Letter from the Director
Welcome to the web site of The Ohio State University’s Undergraduate International Studies Program.
The site is designed to highlight the richness, diversity, and complexity of the program and to situate it in the wider international affairs community in the university. Let me begin by providing a little background to this large, popular, and growing undergraduate program. The Ohio State international studies program was created in 1943 and is one of the oldest in the country. It was designed to help provide a United States emerging from decades of isolationism with the graduates trained in the languages and cultures of other world regions that were necessary for its emerging role as a political superpower and economic engine of a world devastated by World War II. Since then the program has evolved to reach its present form where it offers major, minor, and certificate specializations in six world regions - Africa, East Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Western Europe; and four in global problems - Development, International Relations & Diplomacy, Security & Intelligence, and World Economy & Business.
Students can major or minor in a single specialization or they can combine a regional and a global problems specialization to create a double major (or major and minor) in International Studies. The program also offers a separate major and minor in Globalization Studies. All the specializations entail the acquisition of enhanced language proficiency by requiring language courses beyond the university minimum required of all Arts and Sciences undergraduates. All also draw on the expertise of faculty members in departments and colleges from across the university, ranging from the arts through the humanities and social and behavioral sciences to food, agriculture, and environmental sciences.
The overriding goal of the International Studies program is to make available to the university’s undergraduate student body a cutting-edge liberal arts education that is international in focus and tailored to the 21st century. The curriculum is intentionally interdisciplinary, which means that students take two types of course. The first type brings a variety of disciplinary perspectives to bear on a single problem. Thus, for example, the evolution of a particular world region might be studied from, among others, cultural, economic, historical, and political perspectives in the same course. The second type of course is disciplinary and it might involve studying, for example, the phenomenon of war from the different intellectual traditions and analytical perspectives found in the economics, history, or political science departments.
The overall goals of this interdisciplinary curriculum are twofold. The first is to promote a deeper knowledge and understanding of other peoples and cultures and of how our domestic and international worlds interrelate. The second is more general and abstract; it is to foster reasoned and critical thinking as well as good research, writing, and public speaking skills, and to promote undergraduates’ engaged, socially responsible citizenship in their communities. Put differently, as well as giving students a liberal arts education that helps to prepare them for a different scholarly fields or professions, International Studies grooms students for life and a lifetime of learning.
To enrich and deepen the lessons they learn in the classroom, International Studies majors are encouraged to integrate experiential learning into their educational portfolio by, among other things, studying abroad and undertaking internships locally, nationally, and internationally. Reflecting this broad and varied undergraduate educational experience, International Studies graduates go on to pursue a wide variety of careers in the private and public, profit and nonprofit sectors of the economy. Many are themselves international students and return home upon graduation. Others have followed a diversity of careers in the likes of academe, business, law, the military, government service, and international organizations, e.g., The World Bank.
As director, I encourage you to explore this web site and I invite prospective students to come in and meet the program’s current students and faculty and thereby learn more about an exciting, internationally oriented program that helps students locate themselves and their country in an ever more interdependent and challenging world.
Program Director & Professor
of Political Science