International Studies Major

International Studies

George Fox’s international studies major is ideal for those who have a passion to learn about and, potentially, work in other cultures. The international studies program prepares you to work in foreign missions, international commerce, economic development, and government service.

Students enroll in foreign language, political science, economics, anthropology, religion, and communication courses taught in a Christian college setting. The major also includes a strong international fieldwork emphasis.

Envision yourself pursuing a career in international education, trade and finance, missions, or relief and development? This major may be the fit for you. Many students in the program also pursue graduate studies in law, diplomacy, theology, business administration and other fields.


Request more information about the international studies major at George Fox University or schedule a visit to begin your education at Oregon's Christian university, ranked as one of the top Christian colleges in the nation by Forbes.

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Major Requirements

Complete the following:

This covers communication as it affects and is affected by language and culture. Topics include contextualized use of communication within speech communities, intercultural effectiveness, cultural communication theory, competent intercultural experiences in co-cultures (ethnic, gender, intergenerational, deaf, etc.) and global cultural groups. A student may not earn credit for both the lower-division and upper-division versions of this course.
A study of the world's cultural regions developed through the themes of location, human environmental relationships, movement, and regions, with emphasis on the interrelatedness of culture, physical, economic, historical, and political geography in creating the dynamic cultural landscapes existing today. (Identical to INTL 200.)
An introduction to the core issues and problems that affect the entire world, including threats to security such as war and terrorism, the rise of globalization, the persistence of inequality between rich and poor countries, and the degradation of the environment. (Identical to INTL 230.)
This course will provide a foundation in the intellectual and social abilities required for international experiences. The primary goals of this course are to develop global awareness and cross-cultural competencies that will provide students with the practical skills necessary for effective off-campus study abroad and internationally-focused internships.
A comparative study of world societies and their ways of life.
This course covers the main issues faced by developing countries in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia. Special attention is given to economic development and the impact of globalization on these nations. (PSCI 330 and INTL 330 are identical courses)
This course introduces students to causes and consequences of 'the wealth of nations.' Students will learn theories of economic growth and poverty alleviation. Topics to be covered include: globalization, education, international trade, holistic conceptions of development, and the role of institutions. (Identical to INTL 370 and SOCI 370.) Prerequisite: ECON 212 Principles of Microeconomics
Supervised experiences in a non-American culture. Pass/No Pass. Prerequisite: upper-division international studies majors or minors, and by permission.
A comparative study between Christianity and other prominent religions of the world, such as Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and contemporary kinds of alternative religion. (Identical to INTL 440.)
Supervised experience in the discipline including internships and practica required for professional programs. This introductory experience must have an on-site supervisor and/or a departmental instructor overseeing, designing, and evaluating the content of the course. Pass/No Pass. Prerequisite: instructor's permission.
Required of senior international studies majors, the course emphasizes the investigation of theoretical and current applications of interdisciplinary research in international studies. Students with a significant interest in international issues are welcome, with the consent of the instructor. A research paper based upon primary source materials is the main assignment of the course.

Complete the following:

