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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 meaningfully engage with a 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 second 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 45 hours of coursework in the following categories: Core, Language, Regional/Cultural Humanities, Social/Behavioral, and an Emphasis Area. Students are also required to complete a capstone course within the Emphasis Area, and a 4-week minimum study abroad.

The information below pertains to the BA in International Studies and emphasis areas other than International Business. Students interested in the emphasis area of International Business and a dual degree option with the BSBA in Business Administration, can find additional information on the International Business page.

In addition to University, general education, and College of Arts and Science requirements, students must also meet the following major program requirements. All major requirements in the College of Arts and Science must be completed with grades of C- or higher unless otherwise indicated.

Required Core Coursework (18 Hours)

Complete the following courses:
ANTHRO 2030Cultural Anthropology3
GEOG 1100Regions and Nations of the World I3
or GEOG 1100H Regions and Nations of the World I - Honors
or GEOG 1200 Regions and Nations of the World II
or GEOG 1205H Regions and Nations General Honors
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
ATM_SC 3600Climates of the World3
BIO_SC 1060Basic Environmental Studies3
BIO_SC 1400Evolution for Everyone3
GEOL 1050Planet Earth3
GEOL 1100Introduction to the Earth with Laboratory4
or GEOL 1100H Introduction to the Earth with Laboratory - Honors
GEOL 1200Environmental Geology with Laboratory4
or GEOL 1200H Environmental Geology with Laboratory - Honors
Behavioral Sciences Core Courses
ANTHRO 1000Introduction to Anthropology: Human Biology, Prehistory, and Culture3
or ANTHRO 1000H Introduction to Anthropology: Human Biology, Prehistory, and Culture - Honors
ANTHRO 1300Multiculturalism: An Introduction3
PEA_ST 1052Global Warming, Climate Change, Catastrophic Climate Destabilization 3
or PEA_ST 1052W Global Warming, Climate Change, Catastrophic Climate Destabilization - Writing Intensive
PEA_ST 2000Exploration in Social and Economic Justice3
or PEA_ST 2000W Exploration in Social and Economic Justice - Writing Intensive
SOCIOL 1000Introduction to Sociology3
or SOCIOL 1000H Introduction to Sociology Honors
SOCIOL 2200Social Inequalities3
WGST 2040Perspectives on Empowerment3
WGST 2250Gender, Race, Class and Sexuality in the Americas3
or WGST 2250W Gender, Race, Class and Sexuality in the Americas - Writing Intensive
Social Sciences Core Courses
ECONOM 1000General Economics5
ECONOM 1014Principles of Microeconomics3
or ECONOM 1014H Principles of Microeconomics-Honors
or ABM 1041 Applied Microeconomics
ECONOM 1015Principles of Macroeconomics3
or ECONOM 1015H Principles of Macroeconomics - Honors
ECONOM 3224Introduction to International Economics3
ECONOM 4326Economics of International Trade3
or ECONOM 4326W Economics of International Trade - Writing Intensive
PEA_ST 1050Introduction to Peace Studies3
or PEA_ST 1050W Introduction to Peace Studies - Writing Intensive
PEA_ST 3780World Political Geography3
PEA_ST 4810Case Studies in an Inter/Multicultural World3
SOCIOL 3210Sociology of Globalization3
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
or ARCHST 1600W Fundamentals of Environmental Design - Writing Intensive
ARH_VS 1130Introduction to the History of Art3
or ARH_VS 1130W Introduction to the History of Art - Writing Intensive
ENGLSH 2155Introduction to World Literatures3
FILMS_VS 2020World Cinema for Non-Majors3
FILMS_VS 2820Trends in World Cinema3
FRENCH/GERMAN/RUSS 4820Blogging the World: The Web in Cultural Context3
or FRENCH 4820W Blogging the World: The Web in Cultural Context - Writing Intensive
or GERMAN 4820W Blogging the World: The Web in Cultural Context - Writing Intensive
or RUSS 4820W Blogging the World: The Web in Cultural Context - Writing Intensive
GN_HON 2112HHere Be Monsters3
or GN_HON 2112HW Here Be Monsters - Honors/Writing Intensive
GN_HON 2113HReasonable Devils and Dark Visions3
GN_HON 2114HDiagnosing the Dark3
or GN_HON 2114HW Diagnosing the Dark - Honors/Writing Intensive
JOURN 1000Journalism for Non-Majors3
LG_LT_CT/PEA_ST 3510Think Global: Fundamentals of Globalization and Digital Technologies3
or LG_LT_CT 3510H Think Global: Fundamentals of Globalization and Digital Technologies - Honors
or LG_LT_CT 3510HW Think Global: Fundamentals of Globalization and Digital Technologies - Honors/Writing Intensive
or LG_LT_CT 3510W Think Global: Fundamentals of Globalization and Digital Technologies - Writing Intensive
or PEA_ST 3510H Think Global: Fundamentals of Globalization and Digital Technologies - Honors
or PEA_ST 3510W Think Global: Fundamentals of Globalization and Digital Technologies - Writing Intensive
or PEA_ST 3510HW Think Global: Fundamentals of Globalization and Digital Technologies - Honors - Writing Intensive
LG_LT_CT 4810Case Studies in an Inter/Multicultural World3
LG_LT_CT 4850Revolution and Media in a Global Perspective 3
or LG_LT_CT 4850H Revolution and Media in a Global Perspective - Honors
or LG_LT_CT 4850W Revolution and Media in a Global Perspective - Writing Intensive
LINGST/ENGLSH 3620Languages of the World3
MUSIC_NM 1310Masterpieces of Western Music3
MUSIC_NM 1313Introduction to World Music3
NEP 1310Food and Cultures of the World3
or NEP 1310W Food and Cultures of the World - Writing Intensive
PEA_ST/PHIL 2410Philosophies of War and Peace3
or PEA_ST 2410W Philosophies of War and Peace - Writing Intensive
or PHIL 2410W Philosophies of War and Peace - Writing Intensive
PHIL 2100Philosophy: East and West3
REL_ST 1100Introduction to Religion3
or REL_ST 1100H Introduction to Religion - Honors
REL_ST 2100Indigenous Religions3
or REL_ST 2100H Indigenous Religions - Honors
REL_ST 2110Global Religions3
or REL_ST 2110H Global Religions - Honors
REL_ST 2630History of Christian Traditions3
or REL_ST 2630H History of Christian Traditions - Honors
or REL_ST 2630W History of Christian Traditions - Writing Intensive
or REL_ST 2630HW History of Christian Traditions - Honors/Writing Intensive
REL_ST 2700Islam3
REL_ST 4750Women, Religion and Culture3
WGST 2080Perspectives on Sexual and Gender Diversity3

