International Studies

Major in International studies

International studies deals with relations among states within the international system, including the roles of state and non-state actors (NGOs). An education focused on international studies emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach that teaches students to think critically about international political, economic, cultural, and business processes, while also allowing students to immerse themselves in the politics, culture, and history of different parts of the world.


About The Program

The International Studies major emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach that teaches students to think critically about international political, economic, cultural, and business processes and problems. The program contains a core of required courses, but offers students the opportunity to develop an individualized program in one of three concentration areas: international politics, international business, and international cultural studies. Classroom study is supplemented by real-life international experiences with internship or study abroad opportunities. Virginia Wesleyan University is located in the international port of Hampton Roads. Intergovernmental organizations, including the United Nations, have offices here, as do national intelligence, security, and military branches of the government; thus the area can offer students international intern experiences without leaving the region. Students prepare for careers in international work with governments, with non-government organizations, and in international business. The major consists of a minimum of ten courses and either an internship or study abroad. Students must demonstrate proficient in a foreign language.

Tracks: International Politics Track, International Business Track, International Cultural Studies Track

Chair: Dr. Antje Schwennicke
School: Birdsong School of Social Science


International studies majors complete a minimum of 54 semester hours in specified coursework in addition to an internship or study abroad experi­ence. The classroom experience is supplemented by both long-term and short-term study abroad, as well as internship opportunities, bridging classroom knowledge with real-life international experiences. Virginia Wesleyan provides students with opportu­ nities to study at academic institutions around the world. VWU has direct exchange programs that sends students abroad to countries such as Italy, Germany, Mexico, Japan, and Spain. Many students study abroad with no additional cost beyond tuition by obtaining scholarships offered through the University's Global Scholars Program.

Through the Senior Capstone Experience (SIE), international studies majors will complete 12 hours of either foreign language study, study abroad experience or an internship experience completed locally or abroad. Internships and study abroad allow students to gain supervised experience in applying knowledge from the major in real-world settings and in developing the professional skills, providing students with the opportunity to expand their intel­ lectual and cultural horizons.

The skills that students gain through the interna­ tional studies program enable students to pursue careers in a wide array of areas, including international work with governments, with non-governmental organizations, and in interna­ tional business. Outside of the classroom, Virginia Wesleyan students actively participate in simula­ tions, including Model United Nations. Students routinely travel nationally and internationally to participate in these simulations. In addition, a number of graduates seek postgraduate degrees such as J.D., M.A., Ph.D., and M.B.A. degrees.