International Studies

Frequently Asked Questions

General

Program and Courses

International Studies and the Laurentian Leadership Centre (LLC)

General

Where is the department of international studies located?

International studies is part of the larger department of History, Political and International Studies and Geography. The coordinator's office is in the main offices of this department on the second floor of the Robert N. Thompson Building on the TWU campus.

What sort of careers does the international studies program prepare me for?

International studies is not a professional program. While it does not provide you with a particular designation, it does provide you with a wide array of skills that are marketable for any profession, from commerce to government service. The benefit of an international studies degree is that it prepares you for a wide world of opportunities without tying you down to a particular position for the rest of your life. Most graduates are limited only by their creativity and boldness in seeking out opportunities at home and abroad. It is often those who enter with no specific career goal who end up in the most interesting of professions.

It is important to understand the sort of skills that are provided by an international studies major, and to be able to sell these to a prospective employer. These include versatility and a broad background in many different disciplines, the ability to write and communicate well, experience in research, and the ability to present before an audience. The ability to speak an additional language is always an important asset as well.

More specifically, international studies is aimed at exposing the student to the kind of information and skills necessary in some selected careers. These include:

  • Management and support for international development organizations, government development agencies, and the foreign service/State department.
  • Analysts or managers in the banking and financial sector, particularly international finance/investment and trade policy.
  • Journalists and correspondents for print and television media outlets.
  • Applied research in international development, finance, education, and the like.
  • Teaching at all levels (typically requires a professional teaching degree).
  • Law (international studies is an ideal pre-law degree).
  • Graduate study.

I'm graduating and interested in graduate study. Where should I go?

There are literally hundreds of possibilities for further study after graduation. It is best to think through what you want from a graduate education. Are you interested simply in refining your knowledge through a graduate certificate or a master's degree? Do you want to complete a professional program such as law, teaching, or medicine? Or would you like to move forward toward a "terminal" research-oriented degree, aimed at becoming a professor or research professional? Do you want a "practical" or more theoretical style of program? Would you like to maintain the breadth of options that you've enjoyed in international studies or would you prefer to pursue studies in a particular discipline such as Political Science, History, or Economics?

Once you have a good indication of what you want from a graduate program, consult a professor for recommendations of good schools. Get to know who the innovative and important researchers are in your field and find out where they work and teach. Most educational programs are beneficial but not all will necessarily provide you with what you want.

I need advice on writing in History and Political Studies. Is there a style guide?

Yes - click here for the Format Guide.

Program and Courses

I am planning out my courses for each year of my international studies degree. What do I need to know?

International studies is a heavily mapped out program. You need to be quite careful in planning your courses to make sure you have all the required courses to graduate at the end of your degree. Here are a few pointers.

  • International studies students can only take about 20 semester hours of general electives. Use your electives sparingly and be certain that you want to take that course that doesn't fit into your program!
  • University core requirements are offered most semesters and often in the summer as well. This is not true of your international studies requirements, which have a lower demand. Don't be worried about putting off a few core courses to your last year.
  • On the other hand, area study and track requirement courses are not as frequently offered as other courses in the degree program. It is a good idea to get started on them during second year if at all possible. Don't leave these courses to your last couple of semesters as you are likely to find certain ones are not offered when you need them.
  • Otherwise, as a rule of thumb, try to plan to take 200-level courses in second year and 300- and 400-level courses in third and fourth year. However, to get a head start, you might consider a 200-level course in first year and a 300-level course or two in second year.
  • Each of the international studies required courses (HIST 109, POLS 101, POLS 211, ECON 230, and COMM 302) are typically offered in both semesters and are therefore relatively easily fit into your schedule. However, they are also prerequisites for higher level courses and should be completed within the first two years if possible.
  • If you want to squeeze in a semester abroad or a semester at the Laurentian Leadership Centre, think through carefully what you will be missing on campus while you are gone. Remember that certain courses are available only in certain semesters.
  • Students interested in the Honours degree should be aware that the required course POLS 305 is offered in fall semester only.

How do I know what courses are offered when?

Each department sets the availability and frequency of their courses. We try as much as possible to ensure that courses are offered on a regular rotation. Due to demand, some courses are offered less frequently than others. Here is a partial list of courses and when they are regularly offered. Please note, however, that this information is subject to change without notice.

