC 308 Polish Culture and Area Studies on Study Abroad1-4
SLAVIC 309 Russian Area Studies on Study Abroad1-4
SLAVIC 315 Russian Language and Culture I2
SLAVIC 316 Russian Language and Culture II2
SLAVIC 321 Fourth Year Russian I4
SLAVIC 322 Fourth Year Russian II4
SLAVIC 331 Fourth Year Polish I3
SLAVIC 332 Fourth Year Polish II3
SLAVIC 350 Special Topics in Russian Language, Literature, and Culture3
SLAVIC 420 Chekhov3-4
SLAVIC 421 Gogol3-4
SLAVIC 422 Dostoevsky3-4
SLAVIC 424 Tolstoy3-4
SLAVIC 440 Soviet Literature3-4
SLAVIC 472 Historia literatury polskiej po roku 18633
SPANISH 223 Introduction to Hispanic Cultures3
SPANISH 224 Introduction to Hispanic Literatures3
SPANISH 226 Intermediate Language Practice with Emphasis on Writing and Grammar3
SPANISH 311 Advanced Language Practice3
SPANISH 319 Topics in Spanish Language Practice1-3
SPANISH 320 Spanish Phonetics3
SPANISH 322 Survey of Early Hispanic Literature3
SPANISH 327 Introduction to Spanish Linguistics3
SPANISH 361 Spanish Civilization3
SPANISH 363 Spanish American Civilization3
SPANISH 417 Literatura del Siglo de Oro3-4
SPANISH 435 Cervantes3
SPANISH 453 Literature of the Twentieth Century3
SPANISH 460 Literatura Hispanoamericana3
SPANISH 461 The Spanish American Short Story3
SPANISH 462 Spanish American Theater and Drama3
SPANISH 463 The Spanish American Novel3
SPANISH 464 Spanish American Poetry and Essay3
SPANISH 465 Literature and Film in Spanish America3
SPANISH 466 Topics in Spanish American Literature1
SPANISH 468 Topics in Hispanic Culture3
SPANISH/​CHICLA  469 Topics in Hispanic Cultures in the U.S.3
SPANISH 470 Undergraduate Seminars in Hispanic Literature/Culture/Linguistics3


Area studies courses help students focus their on a specific geographic regions. Students must choose one course from:

AFRICAN/​AFROAMER/​ANTHRO/​GEOG/​HISTORY/​POLI SCI/​SOC  277 Africa: An Introductory Survey4
E A STDS/​ASIAN/​HISTORY/​POLI SCI  255 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations3-4
GEOG 340 World Regions in Global Context3
HISTORY 120 Europe and the Modern World 1815 to the Present4
HISTORY 139 The Middle East in the 20th Century3-4
HISTORY 142 History of South Asia to the Present3-4
HISTORY 201 The Historian's Craft (Portraying China)3-4
HISTORY/​GEOG/​LCA/​POLI SCI/​SOC  244 Introduction to Southeast Asia: Vietnam to the Philippines4
ASIAN 252 Contemporary Indian Society4
HISTORY/​E A STDS  341 History of Modern China, 1800-19493-4
HISTORY/​E A STDS  342 History of the Peoples Republic of China, 1949 to the Present3-4
HISTORY 348 France from Napoleon to the Great War, 1799-19143-4
HISTORY 349 Contemporary France, 1914 to the Present3-4
HISTORY 359 History of Europe Since 19453-4
HISTORY 378 History of Africa Since 18703-4
HISTORY 410 History of Germany, 1871 to the Present3-4
HISTORY 424 The Soviet Union and the World, 1917-19913-4
HISTORY/​SCAND ST  432 History of Scandinavia Since 18153
HISTORY/​LCA  458 History of Southeast Asia Since 18003-4
INTL ST 266 Introduction to the Middle East3
GNS/​HISTORY  265 An Introduction to Central Asia: From the Silk Route to Afghanistan3
SLAVIC/​GEOG/​HISTORY/​POLI SCI  253 Russia: An Interdisciplinary Survey4
SLAVIC/​GEOG/​HISTORY/​POLI SCI  254 Eastern Europe: An Interdisciplinary Survey4


2.000 GPA in all INTL ST courses and other courses in the major

2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits, taken in residence

15 credits in the major, taken on the UW–Madison campus3

Options in the Major

Each option in the major requires 35 credits. Students select one Area Studies course (above), and the option-specific requirements for Core, Issues, and Elective classes (below).4

Distinction in the Major

Students not enrolled in the Honors Program may apply for Distinction in the Major. Criteria include:

  1. A 3.500 grade point average in the major
  2. Completion of a Senior Thesis, Senior Seminar, or "substantial extra work" in an advanced course in the major
  3. A letter of recommendation from a member of the UW–Madison faculty to the international studies advising staff (submitted three weeks prior to the date of graduation).

