International Studies

International Studies2020-03-26T10:04:20-04:00

Students in international studies (IST) develop an understanding of the complex interactions of politics, culture, history, and economics that shape global relations.

The study of the international is about comprehending how actors and institutions at the global and local level come to terms with forces of change.

The interdisciplinary major in international studies is designed to offer students the opportunity to learn about these changes by developing a common body of knowledge in a set of core courses, and then encouraging their explorations through one of several paths in the form of area concentrations. The concentrations are International Relations, which is designed for students seeking a broad understanding of the historical, political, and economic processes that influence world affairs; Development Studies, a concentration that examines the dilemmas of economic, social, and political transformation in the developing world; and Comparative Studies, in which students may focus their learning on a specific region of the world (or combine regions in comparative perspective). In all instances, the program faculty strongly encourage students to study abroad as an essential element of their intellectual experience.

Your Major Took You Where?*

U.S. Senate Johns Hopkins University (M.A., China studies)
Fulbright U.S. Student Program George Washing University (M.A., European & Eurasian studies)
Americorps Career Building Academy Kent State University (Ed.D., higher education administration)
USA Today University of Texas (M.A., Middle Eastern/global policy studies)
Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) University of North Caroling-Chapel Hill (M.S., accounting)
*A Sampling of Recent Centre Graduates

“The IST program is a perfect example of what defines a liberal arts education because it’s such an interdisciplinary field. Traveling to Africa for three weeks of intensive research and studying at the University of Reading in England has allowed me to put into context what I have learned in the classroom.”

Centre Class of 2016 • International Studies Major

International Studies

World-Wide Study

Centre has semester programs in China (Shanghai), England (London and Reading), France (Strasbourg), Japan (Yamaguchi), and Mexico (Merida), which includes trips to Costa Rica or Cuba. There are also exchange programs in Japan and Northern Ireland. Other opportunities include short-term trips to such places as Cameroon, Ecuador, India, Turkey, and Vietnam. Individual students have also attended programs in Australia, Belgium, China, Denmark, Hungary, Moscow, and Spain.


Centre students have had internships at local, state, and federal levels of the government. Many have interned in such places as Washington, D.C., (at the Supreme Court, foreign embassies, Congress members’ offices, or the Office of Naval Intelligence), or, more locally, at the Lexington-Fayette Human Rights Commission. Recent majors have secured internships at Amnesty International, Save the Children, the International Committee for the Red Cross, and U.S. Department of State.


The international studies program’s commitment to a liberal arts education provides an excellent foundation for students interested in pursing careers in business, journalism, politics, or law in the international arena. The major also assists students in meeting the requirements of leading graduate programs in diplomacy, international relations, business, politics, and public policy. But as American life becomes increasingly linked with that of other nations, almost any career path can benefit from an international studies major.