The forces of global integration have reduced distances between societies. Cultures, markets, and people interact in ways that were unknown even 20 years ago. This interaction can be for the better: cultures can be enhanced by blending with others, health breakthroughs can be newly available to those in need, emerging markets can provide jobs and goods to new populations of employees and consumers, and ideas about democracy and human rights can be discussed across media never before imagined. But global integration also produces challenges: cultures can clash in new and violent ways, new markets can leave populations behind or excluded altogether, and ideas about political order and human rights can generate violent backlashes. Understanding a world that is both more integrated and possibly more divided requires a deeper knowledge of the cultures and institutions of societies beyond one’s own.
The International Studies Program (ISP) at the University of California, San Diego, brings the insights of different disciplines—anthropology, economics, business, communications, history, linguistics, literature, political science and sociology—to the deep exploration of the causes and consequences of the processes found across the globe. The major provides students with both a firm grounding in a discipline and the flexibility to permit exploration from alternative perspectives. The disciplinary focus chosen by each student contains the foundations of the major. This is complemented with three required electives to be taken in departments outside that of the student’s chosen disciplinary focus. International Studies majors also complete two core courses that serve as gateways to the multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the central international and comparative issues that cut across the ISP curriculum. A required capstone seminar permits the completion of a research paper in close association with a member of the faculty. To enrich and broaden the academic experience within the degree program, studying abroad and gaining internship experience are encouraged.