International Studies Co-Major Student Information

Student Information and Resources

Welcome to the International Studies Co-Major at the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. This degree option within the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences gives students a route to both an International Studies Major degree option as well as a way to personalize their other major(s) to the study of the international. At the University of Pittsburgh, and in the Dietrich School, our majors are not isolated from international studies, but all are already informed by study of the international. Whether interested in this degree option to enhance career prospects, to become a more informed global citizen, or as preparation for scholarly inquiry or graduate work, the Dietrich School welcomes you to explore everything the International Studies Co-Major has to offer.

You can check out the way that the co-major is organized here [Link to International Studies Co-Major Requirements and Class Listing page]. Take a look at the categories and think about how they might intersect with the major, and then check out the extensive lists of classes. There are so many varied options, you’re going to find the right one for whatever you’re seeking: whether you’re choosing by interest area, topical connection, or even the classic student decision of which courses might cluster for a schedule that allows time for internships.

The International Studies Co-Major launched in Fall 2022, so right now we need you to help us demonstrate the wide variety of paths a student can take in pursuing it. We’ve put together a few sample pathways that might be good templates, but we also encourage you to develop a personalized set of classes that work right for what you’re studying.

Don’t hesitate to share your plans for a path through the International Studies Co-Major with your advisor, to get their advice and insight into the choices you’re making. You can use this handy fillable PDF (Fillable PDF needed) to track your progress, and to have handy at your advising meetings to discuss next steps and class selections as needed.

And don’t stop at just the International Studies Co-Major when choosing options to enhance your degree. Check out some other powerful options to enhance your International Studies Co-Major. Whether that’s combining in a Certificate from our University Center for International Studies for some area-specific or field specific certification and training, or spending time exploring the many study abroad and other options that our Global Experiences Office has to offer, your International Studies Co-Major can be supplemented in all manner of ways across the University.


Co-Major Process  

The International Studies Co-Major in the Dietrich School is Smaller than a normal major but larger than a certificate (21 or more credits depending on options you choose). It’s balanced to be approachable regardless of how big or small your major is, and to connect in to the work you’re doing within your primary major or majors, minors, and certificates.

The Co-Major identifies a set of competency areas that every student trained in International Studies should meet, which were set by a committee of Dietrich School faculty from across the disciplines. Those areas are:

  • Introduction to the International: An initial introduction to cross-border differences, commonalities, actors, and agency.
  • International State Actors, Globalization, and Critiques of Global Power: exposure to the way that state actors and notions of sovereignty set certain expectations for power and realities of international action, and the way that globalization changes those notions and brings increased space for critique of them.
  • Non-State Actors and Transboundary Issues: exposure to groups of non-state international actors, ranging from social movements to influencers, documentarians to authors, nonprofits to international organizations, and any other pathways of international power, including transboundary issues such as crime, pollution, refugees, and economic actions.
  • Global Dialogues: understanding the way that individual and collective voices express and connect with international studies issues, how can be manifested in a variety of ways, and ensure that future participants in the international domain learn early on that listening to voices from all spaces should inform their understandings of policy/life/reality.
  • Practitioner Skills: training in the tools that participants in international affairs need to have, from writing to language to data skills. These can include policy-writing course, a grant writing course, a writing for the public course, a broader public policy process style course, but also linguistic training and familiarity with data and data visualization.
  • You can find the complete guide to the requirements of the co-major here [Link to International Studies Co-Major Requirements and Class Listing page].

As International Studies in the Dietrich School is a co-major (the first co-major at the University!), the conversation about how to link it to your degree is fundamentally a departmental one. You’ll work with Dietrich School advisor and then your departmental advising team(s) when you declare your primary major or majors to sort out how to personalize and right-fit the options within the International Studies co-major to your own degree progress. That means a lot of control for you, but also access to the expertise of your advising team who can talk about their understanding of the international within the discipline, as well as what other students have done to link their degrees more internationally. Though you don’t need to wait to meet with your advisor to see some sample pathways!

The co-major will count as a major for purposes of overlapping credits guidelines, per DSAS policy from March 2020. That means that two classes (up to eight credits) of the co-major can be what you’re currently using for your major or minors as well. We encourage students in majors where every single class in the International Studies Co-Major could be from their primary major (and there are a lot of these—like we said, Dietrich departments are all thoroughly international in their focus!) to select options outside of the major that are complementary - to combine the training that other disciplines and departments offer to enhance your international studies within your primary major.

As the International Studies co-major is not a stand-alone major, it is currently only available to Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences undergraduate students as currently constituted. The Dietrich School is committed to expanding this access to other schools at the University of Pittsburgh in the future.


Enhancing your International Studies Degree

Studying the international is something that the University of Pittsburgh supports across the entire campus. The International Studies Co-Major is distinct from but supportive of other University programs that also look at international issues. In particular, the International Studies co-major is different from the Certificates offered by the University Center for International Studies, and the Global Experiences Office - in particular their study abroad programming - is a fantastic complement to the International Studies Co-Major.

That said, different from is not a reason to be exclusive. Students choosing the International Studies Co-Major would be wise, and are encouraged, to pursue those UCIS certificate options in addition to the co-major. Care has been taken to ensure that classes core to UCIS certificates are not part of the International Studies Co-Major, so that students will find they can do them both rather than these options being at odds. The Co-Major is about broad training in the ways of studying the phenomenon of the international combined with your major, while a certificate is a particular signal about expertise in a specific area of focus. The Dietrich School absolutely want students to access both in their process of forging the final degree that truly helps them flourish in the workplace, their personal growth, and as a citizen of the world. 

A student who is looking at global health diasporas within growing economic regions may well wish to combine their International Studies Co-Major with an African Studies Certificate or Global Health Certificate for that depth of regional training or topical expertise. Someone focused on conflict mitigation and cross-border collaboration may choose a European Studies Certificate to complement their major and International Studies Co-Major, while a student focused on ongoing crises may pick the Global Studies Certificate or the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Certificate. Students with a linguistic background in Spanish from high school may continue their depth of study at the University and supplement with both the Latin American Studies Certificate and an International Studies Co-Major that focuses on migration, colonization, or art history additions to their other major(s). A student whose fascination is with regional economic cooperation and conflict may find that the Asian Studies Certificate or the Transatlantic Studies Certificate may be the right complement to the International Studies Co-Major. With 20 different certificates, we encourage every International Studies Co-Major to check out the offerings that UCIS has to offer for Undergraduate Academic Credentials.

As mentioned above, the Study Abroad offerings of the Global Experiences Office are a great way to combine pursuit of the International Studies Co-Major with semesters or summers studying at places other than the University of Pittsburgh. We all know how enriching world travel is as an experience, and those kind of enrichments fit right within the aims of the International Studies Co-Major. Every study abroad that a student does which is 3.0 credits or more counts toward the International Studies Co-Major in some way. Whether you’re doing a Pitt-in-X program and the courses directly complete requirements, or you’re doing work at an recognized external program or institution, we’ve got a spot where that work can help you make progress toward multiple categories of the International Studies Co-Major. When students are studying internationally, everything they do - from classes to navigating the cities to just plain immersion in language and culture - enhances this degree, and the Dietrich School wants to give credit for that.