For students entering (or declaring the IS Major) in Fall 2021 and beyond, please visit the new Bachelor of Arts in International Studies page.

The Bachelor of Arts with a major in international studies requires a minimum of 120 s.h., including at least 43 s.h. of work for the major. Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in all courses for the major and in all UI courses for the major. They also must complete the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core.

The major allows students to integrate theoretical knowledge about broad global processes (and the methods used to study them) with in-depth examination of a particular geographical region or a major world theme. The multidisciplinary curriculum of the major is designed so that students learn to appreciate and understand world cultures, focus on themes of global significance, and distinguish between the varied disciplinary approaches employed to study international issues.

The major in international studies is flexible, drawing on courses across the humanities, social sciences, and the arts. Students work closely with an academic advisor to plan their program of study.

Work for the major includes two introductory courses, three foundation courses, language study beyond that required by the GE CLAS Core, required coursework in one of the major's tracks, and requirements for one of the major's three program options (A, B, or C).

International studies students must complete coursework from at least four different departments and/or programs; they may count a maximum of 12 s.h. from any department or program toward the major. Students may apply up to 12 s.h. of coursework from each additional major, minor, or certificate they earn toward the international studies major. Transfer credit approved by the International Studies Program may be applied to the major. Students must complete at least 15 s.h. of work for the major at the University of Iowa.

Students who earn the major in international studies and want to earn a major in global health studies can do so as long as they select a track in international studies other than the global health studies track.

Listed below are the general categories of coursework required to earn the degree; for more specific information on courses, curriculum, and requirements of the Bachelor of Arts in international studies, visit the UI General Catalog 2020-2021 Archive.

Coursework Requirements
Title Hours
Introductory courses 4
Foundation courses 9
Language Requirement (see below) 6
Track courses (see below) 18
Program Option A, B, or C (see below) 6
Total Hours 43

**If you wish to petition to have a different course approved for your International Studies Minor, please complete this form.


Language Requirement

All students must complete a minimum of two world language courses beyond that required by the GE CLAS Core. This additional language requirement may be met either by completing two fifth-semesters-level courses in the same language used to fulfill the GE CLAS Core World Languages requirement or by completing two courses, or the equivalent, of a second world language at any level.

In fulfilling the language requirement, most students are eligible to receive an additional 4 s.h. of ungraded credit under the Furthering Language Incentive Program (FLIP). This credit may be applied to the minimum 120 s.h. required for graduation, but it does not count toward requirements for the international studies major.


Students complete their choice of one of the major's tracks. Each track requires a minimum of 18 s.h. of coursework, including at least 12 s.h. earned in courses numbered 2000 or above. Students may not count their foundation courses toward track requirements.

International studies majors completing the certificate in global health studies, International Business, or Latin American studies or the minor in global health studies, Latin American studies, or Russian and Eastern European studies may not choose an International Studies track that corresponds with those certificate(s) or minor(s).

More information on the available tracks can be found on the Tracks of Study page.

See the International Studies Course Database for approved courses each semester.

Program Options

International studies students complete all of the requirements for one of the major's three program options: A, B, or C. Program option requirements are not interchangeable.

Program Option A
Students explore issues and opportunities related to their interests and goals with two required courses.

Program Option B (Senior Project or Honors Thesis)
Students complete a senior project or Honors Thesis related to coursework in their international studies track, along with two required courses.

Program Option C (Experiential Learning)
Students complete an approved experiential learning activity (credit or noncredit), such as study abroad or related volunteer work, along with two required courses. They also submit an international studies essay during their last year.

More information and details about the available program options can be found on the Program Options page.