Honors in the Major

Students may declare Honors in the International Studies Major in consultation with the International Studies advisor(s). They must declare prior to enrollment in their Senior Honors Thesis (typically second semester of junior year).

Honors in the International Studies Major Requirements

To earn Honors in the Major in International Studies, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.300 overall university GPA
  • Earn a 3.500 GPA in major courses
  • Complete 16 upper-level1 major credits, taken for Honors, with individual grades of B or better in each course2
  • Complete a two-semester Senior Honors Thesis, for a total of 6 credits, or two Senior Seminars, with grades of B or better; choose from:
Senior Honors Thesis (2 courses):
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis-First Semester
and Senior Honors Thesis-Second Semester
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Seminar (2 courses):
Topics in Global Security
Topics in Politics and Policy in the Global Economy
Topics in Culture in the Age of Globalization
Topics in Global Environment

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.

1. (Interdisciplinarity) analyzing contemporary political, economic, security and cultural realities globally from multi-disciplinary perspectives, ideally including humanities, social sciences, humanitarian, and sometimes natural science approaches.

2. (Depth of knowledge) mastering at the undergraduate generalist level major issues related to key themes in International Studies (e.g. culture, global security and political economy) by taking 15 credits in one particular theme area.

3. (Regional (studies) grounding) understanding the social, political, economic and cultural forces and conditions that have given rise to the unity and diversity of a specific region of the world today.

4. (Language knowledge) mastering at the undergraduate generalist level a particular facet of life in one or more region of the world by studying a foreign language to at least the advanced (5th semester) level.

5. (Analytical skills) demonstrating the ability to think critically and analytically, the capacity to write clearly and effectively, and the ability to identify and evaluate research methods and outcomes.

International Studies Major ADVISING STAFF

International studies majors have a wide variety of academic advising and career resources and support. Academic advising is essential to a successful undergraduate experience. For this reason, the international studies major has a professional advisor, a peer advisor, and a career advisor. We recommend that you meet with your advisor at least once per semester to track progress toward your degree, explore study abroad options, and begin the career exploration process. The IS major offers walk-in advising, advising workshops, and scheduled appointments. Students exploring the IS major should plan to attend an Intro to the IS Major workshop. To learn more about academic advising information, please visit the IS Major website.

Students should also begin the career advising process early.  The international studies major offers a 1-credit career class designed for sophomores or juniors. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with both the IS career advisor and SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science, and to apply for internship opportunities—both domestically and via International Internship Programs or the Washington DC Internship Program. The IS major also maintains a list of career events across campus that will benefit undergraduate students, hosts career workshops, and has a transition checklist to help students prepare for post-undergraduate life. For more information, please visit our website.

Molly Donnellan, Academic Advisor
Csanád Siklós, Ph.D., Academic Advisor
Joel Clark, Career Advisor

Letters & Science Career Resources

The program encourages our majors to begin working on their career exploration and preparation soon after arriving on campus. We partner with SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science. L&S graduates are in high demand by employers and graduate programs. It is important to us that our students are career ready at the time of graduation, and we are committed to your success.

L&S career resources

SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students leverage the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and liberal arts degree; explore and try out different career paths; participate in internships; prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications; and network with professionals in the field (alumni and employers).

SuccessWorks can also assist students in career advising, résumé and cover letter writing, networking opportunities, and interview skills, as well as course offerings for undergraduates to begin their career exploration early in their undergraduate career. 

The international studies major is directed by Dr. Jo Ellen Fair, Professor of African Cultural Studies.

The advisors for the international studies major are Dr. Csanád Siklós and Molly Donnellan.

The career advisor is Dr. Joel Clark.

Study Abroad

International studies majors are strongly encourage to study abroad. The International Studies Major website provides information about how to plan your experience abroad.


International studies majors are strongly encourage to study abroad. Please review information on the International Studies Major website and the International Internship Program website about opporunities. 

Undergraduate Research

The international studies major encourages students to become engaged in undergraduate research. There are numerous programs that provide research opportunities for undergraduates at UW–Madison including: