BA in International Studies

Degree Program Description

The Bachelor of Arts in International Studies is an individually designed major with a strong multicultural and global focus. Students in the major have the opportunity to design a major that reflects their own interests and goals. The increased level of flexibility requires a higher level of commitment than is typical of traditional majors because students MUST do the work of building their own degree. International Studies majors acquire analytical skills and knowledge that will enable them to understand and contribute to shaping the quickly evolving global community. The program prepares students for graduate study and careers in academia, teaching, law, business, public policy, humanitarian aid, non-profit organizations, government, and diplomacy. Students in the program will study advanced foreign language and participate in a study abroad experience to fulfill degree requirements.

Major Program Requirements

A student majoring in the BA in International Studies must complete 18 hours of specified Core coursework to fulfill Arts and Science Foundation Requirements, an additional 42 hours minimum for the major, and a study abroad experience. A minimum grade of C- is required for courses taken for the major. A minimum cumulative GPA in all major coursework is 2.0. In addition, students must complete all university graduation requirements and Arts and Science Foundation Requirements. The information below pertains to the BA in International Studies and additional information can be found at Students interested in the dual degree in International Business, which is a different major, should find additional information at

In addition, students must complete all College of Arts and Science and University graduation requirements, including University general education.

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Required Core Coursework

Complete the following courses:
ANTHRO 2030Cultural Anthropology3
GEOG 1100Regions and Nations of the World I3
or GEOG 1200 Regions and Nations of the World II
POL_SC 1400International Relations3
or POL_SC 2700 Comparative Political Systems
In addition, complete 3 of the following courses and at least one of the courses completed must come from the Humanities section:
Biological and Physical Sciences Core Courses
ANTHRO 2050Introduction to Biological Anthropology with Laboratory5
ANTHRO 2051Introduction to Biological Anthropology3
ATM_SC 1050Introductory Meteorology3
ATM_SC 2150Natural Hazards3
ATM_SC 3600Climates of the World3
BIO_SC 1060Basic Environmental Studies3
BIO_SC 1400Evolution for Everyone3
GEOL 1050Planet Earth3
GEOL 1100Principles of Geology with Laboratory4
GEOL 1200Environmental Geology with Laboratory4
GEOL 1250The World's Oceans3
Behavioral Sciences Core Courses
ANTHRO 1000General Anthropology3
PEA_ST 2000Exploration in Social and Economic Justice3
SOCIOL 1000Introduction to Sociology3
or RU_SOC 1000 Rural Sociology
SOCIOL 2200Social Inequalities3
WGST 2040Perspectives on Empowerment3
WGST 2250Perspectives on Gender, Race, Class and Sexuality in the Americas3
Social Sciences Core Courses
ECONOM 1014Principles of Microeconomics3
or ABM 1041 Applied Microeconomics
ECONOM 1015Principles of Macroeconomics3
or ABM 1042 Applied Macroeconomics
PEA_ST 1050Introduction to Peace Studies3
WGST 1120Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies3
Humanities Core Courses (at least one course from the list below is required)
ARCHST 1600Fundamentals of Environmental Design3
AR_H_A 1110Ancient and Medieval Art3
AR_H_A 1120Renaissance through Modern Art3
ENGLSH 2155Introduction to World Literatures3
ENGLSH 2159Introduction to World Literatures, 1890 to Present3
FILM_S 2020World Cinema for Non-Majors3
FILM_S 2820Trends in World Cinema3
GN_HON 2112HThe Middle Ages and the Renaissance3
GN_HON 2113HThe Early Modern World: The 17th-19th Centuries Enlightenment3
GN_HON 2114HThe Modern Era3
JOURN 1000The News Media: Journalism and Advertising in a Democratic Society3
MUSIC_NM 1310Masterpieces of Western Music3
MUSIC_NM 1313Introduction to World Music3
PEA_ST 2410Philosophies of War and Peace3
PEA_ST 2810Think Global: Fundamentals of Globalization and Digital Technologies3
PHIL 2100Philosophy: East and West3
PHIL 2430Contemporary Moral Issues3
REL_ST 1100Introduction to Religion3
REL_ST 2100Indigenous Religions3
REL_ST 2110Religions of the World3
REL_ST 2310Religions of China and Japan3
WGST 2080Perspectives on Sexual and Gender Diversity3

Major Requirements (42 hours minimum)

Language Requirements (6 hours minimum)

For the major, students must complete 6 hours minimum of conversation and/or composition courses in a single foreign language, beyond the elementary level.

Regional/Cultural Area (12 hours minimum)

Could include additional language and literature courses from the language of major study, as well as coursework with an international focus from Philosophy, Religious Studies, Art History, Film Studies, and Civilization courses.

Social/Behavioral Sciences Area (12 hours minimum)

Could include coursework with an international focus from Geography, History, Political Science, Economics, Anthropology, Sociology, Rural Sociology, Women's and Gender Studies and Peace Studies.

