International Studies, B.A.

Program Overview

Are you drawn to international news stories of individuals or groups overcoming incredible odds? Do you have a deep desire to see transformation in the world? Do you view the world through the lens of economics, politics, and business? If so, you should consider a degree in international studies.

After gaining a solid foundation in the fields of geography, economics, international relations, and research methods, you’ll be ready to address serious social and political issues of the world today. Whether your heart’s passion is gender equality or human rights, economics or community health, Southeast Asia or the Middle East, a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from PLNU will prepare you to serve the world.

With seven concentrations to choose from, an international studies major will provide you with a broad understanding of global issues while allowing you to focus your attention on one region of the world — diving in depth into its unique politics, culture, and history. Alternatively, you can choose a peace studies concentration, which will have you considering the tough questions of today’s tumultuous political climate. 

Lydia Sunberg headshot

Student Profile

Lydia Sunberg

Lydia's greatest hope is to merge two of her passions, photography and social justice, to capture current events around the world in a dignifying and humanizing way.

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  • Peace Studies
  • Europe
  • Middle East
  • Russia and the Former Soviet Union
  • Asia
  • Latin America
  • Africa

Additionally, as an international studies major, you will spend a semester studying abroad — for the same cost as being on the PLNU campus. You can study international relations at the United Nations, Arabic in Jordan, or the culture and politics of South Africa in Johannesburg!

Course List

For information about the courses required for the International Studies, B.A. program, view the PLNU Catalog. 

Course Information

Major Map

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Are you ready to take the next step to begin your PLNU journey? Whether you’re a high school senior, college transfer student, or international student, find out what we’re looking for in our applicants and how you can apply.

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Student Support

For most students, the transition into college life is one full of adjustments. There is the excitement of newfound freedoms, but also some uncertainty as you begin to make choices and take responsibility for your own future. 

At PLNU, we’re committed to supporting you — academically, professionally, spiritually, personally — so that you may be successful both in your time as a student and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Student Support

Career Opportunities

Finding your calling with an international studies degree has boundless possibilities — from international business, humanitarian and refugee aid, national intelligence and security, public affairs, and even media. Let PLNU help you get started on this exhilarating journey. 

At PLNU, our international studies program centers on four foundations:

  • Geography
  • Economics
  • International relations
  • Research methods

Each of these is intentionally used to discuss and address the socio-political issues of the world today both in the classroom and beyond.

Job outlook for international studies careers

Employment in careers related to international studies are projected to continue to increase. For public relations and fundraising managers (one of the most common careers PLNU alumni pursue with this degree), employment is projected to grow 9% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of public relations managers will be driven by the need for organizations to maintain their public image, especially with the growth of social media. The need to raise funds for nonprofit organizations will require more fundraising managers.”

Kristen (Aster) Johnson Headshot

Student Profile

Kristen (Aster) Johnson

As the Associate Director for Policy and Advocacy for U.S. Programs at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Washington D.C., Kristen Aster uses her PLNU education in international studies to serve refugees and displaced people throughout the country.

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What can you do with an international studies degree?

Many graduates of the PLNU international studies program have gone on to work in industries such as international business, security, law, non-profit work, and website development.

Some of the positions PLNU graduates currently hold:

Public Relations (PR) and Fundraising Managers

2020 Median annual salary: $118,430

PR and fundraising managers direct and coordinate campaigns, resource funding, and the image of an organization or individual. These managers typically deal with a significant amount of travel to give speeches, attend meetings, and take part in community outreach and engagement for the goals of the organization or individual.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Audience identification and knowledge
  • Ability to help client(s) communicate effectively with desired audience
  • Clear communication to assist and inform an organization’s executives and spokespeople
  • Experience and creativity with advertising and promotion programs
  • Supervision and delegation of the activities of staff

Social and Human Service Assistant

2020 Median Annual Salary: $35,960

Social and human service assistants provide a wide range of assistance to people in their community, from determining eligibility for welfare and other health programs to guiding clients regarding their physical and mental health needs. They help inform clients of the appropriate social service agencies which can provide necessary health care and rehabilitation. They work under the direction and supervision of nurses, counselors, social workers, psychologists, or other professionals and may also be a member of a treatment team. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Problem sensitivity
  • Active listening
  • Writing/Reading
  • Customer and personal service

Postsecondary Teacher

2020 Median annual salary: $80,790

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a variety of academic subjects beyond the high school level at colleges, professional schools, and universities like PLNU. They plan courses and curriculum based on the area of study they teach. Additionally, they assess students’ progress by grading assignments, papers, exams, and other work.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • One to two years of teaching experience
  • Master’s or doctoral degree
  • Engaging conversationalist and speaker
  • Ability to evaluate papers and projects
  • Thorough expertise and knowledge of specified department and subject
  • Time management skills

Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

2020 Median annual salary: $65,810

Marketing research analysts and marketing specialists follow and interpret market conditions to capitalize on and inform clients and organizations of potential sales of a product or service. They’re experts at understanding which products people want, who are the buyers, and what price those buyers are willing to pay. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Robust understanding of market trends and patterns
  • Innovation in creating methods for collecting data (surveys, questionnaires, polls, etc.)
  • Ability to gather, interpret, and utilize data
  • Strong writing and communications skills in presenting reports and results

Utilize your degree to answer the tough questions of today’s ever-changing geopolitical and global business climate

With a degree in international studies, you will have the tools to step into a wide-range of careers and industries. From international business, public affairs, and all the careers in between, not only will you bring new insight into your field, but you will have a more holistic and greater understanding of the world around you. Step into your role as an informed leader with an International Studies B.A.

Apply to PLNU today or get connected with one of our counselors here for additional support and answers to any questions you may have.

Department Faculty