International Studies


The international studies major is distinguished by its insistence on study and residency in at least one non-U.S. culture. A flexible curriculum meets a wide range of academic interests and career goals. The program combines academic theory and course work with practice-based research and fieldwork. This is supported by the intellectual and creative challenge of a senior thesis. This falls under the global politics and societies (GPS) department which includes four separate major programs of study in sociology, religious studies, political science, and international studies and one minor program of study in social justice.


International Studies Major

International studies major combines courses in the social and natural sciences, humanities, and the arts. Students focus on the political, economic, and diplomatic relations among nations and peoples. International studies majors may also pursue course work in a second major. These fields include political science, economics, business, foreign language, history, or religion.

Find Success in a Variety of Fields

  • Serve in the Peace Corps
  • Attend law school
  • Study international affairs in graduate school
  • Work for the United Nations

“What I’d love to do with my GWS and IS degrees is tell stories of people and experiences that often go underreported or are never covered at all. I really would like to delve into the testimonies of children. Their voices tend to get washed out and lost in times of war and genocide.”

Celeste Landry Hernandez

"It’s been one of the most impactful experiences of my education and of my time at Hollins. [It] changed the way I look at other parts of the world. Trying to achieve an objective truth is very difficult, but looking at and comparing the ways we look at different countries versus how they see themselves is definitely something for which this trip has helped me grow skills and insight."

Hayley Harrington - International Studies BA

“Costa Rica is globally recognized for its biodiversity: one in every 20 plant or animal species can be found there. Unfortunately, due to human actions, Costa Rica also has over 100 species on the endangered list. Luckily, there are organizations seeking to combat this threat. (The Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center's) mission is to rescue animals who are victims of pollution, logging, electrical lines, illegal pet trade, and human cruelty.”

Lilly Potter - International Studies BA

"The greatest thing I have learned as an international studies major is the importance of having a global perspective in an increasingly interconnected world. The interdisciplinary curriculum of international studies provided me with a strong background in multiple subject areas, including history, languages, religion, anthropology, and even ethno-botany."

Sarah Rhodes - International Studies BA