We live in an interconnected world, in which change is rapid and ever-accelerating. Changes in culture and society, economics and politics, are facilitated by new communications and information-sharing technologies. Issues of economic development, social well-being, the environment, peace and security, among others, pose complex challenges at different scales ranging from the local to the global. Interpretations of, and responses to, these contemporary challenges are diverse and complex.
Understanding contemporary global challenges and responding to them requires citizens with global literacy. International Studies is an interdisciplinary program that provides insights into our interconnected world. It approaches contemporary international issues from an interdisciplinary perspective, with diverse courses drawn from a broad range of departments from all over the University of Saskatchewan.
About the Program
The International Studies program is designed to provide a broad interdisciplinary education and give students a deeper understanding of the world in which they live. Students will take classes that explore government, business, culture, politics and international aspects of law, science, conflict and development. Students will study everything from the conditions and problems of less-developed countries to the relationships among states and the reasons for and complexity of international conflict.
The International Studies program challenges students to better understand and engage with some of the world’s most pressing issues. Representative examples include:
- the colonial legacy and contemporary underdevelopment
- globalization as a cultural, economic, and political phenomenon
- human rights in international perspective
- democracy and development
- indigenous minorities and social movements
- poverty alleviation
- terrorism and security
- transnational feminisms
- economic, social and political transitions in contemporary Europe
- making the links: Canada and the Global South
International Studies helps students to gain the tools to make a difference locally and globally. These tools include a broad, multi-disciplinary approach, critical analytical and communication skills, and the acquisition of a second language. Students are strongly encouraged to engage directly with international issues by taking advantage of study abroad programs offered by the College in many countries, as well as through active engagement with local community-based organizations. Study Abroad programs offered at the University of Saskatchewan provide unique learning opportunities that deepen students’ understanding of international issues.
Students enroll in International Studies with different objectives in mind:
- some hope to pursue careers in closely-related areas such as with the diplomatic service or in development NGOs
- some plan to use their international-studies credentials as a value-added qualification when applying for careers in organizations that operate internationally, or as teachers
- some aspire to pursue graduate or professional studies, often in areas with an international focus
- many value the diversity of International Studies as offering the very best qualities of liberal undergraduate education.
Students in International Studies are able to access diverse courses from several disciplines. Most of these courses are drawn from eight core departments in the College of Arts and Science: Archaeology and Anthropology, Economics, Geography and Planning, History, Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, Indigenous Studies, Political Studies, Sociology, and Women's and Gender Studies. Other recommended courses are offered in Religion and Culture, Community Health and Epidemiology, and the College of Law.
The International Studies program at the University of Saskatchewan provides courses from both the Development Studies and International Cooperation and Conflict areas. Courses have been selected to provide students with a broad, interdisciplinary education and they can choose courses that focus on the areas such as: conditions and problems of Countries of the Global South (sometimes referred to as the “Third World”); the history and theory of economic development around the world; the geographic and environmental consequences of "development"; the relationships between states; the impulses and avenues used for international cooperation; and the reasons for and complexity of conflict in the international arena.
All degree and major requirements can be found in the University of Saskatchewan Course and Program Calendar. To see the specific requirements for the International Studies program please click here
IS Program Committee
The International Studies Program Committee (ISPC) meets regularly to address administrative and planning issues for the program. Membership is drawn from the core contributing departments, and from the International Studies Student Association.
