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Program Components and Requirements

International Studies Program

Program Components and Requirements

CORE COURSES                            


1. INTL 201: A Global Perspective (taught each semester)


2. PSC 202: Comparative Political Economy


    PSC 252: Approaches to International Relations (Fall only)


    INTL 305: Social Foundations of International Studies


    PSC 125: Introduction to Public Policy


3. INTL 251: Intership Seminar


    INTL 252:  Additional Internship Seminar (Optional)


4. INTL 321: Senior Seminar/INTL 30101: Honors Seminar  


5. INTL 322: Senior Thesis/INTL 30101: Honors Seminar 


    INTL 323: Public Policy Portfolio











Two years of college-level study in a foreign language. (12-16 credits)



English 210.2
Writing for the Social Sciences
(3 credits)



Psychology 215
Sociology 232
Economics 290
(4 credits)


AREAS OF CONCENTRATION: (Five electives distributed among three departments)






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


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


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.                            

6. You may choose an Area of Concentration for your IS major from among four groupings:

International Relations

International Public Policy

Culture and Communication


(If there is another concentration that you are strongly interested in that is served by an adequate number of course offerings in three departments, and you have found a mentor who is willing to supervise your work in the concentration, please consult the IS Program Administrator. Permission to choose an alternative concentration is contingent upon a well integrated learning plan, which should include internship possibilities and a likely subject for a senior thesis.)

Your work in your concentration may begin after you have completed INTL 201. Your choice of PSC 252/202 or INTL 305 will be determined by your choice of an area of concentration.

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 Director of the Program regularly about the courses you are taking.

7. 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:  SOC.232.Methods and Techniques of Sociological Research, PSY.215. Applied Statistics, and ECO.290.Principles of Statistics.

8. 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.

9.INTL 251-252 Internship: 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 251.).

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.

The Internship Seminar, which carries three credits, will require a weekly journal and a final term paper on a subject related to the focus of the internship organization.

Students have the option of taking a second semester of the seminar (INTL. 252) for three more credits. Students may also work as interns during the summer for 3-6 credits under faculty supervision.

10. 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 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.

11. 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 & 322/323. Senior Seminar and Senior Thesis/Policy Portfolio: 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.

Students may opt to write a policy paper in lieu of a senior thesis. They will then enroll in INTL 323 in the Spring following the senior seminar and work on their portfolio and policy paper.



Ideally, by the end of your sophomore year, you should be developing a "Learning Plan" which might follow this sequence:

 A. Familiarity with world history, geography and cultures. (College Core Curriculum.)

B. Theory and practice: application of concepts to global issues.INTL 201; PSC252/PSC 202/INTL305.).

C. Area of Concentration: courses in three disciplines that will provide perspectives and insights on a subject and provide the opportunity to study it in some depth.

A pool of courses for a hypothetical Area of Concentration in Development might look like this:












250: Comparative Politics


235: Development & Underdevelopment


236: Latin American Political Systems


267: Social Change in Developing Countries


255: Population & Human Ecology


247: Community Organization



286: Latin America: Comparative Study of 20th-Century Revolutions


285: Emergence of Modern Brazil


(The student would pick five of the eight courses identified)


D. Foreign Language Competency: should be relevant, as far as possible, to your subject and Area of Concentration (e.g. in the hypothetical concentration used above as an example, the student would plan on two years of Portuguese).


E. Internship/ Study Abroad: in the hypothetical concentration used above, the student would plan an internship in a UN agency, a community development agency which sponsors projects in Brazil or in housing in Latin America, or other agencies with programs in Latin America relevant to the student's interest. Alternately, the student may choose to spend a year of study in Brazil.


F. Senior Thesis: in the hypothetical concentration used to demonstrate the Learning Plan, the student's course work, language study and internship/overseas study would culminate in an in-depth study of a socio-economic problem in Brazil e.g. issues relating to the favelas (squatter settlements) of Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo.