Skip Menu

Return to Skip Menu

Main Content

The International Studies Program at Virginia Tech

The Program in Brief

Established in 1967, Virginia Tech's International Studies Program is the oldest program of its kind in the state of Virginia. The International Studies Major offers a broad training in the liberal arts and human sciences, emphasizing the study of foreign languages and a specialization in one of four areas: World Politics and Policy; Environmental Studies; Global Development; and International Business. The program's curriculum reflects Virginia Tech's firm belief in the importance of understanding many aspects of the world community for the education of the leaders of tomorrow. 

Who majors and minors in International Studies?

In a word, IS students share a keen interest in exploring the world beyond the borders of the United States. The International Studies Program attracts students who are interested in history, politics, religion, geography, economics, languages, and diverse nationalities and cultures. It is an attractive major for those wishing to pursue a career in international business, government service, journalism, teaching, and international development work. Students develop proficiency in at least one foreign language and many choose to study abroad for a semester or a year in order to further their education in another country. IS students form a major field concentration around one of four degree "options" -- World Politics and Policy; International Business; Environmental Affairs; and Global Development. Students are thus able to tailor their major to meet their own interests and leverage these toward their specific career goals.

The International Studies Program requires a significant amount of course work in at least one foreign language, usually French, German, Russian or Spanish. A significant number of our students form a minor or a second major in one of these foreign languages. And a significant number of IS students double major in history, geography, or economics because much of the IS program overlaps these departments' curricular offerings. Thus, a typical IS major graduates not only with a diversified liberal arts education and a specialization in a foreign language, but also a degree concentration and one or two minors or a double major in another discipline.

What does a graduate senior do with the International Studies Degree?

The International Studies major is not designed to teach a specific trade or prepare for students to perform a highly specialized task. Instead, it hones particular intellectual skills that are applicable in many different professions and emphasizes knowledge and understanding of international affairs, broadly defined. Our students graduate with the best of problem- solving skills: critical and analytical thinking. International Studies students learn to apply critical thinking and writing skills to an understanding of contemporary global issues and the challenges they present to the world community. A wide variety of career opportunties abound for students who graduate with this unique degree. Alumni of the International Studies Program include vice-presidents of major banks; managers in multinational corporations; foreign service officers; civil servants in the Pentagon and United States intelligence agencies; foreign aid administrators; teachers at high schools and colleges; journalists; lawyers; Peace Corps volunteers; and military officers. In addition, graduates of the International Studies Program have been admitted to some of the most prestigious law and graduate schools in the country.

Meeting the world in Blacksburg

Virginia Tech is committed to establishing itself as a truly global university. The International Studies Program is but one of Virginia Tech's strategic initiatives aimed at leveraging the university's many strengths in global venues. Its programs are committed to international outreach, internationalizing curricula university wide, and promoting study abroad programs in all regions of the world. Over 1,400 international students are enrolled at Virginia Tech in any given year. A wide array of social and cultural activities are organized on campus by the Cranwell International Center, providing American students with the opportunity to make friends from abroad, improve their language skills, and gain a greater understanding of world cultures. Many international student organizations are active on campus as well.

Please browse around our website and acquaint yourself with the Program. And welcome to International Studies!

Dr. Ioannis Stivachtis

Advising Questions?

Jennifer Hanratty
Academic Advisor for First Year Students
119 Major Williams Hall
(540) 231-6438

Phoebe L. Peterson
Academic Advisor for Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors
119 Major Williams Hall
(540) 231-5874

Dr. Ioannis Stivachtis
Director, International Studies Program
119 Major Williams Hall
(540) 231-5816


Student Forms

Cranwell International Center

Study Abroad

International Studies Program