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International studies

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International studies

International Studies (IS) generally refers to the specific university degrees and courses which are concerned with the study of ‘the major political, economic, social, and cultural issues that dominate the international agenda’. The term itself can be more specifically defined as ‘the contemporary and historical understanding of global societies, cultures, languages and systems of government and of the complex relationships between them that shape the world we live in’.[1] The terms and concepts of International Studies and international relations are strongly related; however, International relations focus more directly on the relationship between countries, whereas International Studies can encompass all phenomena which are globally oriented.


  • History 1
  • Etymology 2
  • Purpose/Aim of study 3
  • Types of programs 4
  • Types of studies 5
  • Different countries' approaches 6
    • Australia 6.1
    • Canada 6.2
    • United Kingdom 6.3
    • United States 6.4
    • Career prospects 6.5
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10


The history of the discipline of International Studies is strongly linked with the history of the study of international relations, as described in the International Relations entry. However, the study of International Studies as a separate entity to International Relations emerged throughout the 20th century, as an increasingly complex world began to be influenced by

  • International Relations Syllabus for University Of Peshawar

External links

  • International Studies Association Publications.[4]
  • Journal Of Multidisciplinary International Studies.[5]
  • International Graduate Article.[6]
  • Wikibooks Development Cooperation Handbook

Further reading

  1. ^ Flinders University. (2010). Bachelor of International Studies. Viewed 21/9/2010
  2. ^ International Studies Association. (2010). Welcome to ISA. Viewed 21/9/2010
  3. ^ International Studies Association. (2010). History and Purpose. Viewed 21/9/2010 <>
  4. ^ International Studies Association. (2010). History and Purpose. Viewed 21/9/2010 <>
  5. ^ International Graduate, Australia. (2010). International Studies in Australia. Viewed 21/9/10 <>
  6. ^ International Graduate, Australia. (2010). International Studies in Australia. Viewed 21/9/10 <>
  7. ^ International Graduate, Australia. (2010). International Studies in Australia. Viewed 21/9/10 <>
  8. ^ International Graduate, Australia. (2010). International Studies in Australia. Viewed 21/9/10 <>
  9. ^ International Graduate, Australia. (2010). International Studies in Australia. Viewed 21/9/10 <>
  10. ^ University of Technology Sydney: Arts and Social Sciences. (2010). Global Studies. Viewed 21/9/2010 <>
  11. ^ ’Monash University: Arts. (2010). International Studies Program. Viewed 21/9/2010
  12. ^ Monash University: Arts. (2010). International Studies Program. Viewed 21/9/2010
  13. ^ The University of Melbourne, Faculty of Arts. (2007). International Studies. Viewed 21/9/2010
  14. ^ University of South Australia: Program Information – 2010. (2010). Bachelor of Arts (International Studies). Viewed 21/9/2010
  15. ^ Flinders University. (2010). Bachelor of International Studies. Viewed 21/9/2010
  16. ^ University of New South Wales: Arts and Social Sciences - School of Social Sciences and International Studies. (2010). International Studies. Viewed 21/9/2010
  17. ^ The University of Queensland: School of Political and International Studies. (2010). Undergraduate Programs. Viewed 22/9/2010 <>
  18. ^ RMIT University: Future Students. (2010). International Studies – Bachelor of Arts (Honours). Viewed 22/9/2010
  19. ^ Flinders University. (2010). Bachelor of International Studies. Viewed 21/9/2010
  20. ^ Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. (2010). International Studies. Viewed 22/9/2010
  21. ^ Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. (2010). International Studies. Viewed 22/9/2010
  22. ^ About Us, University of Oxford: Centre for International Studies, Retrieved December 30, 2012
  23. ^ Center for Strategic & International Studies. (2010). About Us. Viewed 22/9/2010
  24. ^ Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. (2010). Introduction. Viewed 22/9/2010
  25. ^ The University of Melbourne, Faculty of Arts. (2007). International Studies. Viewed 21/9/2010
  26. ^ RMIT University: Future Students. (2010). International Studies – Bachelor of Arts. Viewed 21/9/2010
  27. ^ RMIT University: Future Students. (2010). International Studies – Bachelor of Arts. Viewed 21/9/2010
  28. ^ RMIT University: Future Students. (2010). International Studies – Bachelor of Arts. Viewed 21/9/2010


See also

The discipline is also working under a premise that employment opportunities in the field of International Studies will steadily increase with the increasing level of interconnectedness which is occurring as a result of globalisation; ‘Opportunities for positions requiring international knowledge and skills are increasing and have created a need for graduates who are highly skilled, interculturally attuned and able to think and act globally/locally, as well as being bilingual’.[28]

As stated, many institutions attempt to promote their International Studies degrees by promoting the career prospects for graduates. The University of Melbourne states that graduates of its International Studies major will be ‘attractive to prospective employees in the public and private sectors including international inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations’.[25] Similarly, RMIT University states that ‘the degree prepares you to apply your knowledge of globalisation, language and culture in international workplace settings’,[26] such as ‘business, government and non-government organisations in a range of areas’.[27]

Career prospects

There exist a number of institutions which promote International Studies in the United States of America. The Centre for Strategic & International Studies is a foreign policy think tank which aims to ‘provide strategic insights and policy solutions to decision makers in government, international institutions, the private sector, and civil society’.[23] The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies is a research center based at Stanford University which is a ‘primary center for innovative research on major international issues and challenges’.[24] Both institutions focus primarily on the study of international affairs and relations in relation to US foreign policy, and therefore differ to the Australian approach to International Studies. Alternatively, the undergraduate International Studies program at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY is a holistic program that more closely follows the Australian model.