Administrative Committee 2018 - 2019
- Avi Akkerman (Geography and Planning)
- Mobinul Huq (Economics)
- Kara Sommervile (Sociology)
- Maurice LaBelle (History)
- Colleen Bell (Political Studies)
- Marie Lovrod (Women's and Gender Studies)
- James Waldram (Archaeology and Anthropology)
- Julio Torres-Recinos (Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies)
- Simon Lambert (Indigenous Studies)
- Loleen Berdahl, ex officio (Political Studies)
- Nikaela Lange (IS student representative, Political Studies Student Association)
Get more out of your education and put your International Studies experience to work by joining one of the many student clubs and societies on campus. Organizations that have significant participation by International Studies students include:
- Amnesty International
- Engineers without Borders
- Model United Nations
- International Women’s Movement
- Association for Exchange and International Students
Study Abroad and Experiential Learning Opportunities
Study Abroad offers innumerable opportunities for students in International Studies to situate and enrich their studies. There is nothing like hands-on experiential learning in another part of the word to make your classroom studies come alive. Many students look back on study abroad as having been a life-changing experience. Apart from providing new perspectives on global issues and an appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of host societies, study abroad provides inspiration for many students to gain a new sense of direction for further studies and/or their career paths.
International Studies students interested in studying abroad should commence their search at the University’s Go Abroad website: http://students.usask.ca/academics/go-abroad.php
Use the website to become familiar with the options open to you:
- term or year-long exchanges – there are excellent exchange options for International Studies students through the North2North and National Student exchanges, as well as through regular exchange programs
- term-abroad programs, especially those in Guadalajara and Marburg
- spring-summer taught abroad - short-term, intensive programs
The Study Abroad website will also help you to understand how to select the option best suited to your needs, the application process, travel safety and security, and other issues.
If you have questions you can contact:
Service Learning and Internships
Service learning programs can enrich your education by combining hands-on, experiential learning in communities at home or abroad with study and reflection on our responsibilities as engaged global citizens to work in support of social justice. They help you to develop both your practical and intellectual skill-sets.
Get involved in Alternate Reading Week at the University of Saskatchewan. In addition to participating in a week-long placement in a local community setting, take INCC 201.3 (Dynamics of Community Involvement). This course enriches the Alternative Reading Week experience with readings, seminars, and reflective writing on issues related to community engagement.
International Studies students are encouraged to consider applying for the St. Thomas More Intercordia program. This program “promotes cross-cultural understanding and personal responsiveness in students and encourages them to discover a more compassionate world view” Students prepare intensively with pre-program seminars and a Sociology course, then spend three months abroad with a community-based organization, and upon return take another course and reflect on their experiences.
As well, take advantage of the many opportunities to volunteer on campus (e.g. through programs organized by the International Student’s Office), in the City of Saskatoon in schools or with one of the many community-based organizations that depend significantly on help from volunteers, or in your home communities. Volunteer work not only helps you to “give back” to your community, but may also help you to develop career-relevant skills.
If you are interested in volunteering with a Saskatchewan organization involved in some aspect of international development, the website of the Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation (SCIC) is a good place to start.
Internships help to build career-relevant skills through limited-term placements with organizations in many countries.
If you are interested in international voluntary service while you’re still enrolled as an undergraduate student, several long-established organizations offer such opportunities, including:
- Canada World Youth
- Crossroads International
- Canadian Federation of Students
- WUSC – Volunteer with WUSC
- Youth Challenge International
An excellent resource for identifying voluntary service, internship and other opportunities abroad is Jean-Marc Hachey’s book The Big Guide to Living and Working Overseas. The website provides more details on its contents, as well as opportunities to order it or to obtain on-line access: http://www.workingoverseas.com/
Links and Resources
- Eldis.org is a remarkable resource for research on development and related issues maintained by University of Sussex. Its coverage of literature produced by NGOs and government agencies is especially strong. A large proportion of listed sources are available in full-text format.
- International Development Research Centre (IDRC) – many of its publications are available online.
- North-South Institute – Canada’s top research institute on North-South issues
- World Bank – World Development Report and other publications available online.
- My World Abroad
- Canadian Journal of Development Studies
- Undercurrent is an online journal with articles on International Development, published by Canadian undergraduate students in Development Studies.
- Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
- Canadian Consortium of University Programs in International Development Studies (CCUPIDS)
- Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation (SCIC)
- Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC)
- Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE)
- Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI)
- European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes – EADI for Students – provides networking opportunities, information on summer schools, competitions, etc.
Arts and Science Undergraduate Office
University of Saskatchewan
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