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International Studies Major


The major in International Studies is designed for students interested primarily in the fields of international relations and comparative politics. It offers a relatively flexible, interdisciplinary, social science major with a Political Science foundation.

Requirements & Procedures

To declare a major, please refer to the instructions on the Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE) website. If you have any questions or concerns about major requirements, please contact Amanda Hutson

Major requirements will depend on your planned graduation date and/or declaration date. Review the information below to determine the applicable major requirements. If you have any questions, please contact Amanda Hutson


  • No more than three 100-level courses (not including QTM 100) may be used to satisfy the major.
  • A minimum of seven courses must be taken at Emory University or Oxford College. International Studies majors may get credit for up to four courses taken outside of Emory (study abroad programs, Bard Globalization and International Affairs & Washington Semester Programs, transfer, and transient credits) that have been approved by the department.
  • Students may not double major in Political Science and International Studies, nor may a student major in International Studies and minor in Political Science.
  • No courses taken pass/fail (S/U) may count toward the major. This means that courses taken abroad in non-Emory approved programs, which as such receive only S/U grades, cannot count toward the major.

    The only exception is the Washington Semester Program or the Bard International Affairs and Globalization Program. Students may use up to eight hours (or two courses) of Washington Semester credit or Bard credit as elective credit towards the International Studies Major.
  • One elective course can be satisfied by a POLS 496: Internship or a POLS 497: Directed Study. In addition, one elective course can be satisfied by a POLS 387: Directed Research: CLSS, or POLS 399: Directed Research in Political Science.
  • Major status does not guarantee enrollment in any particular course. Some classes may require course prerequisites or other requirements for enrollment.
  • Students are encouraged to take advantage of study abroad opportunities.
  • Each semester, prior to pre-registration advising, the department will issue a list of IS approved courses to be offered the next semester (permanent and variable topic Political Science courses as well as cognate courses in other departments) that may be used to satisfy the International Studies requirements. This list will be displayed on departmental bulletin boards, distributed to International Studies majors, distributed to departmental advisors, and posted on the Department's web site.

    Records of approved courses by semester will be maintained in the departmental office as well as on the Department's web site. Decisions on qualifying courses will be made by a committee of International Studies faculty from the Department of Political Science.

    This practice will be followed to ensure that the full range of International Studies courses in any one semester, many of them non-permanent offerings, will be available to students and credited toward the requirements for the major.
  • International Studies majors are eligible to participate in the Political Science Honors Program in order to receive Honors in International Studies. Honors Program students may use an appropriate graduate seminar to satisfy the advanced seminar requirement.

Note on the Modern Foreign Language Requirement

Students must demonstrate proficiency in a modern foreign language at a level equivalent to two years of college study. This will be satisfied by passing one course at the 202 level (or its equivalent) or above.

Courses taken to achieve the required foreign language proficiency do not count toward the requirement that 36 hours of international studies courses be completed, nor are the grades used in calculating the major grade point average.

Students may take this course pass/fail, if not required to fulfill a general education requirement.

International Studies majors must complete at least 36 semester hours and satisfy a modern foreign language requirement. At least 7 courses must be taken in Political Science. Students are strongly encouraged to take cognate social science courses in other departments to satisfy additional major requirements. Courses must include the following: 

  • POLS 110: Introduction to International Studies
  • POLS 120: Introduction to Comparative Politics*
  • QTM 100: Introduction to Statistical Inference**
  • POLS 208: Political Science Research Methods***
  • Four POLS courses found on the IS Approved Course List
    • POLS 300+
    • POLS 300+
    • POLS 300+
    • POLS 300+ (or POLS 210/220)
  • Three additional electives found on the IS Approved Course List (POLS or non-POLS), one of which must be at the 300 level or above.
  • A passing grade in a Modern Foreign Language course at the 202 level or above, in which the language of instruction is other than English.

 * Or POLS 111: Principles of Political Science

 ** Appropriate substitutes for QTM 100 include: QTM 220, ECON 220, POLS 310, ISOM 350 and MATH_OX 117Q.

 *** Must complete QTM 100 or approved substitute as a pre-requisite.

International Studies Major Checklist -Transition

International Studies majors must complete at least 36 semester hours and satisfy a modern foreign language requirement, which does not contribute to the 36 credit hours. At least 7 courses must be taken in Political Science. Students are strongly encouraged to take cognate social science courses in other departments to satisfy additional major requirements. Courses must include the following: 

  • POLS 110: Introduction to International Politics
  • POLS 111: Principles of Political Science
  • QTM 100: Introduction to Statistical Inference*
  • POLS 208: Political Science Research Methods**
  • A IS-approved Research course (POLS 394/494 or “RSCH” in title)***
  • Three POLS electives found on the IS Approved Course List
    • POLS 100-400
    • POLS 300+
    • POLS 300+
  • Three additional electives found on the IS Approved Course List (POLS 300+ or non-POLS)
  • A passing grade in a Modern Foreign Language course at the 202 level or above, in which the language of instruction is other than English.

 * Appropriate substitutes for QTM 100 include: QTM 220, ECON 220, POLS 310, ISOM 350 and MATH_OX 117Q.

 ** Must complete QTM 100 or approved substitute as a pre-requisite.

 *** May carry pre-requisite of POLS 208, review details on OPUS. 

International Studies Major Checklist - New