The second year of a modern foreign language (6-8 hours)
Students must complete an additional 6-semester-hours from the following courses. The 3 hours from INTL 475 listed here is in addition to the 3 hours that are already required. 
Course provides an overview of international trade and finance. Trade theory is applied to understanding the direction of trade flows, the impact of trade barriers, and the role of bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations. The international finance portion of the course will consider the balance of payments, foreign exchange rates, and the globalization of financial markets. Throughout the course attention will be paid to global and national institutional arrangements which determine and influence trade and financial flows. Prerequisites: ECON 211 Principles of Macroeconomics and ECON 212 Principles of Microeconomics.
The importance of thinking globally and understanding the legal, technological, political and economic differences that affect business practice are explored through readings and projects. The focus is on the global changes that are impacting national sovereignty, regionalization, and the balance of economic and political power. Prerequisites: ECON 211 Principles of Macroeconomics and MGMT 260 Principles of Management.
Latin American countries from colonial times to the present, with an emphasis on the conditions that have led to the crises of recent years.
Explores the political, economic, social, and religious developments in the Middle East from the ancient to the modern era, with emphasis on the latter period.
A study of the history of southern Africa from about 1500 to the present with particular attention to the native groups of the region, Dutch colonization and British imperialism, and relations between diverse ethnic groups in the last two centuries.
A study of 20th- and 21st-century Russia and other former Soviet republics, with emphasis on their current significance in the world and the factors in their history that brought the Revolution of 1917 and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Political and cultural developments of China and Japan.
Europe in the 20th and 21st centuries, with emphasis on the upheavals of the two world wars and the status of the European states today.
Supervised experience in the discipline including internships and practica required for professional programs. This introductory experience must have an on-site supervisor and/or a departmental instructor overseeing, designing, and evaluating the content of the course. Pass/No Pass. Prerequisite: instructor's permission.
Examines contemporary literatures across the world in order to explore both the similarities and differences in literary styles and themes. Because so much current non-Western literature is influenced by Western literature, culture, and values, students will consider historical background, including colonial, post-colonial, or political readings of writers such as Chinua Achebe, Gabriel Gárcia Márquez, Nadine Gordimer, Lu Xün, and Jamaica Kincaid.
Considers contemporary writings from women around the world. Students analyze these literary texts, examine the cultures they represent, and keep apprised of current events related to women. Prerequisite: HUMA 205 Philosophy and Literature, any 100 or 200 level LITR course or equivalent, enrollment in the William Penn Honors Program, or instructor permission.
Whoever knows only one country knows none. This course introduces students to the field of comparative government and politics by examining the variety of political systems in the world. Particular attention will be paid to contrasting democratic and non-democratic governance, exploring the nature of democracy and the processes of democratization, and evaluating how American institutions and processes compare to other countries.
Why do wars and conflicts occur and how do we prevent these? This course considers the causes of global insecurity (from wars between countries to transnational terrorism to genocide) and examines the various approaches to their resolution, including the creation of international institutions and military alliances. Special emphasis will be placed on the role of religion in global political conflict.
This course provides students with a solid theoretical and practical understanding of the nature of international organizations (i.e. their origins, structure, and function in world politics) and relation to emerging international law. The practical component of this course examines the historical development, activities, and performance of specific institutions and agencies on a diverse set of policy issues including: security, economics (trade and development), humanitarian assistance, and human rights.
The biblical basis and history of missions are considered, with a special focus upon the modern missionary movement of the last 200 years.
Cross-cultural communication in Christian ministry, focusing on the concepts of identification, mutuality, the process of cultural change from a biblical perspective, and strategies for cross-cultural outreach.
n introduction to the cultures and civilizations of Latin America. Students continue to develop skills toward advanced proficiency, as defined by ACTFL. Activities include reading authentic texts, field trips, and listening to native speakers. Areas of study may include history, art, music, the role of religion, governmental systems, and gender differences. Taught in Spanish. Corequisite/Prerequisite: SPAN 302 Intermediate/Advanced Spanish II or concurrent enrollment in SPAN 302 Intermediate/Advanced Spanish II or instructor's permission.

Supporting Minors for International Studies

International studies is an interdisciplinary major designed for students with an interest in international vocations. Students taking this major as preparation for foreign missionary service or graduate studies in missions and intercultural concerns are encouraged to take a minor in the Christian Studies Department (in biblical studies, missions or religion). Students with interest in diplomacy or politics are encouraged to consider a minor in politics or peace studies. Those wishing to prepare for work in relief and development should consider a minor in management or economics.

