Frequently Asked Questions About International Studies
1. How do I get started on the IS major? The recommended first course is the Introduction to International Studies. This course provides an introduction to a global community in transition in the post-Cold War world and to the interdisciplinary approach which characterizes the IS major. This course studies how individuals acquire their cultural, national and state identifications and how these varied identifications complicate coping with a variety of global challenges arising from increasing interdependence and, through case studies and simulations, challenges students to adopt different perspectives and experience the possible cooperation or conflict which results. Most students also continue with language study.
2. How do I know which courses to take? How do I know which language to take? You choose your courses and an appropriate language based on your own interests and experiences to this point in your academic career. You may be drawn to a particular region or language or have a concern about some international issue or you may be more interested in a general approach. Read the catalog descriptions, think about what you want to know more about and then consult with your advisor or foreign language department about alternatives.
As you choose courses, you should be aware that a number of the IS requirements can double count toward fulfilling BW College core requirements. INT 100 will count toward the International Studies portion of the core, as will other internationally-oriented requirements. Any political science, economics or sociology course counts toward the Social Science requirement. GEO 121 Physical Geography is a lab course and could be used to fulfill the lab requirement. History, music, art, humanities, religion and foreign language courses count toward the general Humanities requirement, with art and World Music fulfilling fine arts requirements. The history and religion courses can be used to fulfill the Cultural Heritage requirement. You will especially want to consider courses which double count if you are thinking about a second major.
3. How often do I need to see my advisor? At least once a semester to register for classes and whenever else you have questions related to the major or your classes. If you have a double major, you only need to see one of your advisors at registration time. You may also want to meet with Prof. Hollender of the Foreign Language Department for questions regarding language competency. For questions related to any other aspect of the IS major, see Dr. Krutky.
4. Should I study abroad? Study abroad is recommended, but it is an individual decision. Before you make it, visit the Explorations Office to see if there are programs that interest you. Your language instructor can provide information specific to the countries where your target language is spoken. IS majors who have studied abroad can give you first-hand knowledge of their own experiences. Dr. Krutky can help you assess how such a program would fit into achieving your own personal goals as they relate to the IS major.
5. How will I know the topics for the capstone Interdisciplinary Seminar and when should I take it? The seminar will be offered each spring and will be announced in the course schedule. It is usually team-taught by professors in departments associated with the major and topics vary from year to year. Most students take the seminar in their junior or senior year. Dr. Krutky usually knows the topics about a year in advance so that as a junior you could decide if the course to be offered that year or the one to be offered your senior year is closer to your interests. Some students take the seminar more than once since topics vary, counting the second offering as an upper division elective. Occasionally sophomores take the seminar if the topic is of interest since the course is not likely to be repeated.
6. What if I'm interested in some international topic not covered in the BW curriculum? Baldwin Wallace makes provision for students to explore academic topics beyond those included in the normal course offerings through Independent Study. This program is described in the BW College Catalog and may be appropriate for International Studies majors with special interests in a variety of areas. Any member of the Committee Supervising the International Studies Major may supervise independent study for INT credit which advances the competencies established for the major. Those competencies include the ability to understand and analyze international issues, function in an international environment or integrate any of the component disciplines which make up the IS major (history, economics, political science, sociology, earth science, religion and foreign language). Students who are considering undertaking an INT independent study project should consult with the member of the Committee Supervising the International Studies Major whose field of study is most closely related to the area of student interest or should consult with Dr. Krutky to explore various options. Students considering an independent study should have a 3.0 grade point average and have completed INT 200 Introduction to International Studies and at least two of the basic courses required in Groups 1-5.
7. Are there possibilities for field experience related to International Studies? Participation in a field experience or internship may be an appropriate part of a student's program at BW in International Studies. General guidelines for field experience are listed in the College catalog and any field experience undertaken for INT credit should be in conformity with College policies. Projects or work situations that contribute to the competencies established for the major are especially relevant. Those competencies include the ability to understand and analyze international issues, the ability to function in an international environment and the ability to integrate any of the disciplines which make up the IS major including history, economics, political science, sociology, earth science, religion and foreign language. Students considering a field experience should have completed INT 100 Introduction to International Studies and have taken at least one course in the academic discipline most closely related to the field experience responsibilities. Each department will set appropriate field experience credit requirements which may include a paper, journal or oral presentation.
