Program Information

The international studies program at Niagara University emphasizes flexibility and individualized attention. Students select a field of concentration that they are interested in investigating. They work closely with faculty to identify sources of information that will answer their question and course work that will assist them in analyzing evidence. Using the tools they develop in the classroom, students will learn to solve international problems. Students develop their own unique sequence of courses and research plans, and they conduct these in close consultation with faculty advisers. They work with a community of students in a small classroom environment where the emphasis is on enhancing critical thinking skills and practical applications. International studies majors are evaluated in terms of integrative problem solving, information literacy, and their awareness of global issues. Students choose their own area of research.

Examples include:

  • Human Rights
  • Conflict, Peace, and Military Intervention
  • Trade and Economics
  • Environmental Scarcity and Sustainable Futures
  • Art and Culture
  • Globalization and Democratization
  • Religion, Society, and Government
  • Women and Global Leadership
  • Poverty and Health
  • Diplomacy and Foreign Policy
  • The Spread of Disease
  • The Space Race
  • Media and Propaganda
  • Business Cultures and Corporate Strategies
  • Human Geography
  • Comparative Justice and Legal Systems
  • The War on Terrorism
  • Negotiation, Dispute Resolution, and Conflict Management

Major Requirements

International Studies majors are required to complete 20 course units in General Education Foundation and Distribution courses. International Studies majors must take a minimum of 12 course units that include the following components:

  • INT 100 (Introduction to International Studies)
  • INT 200 (Research Concentration in International Studies)
  • INT 400 (Senior Seminar) or INT 403/404 (Honors Thesis)
  • A course in Political Science Comparative Government
  • A course in Political Science International Relations
  • Two courses in non-United States History
  • One language elective
  • Four courses with substantial international content

The remaining eight courses (advised electives) will be selected in consultation with an International Studies Major advisor based on the student’s area of interest. All International Studies students are expected to pursue a minor and/or second major and advised electives may be taken in the same or different disciplines to accomplish this.

  • Students considering the International Studies major must first meet with the International Studies Director, who will assist the student in identifying a field of study. Working with the Director, the student will write a four-part Major Proposal. Part one will describe the field of study the student has chosen to examine; Part two will list potential courses that best address the field of study; Part three will list careers and advanced degree options that might be pursued after completing the proposed course of study; and Part four will explain how the student’s field of study fits in the area of International Studies. The student will present (both orally and in writing) the proposal to the International Studies Faculty Advisory Committee, which must approve the proposal. The Committee is comprised of faculty with international expertise and is appointed by the Director of International Studies in consultation with the Dean of Arts and Sciences. This Major Proposal will be the first component in the student’s digital portfolio. It will be completed in the student’s sophomore year and, without exception, before the student takes INT 400 or INT 403/404.
  • The student will maintain a digital portfolio that keeps a record of how each course he or she is taking for the major relates to the field of study. The student will also maintain a record in the portfolio of any other experiences and/or courses that relate, including study abroad, internships, and/or service learning projects. It is expected that students will refine their initial field of study to reflect their evolving ideas. Ideally the student will clarify and narrow their general interests into specific research questions and potential answers (See portfolio guidelines below).

The INT 200 Research Concentration course (described below) will facilitate the development of the digital portfolio. It will also aid students in the determination of a field of study within International Studies. It will serve as the research methods course for I.S. students.

  • The student must also complete an integrative, reflective capstone course (either INT 400 or INT 403/404) that requires synthesis of knowledge from the disciplines in the student’s field of study. Each student will write a thesis applying appropriate research skills to his or her central question, problem or theme. As part of the course (or courses), students will also prepare a final version of the Digital Portfolio for the International Studies Faculty Advisory Committee.

Minor Requirements

  1. INT 100 - Introduction to International Studies
  2. Any foreign language course
  3. One course in non-United States history
  4. One course in political science - comparative politics or international relations
  5. One elective course from either foreign language, history (non-US), or political science (comparative or international relations focus)