International Studies | Academic Advising Handbook

Pacific University offers an International Studies major and a minor. 

Students have a number of different pathways to complete the International Studies major which consists of three parts: 1) a set of core courses, 2) an international experience, and 3) a second multi-disciplinary set of courses to support the student’s chosen international experience.

Many students combine an IS major with a second major or minor–languages, business, natural sciences, social sciences, and public health are all smart options with good career prospects. Students can think of IS as a way to internationalize any major.

Important tips:

  • You should pursue a second language–start taking language classes as soon as possible in the language of your choice.
  • You will be studying abroad as part of your major, so think ahead about your coursework schedule for all 4 years. Most students study abroad in their junior year.
  • The courses you take while studying abroad may count toward your major requirements, so be sure to discuss your course choices with your advisor.
  • You should plan to study abroad in a country where your chosen language is spoken. Please contact the International Programs Office to learn about your many options ( 
  • You will be taking courses in our Global Skills program (4cr) the semesters before, during, and after your study abroad semester.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of International Studies and the frequency with which new courses are available, the electives required in the IS major are flexible and students should speak with the IS Advisor or Chair to find out if additional courses might apply to the major.


International Studies Major Requirements

A minimum of 16 (sixteen) credits of the major must be upper-division.

Core Courses

IS 220 Introduction to International Studies 4 credits
IS 201 Intercultural Communication 4 credits
ECON 102 Economics of Governments and Markets 4 credits
POLS 345 or POLS 340 International Political Economy or Security, Rights, and Globalization 4 credits
IS 401 Senior Research 4 credits
IS 402 Senior Thesis 2 credits

TOTAL CORE: 22 credits

Language: one (4 credits) of the following*:

CHIN 202 Intermediate Chinese 4 credits
FREN 202 Intermediate French 4 credits
GER 202 Intermediate German 4 credits
JAPN 202 Intermediate Japanese 4 credits
SPAN 202 Intermediate Spanish 4 credits
SPAN 211 Spanish for Heritage Speakers 4 credits

*Students proficient in a second language beyond the 202 level may waive these credits/courses. Approval of the Chair of the World Languages Department is required for a waiver.

**Note: Students should plan to complete their 202 language course prior to study abroad. 

Global Skills and International Experience:

Students must Study Abroad for at least one semester.*

IS/HUM 311 Global Skills 1 - Prepare 2 credits
IS/HUM 312 Global Skills 2 - Engage 1 credit
IS/HUM 313 Global Skills 3 - Leverage 1 credit

*Students unable to study abroad during a regular semester may request to substitute a summer international experience of at least 8 credits for the study abroad requirement. The summer international experience must be approved by the Chair of International Studies.  

Interdisciplinary Coursework (choose 4 credits from the following):

ANTH/REL 140 Intro to Comparative Religion
BA 312 International Business
BA/ECON 452 Global Finance
ECON 329 International Economics
ECON 328 Macroeconomics Gov/Central Banking
ECON 341 International Trade and Development
MUS/ANTH 241 Intro to World Music
PH 325 Global Public Health
POLS 180 The U.S. in World Affairs
POLS 330 National Systems and Global Citizenship
POLS 331 Modern Dictatorship
SOC/PSJ 347 Global Capitalism and Neo-Colonial Inequality

Geographic Area Studies Coursework (choose at least two courses for at least 8 credits of the following, selected to support the student's chosen geographic area of study):


ARTHI 276 Art & Architecture of Asia
HIST 215 Imperialism in East Asia
HIST 216 History of Modern Japan
HIST 217 Making of Modern China
HIST 318 The Business of Capitalism in East Asia
HIST 415 Pan-Pacific Histories
HUM 204 Chinese Cultural Study
HUM 213 Introduction to Japanese Literature
HUM 215 Modernity in Japanese Narrative
IS/HUM 222 Introduction to Asian Studies
PHIL 305 Asian Philosophy
THEA/HUM 351 Traditional Theatre of East Asia


FREN 308/408 France Today
FREN 304/404 French and the Francophone Theater
FREN 320/420 Women's Writing in the Francophone World
FREN 309/409 French Popular Culture
GER 301 Topics in German Culture
GER 305 Music, Modernism, and Megalomania
GER 306 From Ruins to Reunification
GER 485 Seminar in German Studies
HIST 206 France from Caesar to Napoleon
HIST 208 England from Rome to Revolution
HIST 232 The Holocaust
HIST 235 Europe Since World War II
HIST 333 History of the British Empire
HIST 338 The Era of the French Revolution

Latin America

ANTH/REL 240 Topics in Comparative Religion
HUM 306 Latino Fiction
ENGL 227 World Literature: Magical Realism
ENGL 324 Post-Colonial Literature: Tales of Conquest Retold
POLS/HIST 239 Latin America I
POLS/HIST 241 Latin America II
SPAN 325 Mexican-American Cultural Exploration


International Studies Minor Requirements

IS 220 Introduction to International Studies 4 credits
IS 201 Intercultural Communication 4 credits
POLS 345 or POLS 340 International Political Economy or Security, Rights, and Globalization 4 credits
Two Additional Courses

8 credits, at least 4 credits at the 300 level or above selected to support the student’s geographic area of study as listed above.

8 credits

Questions? Email Dr. Michael Miller at or Dr. Jann Purdy .

You can also check out the IS website at