Focus Area (12 hours minimum)

Course work with an international focus from an area of the student’s choice allowing the study of one area in depth. The focus area is typically related to the foreign language the student is studying. Students are encouraged to take 9 credits from a single department or area. The 3-credit capstone experience will complete the 12 hours of credit in the focus area. See information on the capstone options below. The focus area options are: East Asian Studies, Environmental Studies, European Studies, Latin American Studies, Peace Studies, or South Asian Studies.

Capstone Options


  • The Capstone must be completed in the final 45 hours of coursework.
  • Students must earn a C- or higher to fulfill the Capstone requirement.
  • Students must have a Capstone approved by their academic advisor.
  • Students may complete an Internship or Readings that is not used as a Capstone.
  • Students may not earn retroactive credit for internships.

Internships 4940

  • Students must have a 2.0 cumulative GPA to apply for approval of an internship project.
  • Students must not have any active Student Conduct holds.
  • Students may not complete an internship at an existing position.
  • Students must work 50 hours for each credit hour earned.
  • Only internships in the United States can be approved.
  • During the Internship period, students must submit the following assignments: 
    • a well-written proposal outlining the details of the internship must accompany the application
    • a carefully-prepared factual report about the internship which addresses the questions outlined in the student’s internship proposal
    • a résumé which includes the student’s internship experience and documents the tangible skills they attained while working
    • an interpretative essay in which students connect what they have learned from their internship experience with their academic work in their individualized major
    • Internship supervisors must submit a performance evaluation.
  • Internships receive a grade of S or U (pass/fail).
  • The Office of Multidisciplinary Degrees reserves the right to deny internship project approval to any student it believes will not be a good representation of the University.

Readings 4960

Students work independently with MU faculty on research and/or professional projects. A student finds a campus professor with whom to work. Together, they create concrete objectives for a meaningful project. The professor guides and supervises the student towards completion of the project and is responsible for awarding a letter grade for the course.

Service-Learning 4970

Service-Learning provides hands-on experience in service experiences that are coordinated in collaboration with MU and the community. Service-Learning experiences create valuable learning environments for students as they connect with the community in partnerships that provide effective and far-reaching assistance to those in need. To apply, students must have a 2.5 GPA or higher.

4000-level Capstone course

Students can select a 4000-level course in the Focus Area to fulfill the Capstone requirement. This course does not need to be a departmental Capstone in order to fulfill the requirement. 

Study Abroad Experience Requirement

  • Students should study abroad for a minimum of 4 weeks. 
  • If a program is less than 4 weeks, it must be approved by the academic advisor.
  • Credit earned during a study abroad experience may be used to fulfill major requirements.
  • Students should complete their study abroad experience prior to their last year.
  • Preparation for a study abroad experience should begin a year in advance.
  • Information on study abroad is available at the International Center website

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Semester Plan

First Year
ENGLSH 10003Foreign Language 5
Core Humanitites3POL_SC 1400 or 27003
Foreign Language5Biological/Physical Science Course w/Lab5
American History or Government course3MATH 11003
 14 16
Second Year
GEOG 1100 or 12003Foreign Language 3
Foreign Language3ANTHRO 20303
Core Humanities3Writing Intensive 1000+2
Math Reasoning Proficiency 3Biological/Physical Science Course4
General Education Behavioral Science3Core Humanities 2000 level3
 15 15
Third Year
Social/Behavioral 2000+ Major3Regional/Cultural 3000+ Major3
Social/Behavioral Science 1000+ Major3Regional/Cultural 2000+ Major3
General Education Humanities 2000+ 3Regional/Cultural 3000+ Major3
Regional/Cultural 1000+ Major3Social Behavioral 3000+ Major3
Foreign Language3Social Behavioral 3000+ Major3
 15 15
Fourth Year
General Elective 3000+3Focus Area 3000+ Major3
General Elective 1000+3Focus Area Capstone 4000 Level3
Focus Area 3000+ Major3General Elective 1000+3
Writing-Intensive/Focus Area 3000+ Major3General Elective 1000+3
A&S Diversity3General Elective 3000+3
 15 15
Total Credits: 120

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Degree Audit

The degree audit is an automated report reflecting a student’s academic progress toward the completion of a degree.  Degree Audits are not available for all programs; however, please consult with the appropriate college or school for audit information.

MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner.  Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, by clicking on the Request Degree Audit link. The audit automatically pulls in the student’s MU course work, transfer courses and courses in progress.  This is available to current students, admitted students, and those who last attended less than three terms ago.

Past MU students can request a degree audit by contacting the Academic Advising Unit of the division in which they were last enrolled at MU. For contact information, go to

Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via Information on the college credits already earned will have to be manually entered before it can be evaluated against current degree requirements.

For additional details on degree audits, go to


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Major and Career Exploration

The University of Missouri has many resources to assist you in exploring majors and career possibilities.  For guidance, visit the Majors and Careers website or view specific resources below.

  • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career Center in the lower level of the Student Success Center.  No appointment is necessary to explore career options with one of our staff members.

For additional major and career exploration resources, visit Major & Career Exploration in the catalog.

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