International Studies

International Studies is an interdisciplinary major where students explore contemporary global themes and different world areas. Our faculty come from many departments and colleges across UNM to work with majors through the International Studies Institute (ISI), which also provides timely and relevant lectures, special events, and scholarships for undergraduates.

Our world is more interconnected than ever, making International Studies a useful major with applicability in a wide range of fields, including business, law, government, education, marketing, social justice advocacy, and more. You will not only learn another language, but understand and identify the historical, political, social, cultural, and/or economic dimensions of international processes and issues while integrating these into an interdisciplinary perspective. You will also learn to communicate clearly and persuasively in your research and writing and across cultural boundaries. We want you to be successful during and after your time at UNM, and our program exposes you to the career and post-graduate opportunities that this degree makes possible.

We offer a B.A. degree and a minor for students outside the program. There is a Departmental Honors Thesis option for students who want to work with a faculty mentor on developing and writing and original research paper, which is excellent preparation for graduate school in any field. Additionally, the ISI and the Global Education Office can help you complete a Peace Corps Prep Certificate if you are interested in hands-on work in international development.

The core elements of the International Studies major and minor allow students to combine studies in languages, humanities, and social sciences with studies in other fields in order to create an integrated, interdisciplinary undergraduate concentration. Because our degree is globally oriented, we require working knowledge of a language other than English, and students choose from the following Area Concentrations:

  • Africa
  • Asia / Middle East
  • Europe
  • Latin America

Additionally, in order to focus the degree and gain a deeper understanding in a particular speciality, students choose from the following Thematic Concentrations:

There is also a required intercultural experience that can be completed by either studying abroad or by developing your own idea for an intercultural experience at UNM, New Mexico, or somewhere else in the United States. As part of the U.S. Southwestern borderlands area, there are multiple opportunities to find intercultural experiences without leaving the country if that option is not available to you. We do recommend studying abroad as an International Studies major, and remember that often your financial aid travels with you for UNM study abroad programs. Plus, the ISI offers study abroad scholarships for majors.

Arts and Culture: This theme examines the role that art and culture play in the human experience. Students are encouraged to explore the various ways in which art is used in different cultural environments as a form of human expression and/or communication. How are arts and cultural expression—be it musical, cinematic, literary, dance, visual, or otherwise—conceived of in different societies around the world? Students choosing this thematic may wish to explore if and/or how art serves to bridge space and time between societies as it migrates and evolves. 

Conflict, Peace, and Diplomacy (CPAD): CPAD represents an opportunity for students to explore a broad range of topics related to intra- and international conflict, including the changing nature of both war and peace as well as the evolving diplomatic methods for war/conflict-avoidance and peace maintenance. Students may, for example, examine peace from the perspective of the United Nations’ peacekeeping mandate or the growing role of regional organizations, to oversee peace-making and -keeping duties. CPAD students are encouraged to consider the roots of conflict as it is defined by violence, in its multiplicity of forms. 

Environment and Sustainability: This thematic concentration calls on students to examine key aspects of the environment as a quintessential transregional/global issue. Students will explore issues such as climate change (replete with its Global North/South inequities), population growth, resource depletion and the sustainability of the planet under the prevailing socio-economic system, which defines 21st-century global relations. 

Global Markets and Governance: This theme broadly examines the role of international institutions and as intergovernmental bodies that serve to regulate efforts toward global, regional, or transregional governance. This theme, then, leans heavily toward organizations such as the United Nations, ASEAN, African Union, European Union. Alternatively, students may opt to focus on intergovernmental institutions that focus on economic, trade or financial markets., or economic entities such as the World Trade Organization, the World Bank or the World Economic Forum. This theme allows students to explore evolving trends in intergovernmental judicial, social or cultural integration, or economic changes such as the emergence of digital, or cryptocurrencies. 

Rituals, Identities, and Belief: This theme approaches the concept of religion from an interdisciplinary perspective, encouraging students to broaden their personal conception of the term rituals—be they religious ceremonies, trade transactions, or more mundane daily hygiene routines—in order to better understand these dynamic processes, which help to shape and define human identities and cultures. 

Women and Gender: Students with a thematic concentration in Women and Gender will focus their academic efforts toward any of a variety of issues confronting the Women’s and/or LGBTQ+ movements. Emphasis is placed on gender issues that are of concern outside of the United States. What strategies, for example, do women in parts of Africa or the Middle East use to confront gender equity or patriarchy? Furthermore, what are the issues of concern for transgender populations in places such as Russia, Uganda or other conservative societies? Why, for example, do these attitudes differ between Brazil or the Netherlands? 

Peace Corps Prep Certificate

International students can also apply for the Peace Corps Prep program (PCP). The program will prepare you for international development fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service through interrelated coursework, hands-on experience, and professional development support.

Undergraduate Program

Departmental Honors

UNM Catalog

Programs of Study


  • B.A. International Studies – Africa
  • B.A. International Studies – Asia and the Middle East
  • B.A. International Studies – Europe
  • B.A. International Studies – Latin America
  • International Studies
Optional Concentrations: 
  • All International Studies B.A. degrees require ONE of the following thematic concentrations:
  • Arts and Culture
  • Conflict, Peace, and Diplomacy
  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Global Markets and Governance
  • Rituals, Identity, and Belief
  • Women and Gender
Certificates Available: 
  • Peace Corps Prep Certificate

Contact Information

Undergraduate Academic Advisor(s): 
Advisor office locations vary. Please click on your advisor's name below to learn more.
Advising Email:
Department Email:
Department Location:
Humanities (Bldg 81), Suite 420

Department/Program Website