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International Studies Bachelor of Arts Degree

Technology and the forces of cultural and economic integration appear to reduce the distances between societies, which now impinge on one another on many dimensions. At the same time, ethnic, religious and economic conflicts erupt within and between societies, often in violent form. Both the proximity of other societies and the remaining divides within and between them demand a better understanding of their cultures and institutions. Societies cannot be understood in isolation or at a single point in time; however, they are shaped by global and regional environments-political, military, economic, cultural-and their pasts. Individuals and societies in turn shape those environments as they reinterpret their histories. 

Using different disciplinary lenses, the International Studies major explores the interaction between/among institutions and individuals at every level-- international and national, global and local—and with a view to their historical evolution. The program builds on the strengths of existing international specializations at UCSD. International relations and comparative politics are established and distinguished fields of political science. The comparative study of societies and cultures lies at the core of sociology and anthropology. Literature and Linguistics offer a rich array of courses on the languages and traditions of non-English-speaking societies. Area studies programs provide comprehensive understanding of particular countries and regions. 

The International Studies major provides students with both a firm grounding in an academic discipline and the flexibility to permit exploration from alternative perspectives. The Disciplinary Focus chosen by each student contains the disciplinary foundation of the major. This is complemented with three required electives to be taken in departments outside that of a 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. Among these subjects are cultural boundaries and identities, economic and social development, international and regional integration and their effects, the evolution of political and social institutions, and forms of communication and language. A required capstone seminar permits the completion of a research paper in close association with a member of the faculty. International Studies majors benefit throughout from the activities and programs of the School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), the administrative home for International Studies at UCSD.

Major Requirements by Discipline

Major Requirements Overview

Lower-Division Requirement Overview

Upper-Division Requirement Overview (14 courses)

  • Three (3) core courses:
  • Eight (8) Disciplinary Focus courses
  • Three (3) Interdisciplinary Elective courses
  • Regional Requirement
    • Three of the above eleven track courses must focus on one country or region.