Photo of Ahmed Samatar teaching a class

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

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.