The International Studies Program at Vassar College is multidisciplinary in nature. The resulting framework allows students, in close consultation with the director and panel of advisors, to design their own distinct course of study at the beginning of sophomore year.
Although the international studies major is flexible, there are specific requirements for majors to follow to ensure a coherent plan of study. Majors must complete work at the advanced seminar level in two departments in addition to course work at the intermediate level in at least one other department, and complete a thesis by the end of senior year. In addition, our majors must demonstrate proficiency in a language corresponding to the geographic area selected by the student as his or her area of focus.
To further advance their understanding of their chosen geographic area, majors in the International Studies Program typically spend all or part of their junior year at academic institutions overseas. In the last several years our students have attended universities in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Cameroon, China, England, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Morocco, Madagascar, Malaysia, Taiwan, and South Africa.
As part of the program, International Studies sponsors an annual study trip, open to all Vassar students, with an associated semester-long course, INTL 110. Over the years, students have traveled to Indonesia, Jamaica, Russia, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Cuba, Brazil, China, Morocco, Lesser Antilles, Chile, Mexico, and Spain – to name a few. Students learn about the culture, economics, history, language, and political situation of the area they will visit. Consult the Vassar College Catalogue for information about the current year's planned trip.
To ensure the effectiveness of their proposed course work, international studies majors consult regularly with professors. For the senior thesis, majors work with two advisors from different departments.