CIS launches new, flexible B.A. in International Studies

The Center for International Studies (CIS), now located within the College of Arts and Sciences, has launched a new Bachelor of Arts in International Studies that offers an interdisciplinary and highly adaptable curriculum for OHIO undergraduates who seek careers and futures that are globally engaged.

Replacing majors specific to geographic regions (Global Studies-Africa, Global Studies-Asia, Global Studies-Europe, and Global Studies-Latin America), the new B.A. empowers students to choose transregional, thematic specializations as well as regional concentrations, allowing for an array of curricular combinations that suit any individual’s interests and needs.

Majors will choose one transregional, thematic area—Arts, Culture and Society; Global Communication; Global Sustainability and Environmental Literacy; Health and Development; International Development and Global Commerce; or Security Studies—and select from an expanded list of regional concentrations that include Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa.

“We’re preparing our students for careers in such areas as NGOs, humanitarianism and human rights, diplomacy, international business and consulting, and civil service, just to name a few,” said Patrick Barr-Melej, CIS executive director and professor of Latin American history in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Maximizing both curricular flexibility and post-graduation opportunities for our students, the new B.A. in International Studies builds on the center’s programmatic strengths and those of our partner departments and programs across the University.”

All routes within the major will entail coursework in different disciplines in the humanities, arts, and social and other sciences, and the B.A. in International Studies will stand alongside CIS’s most popular undergraduate major, International Studies—War and Peace.

“The new major fundamentally enhances students’ ability to personalize their educations and follow their career interests,” said Brianne Dowler, CIS assistant director for student success and communications. “We’re very excited for our students.”

Each regional concentration involves required courses and electives, as do the transregional, thematic concentrations. To further equip students with intercultural competencies that a complex and diverse world demands, the major also requires study abroad and six semesters of foreign-language instruction.

“The BA in International Studies responds to changing dynamics, emerging trends, and student demands around the world,” CIS Associate Director Catherine Cutcher explained. “This is the biggest step forward for our undergraduate students in many years.”

Barr-Melej added that the new major is also structured in a way that provides students efficient opportunities for double majoring.

“Our lists of required courses and electives are designed so that many degrees offered outside CIS, such as in communication, the health sciences, anthropology and sociology, history, geography, economics, modern languages, and political science, overlap substantially with the new major and with our War and Peace major,” Barr-Melej noted. “Interested students should consult with their success advisors or contact us at CIS.”

Interested students may email any questions to Joshua Hill, CIS director of undergraduate programs and associate professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences, at

Founded in 1964, CIS is a unit of the College of Arts and Sciences. In addition to its undergraduate-major programs, CIS is home to six M.A. programs (one of which is jointly administered with the Scripps College of Communication), offers 19 certificates, and teaches six foreign languages. The mission of the CIS is to educate globally engaged citizens, promote sustainable and responsible development, contribute to peace and justice, and make the world a better place. CIS launches new, flexible B.A. in International Studies

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