International Studies

Major | Minor

Global concerns and connections impact nearly all areas of our lives. Explore international studies from an interdisciplinary perspective and gain the knowledge to thrive in an interconnected world.

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Why Study International Studies?

In a globalized world, international concerns impact almost all areas of our lives. Most of the goods we buy are produced elsewhere. The food we eat travels thousands of miles to reach our table. Even the diseases we contract make their way to all areas of the globe. In the political arena, very few policy choices are “domestic” anymore. Legislative decisions in one nation have worldwide implications.

By majoring or minoring in international studies, you will gain the knowledge and skills you need to thrive as a global citizen.

Why Study International Studies at Luther?

Luther’s international studies program is unique. We are one of only a handful of colleges in our region offering this major.

The interdisciplinary major is flexible. It allows you to follow your passion and interests. You’ll study anthropology, communication studies, economics, history, political science, sociology, and religion. These courses introduce you to global economic, political, and social systems. You will then use that knowledge to pursue closer study of a specific region or theme.

The best way to prepare for a global society is to spend time in other countries. As an international studies major, you will spend a semester studying abroad. And we have several program-specific scholarships to help cover the cost.

Program Highlights

Immerse Yourself in a Culture by Studying Abroad

No amount of classroom study can provide the knowledge that’s gained through physically residing in a place. Experience learning beyond the classroom. All international studies minors/majors are required to study abroad.

International Studies Scholarships

The Olga Fischer-Proehl Scholarship and the Melin Scholarship were established to assist select international studies majors with study-abroad expenses. The scholarships aim to help with expenses related to tuition, travel, room and board, and living while abroad. The Center for Global Learning also offers financial assistance for Luther students seeking to study off-campus.

Language Learning Center

The Language Learning Center (LLC) offers resources and technical support for all modern language faculty and students. During scheduled hours, the LLC provides language help, drop-in tutoring, an extensive foreign-language film collection, and space for small groups to gather.

What You’ll Learn

As an international studies major or minor, you will:

  • Develop an interdisciplinary understanding of global systems
  • Use methods from several disciplines to analyze and examine international issues
  • Engage in hands-on learning through study abroad and/or internship experiences
  • Hone the important academic skills of research, writing, and oral communication
  • Gain a depth of specialized knowledge in your chosen area of interest

Choose Your Own Study Track

To major or minor in international studies, you must choose and take courses in a regional or thematic track.

Regional Focus Tracks

  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • South and East Asia
  • Latin America and Caribbean
  • Middle East and Northern Africa
  • Europe

Thematic Tracks

  • Development Studies Track
  • Peace and Dialogue Studies Track

You also have the option to create an individualized thematic track in consultation with the international studies director.


Amy Webb wearing green shirt, gray background
At Luther College, I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel to Europe for a semester and for two J-Terms. I have found that traveling fosters open-mindedness, empathy, self-confidence, and enhances one's personal development.
Amy Webb '24
International Studies and German Major
Read About Amy's Fulbright Award
Nora stands in front of the Myanmar flag
As I reflect on my time at Luther, my heart is full of gratitude for the endless support and inspiration I received from faculty, staff and my peers to pursue my dreams. I will always treasure this experience and carry this priceless sense of community with me as I go on to serve the world to the best of my capabilities as a leader.
Nora Nyi Myint ’22
International studies major
Nora Nyi Myint receives the 2022 Jenson Medal

Careers and Outcomes

Luther international studies graduates understand world systems and international issues. These are in-demand qualities in all careers, especially in the global job market.

Career Fields

  • International business
  • International teaching
  • International organizations
  • Development agencies
  • Governmental work
  • Graduate studies

Attend Conferences, Present Your Work

SalomĂ© Valdivieso Santillán ’23, Alice Odame ’22, and Soren Gleoge ’21 attended the Midwest Political Science Association Conference in Chicago with Professor Orçun Selçuk. Odame presented a paper on CFA Franc as a form of neocolonialism. Valdivieso Santillán presented a paper on the inclusion of Ecuadorian migrants. Gleoge presented a paper on democratic transitions in Egypt and Tunisia.

Students attending a conference

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