Additional Requirements (27 hours minimum)

Language Requirements (6 hours minimum)
For the major, students must complete 6 hours minimum in a single second language, beyond the elementary level.

International students whose native language is other than English may petition the International Studies Program to substitute the language requirement with courses that deepen their English language ability or upper-level International Studies courses.  

Non-international students who can demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English comparable to a student who has completed 6 hours beyond the Elementary sequence at MU may petition the International Studies Program to substitute upper-level International Studies courses for the language requirement.  If the student is proficient in a language offered at MU: the student may be evaluated by that language program. The evaluation must test the student’s ability in all the modalities appropriate for that language (reading, writing, listening, and/or speaking). If the student is proficient in a language not offered at MU, the student is responsible for finding a qualified examiner in that language, who must then be approved by the International Studies director. The evaluation must test the student’s ability in all the modalities appropriate for that language (reading, writing, listening, and/or speaking) at the mid-intermediate level or higher as defined by ACTFL proficiency guidelines.

Regional/Cultural Area (6 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 (6 hours minimum)
Could include coursework with an international focus from Geography, History, Political Science, Economics, Anthropology, Sociology, Women's and Gender Studies and Peace Studies.

Emphasis Areas (9 hours minimum)
Students must complete coursework in an emphasis area of their choice. The emphasis area options are: East Asian StudiesEnvironmental StudiesEuropean StudiesLatin American StudiesPeace Studies, or South Asian Studies. The emphasis area is typically related to the second 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 9 hours of credit in the emphasis area. Students also have the option to pursue International Business, which is a dual degree program with a separate set of requirements. For details on requirements in an emphasis area, refer to each degree page.

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.

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 40 hours for each credit hour earned.
  • Students may not earn retroactive credit for internships.

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 2.0 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.
  • 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.
  • International students may count their time in the U.S. towards their study abroad requirement.
  • Information on study abroad is available at the International Center website

Minimum Grade, College, and University Requirements

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 College of Arts and Science and University graduation requirements, including University general education.

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Semester Plan

First Year
ENGLSH 10003Second Language5
Humanitites3POL_SC 1400 or 27003
Second Language5Biological/Physical Science Course w/Lab5
American History or Government course3MATH 1050, 1100, or STAT 12003
 14 16
Second Year
GEOG 1100 or 12003Second Language3
Second Language3ANTHRO 20303
Humanities3Writing-Intensive/Social Science3
Social Science3Biological/Physical Science Course4
Behavioral Science3Humanities3
 15 16
Third Year
Social/Behavioral major course3Behavioral Science3
Core major course3Regional/Cultural major course3
Humanities3Social/Behavioral major course3
Regional/Cultural major course3Core Humanities major course3
Second Language3Core major course3
 15 15
Fourth Year
General Elective3General Elective3
General Elective3Emphasis Area Capstone 4000 Level3
Emphasis Area major course3General Elective3
Writing-Intensive/Emphasis Area major course3General Elective3
General Elective3General Elective2
 15 14
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. 

MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner. Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, click on the Academic Progress Tile, then select Request Degree Audit. 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 https://advising.missouri.edu/contact/.

Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via https://www.transferology.com. 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 https://registrar.missouri.edu/degrees-audits/degree-audits/.

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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 are considering a change of major or are exploring multiple majors, schedule an appointment with an advisor in the Discovery Center by calling (573)884-9700 or through MU Connect Discovery Center service in you success network.

  • If you have decided on a major, visit an academic advisor in the School or College that you are interested in to discuss the process of declaring the major

  • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career 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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