Do More, Go Further, Add Relevance, Consider a Disciplinary Focus

A solid understanding of math and sciences is deeply beneficial in nearly all areas of international studies, including human rights, global media, public health, finance, international policy, development, diplomacy, scholarly research, law, and much else.

In general, I.S. majors do insufficient work in sciences and mathematics. Mirroring a trend among social-science and humanities students nationwide, too often I.S. majors take a weak approach to science. A common pattern is the college-minimum two math or science courses, both at intro or “soft” levels.

The International Studies Department advises against that minimalist approach, and instead offers its majors these four recommendations:

1. Do More:
Take more than the Macalester-required minimum of two courses. Three or more allows you to expand you knowledge.

2. Go Further:
Take upper-level courses in sciences and mathematics, moving past 100-level or introduction courses. Deepen your understanding of a particular area.

3. Be More Relevant:
Broad-scale Macalester intro-level math/science offerings like Contemporary Concepts of Physics, Dinosaurs, and Math & Society are fine courses, exciting interest and broadening horizons. However, still other intro-level math/science courses are much more relevant to I.S. work. Thus when taking intro-level science, choose courses such as Oceanography, The Science of Renewable Energy, Global Biodiversity, or Dynamic Earth & Global Change. When taking intro-level math, stats, or computer science, choose courses such as Epidemiology, Applied Calculus, Data Analysis & Statistics, or Introduction to Scientific Programming. In other words, pursue math-science that enriches your internationalist formation.

4. Consider Biology or Geology for your I.S. major-plan disciplinary focus:
International Studies now offers two science options for the five-course focus of the 14-course I.S. major plan: Biology and Geology. We strongly encourage interested I.S. majors to select these options. Both tracks nearly always qualify as a minor in that field, and (like all our other available focuses) can fuel a double-major too. Details on configuring the Geology and Biology focuses may be found here.