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International Studies

Global citizenship starts here.

International Studies equips you with the tools to understand globalization and cross borders—between countries or within cities.

Our students are curious. They seek to understand and engage with issues across difference, and around the world. Our classes examine many interconnected topics of global importance, including development, the environment, human rights, global health, migration, global literature and culture, and the interplay of governance, economics, power, and identity.

Why Macalester for International Studies?

While many other top liberal arts colleges offer International Studies as a subset of political science, Macalester’s department stands out with its own dedicated faculty drawn from a variety of academic disciplines.

Our broad and deep curriculum means that you can configure your major to your own interests. And because our classes are small and discussion-focused you will have ample opportunities to get to know your professors and classmates and learn how to formulate and share your ideas with others. Most majors undertake an internship, either locally or abroad, to get on-the-ground experience with what you have learned in the classroom.


Students often work closely with faculty in areas of their specialty or on their own honors projects. Recent student honors projects include:

  • Transitional justice and reproductive rights
  • Japanese nationalism and human rights
  • Syrian refugee journalism
  • Biometrics and the ethics of personal information
  • Rabies virus and resource allocation
  • Polish perception of inclusion/exclusion of migrants
  • An ancestor’s arrest after an inadvertent border crossing

Life after Macalester

  • Recent Graduate Schools

    • American University
    • Central European University
    • Columbia University
    • Emory University
    • George Washington University
    • Georgetown University
    • Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
    • Harvard University
    • Johns Hopkins University
    • Korea Development Institute
    • London School of Economics
    • New School University
    • Oxford University
    • Sciences Po, Paris
    • Stanford University
    • Stockholm University
    • Texas A&M University
    • Tufts University
    • UC Berkeley
    • University of Chicago
    • University of Copenhagen
    • University of Illinois
    • University of Minnesota
    • University of Virginia
    • University of Wisconsin

  • Recent Employers

    • Accenture
    • Amazon EU
    • American Gateways
    • American Youth Foundation – Merrowvista
    • Anthropologie
    • Antigua International School
    • Aperture Foundation
    • Asylum Access Ecuador
    • Aust Schmiechen, P.A. & Ostrom Law Office, LLC
    • Beijing Stoooges Education Group
    • Black Hills IP
    • Bloomberg News
    • Bravo Models
    • buildOn
    • Cajah Salon
    • Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
    • Campus Education
    • Carmichael Lynch
    • Casa de Esperanza
    • Cato Institute
    • Center for American Progress
    • Center for Transforming Lives
    • Chemonics International
    • Cloudberry Creative
    • College Possible
    • Compass Coffee
    • Cookie Dough Confections
    • Cyber Village Academy
    • Dexis Consulting Group
    • DJO Global
    • East Side Neighborhood Services
    • EDC – Exploring Infection Diseases
    • Elite Scholars of China
    • Epic
    • FHI 360
    • Flywheel Digital
    • France 44 Foods
    • Friends Committee On National Legislation
    • Fulbright Scholar Program
    • Gaba Corporation – Tokyo, Japan
    • Garfield Elementary School
    • Georgetown University
    • Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys
    • Glen Echo Group
    • Global Minnesota
    • Good Shepherd Shelter
    • Groveland Tap
    • Harvard Law School
    • Health Access Minnesota
    • Healthy Building Network
    • Healthy Kids/Brighter Future–Princeton in Africa Fellowship
    • Hispanic Advocacy for Community Empowerment through Research
    • Human Rights First, Refugee Representation
    • Igbanugo Partners International Law Firm
    • Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
    • Inter-American Development Bank
    • International Centre for Migration Policy Development
    • International Fund for Agricultural Development
    • JET Programme
    • Johnson Becker PLLC
    • Kaiser Permanente
    • Kforce
    • Kompass
    • Law Office of Cheryl David
    • Liberty Asia
    • Main Street Computing
    • Meltwater
    • Metro Transit
    • Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
    • Mima City Board of Education
    • Minneapolis Institute of Art
    • Minnesota Historical Society
    • Minnesota Housing Partnership
    • Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center
    • Mizna: Prose, Poetry and Art Exploring Arab America
    • National Association of Attorneys General
    • National Park Service – Grand Canyon, AZ
    • New Media Advocacy Project
    • New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
    • New York Public Library, Chatham Square Branch
    • Off.Grid: Electric
    • Office of Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan
    • OptumInsight
    • Organic Redneck Growers
    • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
    • Paschal Nwokocha & Chukwu Law Offices
    • Peace Corps
    • Peace Corps-Perú
    • Peace Corps, Morocco
    • Pike Market Child Care and Preschool
    • Prepare + Prosper
    • Project Success
    • Public Counsel
    • R.W. Baird
    • Rights and Resources Initiative
    • RSVTea, Inc.
    • RTI International
    • Sanford, Pierson, Thone & Strean, PLC
    • SC Johnson
    • Schafer Cullen Capital Management, Inc.
    • Self-employed
    • Smartsheet
    • SportsEngine – Minneapolis, MN
    • St. Paul Meat Shop
    • Startup Guide
    • Swedish Committee for Afghanistan
    • Tactile Medical
    • TADS – Minneapolis
    • Target Corporation
    • Teaching Assistant Program in France
    • The Advocates for Human Rights
    • The Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia
    • The Estee Lauder Companies Inc.
    • The Johns Hopkins University
    • The On Being Project
    • The Ranch at Rock Creek
    • The Wildlife Society
    • Thomas J. Watson Foundation
    • Trader Joe’s
    • U.S. Department of Defense
    • U.S. Department of State
    • United Nations World Food Programme
    • United Way of Dane County
    • UnitedHealth Group
    • University of Macau
    • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
    • University of Pennsylvania Press
    • Urban Adamah Jewish Community Farm
    • Urban Indian Health Institute
    • USTA
    • Validus Holdings, Ltd.
    • Volunteer Lawyers Network
    • Wake Up to Wanderlust
    • Wells Fargo
    • Wellspring Worldwide
    • Whitefish Mountain Resort
    • Wisconsin Department of Health Services
    • World Resources Institute
    • XRAY radio
    • Yspaniola

International Studies in the cities

Enjoy a wealth of resources amid the diverse populations of St. Paul and Minneapolis, home to Minnesotans from Mexico, Somalia, India, Vietnam, China, Ethiopia, Laos and Thailand, adding to our state’s longstanding Scandinavian, Native American, and other communities.


Number of internships sites within 8 miles of campus—including The Advocates for Human Rights and the United Nations Association of Minnesota

Become involved at places like the Center for Victims of Torture, the International Institute of Minnesota, Global Minnesota and Alight (formerly the American Refugee Committee).

Join our community

Our mugs travel. When you declare your major in International Studies, you’ll be welcomed into the department with your own International Studies-branded insulated coffee travel mug.

Welcome to the club. Our student-run International Studies Club sponsors faculty and student talks about research, study away panels, guest speakers, films, and social events. You’re welcome to join all activities, or to take the lead on organizing an event of your own for classmates.

International Human Rights
International Human Rights – In this course, students learn about and debate the fundamental idea of human rights.