Bachelor of Arts in International and Global Studies

If you want to address the world’s most pressing problems, you’ll need to study more than political science or international relations. You’ll need to explore the economic, historical, social and cultural dimensions of these issues as well. Our International and Global Studies (IGS) Program is founded on the conviction that only a truly interdisciplinary approach will give you the insights you need to understand — and perhaps to solve — the challenges of our globalized world.

As an IGS major or minor, you’ll take an introductory course in international and global studies as well as three core courses in anthropology, economics and international relations. You’ll also take elective courses offered in departments across campus, from fine arts to French, from environmental studies to sociology, from women’s, gender and sexuality studies to history.

Many of our students go on to careers in diplomacy, investment banking, international nonprofit advocacy and education. Some pursue graduate studies in law, public administration, business administration and medicine, as well as in international relations, anthropology and other social sciences.

Why Brandeis?

At Brandeis, you will be taught by scholars and practitioners from a broad range of disciplines, all of whom share a commitment to teaching and mentoring. They will encourage you to think, speak and write knowledgeably about global issues from a multitude of perspectives, which is vital to making a positive difference in the world.

Academics and Research

Course of Study

As an IGS major, you’ll take four required courses: Introduction to International and Global Studies; Introduction to the Comparative Study of Human Societies; Global Economy or Economic Principles and Globalization; and Introduction to International Relations. You’ll then take two courses from each of four groupings from across campus: Global Media, Culture and the Arts; Global Governance, Conflict and Responsibility; and Global Economy, Health and Environment.

Our majors are also required to be proficient in a language besides English and to work or study abroad for one semester.

Honors Thesis

If you’re especially passionate and motivated, you might consider completing a senior honors thesis on a research topic of your choice. An experience as rewarding as it is challenging, writing a thesis enables you  to both synthesize what you’ve learned and to deepen your knowledge about a particular area.

Faculty and Student Excellence

Distinguished and Diverse Faculty

Our multidisciplinary faculty are highly productive researchers and award-winning teachers, and their work is truly international in scope. Here are just a few highlights:

  • Kerry Chase specializes in international political economy, international institutions and the global economy

  • Richard Gaskins is an expert in comparative law and social welfare, global justice, human rights, economic philosophies and legal argumentation. He is director of Brandeis’ Legal Studies Program and was the academic program director for the retired Brandeis in The Hague study abroad program.

  • Clémentine C. Fauré-Bellaïche specializes in 20th- and 21st-century French and Francophone literature.

  • Gregory L. Freeze specializes in modern Russian history, with a particular focus on religious and social history.

  • Lucy Goodhart studies comparative and international political economy, analyzing the domestic politics of trade protection and coalition policymaking.

  • Kristen Lucken’s research explores immigration, ethnic and religious pluralism, social inclusion and nationalism.

  • Fernando J. Rosenberg is an expert in critical and post-colonial theory, visual art and performance and legal topics in the arts. His courses include Literature and Human Rights, Culture and Social Change, Nation and Narration, and Latin American Global Film.

  • Elanah Uretsky is a medical anthropologist whose work takes a critical anthropologic approach to examining global health responses to disease, with a focus on the nexus of gender, sexuality, governance, and disease in China.

Student Excellence

We’re very proud of our majors, many of whom receive grants to pursue creative lines of inquiry:

  • Lee Wilson ’18 won a Fulbright Scholarship to study intercultural relations and teach English at several high schools in Banja Luka, the central city in Republika Srpska, one of the two main polities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

  • Jennifer Almodovar Jimenez ’18 was named 2020 Schwarzman Scholar, a prestigious program that provides graduate fellowships based in Beijing, China.

  • Iyvon Edebiri ’13 won a Fulbright Scholarship to study intercultural theater in Italy, including building a show at the Teatro della Albe in Ravenna with African and Italian artists to spark discussion about immigration. Iyvon is currently the Artistic Director and Host of the Parsnip Ship podcast, an innovative platform through which new plays and music from diverse voices are performed and disseminated for free.

  • Matt Kupfer ’12 won a year-long Carnegie Junior Fellowship from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Prior to that, Matt worked on AIDS relief in Central Asia, and wrote his honors thesis about the origins of ethnic conflict in Kyrgyzstan. Matt is currently a journalist with the Kyiv Post in Ukraine.

  • Jesse Appell ’12 won a Fulbright Scholarship to study improv comedy in China, where he became a regular performer at Beijing nightclubs. Jesse has since become a phenomenon in the Beijing comedy scene, and is the founder of the US-China Comedy Center.

Beyond the Classroom

Experience the World

If you are to be a true global citizen, you must experience the world beyond your own, which is why a semester abroad is required. Many of our students participate in approved study abroad programs, including in Spain, China, Israel, South Africa and elsewhere. Others opt for experiential learning in the form of an international internship at, for example, the State Department, Canadas’ International Institute for Sustainable Development, the Green Party of England and Wales and Jordan’s Center for Strategic Studies.

Guest Speakers

Every semester, Brandeis hosts a nonstop series of visiting lecturers, including many on topics related to global and international relations. Recent presentations have centered on literature and national identity, refugee crises, terrorism, tariffs and trade wars, and LGBTQ+ issues in China.

Brandeis Society for International Affairs

BSIA aims to educate the Brandeis community on foreign affairs topics and to create a non-partisan space in which to talk about sensitive issues among your peers. BSIA holds group meetings in which students give presentations on current topics in international relations, followed by a discussion of the global ramifications of the current events.

Careers, Graduate Study and Alumni

Diverse Career Opportunities

IGS graduates enjoy careers in diplomacy, law, investment banking, international human rights organizations and education. Many also pursue graduate study in the social sciences, or degrees in law, medicine, public administration or business administration.

Alumni Profiles

Nelly SchlafereitNelly Schläfereit ’15 is a Junior Expert at the GFA Consulting Group, one of the leading European consulting firms active in the development cooperation sector. GFA has a long history of managing projects across the board for several industries.

Nelly currently works in Senegal, on a project that aims to create professional opportunities for young people. While at Brandeis, she was a recipient of the prestigious Sorensen Fellowship, through which she interned for a small NGO in Senegal.

Sam Vaghar ’08 is the Executive Director of The Millennium Campus Network (MCN), a global non-profit organization founded in Brandeis residence halls in 2007. MCN provides training and support to undergraduates making a difference across the United States and in 13 nations. Many Brandeis undergraduates have participated in the MCN’s Millennium Fellowship since its founding. Sam has given speeches at more than 100 institutions worldwide including at the White House, U.S. Department of State, and the United Nations, and has even received an honorary doctorate for his work. Read more about Sam.