Home : Academics : International Studies



Jon Bohland, director
(540) 362-6584

Hollins University
P.O. Box 9693
Roanoke, VA 24020

The major in international studies is an interdisciplinary program combining courses in the social sciences, humanities, arts, and sciences.

Themes present throughout the program include globalization, development, national and trans-national identities, migration, diaspora, global conflicts and peacekeeping, postcolonialism, international relations, space and place, and environmental and foreign policy. Studies focus on the evolution of political, economic, and diplomatic relations among nations and peoples.

In order to fulfill the major requirements, students must spend at least a semester studying abroad, take a foreign language beyond the intermediate level and write a senior thesis on a topic with an international focus. Many of our students also pursue coursework in a second major, combining their interdisciplinary focus in international studies with that of another disciplinary field such as political science, economics, business, foreign language, history, or religion. The major serves as good preparation for careers in international service and business, non-governmental organizations, foreign service, the Peace Corps, and for pursuing additional graduate work in the humanities and social sciences

The goals of the program are to combine academic theory and coursework with practice-based research and fieldwork in international studies. The goals are:

  • To introduce students to themes of interdependence and globalization of cultures and world economic and political systems
  • To develop critical students capable of understanding and analyzing international studies from a variety of diverse theoretical frameworks including post-colonialism, feminism/gender, race and class, post-structuralism, space and place, identity politics and environmental risk and sustainability.
  • To give students first-hand experience of a non-U.S. culture through the Hollins semester abroad program and to develop language skills beyond the intermediate level.
  • To develop research and analytic skills through the intellectual and creative challenge of the senior thesis project.

Hollins' program is distinguished by its insistence on a significant direct experience of study and residency in at least one non-U.S. culture; by a flexible currriculum that can meet a wide range of academic interests and career goals; and by the intellectual and creative challenge of a senior thesis. Students also write a thesis on a topic that draws from broad interdisciplinary themes within international studies. Some recent topics include: "Imaging Global Nature in the Pages of Time Magazine", "Art and National Identity in the Dominican Republic," "Education and Segregation in Post-War Bosnian Schools," "Memories of the Malvinas in Contemporary Argentina," "Asian Americans and Education," "The Costs of Tourism: The Case of Thailand," "Remembering Srebrenica," and "French Immigrant Identity Through Film."

Hollins also offers a minor program of study in social justice. More info »


Expand your horizons with study abroad

Majors in international studies spend a full semester abroad, learning firsthand about life in other lands. Hollins was among the first colleges in the nation to offer study abroad, and our programs in Paris and London are widely known for their excellence. Hollins is also a participant in programs in Argentina, Ghana, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, and the School for Field Studies.

In addition, our students enroll in abroad programs sponsored by other colleges and universities.


Test the career waters with hands-on internships

Many international studies majors complete internships with government agencies and businesses with international connections. Not only is an internship a good way to confirm career interests, but it's also an excellent resume-builder.

As the commercial center of Southwest Virginia, Roanoke, a metropolitan area of 236,000, is home to large banking corporations, computer recyclers, construction companies, defense contractors, heavy equipment sellers, and other companies with interests in international trade. In addition, there are law firms and industrial development agencies with specialists in international affairs. Many provide opportunities for student-designed internships.

Recent internship sites include:

  • Office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Library of the United States Supreme Court
  • Consular Office of the United States, Munich
  • Office of Senator Mark Warner
  • United Nations, Asian Section
  • International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers
  • Carter Center (Atlanta)
  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • National Public Radio