Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started

Can I graduate with a primary major in International Studies?

No. International Studies is a flexible secondary major that can be added to a primary major in any other study area.

What is the difference between the major and the minor?

Both the major and minor require students to take INTST 235 and 430. The secondary major in International Studies requires a minimum of 27-credits and minor 18-credits.

Do I need to study a language?

Yes. Students must complete or have language proficiency equivalent to two years of college-level study of a world language relevant to the selected geographic region. These language courses do not count towards the minimum credit requirements for the major or minor.

What if I am an international student fluent in another language?

International students, whose first language is not English, can select a geographic region that matches their home country and the language and study abroad requirement are exempt. To meet the minimum credit requirements, students would need to take an additional 3-credit course in a geographic region instead.

International students can also choose to select a geographic region that does not match their home country and complete the language and study abroad requirement.

What is the difference between International Studies and International Relations?

Iowa State does not offer an international relations program at this time. Students can customize their International Studies coursework to be similar to an international relations degree program. Common examples are majoring in Political Science and choosing International Studies topical modules in globalization and economic development or international conflict.

Study Abroad

How long do I need to study abroad?

Students must have international experience (study, service, or internship) for three weeks and earn a minimum of 3-credits.

Can I study abroad anywhere to meet the experience abroad requirement?

Yes. We encourage our students to study in a location relevant to their region of interest, but this is not required.

Does National Student Exchange count towards the study abroad requirement?

No. Students must study somewhere outside the United States to fulfill the international experience component.

Where can I find study abroad programs?

Iowa State offers multiple resources to find information about studying abroad. LAS Study Abroad offers programs open to all majors, and most focus on language, short-term, faculty-led, or academic programs within the College of LAS. The Study Abroad Center coordinates university-wide programs. ISUAbroad provides more details about all ISU study abroad programs, such as application requirements, cost, courses offered, and more.

How do I know what courses will count towards my degree program? 

Review approved course options and make a plan with your academic advisor(s).

After Graduation

What can I do with an International Studies degree?

Almost anything! Since International Studies is so customizable, there are many options for what you can do post-graduation. For example, many students go into non-profit or government work. LAS Career Services has helpful resources if you want ideas that are more specific.

Would I have to go to graduate school if I majored in International Studies?

No. Students can find diverse employment opportunities with a bachelor’s degree, and they do not need to pursue graduate school. If students are interested, an advanced degree can provide them with greater specialty and expertise in an area of interest.

What is the benefit of adding an International Studies major or minor?

The program can enhance existing knowledge about the world and bring a global context to your degree program. After completing your international studies program, you can show competency in multicultural contexts, demonstrate a unique perspective when applying for jobs, language skills, and cultural understanding.