Department of International Studies | American University of Sharjah

Department head's message

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.

Welcome to the Department of International Studies at American University of Sharjah. Located in Sharjah, the cultural capital of the Arab world, our department provides an ideal vantage point for students to engage in multidisciplinary approaches to understand the complex political, economic, social, and cultural conditions in the region and beyond. Our mission is to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a rapidly-changing world and to become responsible, active global citizens.  

Over the last two decades, our department has grown into one of the largest departments in the College of Arts and Sciences in terms of student enrollment and the size of the faculty. It is home to six disciplines—political science, history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and psychology, and more than 20 highly qualified teacher-scholars with degrees from some of the worlds’ top universities. The growth of our department reflects the increasing popularity of the fields of international studies and psychology in the region and the success of our alumni. 

Through our two undergraduate majors (BA in International Studies and BA in Psychology) and six minors (history, international studies, middle eastern studies, philosophy, psychology, and women’s studies), our students gain a deep understanding of international relations, politics, development, cultures, human behaviors, and history of the changing Middle East and beyond. We also train our students in a variety of quantitative and qualitative research methods and help them understand the fundamentals of social theories.

Our department is well known for being a vibrant academic community that encourages interaction between students and faculty. Students have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of extracurricular activities. The International Studies Student Association (INSA) hosts a variety of engaging events throughout the year, including guest lectures, movie nights, field trips, annual conferences, and end-of-semester dinners for graduating seniors. A student journal, INSpire, publishes the best student work each year. The AUS Model United Nations (AUSMUN) is the department’s most well-known activity and has made a huge impact on the student organizers and attendees since it was founded in 2007. Our faculty has also supported student participation in the Jessup Moot Court competitions both regionally and globally.

We continue to expand our course offerings to allow students to explore the complex and dynamic social worlds. Students take a wide range of introductory courses and a challenging series of upper-division classes that include such topics as international security, international organizations, environmental sociology, disease and disaster, political economy of the Arab world, and fascism and the populist right. 

Being part of a leading university in the Arab world, our department prepares students for different and exciting career paths, including graduate studies, positions in government and non-government organizations, the media industry, and innovative businesses. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, both our students and faculty have remained resilient. We continue to strengthen our globally-oriented programs and create an inclusive learning environment.

We invite you to explore our web page and get in touch with us to learn more about our programs.    

Yuting Wang, PhD
Professor of Sociology and Head of Department

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Bachelor of Arts in International Studies
College of Arts and Sciences

Leena Khalifa

When I first switched my major to international relations, I hadn’t realized that besides taking a completely different path for a career, I would have the opportunity to develop a unique and enticing university experience that would allow me to store memories for the years to come.  Over the course of my freshman year, I had the chance to interact with new people of many different backgrounds through events and conferences organized by the department and its students. Not only were the students that I had met warm and friendly, but also the department itself was always available to guide me whenever I requested assistance or needed it. It felt like I was a part of a new family. 

The international relations field of study and the department itself provided me with a platform to broaden my capabilities in research, public speaking and presentation skills through courses provided to us, alongside the ambience of the classroom experience. Moreover, activities and events hosted such as the American University of Sharjah Model United Nations, in which students from various places gather and participate in heated debate over contentious issues, helped me gain a greater fundamental understanding in the art of negotiation and provided me with a path to challenge new limits whilst having a good time. 

I have had so far a wonderful experience and I’m excited to store more memories as I progress throughout the rest of my college education. Although I’ve been only been around for a year, the atmosphere allowed me to quickly adapt and hence, feel right at home.

Bachelor of Arts in International Studies
College of Arts and Sciences

Mona Ackholm

The Department of International Studies is (generally) where students come to fulfill free electives. However, most find that they enjoy the classes they take there, often returning for more. The department provides students a break from their academic schedules, gaining new perspectives and expanding their knowledge. In class, the professors provide students a platform in which they can voice their opinions and engage in an open dialogue. It allows students from different fields a chance to elevate their intellect and broaden the depth of their knowledge. When taking a class in the department, students are left with a more holistic educational experience.

Due to the size of the Department of International Studies, students are able to gain a better academic experience for several reasons. This is partially due to the ability of professors and students to develop more personal relationships. These relationships extend beyond an academic one and allow students and professors to know each other beyond a classroom setting. Professors are given a chance to take a personal interest in each and every student, providing them with the necessary tools to pursue their goals and intellectual passions. The faculty are more than just educators, they are mentors that mold students ensuring that they develop both academically and personally. Whether students take a class or major in the field, they leave having gained something, be it knowledge, friends, a mentor or all three.

Bachelor of Arts in International Studies
College of Arts and Sciences

Hanan Al Arab

The Department of International Studies has enabled me to think beyond what is merely visible. The program offers courses that enrich critical thinking skills and advances cross-comparative analysis through a variety of disciplines whether it be political, sociological, economic or historical. The department's activities, such as Model UN, Moot Court and the International Studies Association, have fostered a variety of skill-sets for me, ranging from public speaking to leadership and attentiveness to detail. All in all, the international studies program at American University of Sharjah has broadened my horizons both in the theory and application aspects, equipping me with all the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue different interests and a successful career in the real world.

Bachelor of Arts in International Studies
College of Arts and Sciences

Menna Khaled Khalil

My four years at AUS were incredible and the Department of International Studies (INS) made my university experience all the more worthwhile. From its diverse courses in socioeconomic development to foreign policy and philosophy, to its professors and the overall supportive environment,  the INS department made my years at AUS memorable and enjoyable. The INS department did not only offer me an excellent education, but it further provided me with opportunities where I was able to practically implement what I learned in the classrooms, gain professional experience, and enrich my skills. Such matters not only helped me land internships and jobs, but also allowed me to develop and grow as a well-rounded individual.

 

During my years in the INS department, I was an active and proud member of the Model United Nations (MUN) community. MUN enabled me to discuss and research specific topics of high relevance and importance to today’s world, including environmental and socioeconomic issues. Later on,  I joined the AUS UAE Moot Court team, where alongside my bachelor’s degree in international relations, the department provided me with the opportunity to focus on a field I was extremely passionate about: international law. The Moot Court program was extremely organized and intense to the extent that we INS students stood in courtrooms before some of the world’s best law students and won cases! 

 

I owe most of my success to the INS department. As a result of the excellent education offered by the department and the practical experience I gained, I was able -- though I was merely a junior undergraduate student --  to land training positions in two of the region’s most renowned law firms, complete a DIFC Courts certificate, and publish my first legal article at the mere age of 21. Moreover, during my senior year at AUS, I was able to land the position of Student VP of the International Law Students Association, being the first Middle Easterner to ever hold this position. I am currently completing my post-graduate degree in law in the UK and working as a probono advocate, researcher and translator at organizations that seek to help refugees and immigrants. Once I am done, I aim to return back to the UAE to kick-start my career in any field relating to legal services, international relations or communications. I believe AUS and the INS department properly equipped me for my career.

Bachelor of Arts in International Studies
College of Arts and Sciences

Saud Al Nowais

"Take time to enjoy your undergraduate years, make friends, do a minor, get outside your comfort zone.”  Advice given to INS majors by Saud Al Nowais, AUS class of 2006, now Commercial Attaché at the Emirati Embassy in Washington, DC.