What is the International Studies Program?
The International Studies Program at UALR is an interdisciplinary undergraduate major/minor designed for students seeking a deeper understanding of various aspects of today’s interdependent world. Its curriculum consists of a group of core courses emphasizing global awareness and introducing principles of analysis and intercultural communication. In addition, students in the Program are required to reach a communicative level in one foreign language (at least six hours of upper level credit or equivalent) and to choose an area of concentration. This specialization may occur along regional lines (e.g. Latin America, Europe) or may focus on academic expertise in such fields as business, global environment, developing nations or International Relations. Each student also completes an Internship with an agency or commercial enterprise that has an international focus. Seniors ideally will be able to make use of their foreign language skills and specialized knowledge when they complete their Internship and gather data for their Senior Project, which encompasses a project proposal, a well researched and scholarly research paper, and a presentation on that research. There are currently around 60 students in the Program. The Program graduates 10-12 students annually.
The UALR International Studies Program Offers:
- One of the few fully integrated International Studies programs in the state
- A comprehensive interdisciplinary curriculum
- Proficiency-based foreign language training in French, German, Spanish or Chinese
- Flexible program design
- Individualized advising and counseling
Students who plan to major in International Studies will complete the university’s core requirements during their freshman and sophomore years at UALR. They are expected to take a sophomore course in both Economics and Geography and three consecutive semesters of elementary foreign language (or demonstrate equivalent proficiency) before seeking admission to the Program.
There are two tracks for International Studies majors.
- Public Sector - For students interested in pursuing a career in non-profit or governmental organizations. This track allows students more freedom to choose electives applicable to each student’s individual interests.
- Private Sector - For students interested in pursuing a career in business or economics. This track is a little more restrictive, in terms of mandatory courses, but still allows students some freedom to design their curriculum.
Second Language Skills
An overall minimum of 18 foreign language credits (or equivalent proficiency), including six upper level hours, is required for all International Studies majors. Since language is the single most powerful instrument for accessing another culture, a measure of oral fluency and functional skills in reading and writing a foreign language is an integral part of this program. UALR currently offers upper level courses in French, German and Spanish. Chinese is also offered, but only lower level courses; students may obtain upper level Chinese courses through study abroad.
Area of Concentration
The Area of Concentration consists of 18 hours of closely related courses in various disciplines, such as Political Science, History, Art, Geography, Sociology, Communications, Religion, International Business, etc. Each major’s area of focus closely related courses is individually designed in consultation with the Academic Coordinator, depending on the student’s personal scholastic background and interest.
All majors are required to complete an Internship with an agency or commercial firm of international scope in order to gain hands-on experience in a setting where global knowledge is crucial. Although the minimum time on the job consists of 90 clock hours, a longer commitment generally proves more valuable for both the intern and their supervisor.
The Senior Project is an independent study project to be completed under the direction of a faculty member knowledgeable in the student’s area of concentration. The student will define a problem in consultation with his/her adviser, work out a research schedule and present the findings in a well organized paper.
The 21-hour minor in International Studies is well-suited to add a global dimension to such majors as Communications, Foreign Language, Journalism, Criminal Justice, Sociology/Anthropology, Science, Music and Art. International Studies minors are required to take INTS 2301 “World Cultures” and INTS 2302 “Global Issues,” as well as 4 upper division electives chosen in consultation with the International Studies Coordinator. They also must complete an intermediate Foreign Language course (2311 or above).
Because the International Studies Program has its own administrator, participants in the Program receive more individual attention that UALR students at large. During the regular academic year the Program Coordinator is readily available for advising and special consultations pertaining to degree plans, foreign language study, options for study and work abroad, internships and senior projects.
Students interested in this degree are urged to contact the Coordinator during their Freshman year to discuss possible degree plans. Since the structure of the International Studies Program is more complex than that of other majors and since certain courses need to be taken in proper sequence, among them Foreign Language, early planning is essential to assure satisfactory progress toward graduation.
NOTE: Currently, advising will be handled by the Department of Political Science. Please call (501) 569-3331 to make an appointment. For general inquiries about the Program, please email administrative specialist Joshua Thomsen at email@example.com.
Study and Work Abroad
Studying and working in a foreign country is an extremely valuable experience for International Studies majors and is highly recommended. UALR offers reasonably-priced, intensive Semester or Year long programs, Summer programs, and Faculty-Led programs. Students are encouraged to explore other possibilities for study and work abroad in consultation with the Coordinators for International Studies and Programs Abroad. Majors interested in internships abroad are advised that it may take six to nine months to make the appropriate arrangements and that their active participation in this process is indispensable. For more information on study abroad opportunities, contact the Programs Abroad Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (501) 683-7566.