College Spotlight: International Studies

Declaring a major or a minor in the Kennedy Center is a great way to begin to expand your world, as well as develop skills that can increase your appeal in a variety of governmental, international, and non-profit career realms. The Kennedy Center hosts six interdisciplinary undergraduate majors: International Relations, Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Asian Studies, European Studies, Latin American Studies, and Middle East/Arabic Studies. Only the International Relations major does not have an associated minor. There are two additional minors not associated with a major: Africana Studies and International Development. Below you will find a summary of each major, as well as potential careers options associated with these majors and minors. Enjoy exploring!

Our Majors:

ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN STUDIES – Deals with the history, literature, religions, and cultures of the ancient Near East from 3000 BC to AD 640. The major is structured to emphasize the study of the Hebrew Old Testament or Greek New Testament and related literature. This major is heavily research-based.

ASIAN STUDIES – Designed to prepare students for careers and advanced study in the specialized field of Asia. Students acquire working competence in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or another approved Asian language, and a broad knowledge of Asian civilization.

EUROPEAN STUDIES – Focuses on European language, culture, and society. At the Junior level, students choose one of two tracks, Social Sciences or Humanities, and then supplement it with specialized coursework approved by an advisor in the Senior year.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS – Emphasizes the systematic study of political and economic relations between governments and people in different states, with introductions to the history, geography, and culture of other countries. Calculus is required as it is an integral part of 300-400 level economic courses. Proficiency in a foreign language is also required.

LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES – Gives a rich background in the languages, culture, history, sociology, and conditions of Latin America.

MIDDLE EAST STUDIES/ARABIC – Develops historical, political, anthropological, economic, geographic, linguistic, artistic, literary, and religious insights into the study of the Middle East, in addition to linguistic skill in Arabic.

Minors: Africana Studies, Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Asian Studies, European Studies, International Development, Latin American Studies, and Middle East Studies.

Careers: International and Area Studies Majors provide an excellent foundation for many career opportunities. The multi-disciplinary structure of each of the majors exposes students to several fields, helping them develop skills in critical analysis, methods of interpretation, perceptive reading, competent writing, and in-depth understanding of the respective world region. Graduates from International and Area Studies are well-prepared for careers in government (State Department, Foreign Services, Immigration, FBI, etc.), non-profit organizations, private international industry, domestic and foreign teaching, Peace Corps, military service, import/export services, and more. As liberal arts majors, our programs also provide great preparation for students planning a career in law, medicine, or business in general. In fact, we often encourage students to view our majors as certifying fluency in the ideas and methods of multiple fields so that students can pursue their own specialized interest, rather than as terminal degrees.

Ann Ortiz is the director of the Kennedy Center Academic Advisement office. She regularly meet one on one with students to help them figure out how Kennedy Center programs might fit into their academic plans.