The Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS) seeks to be a focal point for the interdisciplinary study of issues that transcend borders. We encourage students and faculty to broaden their horizons while they deepen their knowledge of particular cultures and political, economic, and social contexts.  We administer one of the fastest growing and largest undergraduate programs on campus in the form of both a major and minor as well as fellowship support for students

Knowledge and insight pertaining to global affairs and different societies and cultures are more important than ever in today's interconnected world. A well-developed international perspective contributes to personal intellectual growth, is an increasingly important component of America's civic culture, and is required for success in an expanding number of professions.

International & Comparative Studies (PICS) Advising

The International Studies Advisor will assist students in developing a program of study. Advising for the Honors plan is provided by the PICS Director and the PICS Honors Thesis advisor. For more information, see: www.ii.umich.edu/pics/academics/advising

Effective Fall 2009

Not open to student with a major in International Studies

The International Studies  Minor is intended to be a rigorous program of study. It will be of interest to students prepared to make a serious investment in adding an international dimension to the instructional program associated with a disciplinary major.

The   Minor in International Studies offers students an opportunity to add to their disciplinary major a program of study that includes the following:

  1. attention to another country or world region;
  2. interdisciplinary coursework devoted to a particular theme or topic of international relevance;
  3. progress toward proficiency in a foreign language;
  4. support for an education abroad experience; and
  5. an innovative interdisciplinary seminar

Administration. The International Studies Minor is administered by the Program in  International and Comparative Studies (PICS).

Prerequisites to the Minor 

Sixth-term proficiency in a language other than English must be satisfied through the study of a language used in the country or world area that is the focus of geographic coursework. The Director of the Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS) will consider requests involving a different language, but it is expected that students will in all cases complete at least one year of coursework in a language used in the region of geographic emphasis. Any exceptions to the PICS language requirement must be approved by written consent of the PICS Director.

Requirements for the Minor

Students are required to complete a minimum of 18 credits of course work, exclusive of language study. These courses must include the following:

  1. A "geographic" emphasis composed of three courses devoted to a single world region (e.g., Africa, South Asia) or country (e.g., China, India). At least two of the three geographic courses must be 300-level or above.
  2. A "thematic" emphasis composed of three courses devoted to a given theme or topic (e.g., international conflict and security, human rights, music and ethnomusicology). At least two of the three thematic courses must be 300-level or above. At least two of the three thematic courses must give primary attention to countries or world regions beyond the United States. A third course devoted to the same theme can give significant attention to the United States if there is a clear intellectual reason for doing so.

    Geographic and thematic course selections must be approved by the International Studies Advisor. Each three-course set must possess intellectual coherence, and there must also be a clear and logical connection between the focus of the selected geographic and thematic courses. The International Studies advisor will consult the Director of PICS and members of the PICS Advisory Committee for guidance in assessing a proposed program of study.

    One course can be "double-counted" and thus count for both the geographic and the thematic major requirement. It is expected that most students will choose to double-count one course; those not choosing to do so will be required to complete 21 credits of coursework for the International Studies Minor.

    The five or six geographic and thematic courses taken by a student must be from at least two academic disciplines. No more than one of these courses may be offered by the department of the student's disciplinary major (major). If the courses are taught by faculty members in a single department (e.g., Women's Studies, German, ALC, NES), the faculty members must be from at least two different disciplines.

  3. An interdisciplinary International Studies Advanced Topics Seminar will be offered for students in the minor. This course cannot be taken prior to the second term of the junior year. Students enrolled in the minor may take the course more than once, but it can only be counted once toward 18 credits required for the minor.

    The International Studies Advanced Topics Interdisciplinary Seminar is a variable content course designed to bring an interdisciplinary perspective to the study of a topic of international significance. Some seminars will be team-taught and some will be taught by faculty with International Institute Sponsored Appointments. Seminars may occasionally be taught by visiting international scholars. At least one International Studies Seminar will be offered every year.

Education Abroad. An education abroad experience is strongly encouraged. The International Studies advisor, in cooperation with the Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS), will assist students in identifying education abroad opportunities consistent with their needs and interests. At least 10 credits toward the minor must be taken in residence (which can include courses in U-M study abroad programs).

Limited funding will be made available to students in the International Studies Minor to encourage and facilitate participation in education abroad programs. Applications for these funds should demonstrate a connection between the overseas program and the student's area(s) of emphasis.

