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IS students smiling on Service Day

International Studies

Investing in global citizenship for a more just world


In our increasingly interconnected world, we no longer have the luxury of focusing only on our own country. What happens globally can affect us locally, while policies enacted locally can have implications for citizens halfway around the world. So how can we address the challenges of today’s world—from refugee displacement to gender inequality to rising authoritarianism—in a way that ensures a safe, sustainable and fair future for all?

International Studies (IS) explores global justice, including international development ethics, and the intricacies of how culture and society feed sociopolitical issues (and our understanding of them). Through discussions, in-class projects and guest speakers, students delve into the Sustainable Development Goals and learn what it means to be a citizen not just of one’s country but of the globe.

Students consider questions such as:

  • What does a more just world look like and how can we get there?
  • What does inclusive global citizenship mean for—and require of—communities, institutions and individuals?
  • Can we justify extreme poverty amidst immense riches? Who is responsible for aiding the world’s poorest and most vulnerable?

IS offers an engaging and immersive opportunity for students who are interested in better understanding the world, including the forces that are shaping it. All majors and backgrounds are welcome. The program will be of particular interest to anyone interested in global justice, development ethics and human rights, but also to international issues more broadly.

Colloquium and Lecture Topics

  • Forced displacement (refugees and internally displaced persons)
  • International development and human rights
  • International Humanitarian Law and the “laws of war”
  • Individual identity and intercultural dialogue
  • Social action, diplomacy and the tools of change

I love International Studies because the topics we cover are ever changing, relevant to current events and interdisciplinary. I find it amazing how we're able to cover and connect with many different topics like human geography, political science and public health!

White female college student with brown hair, wearing a blazer
Caroline Thorne '24

Other Learning Opportunities

The IS experience is shaped in part through excursions and other active learning opportunities, both on and off campus. To broaden our understanding of what is covered in the classroom, we may visit embassies in Washington, DC, the Organization of American States, the Museum of the Americas, the Museum of the American Indian and our local Piscataway indigenous community, among others.

Students have walked Washington, DC’s, culturally diverse Heritage Trails to glean the international elements of the nation’s capital, participated in international negotiation simulations, presented on policy solutions to global challenges, and engaged in project-based learning in the classroom. Students also have the opportunity to engage in ongoing community-based learning by tutoring and mentoring refugees.

Curriculum Overview

Over the two-year program experience (four semesters), students will take a colloquium, practicum and select additional courses. Note that these Scholars courses are generally in addition to any courses students take to satisfy major requirements.

The following table represents a typical two-year curriculum, but individual schedules may vary. Details about courses and requirements can be found on the International Studies Citation Checklist.

Freshman Fall Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
Academic Writing 3 credits
3–4 courses toward degree and major requirements 9–12 credits
Freshman Spring Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
International Political Relations, or The Study of Political Philosophy 3 credits
3–4 courses toward degree and major requirements 9–12 credits
Sophomore Fall Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
Supporting course 3 credits
2–3 courses toward degree and major requirements 6–9 credits
Sophomore Spring Scholars Practicum 3 credits
4–5 courses toward degree and major requirements 12–15 credits

Residence Hall

Cumberland Hall

Office Address

1119 Cumberland Hall

Office Phone



Portrait of Stacy J. Kosko

Stacy J. Kosko

Program Director, International Studies
Portrait of Sarah Kilmer

Sarah Kilmer

Assistant Director, International Studies
Portrait of John Derks

John Derks

Graduate Assistant, International Studies
Portrait of Karim Makkawy

Karim Makkawy

Graduate Assistant, International Studies
Portrait of Daniel Tuke

Daniel Tuke

Graduate Assistant, International Studies

International Studies News

Showing 1 - 6 of 17
  • 4 Scholars Among the Freshman Cohort Spotlighted in Maryland Today

    College Park Scholars students are an impressive bunch, and this year's entering cohort is no exception. Four Scholars students were among the handful of first-year Terps profiled in today's issue of "Maryland Today," the University of Maryland's daily newsletter: Marcus Barros, Public Leadership Aidan Borden, Media, Self and Society Shonchori Mukherjee, International Studies Sayee Naresh, Media, Self and Society

  • 4 Graduating Scholars Alums Recognized With Prestigious University Awards

    Four Scholars alumni are among the handful of graduating seniors recognized this month with some of the University of Maryland’s most prestigious awards. Gabriela Winter, an alum of the Public Leadership Scholars program, received the Wilson H. Elkins Citizenship Awards, presented each year to one of the top students in the graduating class who has displayed outstanding involvement and leadership in campus activities.

  • Course provides safe space to unpack power, privilege

    When Michelle Pinkrah strolled into her first Thursdays-at-3:30 p.m. class of the semester in late January, she had no idea what she’d signed up for. She had signed up by accident, actually. The class wasn’t her first choice for her practicum course requirement with College Park Scholars, where she is a student, and she’d quickly forgotten it was even on her schedule. Pinkrah sat down in the circle of her peers and encountered something she hadn’t expected: a dialogue class, or, a class that centers around group discussion of life and experiences.

  • International Studies Scholars Alum Named Student Speaker for Winter Commencement

    The University of Maryland (UMD) has announced its student speaker for its Winter 2021 Commencement: Kiara Anthony, an alum of the International Studies Scholars program. Anthony, a government and politics major, boasts a diverse array of experiences from across campus, from being a member of the UMD equestrian team to co-chairing the University Student Judiciary and more. She also reportedly likes to consider issues from a global, interconnected perspective—something she no doubt became good at doing during her time in International Studies Scholars. The Scholars alum hopes to attend law school after graduation and use her skills to support the Black community.

  • 4 Scholars Alums Among Senior Marshals at Winter Commencement

    The University of Maryland recently announcement its roster of senior marshals for Winter Commencement, taking place Dec. 20. Among the 32 graduating seniors are four College Park Scholars alumni:

  • New Minor Expands STS Concepts Beyond Scholars

    The Science, Technology and Society (STS) Scholars program has long pushed students to consider the ethical, social and political implications of science, research and technology. It’s the kind of thinking that isn’t readily incorporated into most STEM curricula, despite the high likelihood that these students will one day design or introduce innovations that could significantly impact society. Thanks to a new minor, however, more University of Maryland students will soon be exposed to STS teachings.

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