What is International Studies?

International Studies (IS) is the study of the major political, economic, social, religious and cultural issues that dominate the international agenda. It is said that if the human race was wiped out in the next 50 years it would not necessarily be the result of disease or an asteroid hitting the earth, but because of foreign policy and international relations. In a world where suicide terrorist strikes come without warning and thousands die from poverty caused by the way the international system functions we need to know about and understand International Studies.
International studies are not widely taught at school being just a small part of a Politics ÔÇÿAÔÇÖ level curriculum. It is however a subject that we all know something about, through the media, we all saw the footage of 9/11 twin towers in flames and collapsing, the buses blown apart in London 7/7, we have seen images of Taliban, Refugees, Children suffering from starvation, the global financial collapse etc. ÔÇ£International studies is about war and peace, conflict and cooperation, wealth and poverty, power and changes, and understanding patterns of behaviours between the actors in the world ÔÇô from states, to presidents, to corporations.ÔÇØ (Sheehan & Brocklehurst Independent July 2006)
International studies draws students and researchers from the fields of economics, history, and international law, philosophy, geography, and social work, sociology, anthropology, and criminology, psychology and gender studies, cultural studies, and citizenship. The scope of international relations comprehends globalization, state sovereignty, and international security, ecological sustainability, nuclear proliferation, and nationalism, economic development and global finance, terrorism and organized crime, human security, foreign interventionism, and human rights. International studies looks behind the news headlines.
The history of the discipline of International Studies is strongly linked with the history of the study of international relations. The study of International Studies slowly emerged as a separate entity to International Relations through the 20th century, as an increasingly complex world began to be influenced by globalization, and a greater number of complex world wide issues emerged (rather than just inter-country relations).
The International Studies is usually offered as either part of an arts degree or as a specialist arts degree. As such, students are able to select from a very broad range of subjects to study. Some areas of study which are regularly offered include:
ÔÇó the political, social, economic, religious and cultural relationships within the international system
ÔÇó foreign policy, diplomacy and other modes of interaction between the countries of the world
ÔÇó the significance of foreign societies, cultures, religions and systems of government
ÔÇó the international movement of people as immigrants, refugees, workers, students, tourists and investors
ÔÇó the role of international organizations
ÔÇó the globalization of the world economy
ÔÇó foreign languages
ÔÇó history
Some degrees will offer you the chance to take part in parliamentary placements, exchange schemes or teamwork modules or role play scenarios such as crisis games or model United nations/NATO meetings
There are many interesting careers open to International Studies graduates
ÔÇó diplomatic corps
ÔÇó armed forces
ÔÇó journalism ÔÇô newspapers & television
ÔÇó intelligence and risk analysis
ÔÇó relief and humanitarian work
ÔÇó the United Nations
ÔÇó international business
ÔÇó civil service
ÔÇó international law
ÔÇó teaching
Your IS degree also gives you many transferable skills
ÔÇó writing
ÔÇó presentation
ÔÇó research
ÔÇó analysis skills
ÔÇó teamwork
ÔÇó verbal skills
ÔÇó problem solving
ÔÇó understanding complex issues
ÔÇó possibly different languages
ÔÇ£Why international relations is the key to all our futuresÔÇØ by Mike Sheehan and Helen Brocklehurst 29 July 2006 Independent Newspaper
British International Studies Association
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