VCU Bulletins

International Studies, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) with a concentration in global studies/international social justice studies

Special requirements

To earn a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, students must complete 120 course credits, at least 31 of which must be in the major, with a minimum GPA of 2.25. Students must take at least 21 credits in upper-level (300 or 400) INTL courses. The focus should be interdisciplinary, with no more than half of major course credits beyond the INTL core coming from any one traditional discipline (e.g., ANTH, POLI, SOCY or foreign language).

Students should work with their advisers to establish a plan for a minor that will broaden their international studies perspectives. International studies majors are encouraged to complete the course requirements for a minor in one of the following fields: African studies, Arabic and Middle Eastern studies, anthropology, Asian and Chinese studies, economics, business (general business minor), French, geography, German, history, Italian studies, Mediterranean studies, political science, religious studies, Russian studies, sociology, Spanish or urban and regional studies. Students also may want to consider a second major. Advisers will work with students to explore the benefits of a double major and a minor.

Students must fulfill an experiential learning requirement through an approved internship, service-learning course or study-abroad program. Additionally, students must complete foreign language study through the advanced level (300, 305, 320 or 321) by course or placement, unless this level of instruction is not available in the chosen language. (In such cases, the faculty adviser will assist the student in identifying appropriate language study options at other U.S. institutions or abroad.) International studies students also must fulfill the college general education requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree.

To major in international studies, students must take course work that fulfills the requirements for either a general international studies major (offered with a humanities emphasis in the School of World Studies or a social science emphasis in the Wilder School), or students must choose a major with a global studies concentration (with options in both World Studies or Wilder School) or a geographical area studies concentration (available only through World Studies). Students may choose the program of study that best fits their interests.

Experiential learning and study abroad

World Passport
As part of the School of World Studies’ commitment to learning through engagement, each student within the school is required to complete a World Passport to introduce him or her to a breadth of experience beyond the core curriculum: cultural opportunities, experiential learning, seminars and conferences, international experiences, and multicultural campus activities. Students are required to obtain information about their personal World Passport from the School of World Studies Advising Office. The passport will be kept in the student advising file throughout the duration of study. It will be reviewed and stamped by an SWS adviser prior to graduation, and then given to the student upon completion.

The passports are color-coded for four required categories of activities to be completed by students before graduation from VCU with a degree from the School of World Studies.

  • Professional preparation prepares students for careers, graduate school and lifelong learning.
  • Crossing boundaries exposes students to international and multicultural interactions and ideas.
  • Community engagement enhances the undergraduate experience by greater involvement in the community.
  • Experiential learning provides students the opportunity to demonstrate success in applying program content beyond a classroom setting.

The School of World Studies is committed to the premise that learning is best facilitated through engagement with the dynamic complexities and challenges of the world outside the classroom. Majors in the school are required to participate in experiential learning options. All experiential learning opportunities must receive prior approval from the SWS Advising Office and include internships, service-learning courses, certain noncredit options and study abroad.

Study abroad
Summer study-abroad programs provide students with opportunities for short-term immersion in the language, culture and civilization of the countries they visit. A list of current VCU study abroad opportunities can be found at VCU is a member of the International Student Exchange Program, which offers junior year abroad programs at one of 40 universities worldwide. For more information about study abroad, visit the School of World Studies website at

Degree requirements for International Studies, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) with a concentration in global studies/international social justice studies

Learning outcomes

  1. Knowledge regarding the interrelationship between local and global institutions, cultures, languages and religions
  2. Knowledge regarding the differences and unity of human values, aspirations and concerns
  3. Knowledge of local and global issues of social justice, human rights and sustainability
  4. Development of reading, writing and oral communication skills
  5. Development of ethical, critical and creative thinking skills
  6. Development of global awareness and global citizenship

