20109-2011 Undergraduate Catalog

International Studies

Students may complete a minor in International Studies.


Cynthia D. Bisman, Co-Director, Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research
Christine Koggel, Co-Director, Philosophy

Steering Committee

Michael H. Allen, Political Science (on leave semester II)
Grace Morgan Armstrong, French and Francophone Studies (on leave semester II)
Cynthia D. Bisman, Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research
Carola Hein, Growth and Structure of Cities (on leave semesters I and II)
Toba Kerson, Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research
Philip Kilbride, Anthropology
Christine Koggel, Philosophy
Imke Meyer, German and German Studies
Kalala Ngalamulume, History
Mary J. Osirim, Sociology (on leave semester I)
Michael H. Rock, Economics (on leave semester II)

International studies is the study of relationships among people and states affected by increasingly permeable borders and facing global issues. The minor in international studies aims to prepare students to be responsible citizens by introducing them to issues of importance in an increasingly interdependent world of global dynamics in politics, economics, ideas, language, and culture. Around the world, international studies programs are preparing students for productive roles in transnational or intergovernmental institutions and in the areas of public policy, governance, business, diplomacy, development, and cultural studies. A goal of the minor is to provide a foundation for students interested in pursuing career opportunities in these areas or in entering graduate programs in international studies.

The minor combines applied and theoretical approaches to international studies and draws from an increasing number of disciplines that are now exploring the descriptive and normative aspects of living in a world impacted by features of globalization. The minor allows students to use the disciplinary methods and materials acquired in their major as a base from which to engage in the necessarily inter- and multidisciplinary course work of international studies. Finally, the minor employs a broad conception of international studies by incorporating the study of politics, economics, philosophy, and political theory (as captured in the core courses) with the complementary study of specific themes (as captured by each of the five tracks).

Although language study is not required per se for the minor, students intending to undertake graduate work in international studies should plan to acquire proficiency in a foreign language, which is a requirement (at the time of admission or graduation) in the most selective programs here and abroad.

Minor Requirements

Students minoring in International Studies must complete a total of seven courses. Four of these are core courses. Three of these courses form a coherent group coming (one each) from political science, economics, and philosophy and the fourth provides critical inquiry into cultural differences. The core courses form the base from which students can then concentrate their additional study in one of five tracks: international politics, international economics, social justice, area studies, or language and arts. Within a track, students can choose three electives from among a range of courses drawn from the social sciences and humanities. The three electives should demonstrate coherence and be approved by an adviser from the Center for International Studies.

Core courses

There are a total of four core courses. All students are required to take three courses, one from each of political science, economics, and philosophy. These disciplines have become central to international studies programs. Each of the two sets identified below form a coherent group of three courses designed to introduce students to the field as a whole by providing them with resources for studying the most basic elements of globalization in the context of international relations, economics and politics. If one of the core courses from a set is not offered in a given year, substitutions will be made with another allied course, offered at Bryn Mawr or Haverford, with the approval of an adviser from the Center for International Studies.

POLS B141 Introduction to International Politics
ECON B225 Economic Development
PHIL B344 Development Ethics


PHIL B225 Global Ethical Issues
ECON B206 International Trade
POLS B391 International Political Economy

To complete the core requirements, students must take one course on cultural differences. This requirement allows students to acquire a greater appreciation of the significance of culture in the global context by providing an awareness of how different values, norms, beliefs, and practices affect possibilities for understanding different cultures and for cross-cultural dialogue and consensus. The course may be selected from (but is not limited to) the following:

ANTH B102 Introduction to Anthropology: Cultural Anthropology
COML/PHIL B202 or B323 Culture and Interpretation
ITAL/COML/HEBR B211 Primo Levi, the Holocaust, and Its Aftermath
ANTH/COML/GERM/CITY B245 Women’s Narratives on Modern Migrancy, Exile and Diaspora
FREN B251 La Mosaïque France


In addition to the four core courses listed above, three electives are required. Each of the five tracks identifies a major topic or theme in international studies that builds on or develops the core. Students should choose the three electives from the approved lists under one of the tracks identified below. Electives should demonstrate coherence and be approved by an adviser. At least one of the courses must be a 300-level course. Please refer to the International Studies Web site for detailed information regarding approved electives: http://www.brynmawr.edu/internationalstudies.

International Politics

This track allows students to focus on the dynamics and structures of intergovernmental and transnational relationships from the perspective of the discipline of political science. Through engagement with the most salient theoretical and policy debates, students may focus upon such themes as globalization and resistance to it, development and sustainability, nationalism and sovereignty, human rights, conflict and peace, public international law and institutions, and nongovernmental or civil society organizations and movements at regional, transregional, and global levels.

The three elective courses are to be selected from an approved list or be approved by an adviser from the Center for International Studies.

International Economics

This track allows students to focus on various theoretical, empirical, and policy issues in international economics. Each of the courses in the track—trade, open-economy macroeconomics, development, and environmental economics—focuses on different economic aspects of the international or global economy. International trade looks at the major theories offered to explain trade and examines the effects of trade barriers and trade liberalization on welfare. International macroeconomics and international finance examines policy-making in open economies, exchange rate systems, exchange rate behavior, and financial integration and financial crises. Development economics is concerned, among other things, with understanding how developing countries can structure their participation in the global economy so as to benefit their development. Environmental economics uses economic analysis to examine the behavioral causes of local, regional, and global environmental and natural resource problems and to evaluate policy responses to them.

The three elective courses are to be selected from an approved list or be approved by a faculty member in Economics affiliated with the Center for International Studies.

Social Justice

This track allows students to explore issues of social and political change in the context of economic and political transition in the global context. Students gain insight into how global issues affect relationships among people and cultures within and across national boundaries and how global issues are in turn affected by these relationships. Major themes include: a) migration, imperialism, and colonialism; b) international/ethnic conflict and cooperation; c) culture and values; d) justice and global issues; e) globalization and urban development; and f) social movements and change in the global context.

A coherent set of courses can be achieved by selecting the three electives from approved lists within one of the thematic groupings or be approved by an adviser from the Center for International Studies.

Area Studies

This track allows students to situate and apply the economic, political, and social theory provided in the core to the study of a particular geopolitical area. It provides students with a global frame of reference from which to examine issues of history, migration, colonization, modernization, social change, and development through an area study.

A coherent set of courses can be achieved by selecting the three electives from approved lists within an area study or be approved by an adviser from the Center for International Studies.

Language and Arts

This track allows students to explore human interaction at the global level through language, literature, music, and arts. Students in this track focus their studies on the forms of language and the arts that are generated through global processes and in turn affect the generation and exchange of ideas in and between different societies and cultures.

A coherent set of courses can be achieved by selecting the three electives from approved lists within a language study or be approved by an adviser from the Center for International Studies.