United States

International Studies is often related to or attached to the study in International Relations. At the University of Oxford, the Centre for International Studies "exists to promote and advance research in International Relations".[22] In this sense the use of the term International Studies differs to that of the Australian use of the term in that it is tied to the discipline of International Relations, rather than addressing them as separate entities. The Institute of Development Studies (IDS)] based in Sussex, is a leading global charity for international development research, teaching and communications.

United Kingdom

There are several International Studies programs in Canada that offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Glendon College International Studies Program, the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University, the Munk School for Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, the Balsillie School of International Affairs, the Centre for Global Studies at Huron University College, Centre d'études et de recherches internationales de l'Université de Montréal, International Studies degree at the University of Regina, and the International Studies MA Program at the University of Northern British Columbia are the leading programs.


As discussed, the study of the International Studies discipline in Australia occurs mostly within universities and generally approaches the subject as a holistic study of international affairs and phenomena. The study is also offered in some Australian high schools. The VCE system, operating within Victoria, offers International Studies as an elective to year 12 students.[20] The two units offered in International Studies VCE are ‘Global issues and conflicts’ and ‘International Relations’.[21]


Different countries' approaches

  • the political, social, economic and cultural relationships within the international system
  • foreign policy, diplomacy and other modes of interaction between the countries of the world
  • the significance of foreign societies, cultures and systems of government
  • the international movement of people as immigrants, refugees, workers, students, tourists and investors
  • the role of international organizations
  • the globalization of the world economy
  • foreign languages
  • history

The International Studies discipline is usually offered as either part of an arts degree or as a specialist arts degree. As such, students are able to select from a very broad range of subjects to undertake. However, some areas of study which are regularly offered include:[19]

Types of studies

At many universities, International Studies is offered in both undergraduate and postgraduate pathways. As an undergraduate degree, the discipline is most often offered as part of an Arts Degree, as either a minor or major of straight Arts Degrees[12][13] or as specialist Arts Degrees.[14][15][16][17] It is also often offered as a postgraduate degree as an honours or masters as a progression from the undergraduate degrees offered by the various institutions.[18]

Types of programs

Many educational institutions have developed International Studies degrees and courses in order to engage students with the increasing number of issues and phenomena which have arisen in an increasingly globalised world. As such, most education providers justify the need for the degrees by relating the increasing importance of the discipline with real world situations and employment opportunities. For example, the University of Technology Sydney states that the purpose of their International Studies degree is to ‘prepare graduates for careers and contributions in a world of social and cultural diversity being transformed by globalisation, allowing students to draw connections between global phenomena and local practices in work and life’.[10] Often, universities will relate the study of International studies with other industries. Monash University describes the relevance for International Studies; ‘as the world globalises and nations and economies become more integrated, it is important to understand our world and the ideas and beliefs of our neighbours and trading partners. In order to compete in the international marketplaces of products, ideas and knowledge we need to understand and respect the cultures and beliefs of others.[11]

Purpose/Aim of study

International Studies is sometimes also known as global studies. The terms can be used interchangeably, and may be influenced by left vs right inclinations.


In 2008, the third OCIS conference (Oceanic Conference on International Studies) was held at the University of Queensland’.[6] The conference brought together over 200 academics, with the keynote speaker Andrew Linklater (the Woodrow Wilson Professor of International Politics at the University of Aberystwyth in Wales) noting ‘how vibrant and intellectually stimulating International Studies now is in Australia’’.[7] The increasing popularity of the discipline in Australia led to the International Studies Association to establish an Asia-Pacific Regional Section of the ISA at the University of Queensland in 2009’,[8] which was seen as an ‘indication of the growth of this area’’[9] in Australia.

‘Australia has become a highly popular destination for students wishing to undertake Coursework, Masters and PhD programs in International Relations, Peace and Conflict Studies and Development. Collectively, these inter-related fields have come to be called International Studies, and many of Australia’s universities have responded to the increasing demand for programs in this area’[5]

The establishment of the association reflected the increasing interest in global issues and reflected the need for international academic dialogue. Throughout the later stages of the 20th century and into the 21st century, many education institutions worldwide developed International Studies degrees (both undergraduate and postgraduate). The emergence and increasing popularity of these degrees reflects the general patterns of increasing global interconnectedness and globalisation, in that education providers are becoming more aware that the discipline is becoming increasingly relevant and necessary in the context of the 21st century. The discipline has become increasingly popular in Australia as well as in East Asian countries. Dr Hanson and Dr Weber of the University of Queensland state that; [4]

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