Professor Stephen K. Wegren, Director
To succeed in an international career, students need expertise in the politics, economics, history, language and cultures of societies other than their own. The curricula for the International and Area Studies Program are designed to provide students with a foundation for this expertise, requiring coursework in the social sciences, business, language and humanities. A student majoring in international studies also chooses a region in which to specialize: Africa/Middle East, Asia, Europe, or Latin America.
As an alternative to the international studies major or minor , a student may choose the area studies minor . These minors include Africa/Middle East studies , Asian studies , European studies , and Latin American and Iberian studies .
International Studies Major Rules for SMU Abroad Credit
To maximize the educational experience in these degree programs, all international studies majors are strongly encouraged to spend at least one term or summer studying abroad. The University offers numerous study abroad opportunities around the world; most of these courses may be applied to the international studies major. The following policies apply to the International Studies Program:
For the International Studies Major
- Up to 12 credit hours of world language study may be taken in an SMU-approved study abroad program and counted toward the language requirement for the major.
- Up to 15 credit hours in the student’s regional specialization may be taken in an SMU-approved study abroad program and counted toward the major.
- Of the 15 credit hours required from the basic curriculum, 12 hours must be taken on an SMU campus (Dallas, Taos or Plano). Three hours of transfer credit (not an SMU-approved study abroad program) may be counted toward fulfillment of the basic curriculum requirement.
- If a student wishes to take a course abroad for credit in the global perspective, it is highly recommended that the course be preapproved by the director before enrolling. Petitions after the course has been taken may not be approved.
- The senior seminar (INTL 4388 ) must be taken on an SMU campus (Dallas, Taos or Plano).
- A total of 33 credit hours (exclusive of the 12 hours of language study required for the major) are required for the major in international studies.
- These policies do not change the required number of credit hours in advanced courses.
The International Studies program offers selected undergraduate majors an opportunity to undertake a special program of study and research as a candidate for award of the B.A. degree with departmental distinction. The criteria for departmental distinction are as follows:
- A minimum 3.000 grade point average overall
- A minimum 3.500 grade point average in the major
- Preparation for a department distinction thesis under the supervision of a faculty adviser. The grade received for INTL 4307 must be A- or higher
- A minimum 3.500 grade point average in a least two advanced courses related to the topic of the thesis; one of these may be a course taken outside the requirements for the major
- Passing “with distinction” an oral examination of at least one hour, conducted by a faculty committee
A student wishing to undertake work toward departmental distinction should follow this process:
- Apply for admission to candidacy no later than December 1 (for May or August graduates) or May 1 (for December graduates).
- Arrange for a distinction thesis adviser
- Register for INTL 4307 during the last semester of senior year, having met all criteria for distinction (see above).
Potential candidates are strongly encouraged to begin developing a thesis several months ahead of registration for INTL 4307. Students will meet with their distinction thesis adviser on a regular basis during the term (i.e. several times a month), and must make sure that sufficient copies of the completed thesis are submitted to members of the thesis committee at least ten days prior to the oral examination.
The defense or oral examination will last at least one hour. Each member of the committee will have an opportunity to examine the candidate on topics relevant to the thesis and related courses taken by the students. All oral examinations must be completed before the first day of the semester’s final examination period.
The distinction thesis adviser will assign a regular letter grade for INTL 4307, reflecting the adviser’s judgment of the quality of work and research performed by the candidate. If the advisor anticipates that the grade may fall below A- before the date of the oral examination, the committee will be so informed. The committee may then, by unanimous vote only, decide to conduct the examination.
By unanimous agreement of its members, the distinction committee will report in writing whether the student has (or has not) passed the examination “with distinction.” If the examination committee recommends against distinction, it shall report the reasons in writing to the program director of designated representative. No decision to deny distinction will be reported in the student’s permanent file or transcript; but a grade for INTL 4307 will be reported to the University Registrar.
Directed Readings, Internships and Distinction Courses
INTL 4302 - Directed Studies in International Studies
INTL 4306 - Internship in International Studies
INTL 4307 - Departmental Distinction Thesis
The international studies major provides exposure to global issues through the basic curriculum. It also provides students with the opportunity to design an interdisciplinary program of study that facilitates an understanding of the human experience in a global perspective, while at the same time allowing them to develop in-depth knowledge and expertise in a specific geographical area.
The major requires 33 credit hours of coursework (in addition to prerequisites for certain courses and the language requirement). Note: Courses taken in the basic curriculum do not double count in the regional specialization.
The senior seminar, INTL 4388 , which must be taken on campus by all majors in their senior year, is designed as a capstone course where students integrate and apply what they have learned. The topic of the seminar will vary depending upon the professor.
A cocurricular requirement for the B.A. in international studies is two years of college-level study of a world language or equivalent. Note: Latin does not fulfill the language requirement in this major. Courses for the language requirement do not count toward the 33-hour requirement. The language requirement may be met through examination, the transfer of language study credit from another university or by taking courses on campus or study abroad.
Information about independent readings, study abroad opportunities and internship requirements are also available on the website for international studies.