In an increasingly globalized world, international concerns impact almost all areas of our lives, whether we realize it or not. Most of the goods we buy are produced elsewhere, the food we eat travels thousands of miles to reach our table, and even the diseases we contract make their way to all areas of the globe. Even in the political arena, very few policy choices can be considered truly “domestic” anymore, as legislative decisions in one nation have worldwide implications. The International Studies program at Luther College seeks to provide students with the academic tools and knowledge to function optimally in this interconnected world.
The program draws on a wide variety of academic disciplines (such as Anthropology, Communications Studies, Economics, History, Political Science, Sociology, Religion, etc.) to introduce students to global economic, political, and social systems, and then uses that knowledge to contextualize the close study of one particular geographic region. Students majoring in International Studies leave Luther College with a broad range of international knowledge and with a detailed understanding of how these complex international issues impact their individual region of interest.
The major is built around an international theme that students identify during the IS 230 introductory course. After taking three foundational courses and IS 230, students then complete three “Global Perspectives” courses, and three “Regional Focus” courses in the geographic region of their choice. During the course of their study, International Studies majors study abroad for at least one semester in order to gain experiential depth in their selected region. Because the study of language is highly valued in the field of International Studies, students are strongly encouraged to take language courses while at Luther and while studying abroad. The IS minor is built on a similar model to the major, but students focus on either Global Perspectives or Regional Focus courses, and study abroad for either a semester or J-term as their course of study allows.