Jobs, Internships and Graduate School

International studies student
Graduates of the international studies program have gone on to pursue diverse career paths both at home and abroad, including teaching positions in France and China, leading Nike's North American Soccer operations and working as a peace building advocate for World Vision.
  • Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State
  • Missionary, Evangelical Friends Mission
  • Arts Specialist, Wycliffe Bible Translators (Maluku, Indonesia)
  • English Teacher, Hubei Polytechnic Institute (Xiaogan, China)
  • English Teacher, Acadomia (Paris)
  • General Manager, North American Soccer at Nike
  • Manager of China Office, NEAC, Inc.
  • National Case Manager Advocacy Coordinator, TEAR Australia
  • Coordinator of Women’s Services, Catholic Charities of Oregon
  • Project Coordinator, Jordanian Women’s Union
  • Project Coordinator for Global Nutrition Collaborative, Presbytery of Boston
  • University Affairs Director, University of Washington
  • Research Assistant, International Relations Department, Wycliffe Bible Translators
  • Peace Corps volunteer
  • Teacher, various public and private schools
  • ESL Teacher, Beaverton School District
  • Social worker, Heartland Alliance
  • Director, Emeritus Instructional Program, Saddleback College
  • Peacebuilding Advocacy Coordinator, World Vision
  • Middle East Studies Program, International Studies Intern
  • Generation Opportunity, Grassroots Intern
  • Catholic Charities, Refugee Resettlement Program
  • Evangelical Friends Missions, Missions Intern
  • Quaker United Nations Office, Program Assistant
  • University of Glasgow (U.K.)
  • University of Washington
  • La Sorbonne (Paris)
  • Georgetown University
  • University of Hyderabad (India)
  • Kingston University (London)
  • University of Arizona
  • Monash University (Melbourne)
  • University of Denver
  • Temple University Law School
  • Tufts University
  • Eastern University

Student Experiences

Jenna Eliel

“My experience at Fox helped prepare me for working abroad. I often recall Sarita Gallagher’s Cross-Cultural Christian Outreach and World Religion classes, where we talked about some of the often befuddling culture issues I am experiencing now. Being involved with the international studies program and learning and experiencing culture from international students opened doors to the world. My wonderful friendships with Chinese international students are a primary reason I decided to work in China.”

- Jenna Eliel

 Jimmi Sommer

“The international studies program at George Fox University laid the foundation for me to become a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State. The small class sizes and one-on-one interaction with professors closely mirrored my master’s program a couple of years later, making it a unique experience for an undergraduate. George Fox courses helped me build cross-cultural awareness skills, which I used when assigned to the White House, and daily in my overseas postings.”

- Jimmi Sommer

Maggie Holmesheoran

“At George Fox I encountered a stream of the Christian faith very different from what I grew up with. Finding beauty in otherness has been instructive for me as I have spent the majority of my adult life in foreign places. Being able to observe, adapt to and truly appreciate diversity in culture and tradition grounds me today in a humility and a sense of wonder that is essential for cultivating deep and sustainable intercultural relationships.”

- Maggie Holmesheoran

Matt Connor

“The international studies program at George Fox was an excellent preparation for a career with Wycliffe Bible Translators involving language survey, translation, community program planning and ethnomusicology. What I learned at Fox helped me understand new concepts about contextual arts in ministry while earning an MA in world arts, and continues to serve me well as I navigate the difficult terrain of Bible translation program planning and the creation of contextual Scripture songs.”

- Matt Connor

Points of Distinction

  • In addition to the normal courses in international politics, foreign languages, global economics and cultural anthropology, students can take multiple classes reflecting the university’s unique Friends (Quaker) heritage and Christ-centered culture, ranging from global missions to international conflict and peace.
  • The university’s tradition of sending graduates to work in international venues – from business and government to missions and peacemaking work – endows us with a wide range of contacts and alumni who can enrich programs on campus and provide connections for students looking for opportunities.
  • All international studies majors spend a semester abroad immersed in a foreign culture. Many of these foreign experiences include involvement in Christian ministries, an expansion of our campus-wide emphasis on international educational experiences.
  • Faculty from five major disciplines support the international studies major: politics, business and economics, religion, sociology and foreign languages.

Why George Fox?

Christ-centered community

Our faith influences everything we do here, from the way our professors teach to the way we relate to one another and serve in the community.

Global opportunities

More than half of George Fox undergraduate students study abroad, ranking George Fox among the nation's leaders in study abroad participation (U.S. News & World Report).

Small classes

Our 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio means you'll get to know your professors on a personal level.

National recognition

George Fox University is a Christian university classified by U.S. News & World Report as a first-tier national university, and Forbes ranks George Fox among the highest Christian colleges in the country.