The Program

Earlham students pursue International Studies because they care deeply about a wide range of international issues. Learning about complex and vexing ethical decision-making in a globalized world is a goal of the major. Through courses in Languages, Politics, Economics and History coupled with off-campus study, majors learn to view the world from more than one perspective and to contextualize and problematize analysis through cross-disciplinary conversations. They learn to appreciate how others see and interpret their own location(s) in the world and in relation to contemporary global issues and gain an awareness that different states of mind may be reflected in the use of different languages.

Recent International Studies graduates have obtained prestigious Davis Peace Prizes and Watson and Fulbright scholarships to work and study abroad. Others have served as officers and program assistants in the Asia Foundation, Japan Society and UN-specialized agencies. Still others have worked in the Peace Corps and as human rights monitors. Majors also have pursued graduate studies in fields as diverse as law, city planning, public administration and public health at programs top-ranked globally such as Oxford, the Vienna Diplomatic Academy, the London School of Economics and Political Science, Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, and the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

The Major

To major in International Studies students must complete Core Courses and requirements. Planning a successfully sequenced International Studies Major begins in the first or second year of a student's career at Earlham. This permits courses to form a coherent package of courses that must be approved by the student's adviser and the convener of the program. All courses, other than the INST 488, are offered in collaboration with other departments and full descriptions of the courses are listed by the relevant department.

Core Courses

Introductory Requirement: Majors must complete three of these four options:

  • INST 100 Introduction to Economics
    (Also listed as ECON 100).
  • INST 105 Introduction to Comparative Politics.
    (Also listed as POLS 105).
  • INST 107 Introduction to International Relations
    (Also listed as POLS 107) OR
    INST 170 Introduction to Diplomacy
    (Also listed as POLS 170).

Language Requirement

  • Three language courses in the same language

Research Methods Requirement

  • INST 204 Statistics for Economics (Also listed as ECON 204) OR
  • INST 339 Approaching Political Puzzles (Also listed as POLS 339) OR
  • A History course designated "Research Credit" may fulfill the International Studies research methods requirement.

Upper-level Elective Requirement:

Majors must take four courses forming a coherent package, including one course from each of the following disciplines:

  • Economics
  • History
  • Politics

Majors are strongly encouraged to take POLS 371 Theories of International Relations

Off-Campus Requirement

  • All majors are required to participate in a semester-long off-campus program. Ten credit hours earned on the program may be applied to the Language and/or Upper-level Electives requirements listed above.

Senior Capstone Requirement

  • INST 488 Senior Capstone Experience

Sample Selections for Coherent Focus

All majors develop their individualized selection of courses that are in conversation about a global theme or geographic focus.

Example 1: A student interested in the Middle East might take the following courses for their coherent focus:

  • Coherent Package: Lipstick and Jihad; America’s Middle East; Democracy and Democratization; Economic Development
  • Method: Approaching Political Puzzles
  • Language: Arabic
  • Off Campus: Jordan

Example 2: A student interested in Human Rights might develop a focus like the following:

  • Coherent Package: International Law; the Politics of Inequality; Economic Development; History and Background to the Troubles
  • Method: History Research Methods
  • Language: French
  • Off Campus: Northern Ireland

Example 3: A student interested in China might take the following courses for their coherent focus:

  • Coherent Package: History of China; China in the News; Theories of International Relations; International Trade and Payments
  • Method: INST 204 Statistics for Economics
  • Language: Chinese
  • Off Campus: Shanghai

Depending on their interests, students work with their adviser and the convener of International Studies to develop their own, individualized coherent focus.

* Key

Courses that fulfill
General Education Requirements:

  • (A-AP) = Arts - Applied
  • (A-TH) = Arts - Theoretical/Historical
  • (A-AR) = Analytical - Abstract Reasoning
  • (A-QR) = Analytical - Quantitative
  • (D-D) = Diversity - Domestic
  • (D-I) = Diversity - International
  • (D-L) = Diversity - Language
  • (ES) = Earlham Seminar
  • (IE) = Immersive Experience
  • (RCH) = Research
  • (SI) = Scientific Inquiry
  • (W) = Wellness
  • (WI) = Writing Intensive
  • (AY) = Offered in Alternative Year

Most International Studies courses are listed by their individual departments alone. This is because the determination as to whether or not a course counts for the major depends on the shape of the student’s individual focus. Exceptions include required introductory courses and the capstone.

This course introduces students to the 'economic way of thinking.' It focuses on micro and macro issues and attempts to give the student a way to apply these concepts in different historical, political, social, global and ethical contexts. Macroeconomic topics include aggregate economic measures, income determination and macro policy. Micro topics include marginal and cost-benefit analysis as applied to consumers and firms, market structures, income distribution, market failures and the role of the state in a micro context. Also listed as ECON 100, MGMT 100 and PAGS 100. (A-AR)

With examples from selected countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe, and through a method of systematic comparison, examines the issues and process of nation-building and development, and the roles played by political institutions and parties, leaders and their ideologies, interest groups and political alliances in setting political agenda and selecting policy priorities. Also considers the interplay between history, geography and culture. Serves as a foundation to many upper-level comparative Politics courses. Also listed as POLS 107. (D-I)

Introduces the study of politics and problems on the global political agenda at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st. Studies the role of power and values in shaping international governance and institutions; security dilemma; development of the post-Cold War era; North-South relations; global environmental problems and problems of human rights. Also listed as PAGS 107 and POLS 107. (D-I)

An experiential course that examines political, economic and social issues in world politics by simulating the work of states in U.N. committees and organizations. Students serve as delegates to a regional Model U.N. Scholarly readings on the practice of diplomacy. Also listed as PAGS 170 and POLS 170. (D-I)

Seniors participate in a colloquium with faculty members representing Politics, Economics, History, Language and Literature in cross-disciplinary conversation about a common theme such as migration, nationalism, or globalization. Students write an interdisciplinary literature review and comparative analysis of the assigned problem and make a public presentation. 

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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts, including the sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

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