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First-Year Focus

Good Classes for First-year Students

The Core Courses in International Studies are great gateway courses into the field of international studies. Rooted in the diverse methodologies of our interdisciplinary program, they will provide you with the basic theories which will underlie the rest of your curriculum.

AP Exam Credit

AP credit for Econ 201 can substitute for the Intro to Macroeconomics requirements.


Students must take a minimum of 3 language courses at NU and demonstrate two-year proficiency in a foreign language. Proficiency can be demonstrated through course work, AP credit or placement test. This is independent of any language requirements that might exist at the student’s college or school. If you have questions about completing the language requirement, please see an IS advisor.

Students who believe they are proficient in a language not regularly taught at Northwestern may petition to the Council on Language Instruction for a proficiency examination in that language. Petitions are available in the Office of Undergraduate Studies and Advising and must be filed during a student’s first quarter.

Building a Community of International Scholars

Students in the International Studies undergraduate community have the opportunity to attend a wide variety of academic and career oriented events. Throughout each quarter our staff coordinates community building events for our diverse group of majors. Our Global Café provides an informal space to meet and speak with other IS majors while taking a quick break from classes to enjoy some coffee and treats. Our graduate student mentors also participate in the Global Café and are available to chat with students about potential research projects; help students develop fellowship and grant applications; and advise students about various research and conference opportunities. The Global Café is also the home to our quarterly events including World Roundup Dinners, Honors Readings, Professionals in the Field, Open Mic sessions and Students in the Field events. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet with some of our most recent alumni through our Alumni Dinner series and listen to first-hand accounts about what IS majors do after graduation.

Programs and Organizations of Interest to IS Majors

Beyond coursework you can do several things to explore the field of International Studies. There are a wide range of opportunities available for students to become engaged global citizens at Northwestern. Opportunities include student organizations, national conferences, unique study abroad experiences, international research opportunities and special certificate programs. With our focus on languages and study abroad, our students are poised to become successful candidates for a variety of competitive programs and awards.

International Departments to Know

Student Organizations

Beyond the First Year

After you declare your major in International Studies, there are various opportunities at Northwestern to develop and refine your research skills, as well as develop your professional skills. Certificate programs provide the tools to prepare you for careers in high-demand industries. Academic research grants and fellowships offer financial support to students interested in working on a personal, educational or intellectual independent research project. Some provide funding to attend graduate school; others allow you to study or to conduct research overseas to gain practical experience in your field of study.

Professional Certificate Programs

Funding Sources for International Research


If you have any questions or concerns about the IS adjunct major, and how it fits in with your curriculum please feel free to e-mail us at