I am often asked what is the most important benefit students get from the majoring in international studies. My answers depend on who’s asking and include such points as the variety of subjects covered by our courses, the cosmopolitan make-up of the faculty and the range of jobs held by our graduates. But the single most important aspect of the program is that we teach our students is to think for themselves. Becoming a critical thinker is not easy students are constantly pushed to ask questions about everything, to take nothing at face value and to develop the skills to communicate their ideas to any audience.
International studies students are a part of a vibrant academic community that encourages interaction between students and faculty and boasts a wide range of extracurricular activities. The International Studies Student Association (INSA) hosts end of semester dinners for graduating seniors and sponsors a student conference. A student journal, Syraj, publishes the best student work each year. The department’s most well-known activity is the Model United Nations (MUN) which holds an annual conference each spring that attracts hundreds of participants from around the region. MUN organizers have attended training sessions and participated in other MUN’s both in the region and at the United Nations in New York City.
International studies is a multidisciplinary program combining history, political science, philosophy, anthropology, sociology and psychology that provides students with a broad perspective on the world and gives them the soft skills vital to success in the 21st Century. Students take a wide range of introductory course and a challenging series of upper division classes that include such topics as religion and society, disease and disaster, the European Union, civil society in the Middle East and North Africa, and Fascism and the Populist Right.
For students who want something out of the ordinary, something that takes them unexpected places and makes them look at the world in a new light, international studies is the right choice.
Vernon Pedersen, PhD
Professor of History and Head of Department