Faculty-International Studies

International Studies

Judith A. Chubb, Ph.D., Director,  Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Society, Political Science

As a multidisciplinary program, the International Studies faculty reside in their home departments of Economics & Accounting, History, Modern Languages and Literatures, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Sociology & Anthropology, and Spanish. The Director of International Studies can assist students in identifying faculty advisors and professors for International Studies courses.

The International Studies major focuses on the historical, political, economic, cultural, environmental, and social forces that shape relations among states and peoples at the transnational level. The major is inherently multidisciplinary. Students completing a major in International Studies pursue coursework in some combination of Anthropology, Economics, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, and Sociology, in addition to the study of a foreign language. Students pursuing an International Studies major are challenged to develop critical thinking and writing skills, to become proficient in an additional language, and to engage important questions of our day from the perspectives of multiple disciplines.

Students interested in the International Studies major should contact the program director to discuss their interests. Students must apply for the major through the online Student Program Application system. This is a non-competitive application. There is no limit on the number of majors or minimum grade point average requirement to apply for the major. The application is intended to assist students in developing an appropriate major curriculum.  Applications are accepted twice per year in October and February. Students should contact the program director for the application deadlines.

The International Studies major is composed of three elements — a set of four core requirements, a thematic focus, and a regional focus. The language and introductory courses provide the foundation for the major. The thematic focus relates to the social scientific study of some aspect of relations among states and peoples. Potential majors can choose from themes such as Development Studies, Conflict and Conflict Resolution, Global Governance and International Law, and International Political Economy. Students may seek to develop an alternative thematic focus, but the onus is on the student to demonstrate in the application that the theme is appropriate and that there are sufficient courses to support the theme. The thematic focus should provide the student with a significant degree of breadth and depth in the theoretical study of their theme. 

In addition to the thematic focus, students with a major in International Studies are expected to develop a degree of regional expertise. They should have sufficient knowledge of the states in a particular region of the world so that they can effectively apply their thematic coursework to that region. The study of a language from their proposed region of the world is central to the major. Students completing the major must pursue a minimum of foreign language study at the 300 level of their language. Students are also strongly advised to study abroad in their language. Experiencing the part of the world that is the focus of the major and achieving competency in the language is considered a very important aspect of the major.

Advanced Placement Credit:  Students with a score of 4 or 5 in a required Core course earn placement in the curriculum but not progress toward the minimum of 12 courses required by the major.  They will be expected to take a fifth course in either their regional or their thematic focus.

Major Requirements:

Core Requirements (4 courses):

Language at the 301 level

ECON-110: Principles of Economics

2 of the following 3 courses:
  ANTH-101: The Anthropological Perspective
  POLS-102: Introduction to Comparative Politics
  POLS-103: Introduction to International Relations

  ECON 110 and ANTH 101 must be taken in the student's first or second year at Holy Cross.

Geographic Region (4 courses):

One History course from the region
Three electives related to the region (Your geographic region should correspond to the language you are studying.)

Major Theme (4 courses):

4 electives related to the theme

**Note that the major curriculum must be approved through the application process, and changes in the curriculum must be approved by the director.


The curriculum for each International Studies major is created through the application process. There are a wide range of courses that can be used to fulfill the major. Most major courses are located in the departments of Economics & Accounting, History, Modern Languages and Literatures, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Sociology & Anthropology, and Spanish. Course listings and descriptions are included with the department entries in the catalog for each of these departments.

In addition, students majoring in International Studies may count up to 2 courses from one semester abroad and up to 4 courses from a full year abroad toward the International Studies major requirements with the approval of the director.

Students pursuing a double major may count no more than two courses from the department of the second major toward the International Studies major.