International Studies

The International Studies major aims to educate students for careers and as engaged citizens in an increasingly interconnected world where understanding other peoples and cultures, and communicating and collaborating with them, are becoming indispensable aspects of effective public and private decision-making. Emphasizing an interdisciplinary and integrative approach to learning, the International Studies major is designed to prepare students with the critical and analytical skills necessary to be engaged citizens in a changing world.

The objective of the International Studies major is to prepare students – through the study of foreign languages, cultures and international events – to understand and interact with foreign cultures and be conversant in global affairs. In turn, students should be able to understand international issues from an interdisciplinary perspective and apply this to global and local problems.

The major is intended for those who want an international emphasis in their chosen area of study or to create their own vision of a multidisciplinary liberal arts major. International Studies is well-suited to serve as one component in a dual-major combination, and a major in International Studies also serves as suitable preparation for taking the Foreign Service Exam, for a career in government work, or employment with non-governmental organizations, as well as advanced study in doctoral programs and graduate professional programs, such as law and business.


The Program of Study

The International Studies major draws its courses from numerous departments throughout Rockford University. Students can choose courses from disciplines including political science, history, economics, sociology, philosophy, art, business, theater, religion, classics, modern foreign languages and others.

The International Studies major is composed of four elements:

  • Courses providing a common "core" introduction and overview of international relations, global issues, social patterns, political affairs, economic forces, and contemporary problems.
  • Foreign language study, the credit requirements for which depend on the type of degree being earned: for a B.A., 16 credits of foreign language; for a B.S., 8 credits.
  • Elective courses from the liberal arts, social sciences and related fields, allowing personalized study and concentration within a desired focus area (these may overlap with a student’s course work for a double major within the University’s allowed use of courses for more than one major or minor; consultation with the Registrar on such questions is advised).

    Electives are divided into two categories:

    A) social and behavioral sciences, and

    B) arts and humanities.

    Courses and concentrations are listed below.

  • Participation in at least one study abroad program, with a minimum duration of four weeks in a non-English-speaking country or two weeks in an International Service Learning or other international community-based learning program.

Ideally, majors will partake of a short study abroad course early in their university career, then a more substantive semester or year-long experience during their junior or senior year. Financial aid may be available and several program options are offered. Further, students may wish to coordinate their study abroad with research for their Senior Seminar or work in a concentration area. Consultation with an academic advisor, financial aid director and the Office of Global Affairs is required to plan an appropriate course of study.