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International Studies, BA

Pursue an International Studies major at Seattle U for a career-ready education with transformative global experiences. Prepare for careers at home and abroad.

About this Program

Multidisciplinary Education for Globally-Focused Careers

An international studies major provides you with solid academic foundations, transformative international experiences and sharp professional skills that qualify you for a variety of careers at home and abroad.

You’ll take intellectually challenging courses with expert professors dedicated to your personal, intellectual and professional growth.

Our well-rounded, multidisciplinary program covers politics, culture, history, economics and geography, where you develop a wide range of transferable, career-ready skills.

We prepare you for meaningful work in the world:

  • Access to our internship program with dozens of Seattle’s internationally oriented organizations.
  • Small classes in an inclusive environment, taught by faculty from a range of backgrounds and nationalities.
  • Faculty advisers that help you tailor courses to your needs and future career pathways.
  • Study abroad opportunities with access and support for scholarships.
  • Courses in foreign languages to enhance your ability to communicate and work comfortably in multicultural or international settings.

And, of course, you’ll build lasting friendships with fellow students committed to making the broader world a better place.

International Studies at a Glance

Learn how this degree from the International Studies Program will contribute to your career goals. Then, explore course requirements and see how impactful a Seattle University degree can be.

You can tailor the international studies curriculum to suit your needs and interests, alongside foundational and professional formation courses that build knowledge, career skills and professional contacts.

With an International Studies major, you will reach an intermediate or higher level of proficiency in a foreign language (Chinese, French, Japanese or Spanish), enhancing your abilities to communicate and work comfortably in multicultural or international settings.

Many of our students double-major in International Studies with other programs. See below some popular double-majors:

  • French
  • Spanish
  • Asian Studies
  • History
  • Environmental Studies
  • Political Science
  • Economics
  • Public Affairs

Four-Year Program of Study

Junior Transfer Program of Study

Add a minor in international studies to broaden your impact and complement your major. The minor in international studies can be the perfect complement to your major degree, as it can give you the basic knowledge to analyze the cultural, political, historical and economic factors that shape our world’s opportunities and challenges. In order to earn the minor, you need to complete 30 credits.

On graduating from the International Studies degree program, you will be able to:

  • Critically examine connections between local and global contexts.
  • Communicate proficiently in a foreign language at an intermediate level.
  • Demonstrate the necessary knowledge and awareness for culturally sensitive interaction in a variety of settings.
  • Design a research project that answers an internationally compelling question by applying appropriate methods.
  • Analyze complex international issues through a multidisciplinary approach.

What You’ll Learn

Learn about the classes you’ll take as a student here.

Program Designed for Your Success

SU Student Michael Ninen

Study Abroad: Adventurous Experiential Learning

The international studies major includes a learning program in a country outside of the US for a a full academic year, one or two quarters, or a short-term session.  You have many countries to choose from, with professional support and guidance from faculty and our Education Abroad Office.

Student Climbing in Mountains

Internships in Seattle: Real-World Experience

The international studies major offers you personalized support to find an internship at an international organization in the Seattle area. You gain professional skills, contacts, and advice to pursue your career goals.

A large panel of students learning from a presentation

Senior Capstone Research Project: Deep Learning

As an international studies major, you will design and carry out your own research focused on your study abroad country. If you enroll in the international studies honors program at SU, you will have an additional quarter to develop your research, and the opportunity to present your research at an academic conference and work towards publishing your research in an academic journal.

In-Depth, Career-Ready Education

An international studies degree from Seattle U gives you career options in a range of fields.  

International studies alumni often find they have the flexibility to move from one type of career to another, for example, from working in an NGO (non-governmental organization) to a private business.  

Career paths for graduates are flexible, rather than fixed. At the same time, you can still prepare and think through some of the major alternatives as you build your academic profile in the international studies program.

Popular Careers for International Studies Majors

After graduation, international studies majors from SU leverage their knowledge and experience to get jobs in Seattle and beyond in global development, international business and trade, diplomatic service, law, social services, education and communications. 

International studies graduates are working at the following places:

  • Program coordinator, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Research and Impact Officer, Global Partnerships
  • Assistant Director, The Brookings Institute
  • Analyst, World Bank
  • Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State
  • Policy Analyst/Program Manager, City and County of San Francisco
  • Program & Communications Associate, Seattle International Foundation

Hear From Our Alumni

SU Alumni Melissa Cuevas

Melissa Ceuvas

“My interest in history, particularly my AP European History and World History classes in high school, naturally transitioned in a desire to work on global issues. I still debated between International Studies and Political Science as a major, but Seattle University’s International Studies curriculum and the opportunity to learn about different regions of the world ultimately made the decision for me. I will always credit the International Studies program with providing me the tools to succeed.”


Featured Faculty

  • Serena Cosgrove, PhD
    Serena Cosgrove, PhD

    Associate Professor, International Studies
    Director, Latin American Studies
    Faculty Coordinator, Central America Initiative

  • Nova Robinson
    Nova Robinson

    Associate Professor, History
    Associate Professor, International Studies
    Affiliated with Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

  • Enyu Zhang, PhD
    Enyu Zhang, PhD

    Associate Professor, International Studies
    Affiliated faculty and former director, Asian Studies

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