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Bachelor's Degree in International Studies

Why Earn Your International Studies Degree at Saint Leo University?

Climate change; mass migrations; economic disruption; deadly pandemics; global terrorism; hyper-nationalism, militarism, and war. The world is a dynamic, complicated place, and making sense of it requires a multidisciplinary and multicultural understanding of human behavior.

The International Studies (IST) program at Saint Leo University puts students at the cutting edge in the study of the modern world by training them in specific areas like war and empire; global energy markets; cyberterrorism; immigration and refugee policies; diplomacy and statecraft; and global economics. Additionally, IST students study foreign languages and the histories of various cultures and regions from across the world.

The IST program also prioritizes active and experiential learning, both in and out of the classroom. IST courses include organized debates, student-led discussions, group and individual presentations, as well as role-playing learning systems that transform students into global policymakers confronting the hardest and most important questions facing humanity today.

Are you up for becoming a global citizen? Join the IST program and find your place in the world.

Our Bachelor of Arts in International Studies degree encourages students to study abroad during their junior or senior year. Study abroad opportunities are irreplicable forms of experiential learning and support the IST program’s core mission of training students to be citizens of the world.

Learning Experience:
Est. Time to Complete:
4 years
Credit Hours:
120 hours
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International Studies Program Details

The 33-hour major in International Studies is designed to be flexible to meet students’ academic and career interests, to encourage minors and double-majors, and to allow students to study abroad and undertake internships. IST courses rely heavily on experiential learning – such as debates, presentations, and role-playing simulations on topics like drone warfare, refugee policy, and nuclear threats – to turn the classroom into a microcosm of the international community. Students will also take six credits of language study and six credits in Area Studies courses.


The bachelor's degree in International Studies prepares students for many career opportunities. In every IST course, students will spend time studying careers related to:

  • Conflict Resolution (example: US Institute for Peace)
  • International Organizations (UN, World Bank)
  • Development and Relief (IntraHealth International)
  • Energy and Environment (Better Future Project)
  • Policy and Think Tanks (Council on Foreign Relations)
  • Security and Intelligence (Booz Allen Hamilton)
  • Global Finance (National Foreign Trade Council)

How will you gain real experience?

  • Saint Leo University students in Psychology classroom
  • Internships

    For-credit internships are strongly encouraged in the IST program. IST students and their advisors work together to identify areas and organizations that appeal to students’ personal and career interests. Internships help students discover where their professional interests lie, teach helpful skills, and strengthen job and graduate school applications.

    Internships include the following areas:

    • Immigration and Refugee Agencies
    • Environmental and Sustainability Groups
    • Foreign Policy Think Tanks
    • Local and State Political Offices
    • US and International Law offices
    • Diplomatic and Military Agencies
    • Academic Research and Publishing
    • NGOs and International Organizations

Study Abroad

The IST program also strongly encourages students to study abroad during their junior or senior year. Study abroad opportunities are irreplicable forms of experiential learning and support the IST program’s core mission of training students to be citizens of the world. Examples of study abroad programs include:

  • Universidad de Belgrano (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • University of Ghana (Legon, Ghana)
  • Freie Universität Berlin (Berlin, Germany)
  • Princess Sumaya University (Amman, Jordan)
  • East China Normal University (Shanghai, China)

Model United Nations

IST students can elect to train for and compete in regional and national Model United Nations (UN) tournaments under the advisement and coaching of Saint Leo faculty. In-class IST instruction includes practice in role-playing simulations similar to Model UN, which provides Saint Leo IST students with a competitive advantage over other Model UN teams.

Law School & Graduate School

For students who wish to obtain graduate or professional degrees, the bachelor’s degree in International Studies is an excellent foundation for law school as well as graduate study in international relations, history, political science, economics, sociology, and public administration.

Learn Your Way: 

Online, On Campus, or Near You

  • What are the on-campus facilities like?

    Students who pursue their degrees at Saint Leo’s main campus near sunny Tampa Bay, Florida, join a community of enthusiastic learners just like them. 

    International Studies students enjoy plenty of engaging learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom, as well as exciting departmental events.

    Learn about the On-Campus Experience

  • Saint Leo students and instructor in classroom

College of Arts & Sciences

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  • The College of Arts and Sciences at Saint Leo University offers students a broad education that lays a durable foundation for critical and independent thinking. The essential spirit of the liberal arts is a cornerstone of the varied degree programs. From biology to English to sociology, students enjoy a nice selection of in-demand degree programs for all interests.

    Learning takes place both in and out of the classroom. Students travel to Europe through our cultural immersion courses, research unique plant species while trekking through the Peruvian Amazon, and attend film screenings and poetry readings. With highly experienced professors who bring a wealth of practical knowledge to the classroom, students are prepared to work in a variety of rewarding fields. The College supports more than 30 degree programs across University Campus, education centers in five states, and online.

    Explore the College of Arts & Sciences