International studies

The world today has never been more connected, and in many ways never more challenging. The international studies major enables you to gain the knowledge and experience to navigate our interdependent world and to find ways to positively shape it.

The international studies program at Earlham addresses profound challenges for policy and practice in a complex international context. You will be able to tackle these problems with energetic resolve. More than half of our majors are international students, a reality that enriches classroom conversations about issues of global import. Our courses are drawn from politics, economics and history, providing rich perspectives on global issues.

International studies staff and students in a meeting

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of recent graduates from the international studies program reported a career outcome within six months of graduation.
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Top job industries for international studies majors include education and nonprofit work.

Earlham’s international studies majors get into their top choice graduate programs and also serve in prestigious international civil service and diplomatic positions around the world.

Richly diverse perspectives

According to NerdScholar, Earlham’s international studies program is one of the top five in the country. At Earlham international studies is not only a popular major, it is also a way of life on campus.

International studies majors have been frequent recipients of Davis Peace Prize Awards, grants of $10,000 each to fund summer projects related to peacemaking.

Earlham’s international studies alumni get into their top choice graduate programs and serve in prestigious international civil service and diplomatic positions around the world.

Earlham graduates often conduct research around the world with prestigious Fulbright grants.

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Off-campus study

An off-campus program is an integrated part of the international studies major, ensuring you have a global experience.

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Multiple perspectives

Drawing on courses from history, politics, economics and languages, the international studies major offers diverse perspectives from multiple disciplines.

Our faculty

Because they also teach in the departments of history, economics, languages and cultures and politics, our faculty bring a diverse range of academic perspectives to this major.

Program details

The international studies program has recently developed a new set of major requirements that incorporate classes in language, politics, economics and history as well as an integrated off-campus study program.

As a liberal arts college, Earlham offers multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and minors in which students cultivate deep and specific knowledge and experience. Equally important, the College expects every student to develop broad, general skills and proficiencies across the curriculum.

As part of their general education, students complete six credits in each academic division of the College: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. In addition, students meet requirements for first-year courses, analytical reasoning, perspectives on diversity and wellness.

Learn more about general education at Earlham.

To earn a Bachelor of Arts in international studies, you must complete 12 to 14 courses and in the range of 36 to 42 credits, in addition to a study abroad semester.

Note: courses in italics represent planned courses to be approved by the Curricular Planning Committee.

Introductory courses (all three of the following)

  • POLS 111 Introduction to Comparative Politics and International Relations
  • ECON 101 Introduction to Macroeconomics
  • ECON 103 Introduction to Microeconomics

Research methods courses (one of the following)

  • ECON 204 Statistics for Economics
  • POLS 329 Social Science Research Methods
  • POLS 339 Approaching Political Puzzles

Theory course (the following course)

  • POLS 371 Theories of International Relations

Capstone course (the following course)

  • POLS 488 Senior Capstone Experience

Language instruction
Four semesters of language (If a student already speaks a second language fluently with demonstrated competence, they can opt to take two linguistic or cultural competency courses taught by Earlham Languages and Cultures faculty in consultation with their academic adviser.)

Off-campus learning opportunity
Completion of an off-campus semester program (A student also may fulfill this requirement with completion of another approved program in consultation with their academic adviser.)

On-campus elective courses
Four courses at the 200-400 level selected from the following list, including at least one Economics, one Politics, and one History course.

Courses must include one Politics “A”rgument (WI) and one Politics “R”esearch (RCH) course.


  • ECON 342 Economic Development
  • ECON 343 Economics of the Environment
  • ECON 348 International Trade
  • ECON 350 Political Economy in China and India


  • POLS 301 Genealogies of Nationalism in the Muslim Middle East and North Africa
  • POLS 303 Human Rights in the Muslim World
  • POLS 333 Gender and Sexuality in Muslim Middle East and North Africa
  • POLS 348 American Empire: Are We Rome
  • POLS 349 National Security Policy Via Film
  • POLS 351 Democracy and Democratization
  • POLS 352 Africa & The World: Development, Conflict and Cooperation
  • POLS 355 Politics of the Developing World
  • POLS 358 Contemporary Chinese Politics
  • POLS 359 African Democracy and Dictatorship
  • POLS 363 Israel and the Middle East
  • POLS 369 Politics of Authoritarianism
  • 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


  • 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 374 Modern Japan
    • HIST 382 History of Science, Medicine, and Technology in East Asia
    • HIST 472 Modern China
    • HIST 374 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

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

Recent international studies graduates have obtained prestigious Watson and Fulbright scholarships as well as Rotary Peace Fellowships to work and study abroad.

Some have served as officers and program assistants in the Asia Foundation, Japan Society and U.N.-specialized agencies. Still others have worked in the Peace Corps and as human rights monitors.

One of our recent grads was accepted to the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts, as well as Georgetown.

Majors also have pursued graduate studies in fields as diverse as law, city planning, public administration and public health at globally top-ranked programs 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.

If you’re looking for a multi-disciplinary major that will let you explore history, politics and economies on a global scale, this is the major for you. The international studies major will prepare you to critically examine today’s society. Many graduates go on to work in fields that allow them to help others through law, social services, research, education and even business and entrepreneurship.

Next steps

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.