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Program Components and Requirements

International Studies Program

Program Components and Requirements

A User-Friendly Guide to International Studies Major Requirements 

Below are some guidelines for meeting the ISP requirements:

A 2.5 GPA plus a C+ Average in the major is REQUIRED for graduation. (All core courses as well concentration courses).

1. Your first task is to familiarize yourself with the College Core Curriculum requirements (through the Advisors in the Office of Student Success SH/550) and make arrangements to meet those requirements.

In fulfilling the College Core Curriculum requirements, the courses World Civilization,  World Humanities, and Reason, Knowledge and Value will provide you with a good foundation for IS.

2. Students intending to major in IS are advised to take at least one core course in the following disciplines: Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, and History. Substitute core courses are accepted in Geography, Psychology, Philosophy, Asian Studies, Black Studies, or Latin American Studies.

The core courses will give you a good grounding in the disciplines that make up the IS Program and prepare you for INTL 201, A Global Perspective, which will be your first IS course.

3. Writing Course: English 210.2 Writing for the Social Sciences.

The sooner you complete this requirement, the better prepared you will be for your major.

4. INTL 201: A Global Perspective. This introductory course is usually taken in the sophomore year, when you have completed World Civ. 101 and 102 and have sufficient background knowledge to be able to handle INTL.201.

5. PSC 202: International Political Economy. This core course introduces you to theories of political economy and examines the relationship between political and economic systems.

Or  PSC 252: Theories of International Relations. This core course introduces you to theories of international relations

6. INTL 305: Social Foundations of International Studies: This course is offered to students who are interested in the study of societies, cultures, language, and communication.                            

7. You may choose an Area of Concentration for your IS major from among four groupings: The five courses in your area of concentration should be distributed among three disciplines to ensure that you have a multidisciplinary perspective on your subject. While it is difficult to anticipate all of the courses that might be taught in departments beyond a year, it is still useful to have a plan of coursework for your Area of Concentration. You should consult the Program Administrator regularly about the courses you are taking.

Culture and Communication

Culture and Communication is the largest of the concentrations within the International Studies Program at CCNY. Students interested in the Culture and Communication concentration path will have the unique opportunity to explore international studies from a variety of perspectives. The main ones being: social constructs (such as race, gender and sexuality), language, music, and politics. The Culture and Communication concentration helps students understand the way that sociological dynamics are used to shape a country or region’s position within the existing geo-politics. An integral aspect of this concentration is its emphasis on the fact that socio-historical dynamics must be taken into account if we are to understand the world as it really is and the possibility of envisioning a better world.

International Relations

The International Relations concentration is dedicated to those interested in studying the multitude of ways nation-states interact with one another on military, socio-economic, and cultural matters. The courses used to shape the concentration will help students understand how political institutions— such as the United Nations and World Health Organization— processes, and public politics operate in world affairs. In short, the concentration exposes students to an understanding of the institutionalized dynamics that shape global affairs, which often have particular consequences for those with the most power and those working to strive for access to that power. Careers in international, national, federal, state, and local governments; law; business; international organizations; nonprofit associations and organizations; campaign management


Students looking to embark on this concentration path will have the unique privilege of understanding how the whole world got to where it is today in terms of development. Students will explore the development of the world through the evolution of social dynamics and developmental theories. Students will learn how we transformed our societies based on the classical economic theories of Adam Smith to the Neoliberal development of the 21st century. Students will also be intimated into the roles of the International Financial Institutions (IFI) like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) plays in the developmental process of the world.

Public Policy

The Public Policy concentration helps students to develop advanced analytical and leadership skills necessary to formulate and advocate policy on key international issues. This is the most practical or hands on of the four, this concentration helps students to identify pressing public policy problems in the social sectors and provide an array of expertise to foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed in designing creative policy solutions and managing programs. Most students pursuing this concentration desire to pursue careers in an array of fields including think tanks, non-profit organizations, and/or work for the State Department.

8. Quantitative Skills:The ability to use quantitative data will stand you in good stead in your course work and in your senior capstone submission. Your choice of a quantitative skills course will depend on your area of concentration, for techniques of research vary somewhat with each discipline. IS students may choose one of the following courses in quantitative skills:  INTL 31107 Research Methods in IS, SOC.232.Methods and Techniques of Sociological Research, PSY.215. Applied Statistics, and ECO.290.Principles of Statistics.

9. Foreign Language Competency: Majors in IS are required to complete two years of college level study in a foreign language. Students who enter the program with an advanced knowledge of a foreign language should contact the Foreign Languages Department (NAC 5/223) for an evaluation of their language proficiency. The frequency with which language courses are offered depends on student demand. If a language is not taught at CCNY, you may take it on permit at another CUNY campus.

10.INTL 31117 Internship Seminar: The objectives of the ISP internship are to provide students with valuable work experience and to familiarize them with the workings of international agencies. The internship is undertaken through the Internship Seminar (INTL 31117.).

Students have many choices of internship. They are eligible to participate in internships with diplomatic missions to the U.N., with U.N. agencies (when accessible), international businesses, research institutes, Non-Governmental Organizations and agencies sponsoring programs overseas. Students with an interest in a secondary school teaching career, emphasizing global studies, may undertake a teaching internship in a city high school, after appropriate preparatory work in the School of Education.

11. Study Abroad: Students are encouraged to use this option for course credit, or for fulfilling the internship requirement. The college supports IS students' efforts at overseas study through the Weston Fellowship and Winston Fellowship. The Study Abroad office can give you more information on the availability of financial support and procedures to obtain it.

You should keep in mind that overseas travel should be related to your area of concentration. It may consist of courses at an overseas institution, independent field work, or intensive language training. Students who wish to use the overseas study option towards their IS degree should prepare a proposal outlining the study to be undertaken (with provision for language study) and demonstrating how it will fit in with their overall Learning Plan.

12. Electives: IS requirements amount to between 37 and 44 credits. These do not include the College Core Curriculum requirements. When you have fulfilled these credit requirements you will still have a substantial number of credits which will enable you to choose electives that interest you, since you will need 120 credits to graduate. (If you find that you have many credits left over to make up the 120, you may wish to take on a double major with another program or department.)

Each Spring, IS majors are eligible to participate in simulations of the United Nations in New York through the course PSC 255/INTL 31406.

12.INTL 321 & 322. Senior Seminar and Senior Thesis: The Senior Seminar represents the final course work in the program. Students may not enroll in the Seminar until they have fulfilled all of the IS requirements of the first three years. They must also ensure that they have maintained a GPA of at least 2.5 lest they encounter some unpleasant surprises at the time of graduation.

  • While seniors who opt to write a senior thesis begin work on their thesis in the senior seminar, they will normally work with a mentor outside the seminar, who can help them with bibliographies and expertise on the subject of their thesis. The seminar develops their writing skills, helps them select a topic, guides them in research methodology, and provides feedback on their thesis as it develops.
  • The senior thesis usually deals with an international or global problem or issue, demonstrating the student's understanding of the subject and skill in research, and critical evaluation of relevant literature. The essay is approximately 50 pages in length, should be footnoted and contain a bibliography.