The Program, International Studies | Earlham College Skip to Content

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

The new major (adopted in Fall 2015) requires 13 to 15 courses and has a range of 39 to 45 credits, in addition to a study abroad semester.

  • Language

    • Two years of language (or the equivalent, via demonstration of competence). Students can either demonstrate competence in a language taught at Earlham or in any one of the official languages of the U.N. excluding English (French, Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Russian).
    • One additional course covering Intercultural and/or Sociolinguistic issues. Present courses which meet this requirements are:
      • TESO 348 Sociolinguistics
      • PHIL 365 Philosophy of Language
  • Core Courses

    • INST 102 Introduction to International Studies
    • ECON 100 Introduction to Economics
    • ECON 204 Statistics for Economics
    • POLS 111 Introduction to Politics
    • Politics Research Course. Present courses which meet this requirements are:
      • POLS 341 Elections and Parties
      • POLS 352 Africa & the World: Development, Conflict, and Cooperation
      • POLS 359 African Democracy & Dictatorship
      • POLS 375 Topics in International Relations
    • History Research Course
      • HIST 240 Sophomore Seminar: Research
  • Electives

Four courses which include at least one Economics, one Politics, and one History course from the following. If a student chooses to take two History courses, at least one of them must be at the 300-level.

    • Economics
      • ECON 341 International Trade
      • ECON 342 Economic Development
      • ECON 343 Economics of the Environment
    • Politics
      • POLS 351 Democracy and Democratization
      • POLS 355 Politics of the Developing World
      • POLS 357 Comparative Foreign Policy
      • POLS 363 Israel and the Middle East
      • POLS 371 Theories of International Relations
      • POLS 372 International Law: Sovereignty, Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
      • POLS 373 International Law: Environment and Development
      • POLS 377 Politics of Global Inequality
      • POLS 378 International Political Economy Methods
    • History by region/topic
      • Middle East
        • HIST 373 America’s Middle East
      • Asia
        • HIST 218 World War II in East Asia
        • HIST 228 Modern East Asia
        • HIST 266 Contemporary China and the World
        • HIST 382 History of Science, Medicine, and Technology in East Asia
        • HIST 472 Modern China
        • HIST 474 Modern Japan
      • Africa
        • HIST 232 African History since 1880
        • HIST 376 History of West Africa
        • HIST 377 East Africa
        • HIST 378 History of South Africa
      • Latin America
        • HIST 290 Cuban History
        • HIST 354 Latin America since 1825
      • Europe
        • HIST 344 Diplomatic History: The Cold War
        • HIST 347 Europe and the World Wars
      • U.S.
        • HIST 344 Diplomatic History: The Cold War
        • HIST 373 America’s Middle East
  • Capstone

    • INST 488 International Studies Senior Seminar
    • IS Capstone Thesis – to be done in either the Economics, History or Politics departments in the Spring semester of the senior year.
  • Other

    • Semester-long Study Abroad Program
    • Portfolio

* 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)

(3 credits)
This course is designed to offer students a broad introduction to international studies. It addresses major actors of international system including state and non-state actors and also covers a variety of issues and topics (poverty, climate change, international terrorism, refugee, war, etc.) that are widely concerned across the world. The course focuses on these themes from multiple theoretical and methodological perspectives to allow students to examine the world in an interdisciplinary way. Appropriate for first-year students.

This broad introductory course launches the formal study of Politics at the college level, exploring the distinct yet complementary subfields of the discipline, most importantly Political Theory, Comparative Politics, American Politics and International Relations. Students in this course, no matter what subfield interests them most, begin to address enduring questions about global phenomena with both theoretical practical implications. Students also will practice research and writing skills, and engage in political debates about questions both historical and contemporary. This course is a pre-requisite for upper division work in the Politics major and serves as a gateway to those interested in International Studies, PAGS and environmental policy work. Also listed as PAGS 111 and POLS 111.

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)

Through a combination of theoretical frameworks and real world applications, attempts to develop a broad understanding of micro and macro issues in the area of international economics. Deals with issues related to the logic and critique of free trade, tariffs and quotas, exchange rate determination, balance of payments, open economy macro policy, stabilization policy and the role of international institutions in international trade. Prerequisites: ECON 100. Also listed as MGMT 348 and ECON 348. (AY)

This course provides students with a broad introduction to China's politics in the modern period. The focus will be on top leaders, political institutions and policies under Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rule. The course covers the main stages in the history of CCP rule: the Mao Zedong period,1949-1976; the Deng Xiaoping period, 1977-1994; and the rule of the so-called third- and fourth-generation leaders, Jiang Zemin, 1995-2003, and Hu Jintao, 2003-1012. A.R.T.S. designation: R. Prerequisite: Politics 111 or consent of the instructor. Also listed as POLS 358 and CHIN 358. (D-I, WI)

This course surveys the classical texts and themes of political theory. Students will read selections of both the Western and Eastern canonical works in order to investigate a wide range of issues related to politics — power, state, citizen, justice, community, identity, rights, liberty, etc. Prerequisite: POLS 111. Also listed as PAGS 364 and POLS 364.

Examines classics, trends and innovations in empirical and normative theories of international relations, from Thucydides and Machiavelli to Galtung and beyond. Reading and writing intensive. Provides opportunities for students to apply theoretical perspectives to problems and issues of particular salience to them (e.g. questions raised by off-campus study). Designed for juniors and seniors. A.R.T.S. Designation: A, R or T, depending on semester. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. Also listed as PAGS 371 and POLS 371. (D-I) (AY)

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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