Bachelor of Science in International Affairs Curriculum

The Bachelor of Science in International Affairs major requirements are composed of the Advanced Fundamentals, Regional Foundations, Concentration OR Second Major, and third year proficiency in a modern foreign language. A grade of C- or better must be earned for all International Affairs major courses. Courses may not be double-counted between any International Affairs requirements (except for WID courses.) All Elliott School students must also complete the General Bachelor of Arts requirements in addition to their major requirements. 

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Major Requirements

In addition to the General Bachelor’s Program Requirements, students in the Bachelor of Science in International Affairs (BSIA) program are required to complete each of the four BSIA Major Requirements outlined below (Advanced Fundamentals, Regional Foundations, Advanced STEM Requirement and Concentration/Second Major). Students must also demonstrate third-year proficiency in a modern foreign language through examination or coursework.

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The Advanced Fundamentals build upon the General Bachelor’s Program Requirements and promote students’ understanding of the skills, knowledge, methodologies, and disciplinary lenses central to international affairs.

  • Research Methods — One course focusing on qualitative or quantitative social science research methods.
  • International Economics — One or two courses focusing on the theory of international economics.
  • Historical Analysis: US Foreign Policy — One course focusing on the history of US approaches to contemporary international affairs.
  • International and Comparative Politics — One course focusing on international political issues and theories from either an international relations or comparative politics perspective.
  • Anthropology or Geography — One course from anthropology or geography that is relevant to international affairs.

The Regional Foundations requirement includes two courses which focus on regions of the world outside of the US, allowing students to gain an understanding of differing regional cultures, histories, economies, and politics. Each of the two courses must focus on a different world region below.

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Europe and Eurasia
  • Latin America
  • Middle East

The Advanced STEM Requirement is comprised of six advanced STEM courses which complement students’ coursework in international affairs by providing a science- and tech-oriented dimension to their program of study. Students may choose to pursue coursework in disciplines such as Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, and Finance in accordance with their academic and professional interests.

You van view a list of currently approved and denied STEM courses below.  Please take note this list is not exhaustive and you can have a course reviewed for the upper level STEM requirement via the Course Substitution Request online form. 

List of Reviewed Courses for Upper Level STEM Course Requirement


Concentration or Second Major

A concentration represents an academic and professional specialization within a student’s program of study, usually consisting of five courses and focusing on a specific functional or regional theme (e.g., International Economics or African Studies). Students in the BSIA program are given the option to pursue one of the concentrations below or to apply these fifteen credits of coursework toward completion of a second major in a STEM-related discipline.

Functional Concentrations

This concentration gives students the tools to analyze political, economic, and social issues that fall both within and across national borders, with the full scope of modern social science. It allows students to understand how countries differ in political, economic, and social structures.

Objective:

Graduates of this concentration should be able to identify international and national issues (political, economic and social), analyze these issues from a cross-national comparative perspective, and place them in a social science framework.

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This concentration examines conflicts between nations and peoples, and considers the methods of resolving those conflicts, through national, regional, and international means.

Objective:

Graduates of this concentration should be able to identify conflicts, hypothesize about the causes of those conflicts and synthesize a means that might resolve or end that conflict.

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This concentration focuses on how people in cultures and societies around the world earn a livelihood, organize into groups, communicate, practice religious belief systems, use expressive culture to shape their identity, work to prevent and solve conflict, manage natural and human-made crises, and interact at local, country, and international levels.

Objective:

Graduates of this concentration should have insights into micro- and macro-level cultural and societal processes, how cultural and social dynamics at the local level both shape and are shaped by wider structural forces, and the value of qualitative research for understanding culture and society.

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This concentration offers coursework in several areas related to human health and well-being around the world, but especially in developing countries. Students will gain knowledge of how various disciplines approach the study and description of health problems and possible solutions and will gain insights into particular health challenges and how policies and programs seek to address them.

Objective:

Graduates of this concentration should have the ability to understand particular health problems in terms of their social and geographical distribution, their underlying political and economic causes, and how policies and programs seek to solve health problems.

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This concentration provides comparative insights into different models of development and poverty alleviation, and studies the effects of international development aid, globalization and local change, and connections between and among related cultural/social, political, economic, environmental, educational, and other factors.

