Bryn Mawr Introduces International Studies Major

Posted April 19th, 2012 at 3:56 pm.


Bryn Mawr students can now major in International Studies, bringing the number of majors offered by the College to 37.

“The changes of a globally interconnected world demand new ways of thinking and interacting, requiring multidisciplinary perspectives for active citizenry, leadership and service locally and globally.  This major’s curricular and co-curricular components enrich students’ education through exposure to a historical context, tensions between cultural relativism and human rights, challenges of boundary crossings, appreciation about cultures different from one’s own, and multiple lenses through which to think critically and productively about one’s role as a global citizen,” says Cynthia Bisman, professor in the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research and co-director of the International Studies program.

International Studies engages students in inter- and multidisciplinary course work that will prepare them for career opportunities in transnational or intergovernmental institutions, and in the areas of public policy, law, governance, public health, medicine, business, diplomacy, journalism, and development.

The program also provides a foundation for students interested in entering graduate programs in fields such as international politics/relations, international political economy/development studies, international law and institutions, and organizational theory and leadership.

International Studies majors take core courses in political science, economics, and philosophy as well as a Culture and Interpretation course that focuses on what it means to interpret or make cross-cultural comparisons and engage in cross-cultural dialogue in a global context. In addition to the core courses, students take electives in a chosen track that allows them to focus on one theme or area in greater depth.

More detailed information on requirements for International Studies majors is available on the International Studies Program’s website.

“It is rather unusual for courses in philosophy, and specifically ethics, to be central to either a major or minor in International Studies,” says Philosophy Professor Christine Koggel, the program’s other co-director. “We believe International Studies is enriched when students are asked to examine normative questions about what we ought to do and how we ought to interact with others in the global context.”

The International Studies major builds upon collaborative and interdisciplinary relationships that have developed since the program was launched as a minor in 2005.

“In both our research and teaching and for more than a decade now, faculty from disciplines across the humanities and social sciences have worked together to build bridges and thereby enrich an understanding of international studies. As a result, the minor has attracted students from languages, area studies, and philosophy, as well as from political science, economics, and other social science disciplines. The major preserves this legacy and extends the work of building bridges between the undergraduate program and the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research,” says Koggel.

The International Studies major was approved by the Faculty Curriculum Committee earlier this month.

For more information about the International Studies major, visit the department website.

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