The international studies major provides a multidisciplinary approach to the study of international affairs with an emphasis on foreign language proficiency. You will learn how to design policies and strategies to manage international challenges. 

2 programs to study away in Washington D.C.
24 Average upper-level class size
20% of our students are cadets
What is a Degree in International Studies?

An International Studies degree draws from subjects like history, politics, religion, geography, economics, as well as foreign languages. This gives you a comprehensive understanding of diverse nations, cultures, and the challenges they face. You'll become proficient in at least one foreign language.

Why Study International Studies Here?

We offer a broad training in the liberal arts, emphasizing the study of foreign languages. You will develop specialized skills to prepare for roles in government, business, defense, international development, and non-governmental organizations.

Beyond the Classroom

Study Abroad

Although studying abroad isn't required, it can often be a pivotal experience for you. Living in a different country is the best way to understand the differences and similarities between cultures. It allows you to develop a personal expertise in a specific national or regional context.

Edinburgh Study Abroad

Internships and Co-ops

Internships and cooperative education programs give you an opportunity to receive academic credit for working in a professional setting. Our students complete internships with the U.S. government, international organizations, and national, state, or local administrative agencies. Talk to an advisor who can help you find and secure a meaningful internship opportunity.


Faculty Mentors

Our faculty members are productive authors, scholars, and award-winning teachers who are always eager to mentor students on research projects in their field of interest. We have experts on Japan, the European Union, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, the United Kingdom, and other nations, as well as specialists in topics like international security, citizenship, and human rights. If you'd like some guidance on an undergraduate research project, just ask!

The International Studies Major's Faculty Mentors

Preparing Military and Intelligence Leaders

We work with many students in the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets and ROTC, as well as veterans and students waiting to begin a government training program. Our major provides training to prepare you for a career with the U.S. Department of State, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, or various intelligence agencies of the U.S. government.


Military Leadership

Diplomacy Lab

The Department of State’s Diplomacy Lab program is a partnership with Virginia Tech to conduct research related to foreign policy. You will have the opportunity to research topics such as climate change, democracy and human rights, global health, and energy security. This program allows you to explore real-world challenges and work alongside faculty members who are authorities in their fields. 

Undergraduate Research

Work closely with a faculty mentor to create and pursue your own project or join a professor's project.  The Diplomacy Lab program also offers several opportunities for students to pursue individual or collaborative research projects. 

Casey Molina, a sophomore majoring in multimedia journalism, and Joshua Andes, a junior majoring in residential environments and design, collaborate on a house design.
What Our Students Are Saying

"I'm loving being an IS major because in almost every class I get to discuss and learn about real world experiences, specifically current events. It feels like what I'm learning in class is actually part of the outside world and not just in the bubble of academia."

- Anusha Ghosal '16

"Submerse yourself in another culture and study abroad every chance you get. That is when you'll truly gain a deeper understanding of the diverse and complex world we live in."


- Grace Spencer '18

"When I first arrived at Virginia Tech, I was petrified of walking into a packed lecture hall. I felt all eyes were on me as I walked down the aisle to find my seat. My fears were quickly erased as my professor began to talk. She inspired me to think of ideas and ask questions that I never knew were possible. She made me feel like I was an individual with a purpose. With a professor like that I knew I picked the best major."

- Dana Mouritzen '18

“When I look at the world, I see a lot of potential. That's why I was so drawn to the international studies major. I want to help initiate growth all over the world by getting people to invest in themselves through entrepreneurship.” 

- Nizar K. Taifour '16

Careers and Further Study