Objective:

Graduates of this concentration should have the ability to critique various approaches to development, have knowledge of how development has or has not worked in particular contexts, and be aware of policies and programs that have been designed to alleviate poverty and promote development.

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This concentration examines international economics from a variety of perspectives including: international trade, investment and finance; international business and economic organization; the development of national and regional economies; the role of culture and geography; and the relationship between economics and politics.

Objective:

Graduates of this concentration should be able to conceptualize and analyze international economic issues and policy challenges and to identify and evaluate policy responses to these issues and challenges.

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This concentration offers a multidisciplinary exploration of international environmental challenges by examining such issues as sustainable development in relation to the environment, climate change, energy and natural resources, and environmental security.

Objective:

Graduates of this concentration should have the ability to analyze and understand international environmental challenges and their underlying causes, and the ways in which states, non-state actors, and the international community seek to address these challenges.

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This concentration considers the strategies that countries use in dealing with other states and addressing various global issues. It examines how both national and international institutions shape the foreign policies of countries and the political interaction among nation-states.

Objective:

Graduates of this concentration should be able to analyze the interest that some country has in an international issue, be able to formulate a policy from the point of view of that state, and be able to assess the potential effectiveness of that policy. They should also be able to identify and assess the factors that affect international political cooperation and competition.

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This concentration focuses on security challenges and national, transnational, and international threats that affect individuals, groups, states, and international organizations. The concentration identifies a range of short and long-term responses to these challenges, including weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, regional and ethnic conflicts, international crime, and the security implications of a globalized economy.

Objective:

Graduates of this concentration should be able to analyze a security challenge, identify and assess possible responses, and evaluate the implementation and impact of policy responses.

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Regional Concentrations

A comparative and international study of the countries of continental Africa. This concentration covers modern African history, regional economics, comparative politics, and regional politics. It deals with security and development issues on the continent as well as the policies of African countries towards countries in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Objective:

Graduates of this concentration should be able to analyze and explain national and international events that involve African countries. They should also be able to formulate policies and strategies that address problems of that region and assess the effectiveness of those policies.

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This concentration provides a comparative and international study of the countries of Asia, covering modern Asian history, regional economics, comparative politics, and regional politics. It examines security, development, and trade issues on the continent, as well as the policies of Asia countries toward the rest of the world.

Objective:

Graduates of this concentration should be able to analyze and explain national and international events that involve Asian countries. They should also be able to formulate policies and strategies that address problems of that region and assess the effectiveness of those policies.

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This concentration provides a comparative and international study of European countries and countries of Western Asia that were once a part of the Soviet Union. Modern European and Eurasian culture, history, regional economics, comparative politics, and regional politics are covered. Issues of security, development, trade, economic and political integration, as well as trans-European institutions and policies of European countries towards the rest of the world are also studied.

Objective:

Graduates of this concentration should be able to analyze and explain national, regional, and international events that involve the countries of this region. They should also be able to formulate policies and strategies that address problems of that region and assess the effectiveness of those policies.

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This concentration provides a comparative and international study of the countries of Mexico, and those found in Central and South America. Modern history of Latin America, regional economics, comparative and regional politics are covered. Issues of security, development, trade, and policies of Latin American countries toward North America and the rest of the world are also studied.

Objective:

Graduates of this concentration should be able to analyze and explain national and international events that involve Latin American countries. They should also be able to formulate policies and strategies that address problems of that region and assess the effectiveness of those policies.

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This concentration provides a comparative and international study of the countries of the Middle East as well as regions connected to the Middle East through Islam, including the Maghreb section of Africa and Southwest Asia. Modern history of the region, regional economics, culture and religion, and comparative and regional politics are covered. Anthropological, economic, religious, political, and historical methods are utilized in study of the region.

Objective:

Graduates of this concentration should be able to analyze and explain national and international events that involve the Middle East and formulate policies and strategies that address problems of the region and assess the effectiveness of those policies.

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Interested in declaring the B.S. in International Affairs?  

Please visit the Elliott School Undergraduate Forms website in order to declare the B.S. in International Affairs as your first or second major.