COMM 302 - offered fall and spring semester each year.
ECON 230 - offered fall and spring semester each year.
ECON 330 - offered in spring semester each year.
ECON 480 - offered in spring semester each year.
ENGL 482 - offered periodically. Inquire at the English department.
FREN 350 - offered fall semester in alternating years.
HIST/POLS 334 - offered fall semester each year.
HIST/POLS 352 - offered fall semester in alternating years.
HIST/POLS 355 - offered in fall semester each year.
HIST 371 - offered fall semester in alternating years.
HIST 372 - offered spring semester in alternating years.
HIST/POLS 377 - offered in fall semester each year.
HIST 381 - offered in fall semester in alternating years.
HIST 382 - offered in spring semester in alternating years.
HIST/POLS 406 - offered in fall semester each year.
HIST/POLS 436 - offered periodically.
HIST/POLS 440 - offered spring semester in alternating years.
POLS 101 - offered fall and spring semester each year.
POLS 211 - offered fall semester each year.
POLS 308 - offered fall semester each year.
POLS 312 - offered spring semester each year.
POLS 314 - offered spring semester each year.
POLS 378 - offered periodically.
POLS 391/2/3 - offered fall and spring semester each year at LLC.
POLS 421 - offered spring semester in alternating years.
POLS 425 - offered periodically.
POLS 430 - offered spring semester in alternating years.

Are any international studies courses offered in summer school?

Very few international studies courses are offered in summer school. If you would like to take some summer school courses to complete your degree more quickly, try choosing university core requirements which are more commonly offered in the summer. One exception are the way cool travel study courses that sometimes offer international studies requirements.

How does a semester abroad fit into my program?

First of all, it is likely best to apply to go for a semester in your third or fourth year.

Each of the CCCU study abroad semesters tend to combine area studies courses and language requirements. They may also provide you with major electives. It is best to speak to the INTS coordinator before you go to get an idea of how exactly the courses will fit in. Non-TWU semester abroad programs must be assessed by Enrolment Services and the Coordinator.

What languages are available for my language requirement?

TWU presently offers instruction in six different languages other than English: French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Russian, and Japanese. Language instruction is also offered at some of the CCCU study abroad programs.

I'm interested in two tracks. Can I combine two of them into my program?

It is not possible to combine two tracks.

I'm interested in pursuing a minor in addition to International Studies.  Can I do this?

International Studies is itself a hybrid program featuring many disciplines which is like combining several minors into a single major program.  Since a student needs to compete discrete courses toward a minor, it is therefore difficult (if not impossible) to combine a minor in History, Political Studies, or Geography with International Studies.

Given that the International Studies program leaves the student with only 20 semester hours of general electives, almost any student wishing to complete a minor in addition will need to complete more than the number of credits required for a degree.  If you have further questions about completing a minor, please speak with the International Studies coordinator.

I'm interested in a minor in international development. Can I combine this with international studies?

It is not possible to combine these two programs. If you are interested in international development, you should opt for the international development and cultural change track of the international studies major or combine the international development minor with another major program.

I'd like to complete the TESL certificate and combine that with my international studies degree. How do I do that?

The easiest way to do this is to take the Linguistics and TESL track. This gets you about halfway to completing the TESL certificate. Then use your regular elective courses to add the required courses for the certificate (listed in the course calendar).

International Studies and the Laurentian Leadership Centre (LLC)

When should I plan to go to the LLC?

Plan to go to the LLC in your third or fourth year. The ideal time is second semester, third year. Why? Attending Spring semester exposes you to a brisk period of work in Ottawa and provides many potential opportunities to stay on for the summer. Going during third year ensures that you can complete your graduating semester at TWU.

How does a semester at the LLC fit into my program?

LLC currently offers students three courses (POLS 391, POLS 392, and POLS 393), that can be applied as either area study courses or major electives. One course (POLS 393) is approved as an equivalent to the university core requirement IDIS 400 course. In addition, two practicum three-semester hour credits are earned in an internship that can be used as major electives. There are plans to add some new options to the course list at LLC in the future which will be announced as they become available.