If working abroad, immersing yourself in new cultures, and conversing in foreign languages sound like a dream come true, you might be interested in earning a bachelor of science in international studies. International studies students take coursework that’s designed make it possible to live and work abroad, speak a second language naturally, understand cultural differences, and solve pressing global challenges.
What is a Degree in International Studies?
Traveling to a foreign country is one thing; working in a foreign country is another. U.S. citizens who want to work and spend long periods of time abroad need a significant amount of knowledge and education to do so, and that education can be gained in an international studies degree program. This interdisciplinary degree teaches students about the political, historical, and cultural environments of different regions of the world and provides a thorough education on international business topics.
Students may concentrate or double-major in a foreign language, and are generally required to become fluent in at least one foreign language before graduation. Many programs offer semester-abroad opportunities for students to immerse themselves in speaking the language, make international connections, and better understand regions and cultures through direct experience. Graduates are well-prepared to enter careers abroad in the areas they’ve studied, working in the public or private sectors.
What Courses Would I Take For a Major in International Studies?
- Peace & Global Security
- Religion & Violence
- Transatlantic Security
- Conflict Resolution
- International Relations Theory
- Interpreting Gender in Culture
- Arab-Israeli Relations
- U.S.-China Relations
What Jobs Can You Get with a Degree in International Studies?
Globalization has significantly increased demand for talented translators, interpreters, and cultural educators, so international studies graduates should have a bright future. Students can find work nationally or abroad as English as a second or other language educators, business consultants for foreign businesses looking to expand into the United States, or with U.S.-based businesses seeking to expand globally. Graduates can also work as translators of medical and court documents in the U.S.
How Long does it take?
A bachelors in International Studies will have a typical length of 4 years in a full time schedule. That said, there are many ways to speed up the timeframe by either taking more units via online coursework, community college, or taking free classes at OnlineDegree.com that could transfer to universities in the US.
Online International Studies Degree
International studies have gained more popularity recently as a response to the globalization of trade and politics. However, it should always be noted that earning an unspecialized degree as international studies may be insufficient to qualify to the job market and you may need an additional degree for some jobs. Online international studies degree remains a good choice for working students who look for flexible educational programs and can benefit from the degree to advance in their career. Earning a bachelor degree in international studies requires completing around 120 credit hours. The degree is usually not difficult to complete compared to other degrees particularly if you have the passion to this field.
*All salary and growth data is based on the recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics data published at BLS.gov for a Translator
What Can You Do With an International Studies Degree?
International studies refer to a branch of social studies that deals with international relations including political, economic, social and cultural aspects. It is also commonly known as global studies. The purpose of these programs is to get an integrated and comprehensive view of topics that have international nature particularly after globalization. The degree does not qualify particularly to certain careers however having a degree in international studies can be a significant advantage in business and politics.
What does international studies student learn?
International studies programs are comprehensive and multidisciplinary programs. Additionally, the subjects offered are viewed from an international prospective. This means for example that studying politics will include the various political systems present around the world not just the system in the US or other specific country. This may be challenging to study but it is certainly an exciting field for many university students. The following list shows courses that are commonly offered in international studies programs:
- Political science: this course introduces the structure and organization of various political systems around the world. Students also get to know the political relations between countries and the most important international agreements.
- Geography: the nature of the country and its natural boundaries is a major factor affecting its political system, economy and international relations.
- Economics: this is currently the most important field for international relations. Many products are currently produced as parts in multiple countries and the majority of these products are traded between all continents. Economy can also be a tool for taking over other less rich countries. Resources as gold, spices and oil have participated in shaping the world.
- History: studying history is an important tool to understand how the current world was formed. It will also help in understanding the culture and psychology of people.
- International law: it refers to the laws, rules, norms and standards that are commonly accepted to govern international relations.
- Other courses: anthropology and religious studies
Now I have the international studies degree…where can I work after graduating?
If you have the passion to travel the world or deal with people from around the world then international studies should certainly be among your choices. Earning a degree in international studies will qualify you to work in multinational businesses that have clients and branches in multiple countries. The following list shows career options that are available for international studies graduates:
- Foreign corporations: international studies graduates are qualified to work in companies coming from overseas. They have better understanding of the culture, vision, policies and laws governing the companies.
- International marketing & trade Firms: international trade is significantly different from local trade as it is controlled by laws from several countries and occurs between people of different cultures.
- International real estate firms: real estate is among the most important fields of business and wealth. Investment in real estate abroad has recently been a common trend for wealthy people. International studies graduates working in the field would have better ability to find the right opportunities.
- Financial institutes: most financial institutes have investments and liabilities around the world and accordingly should have good understanding of these markets.
- Politics: international studies are certainly demanded by people working in setting policies or evaluating its effects. You can work in jobs related to a political party, the congress or the department of foreign affairs for example.
Should I choose an international studies degree?
International studies are certainly among the most interesting field as a college degree. Learning about the world with all its different countries, languages, religions, cultures and political systems brings joy and excitement to many people. It will also help you develop a number of useful and important skills:
- Tolerance and cross-cultural skills: international studies will help you acknowledge the diversity among people and cultures. Lack of cross-cultural skills may represent a barrier against working in international working environments with diverse cultures.
- Communication skills: international studies will help you improve your communication skills by understanding more the people who are dealing with.
- Research and analytical skills: studying various courses as history, politics and economy will improve your ability to evaluate and analyze things to reach probable reasons or links between facts.
- Innovation and creativity: learning about the world diversity can open your mind to novel ideas and solutions. You can always be a step ahead of your peers.
Best Jobs for International Studies Degrees
International studies graduates can find work in many different careers. Some go into education and teach English as a second language to children and/or adults. Some work as interpreters and translators, enabling communication and understanding between parties that do not speak the same language. Others go into international business and work as consultants, market researchers, and cultural coaches.
How to save time and money
Our mission is to help you to avoid paying full price for college. We want your International Studies degree to be affordable and accessible. Here’s how you could save:
Create Your Free SmartPlan
There are many ways to make college affordable and accessible.
That’s why we created a helpful tool called SmartPlan.
It’s free, and helps you find potential ways to save and tons of information about each school you’re considering
Think of it as your “college blueprint”, to help you instantly craft a path to your degree:
- Which Colleges Match Your Needs
- Ways You Could Save Time & Money
- Free Courses You Could Take for Credit
- Valuable Data and Insights on Each College
- Detailed Steps You Should Take!
See what’s possible for you and generate a free plan within just a few minutesCreate My SmartPlan
Take Language Courses Independently
If you’re able to take language courses in high school, invest in language education software, or travel internationally to immerse yourself in the use of another language, you’ll have an advantage when starting your program. You may be able to test out of required language courses, saving you tuition fees, and you may even be able to earn experience and an income working as a translator or interpreter while in college. Additionally, you’ll be well-prepared for internships and semesters abroad during college.