International and Global Studies

Understanding the powerful forces that shape our world

Today, technological advances, political and cultural influences and economic ties closely connect nations in every corner of the globe. More than ever before, a thorough understanding of these powerful forces is essential to succeeding in business, education and other cross-cultural endeavors.

Elon’s International & Global Studies major is an interdisciplinary program that combines a broad knowledge of international and global affairs with focused study of one region of the world. Balancing study abroad experiences, foreign language study and other Elon coursework, the program fosters an understanding of emerging global issues along with respect and appreciation for other peoples and cultures.

An integral part of the International & Global Studies curriculum is the opportunity to study abroad. Such hands-on learning activities combined with classroom study provide IGS majors with the necessary skills to succeed in graduate school or careers in government, business, travel and nongovernmental organizations.

As the world grows increasingly more connected, the International & Global Studies major at Elon offered me an interactive and challenging way to gain an understanding of this new world through exciting research and study abroad opportunities.

Justine Davis ’08

Dynamic Curriculum

Elon offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in International & Global Studies. With faculty advice, each student can build a curriculum tailored to his or her interests and strengths. The foundation is built from coursework drawn from a range of subjects, including politics, economics, history, geography, literature, foreign language, religion, society and culture.

International & Global Studies is also an attractive option for students who want to double major. The program complements study in many disciplines, including foreign language, political science, history and communications. Because the curriculum draws on the expertise of a diverse interdisciplinary faculty, IGS students benefit from examining issues and ideas from a variety of perspectives. IGS majors also benefit from resources and staff in the Isabella Cannon Global Education Center, located on campus in Carlton Building.

International & Global Studies majors take courses focused on one region of the world. Most students elect to concentrate on one of four regions — Africa, Asia/Pacific, Europe or Latin America — although students and their advisers can develop coursework in other regions of the world. Since its inception the major’s curriculum development has benefited from four successful grants from the U.S. Department of Education’s Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program. The most recent grant supported the development of Middle East and Arabic studies at Elon as well as study abroad opportunities in Egypt, Israel and Jordan.

Faculty Mentors

One of the primary strengths of the International & Global Studies major is that students are exposed to the expertise of faculty spanning many disciplines.

At Elon, classes are small, which allows faculty to give each student individual attention to ensure academic success. Faculty members keep generous office hours and are available to help students with advice or to discuss assignments. Those mentoring relationships don’t end with graduation; alumni and faculty often stay in touch for years. Faculty also maintain a network of professional contacts that they share with their students to help them land internships or jobs.

Study Abroad Opportunities

In addition to coursework on a selected region, International & Global Studies majors are required to study abroad for one semester. Students are highly encouraged to study abroad in the region that fits with their regional concentration. Most courses taken abroad that focus on the country or region will be applied to course work in the regional concentration.

Elon is a national leader in study abroad and offers students approximately 80 semester abroad options. Financial assistance, including need-based aid, is available. International & Global Studies majors have participated in winter term programs from China to Costa Rica. They have also spent semesters studying in London, Egypt, Ghana, Argentina, Czech Republic, Rwanda, Vietnam and China, among others.

Professional Experience

Internships provide students with excellent opportunities to gain professional experience before they graduate. Many International & Global Studies majors complement their academic work and study abroad experiences by completing internships with organizations nationwide and overseas.

Recently, International & Global Studies majors have worked with the Center for Democratic Development, a public policy institute in Accra, Ghana; the House of Commons in London; Oxfam, an international organization working for peace and social and economic justice; and the Asian division of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Research Opportunities and Rewards

International & Global Studies majors regularly participate in Elon’s annual Spring Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF), collaborating with faculty mentors to design, develop and complete projects. One IGS helped conduct research and translated German documents with his professor, Dr. David Crowe, for his authoritative biography of Oskar Schindler.

Recent International & Global Studies majors have garnered competitive national awards recognizing their research achievements and proposals, including the Fulbright U.S. Student Grant, DACOR Bacon House Foundation Graduate Fellowship and Rotary Scholarship.

Majors are also eligible to participate in Sigma Iota Rho, the International & Global Studies honor society.

After You Graduate

Elon’s International & Global Studies program prepares students for advanced study in graduate school or a variety of careers. Students who are interested in continuing their education in graduate school are encouraged to pursue a double major at Elon, combining IGS with another discipline. Recent Elon graduates are pursuing graduate degrees at institutions including the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Law School, American University College of Law and University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Other IGS graduates have attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke Law School, American University and New York University.

The International & Global Studies curriculum, study abroad experience and foreign language training provide a strong foundation for careers in fields ranging from government to business to humanitarian or development work with nonprofit organizations. Recent IGS students have gone on to serve in the Peace Corps in Malawi, AmeriCorps, Teach for America, Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod world mission in Germany and a children’s nutrition program in Haiti.