Students in the past who have had field experiences that would meet these requirements include projects at the Cleveland Council on World Affairs, the Cleveland World Trade Association, the Customs Division of the U.S. Treasury Department and various internships associated with foreign language study. IS field experiences can be supervised by any member of the Committee Supervising the International Studies Major. For any questions in this area, please consult with Dr. Krutky or one of the members of the Committee.
8. Is there anything else I need to do as an IS major? Because there are a variety of options within the IS major, it can be confusing to keep track of your progress. A checklist to help you is included on page 7. Mark the courses you intend to take and check them off as you complete them.
Another indicator of your progress is the Assessment Portfolio assembled by each student and kept in the Political Science Office. Initially when you declare the major, you need to fill out an information sheet available in the Political Science Department. (This will also add your name to the mailing list for the Political Science Department newsletter which has IS-related announcements in it which will be of interest to you.) Each time you take a course which counts toward the IS major, you should give the professor a copy of the Faculty Assessment of International Studies coursework form to fill out at the end of the semester and return to the Political Science Department. You can also include any papers, projects, or other assignments that document your international competence. These portfolios are used to document the increasing international skills of our IS majors and are available to you should you ever need a writing sample or record of your achievements.
9. Will I need graduate work beyond the Bachelor's Degree? That depends on your career goal. For many positions in travel-related areas, entry-level jobs in banking and public school teachers, a Bachelor's degree is sufficient. While the BA is sufficient for many government positions, some students opting for government service or hoping to work for an international organization find they can advance faster with a Master's degree in IS or a related area. Some business students also pursue a Master of Business Administration degree before a career while others interview for a company that will help pay for an advanced degree. Careers in law and college teaching require graduate degrees. To keep your options open, you should attend BW Job Fairs, begin to secure information about your prospective career(s), and consider a field experience in a related area to get specific information. Consult with your faculty advisor and the Office of Development Services as well. If you think graduate work might be in your future, look for graduate catalogs from schools in which you might be interested. For law school or any graduate degree program, a research methods class in the area of your major interest is also strongly recommended.
10. How do I choose a concentration? What do I 'do' with an IS major or minor after I graduate? You do not have to have a concentration. But, if you choose to do one, you should choose a concentration in the area most closely related to your interests. One recent graduate with a triple major in IS, chemistry, and French planned to work in the global network seeking to combat AIDS. Sorting all this out is sometimes difficult. See your advisor or Dr. Krutky with questions or to discuss any concerns you might have.
There are many career possibilities for IS majors. Generally most students use the IS major or minor to "internationalize" a more traditional major and add a more global perspective to their coursework. Today various career opportunities at home and abroad await graduates with a global worldview who can demonstrate competence in performing tasks in a cross-cultural context. Past IS majors are often found in the following areas:
- Business: Multinational companies are increasingly common in the U.S and abroad. Many hire graduates with an International Studies background to train them in their specific job assignment for future transfer abroad. A major or minor in business may also be helpful.
- U.S. and Other Countries' Civil Service: A variety of U.S. federal and state government agencies regularly hire individuals with international training for assignments in the U.S and abroad. The U.S. State Department, Foreign Service, Treasury Department (here in Cleveland and elsewhere), and Department of Defense are a few examples. Other countries� governments similarly look for their own citizens who have studied abroad to staff various positions in the foreign policy area and to represent them in international organizations.. Furthermore, diplomats and politicians of the future will face an ever-increasing need to handle international crises with sensitivity and depth of understanding. A major or minor in any of the component IS disciplines is also useful.
- International Public and Private Organizations: A number of international organizations regularly hire innovative people who are capable of functioning in international affairs. The following are a few examples: the UN, the OAS, the World Bank, World Council of Churches, and the Red Cross. Other private and nonprofit agencies, some of a religious nature, seek graduates in the area of international studies.
- Law and Banking: Attorneys and bankers hired by a company which secures contracts abroad or working with them will often need an international studies background. International law is virtually a field of its own in which one specializes and requires a broad-based analytical background to prepare for graduate study.
- Media: Journalism, radio and television, the film industry and publishing are areas which have openings for foreign assignments and those with knowledge of global issues. Today's global network of communications systems requires some expertise in international studies.
- Travel, Tourism and Security Services: These are growing industries in the U.S. and abroad. A background in international studies would certainly improve one�s chances for success in a variety of travel-related occupations and the security services which make such travel possible.