International and Area Studies


Why Major in International and Area Studies at K?

Learn how to be a conscientious global citizen and succeed in our modern, interconnected world through intimate classes, study abroad experiences, and research opportunities. 

As an International and Area Studies (IAS) student, you will learn how to critically assess global and transnational issues; compare countries’ political, economic, and cultural structures; develop an in-depth knowledge of a particular region of the world; and master a foreign language. You will develop these skills through globally-minded courses, the completion of your Senior Integrated Thesis, and taking part in an immersive study abroad experience.  

As a deeply interdisciplinary major, you will have the opportunity to supplement your IAS courses and fulfill graduation requirements through select courses in relevant fields, such as Anthropology and Sociology, African Studies, Political Science, History, Philosophy, and various languages. You will also have the chance to learn through immersion by taking advantage of Kalamazoo College’s stellar study abroad program with 50+ opportunities across six continents to choose from.

By the time you graduate, you will be well prepared to live in and make sense of the interdependent global world and have a solid foundation for a career in the international sector or for further studies. 

What can you do with an International and Area Studies degree?

Below are some of the careers, employers, and graduate schools of our IAS alumni.


  • English Teacher
  • Legal Affairs
  • Program Advisor
  • Policy and Advocacy Fellow
  • Writer


  • Fulbright
  • Teaching Assistant Program in France
  • Spain Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports
  • The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • ACLU of Illinois

Graduate Schools

  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
  • University of Bonn
  • University of Strasbourg
  • Aberystwyth University


John Dugas (Chair), Margaret and Roger Scholten Associate Professor of Political Science. BA Louisiana State University PhD Indiana University-Bloomington

Amy Elman, Weber Professor in Social Science. BA Brandeis University MA, PhD New York University

Dennis Frost, Wen Chao Chen Professor of East Asian Social Sciences. BA Wittenberg University MPhil, PhD Columbia University

Enid Valle, Professor of Romance Languages and Literature. BA University of Puerto Rico MA, PhD University of Michigan

Meet the Current Departmental Student Advisor

John Carlson

John Carlson (He/him/His)

Majors: International and Area Studies and Political Science

Minors: German and Theatre

What is the best thing about being part of this department?

Its interdisciplinary approach, its flexibility, and the close-knit nature of the students and facility.

What has been your favorite class at K? Why?

I’ve really enjoyed every class I’ve taken at K, but my favorite class has got to be the international and area studies’ Sophomore Seminar – IAST-290 Immigration Politics. It encapsulates everything that I appreciate about the major: a fascinating, multifaceted topic that makes you think critically, students who all cared about the material and voiced their opinions, and a professor who knows what she’s talking about and values student participation.

How have you taken advantage of the open curriculum or experienced breadth in your education?

Not only have I taken advantage of the open curriculum, the major depends on that open curriculum. It lets you see connections between different fields and gives you another way to think about something. As a personal example, there was one trimester where I was taking a history class (The History of Modern Japan) and a German class (Intermediate German). Both talked about how citizens would emigrate from their home country (Japan/Turkey) and the struggles those migrants faced for wanting a better life for themselves and their families. Being able to compare and contrast across disciplines is one of the reasons I really love international and area studies and the open curriculum as a whole. As a side note, I’m a double major and double minor – I doubt I could pull that off if the curriculum wasn’t as open as it is (especially my theatre minor).

What is your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)?

“To what extent was Germany’s response to the 2022 invasion of Ukraine similar to Germany’s response to the 2014 Ukraine Crisis?”

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

I’m not entirely sure. I’d love to have a job with the Department of State as an ambassador, but on the other hand, I’m also interested in U.S. politics and the process of being elected. I’m hoping to use internships to gain a sense of what I’m interested in and to narrow down plans after college.

International and Area Studies Department News