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  1. Possess knowledge regarding interrelationship between local and global institutions, cultures, languages and religions
  2. Possess knowledge regarding the differences and unity of human values, aspirations and concerns
  3. Possess knowledge regarding local and global issues of social justice, human rights and sustainability
  4. Be able to read, write and orally communicate well
  5. Be able to think ethically, critically and creatively
  6. Be able to think globally and engage thoughtfully with society
General Education requirements (32-46 credits) Credits
University Core Education Curriculum (minimum 21 credits)
UNIV 111 Focused Inquiry I 3
UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry II 3
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Approved humanities/fine arts 3
Approved natural/physical sciences 3-4
Approved quantitative literacy 3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences 3-4
Additional College of Humanities and Sciences requirements (11-23 credits)  
HUMS 202 Choices in a Consumer Society 1
Approved H&S diverse and global communities 3
Approved H&S general education electives 6-8
Approved H&S human, social and political behavior (fulfills University Core social/behavioral sciences)  
Approved H&S literature and civilization (fulfills University Core humanities/fine arts)  
Approved H&S science and technology (fulfills University Core natural/physical sciences)  
Experiential fine arts (course offered by the School of the Arts) 1-3
Foreign language through the 102 level (by course or placement) 0-8
Collateral requirements (3-9 credits)  
Foreign language through the 300-level (300, 305, 320 or 321) 3-9
World Passport completion 0
Major requirements (31 credits)  
INTL 101 Human Societies and Globalization or INTL/POLI 105 International Relations 3
RELS 340/INTL 341 Global Ethics and the World’s Religions 3
WRLD 210 International Social Justice Studies 3
WRLD 220 Human Rights and Literature 3
INTL 398 Directed Study Abroad (or other approved study-abroad experience) or INTL 493 International Studies Internship or an approved service-learning or independent study course 0-3
INTL 490 Seminar in International Issues (capstone) 3
INTL 499 Senior Seminar 1
Concentration electives (from List M below) 12-15
Open electives (34-54 credits)  
Open electives 34-54
Total minimum requirement 120

International social justice studies electives (List M)

Students complete the concentration by selecting course work from the following list. Students may earn a maximum of 6 credits within the same discipline to fulfill these requirements.

AFAM/POLI 302 Politics of the Civil Rights Movement
AFAM 305/SOCY 305/GSWS 305 African American Family in Social Context
AFAM/ANTH/INTL/GSWS 309 Global Women’s Health
AFAM 356/INTL 356/POLI 356 Government and Politics of Africa
AFAM 363/ENGL 363/INTL 366 African Literature
AFAM 365/ENGL 365/INTL 367 Caribbean Literature
ANTH/AFAM/INTL 200 Introduction to African Societies
ANTH 331 Public Culture: Anthropology through Film
ANTH 349 Rethinking a Continent: Latin America
ANTH 350 Rethinking a Continent: Europe
ANTH 420/AFAM 420/INTL 420 Women of Africa
ANTH/INTL 455 Anthropology of Development and Globalization
FREN 422 French Cinema
FREN 450 Francophone Literatures and Cultures
GRMN 422 German Film
GSWS 301 Feminist Social Theory
GSWS/AFAM/POLI 318 Politics of Race, Class and Gender
HIST/GSWS 341 American Women’s History
HIST/AFAM/GSWS 390 Africa and the Americas: Slavery, Gender and Race
ITAL 320 Italian Cinema
MASC 359/WRLD 359 International Media Coverage: The Middle East
POLI/AFAM/INTL 357 Politics of Southern Africa
POLI/INTL 365 International Political Economy
POLI 366/INTL 368/GSWS 366 Women and Global Politics
RELS 422 Religion and Film
RELS 450/INTL 449 Religion, Globalization and Social Justice
RELS/AFAM/INTL 451 Religion, Racism and Social Justice
RELS/GSWS/INTL 453 Western Religions, Women and Social Justice
RELS 455/INTL 456 Catholic Ethics and Social Justice
RUSS 422 Russian Film
SPAN 322 Hispanic Immigrants in the U.S.
SPAN 332 Latino Writers in the U.S.
SPAN 422 Spanish and Latin American Cinema
WRLD 422 National Cinema (specific country)

Topics (when appropriate)
Students must receive approval through the SWS Advising Office for topics courses counting toward the concentration.

ANTH 391 Topics in Anthropology
FLET 391 Topics in Foreign Literature in English Translation (for example, “Women and War”)
FREN 491 Topics in French (for example, “Cinéma du monde arabe”)
GRMN 491 Topics in German
INTL 391 Topics in International Studies
INTL 491 Topics in International Studies
RELS 391 Topics in Religious Studies
RELS 490 Seminar in Religious Studies
RELS 491 Topics in Religious Studies
RUSS 491 Topics in Russian
SPAN 491 Topics in Spanish
WRLD 391 Topics in World Languages and Cultures (for example, “Religion, Nature and Social Justice”)
WRLD 491 Topics in World Languages and Cultures

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Last update: 6/25/2013

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