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International and Area Studies

International and Area Studies

Robert Clark, Director
College of Arts and Sciences
Kansas State University
c/o Department of Modern Languages
14A Eisenhower Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a secondary major?

A Secondary Major is a cross between a major and a minor but unlike them in that it is interdisciplinary. The Secondary Major in International Studies was created in the late 70s and early 80s when minors were not available to students at K-State. The secondary major is a great option for students who want to enhance their professional qualifications, or who just want to augment their studies by organizing their electives and required courses more efficiently.

I live in Kansas and have no plans to leave this region. Why would I want a secondary major in International Studies?

The world is shrinking. There has never been a time in which international expertise is more needed. Although it is possible to disseminate information globally in only seconds, those who understand and appreciate the complexity of international issues stand to benefit most from the increased political, social, economic, and cultural interdependence in the world today. Kansas is not immune to these changes. And of course, your plans may change.

Can I count a course for my major or basic requirements and for the Secondary Major at the same time?

Yes. Any course taken for your major or basic requirements can also be used for the Secondary Major. The only catch is that for IS, you may only have six credit hours (2 courses) in one discipline.

Do I have to be in the College of Arts and Sciences?

No. Students may be in any college at K-State. However, a student may not receive credit for completion of the Secondary Major until he or she qualifies for a bachelor’s degree in a major.

What is the Senior Research requirement?

The Senior Research in IS (DAS 525) involves the writing of an independent research paper. The topic is selected by the student in consultation with the director. Sometimes students make arrangements with a faculty mentor to supervise their research work. The student does not attend a formal class. During the semester, however, it is expected that the student be in contact with the program director and/or faculty mentor for direction and guidance at important stages of the research project. See Guidelines.

Will I have an advisor?

Yes. Dr. Robert Clark will be your advisor for the secondary major. You can contact him at 785-532-1985 or rclark@k-state.edu.

What do students do after they graduate?

Many students select the Secondary Major in IS or LAS in anticipation of pursuing graduate degrees in international fields. Those who enter the job pool hope that the diversity of their program of study will give them an edge in the competitive job market.

I want to take a course that is not on the approved list but I think it should count. How do I know if it’s acceptable for credit?

The course list is a representative, but not exhaustive list of courses. New courses are offered and transfer courses may fit well into one’s program of study. Contact the program director, rclark@k-state.edu, with your questions.

Do I have to choose between International Studies and Latin American Studies?

Yes. Currently students are only able to choose one of these Secondary Majors.

What can I do to be more involved? Are there activities outside the classroom that would interest me?

There are many more ways to be involved in international studies at K-State. Each of the major languages taught at K-State sponsors international activities though its language club as do other student associations. See a list of international organizations at K-State. Many other opportunities are available through International Student and Scholar Services.

What is an International Relations course?

Each student in International Studies must have one class in International Relations (IR). IR courses are marked with the symbol '§' in the list of approved courses. As always, if you have questions about a course that you think may fulfill the IR requirement, contact Dr. Clark.

Can I meet the foreign language requirement with a language that isn't offered at K-State?

Yes. The requirement is to demonstrate expertise in a foreign language equivalent to the fourth semester of a foreign language course at K-State. There are different ways to demonstrate such competence. See the director, Robert Clark, rclark@k-state.edu for further information.

Can I transfer credits from another program or university? What about study abroad credits?

Transfer credits of approved courses are accepted  and study abroad is highly encouraged. Please note that, generally speaking, language classes cannot be counted among your electives but any courses having cultural content may be counted. If you wish to apply a study abroad course as an elective for the Secondary Major, you will need to have it approved by Dr. Clark, and it is an excellent idea to provide a syllabus if you are seeking approval.

My major advisor says I can graduate a semester earlier than I expected, but I’m one course short of the secondary major. May I still complete it after graduation?

Yes. Courses taken after graduation may still be applied to the Secondary Major. Effective planning will help you avoid this problem and help you finish your major and Secondary Major according to plans.

Can a person earn graduate credit in this program?

No. The secondary major program is designed exclusively for undergraduate studies. However, many students who complete the program choose to pursue their interests by obtaining a graduate degree in an international field.