Although strongly encouraged, an education abroad experience is not required for the International Studies Academic Minor since some students may be unable to meet this requirement because of financial, family, or other considerations.

International Studies Academic Minor (Fall 2006-Summer 2009) +

Effective Fall 2006-Summer 2009

The International Studies Academic Minor is intended to be a rigorous program of study. It will be of interest to students prepared to make a serious investment in adding an international dimension to the instructional program associated with a disciplinary concentration.

The Academic  Minor in International Studies offers students an opportunity to add to their disciplinary concentration a program of study that includes the following:

  1. attention to another country or world region;
  2. interdisciplinary coursework devoted to a particular theme or topic of international relevance;
  3. progress toward proficiency in a foreign language;
  4. support for an education abroad experience; and
  5. an innovative interdisciplinary seminar

Administration. The International Studies Minor is administered by the Center for International and Comparative Studies (CICS).

Advising. The International Studies advisor will assist students in developing a program of study. All proposals must receive written approval by the Director of CICS, ideally before a student begins taking courses for the academic minor. Students who have taken an appropriate course before signing up may request it be counted toward the academic minor when applying for approval.

Prerequisites to the Academic Minor : Sixth-term proficiency in a language other than English must be satisfied through the study of a language used in the country or world area that is the focus of geographic coursework. The Director of the Center for International and Comparative Studies (CICS) will consider requests involving a different language, but it is expected that students will in all cases complete at least one year of coursework in a language used in the region of geographic emphasis. Any exceptions to the CICS language requirement must be approved by written consent of the CICS Director.

Academic Minor Program : Students are required to complete a minimum of 18 credits of course work, exclusive of language study. These courses must include the following:

  1. A "geographic" emphasis composed of three courses devoted to a single world region (e.g., Africa, South Asia) or country (e.g., China, India). At least two of the three geographic courses must be 300-level or above.
  2. A "thematic" emphasis composed of three courses devoted to a given theme or topic (e.g., international conflict and security, human rights, music and ethnomusicology). At least two of the three thematic courses must be 300-level or above. At least two of the three thematic courses must give primary attention to countries or world regions beyond the United States. A third course devoted to the same theme can give significant attention to the United States if there is a clear intellectual reason for doing so.

    Geographic and thematic course selections must be approved by the International Studies Advisor. Each three-course set must possess intellectual coherence, and there must also be a clear and logical connection between the focus of the selected geographic and thematic courses. The International Studies advisor will consult the Director of CICS and members of the CICS Advisory Committee for guidance in assessing a proposed program of study.

    One course can be "double-counted" and thus count for both the geographic and the thematic concentration requirement. It is expected that most students will choose to double-count one course; those not choosing to do so will be required to complete 21 credits of coursework for the International Studies Minor.

    The five or six geographic and thematic courses taken by a student must be from at least two academic disciplines. No more than one of these courses may be offered by the department of the student's disciplinary concentration (major). If the courses are taught by faculty members in a single department (e.g., Women's Studies, German, ALC, NES), the faculty members must be from at least two different disciplines.

  3. An interdisciplinary International Studies Advanced Topics Seminar will be offered for students in the academic minor. This course cannot be taken prior to the second term of the junior year. Students enrolled in the academic minor may take the course more than once, but it can only be counted once toward 18 credits required for the academic minor.

    The International Studies Advanced Topics Interdisciplinary Seminar is a variable content course designed to bring an interdisciplinary perspective to the study of a topic of international significance. Some seminars will be team-taught and some will be taught by faculty with International Institute Sponsored Appointments. Seminars may occasionally be taught by visiting international scholars. At least one International Studies Seminar will be offered every year.

Education Abroad. An education abroad experience is strongly encouraged. The International Studies advisor, in cooperation with the Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS), will assist students in identifying education abroad opportunities consistent with their needs and interests. At least 10 credits toward the academic minor must be taken in residence (which can include courses in U-M study abroad programs).

Limited funding will be made available to students in the International Studies Minor to encourage and facilitate participation in education abroad programs. Applications for these funds should demonstrate a connection between the overseas program and the student's area(s) of emphasis.

Although strongly encouraged, an education abroad experience is not required for the International Studies Academic Minor since some students may be unable to meet this requirement because of financial, family, or other considerations.


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