First launched in 1962, the International Studies Program is one of the oldest and most prestigious interdisciplinary undergraduate degree programs in international affairs in the United States. The ISP major, which is the second largest degree program in the humanities and social sciences at the university, has over 150 enrolled students. The curriculum draws on the diverse strengths of the Johns Hopkins University in the fields of political science, history, economics, anthropology, sociology, and foreign language instruction.

In today’s increasingly interconnected world, new challenges and concerns deeply affect every facet of our individual and collective lives. Balancing the need for national security with the importance of protecting individual rights, encouraging the freedom of globalized markets while simultaneously promoting sustainability and preserving the environment, championing democracy throughout the world while remaining sensitive to cultural diversity—these are just some of the debates that shape our globalized society.

There is no single answer to the issues we face. This is why the key to understanding lies in a multi-disciplinary approach. The Program in International Studies offers students a variety of perspectives through which to analyze international events. By learning new languages, studying the history and cultural diversity of various societies across the globe, and understanding the politics and theories of international relations or the dynamics of the world’s economy, students gain the tools required to be competitive in a complex global setting.

To narrow an inevitably broad course of study, students are encouraged to choose a specialization within the International Studies major, whether a functional area such as international security or a regional focus. The program also offers specific “tracks” (double majors or an IS major with a minor) in conjunction with other departments.

Students also have the opportunity to explore their interests in more depth through a senior thesis. The thesis is open as an option to all International Studies majors regardless of GPA.

The program offers a variety of options that extend beyond the major, including a five-year BA/MA program with the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C., a five-year BA/MA program with Sciences Po in Paris, France, and a wide range of study abroad opportunities around the world.

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International Studies Undergraduate Learning Goals

In pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, students develop an understanding of international political, economic, historical, and cultural questions from a variety of disciplines and perspectives. In choosing their courses, students are able to take advantage of this multi-disciplinary approach and develop their own interests within the broader field of international studies.

Upon graduating with a BA in International Studies, students will have:

  • Attained knowledge across a broad spectrum of academic fields, including political science, history, economics, anthropology, and sociology
  • Gained a deeper understanding of a specific academic area of interest via a chosen focus area or double major track
  • Acquired proficiency in at least one foreign language
  • Had the opportunity to study abroad in their region of interest
  • Had the opportunity to further explore their academic interests in greater depth through a senior thesis, a substantial independent research project written under the supervision of a faculty adviser in the students’ department of interest.