Jul 22, 2024  
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

International Affairs

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Minimum number of credits required to graduate: 120

Minimum Cumulative GPA required to graduate: 2.0

Minimum Grade requirements for courses to count toward major: A “C” or better is required in all International Affairs courses counting towards the major, regardless of concentration.

Other GPA requirements to graduate: None.

Contact Information: Michael Lang, Associate Professor of History, 315 Stevens Hall, (207) 581-1964, lang@maine.edu

A degree in International Affairs benefits students as they prepare for their roles as national and global citizens, teaching them the dynamics behind a changing global society and introducing them to ways of enhancing international community. Moreover, the International Affairs Program offers a strong, interdisciplinary curriculum that includes courses from departments across the campus and enables students from diverse disciplines to integrate an international perspective into their studies and future careers.

The Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs allows students to choose among several thematic concentrations or an area studies concentration (Canadian Studies). During the first two years, students are encouraged to complete course work to fulfill the general education requirements of the Bachelor of Arts degree and the International Affairs core curriculum. All International Affairs students are strongly encouraged to develop or sharpen their language training early in their program of study in order to fulfill the language requirement in their third or fourth year. The final two years should be focused on the concentration electives. All International Affairs students are strongly encouraged to participate in the Study Abroad Program. 

Course overlap: Students may only “double count” two courses (6 credits) to fulfill both IA and program requirements for a second major.

Institutional credit requirement: Institutional credit is defined as all University of Maine (Orono) courses regardless of delivery method (live, on-line, etc.). For the IA major, 18 credits must be completed at the University of Maine as follows: 15 credits in the student’s concentration, along with the capstone requirement. For the IA minor, 9 credits exclusive of the Foreign Language requirement must be completed at the University of Maine.

Core Requirements - 15 hours.

The requirements listed on this page are specific to this particular major. Students are also responsible for meeting any graduation requirements set out by their college. Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) should make sure to review those requirements as stated on the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences  page of the catalog.

Core Requirements - 15 credit hours

Students must earn a “C” or better in all courses required in the major.

Capstone Requirement (3 credits)

IA majors may complete their capstone requirement in one of the following ways:

  • A capstone course whose topic falls within their thematic concentration.  For thematic concentrations with POS as the primary field, POS 499 may fulfill the capstone.  For thematic concentrations with HTY as the primary field, HTY 498 may fulfill the capstone.  For thematic concentrations with ANT as the primary field, ANT 493 may fulfill the capstone requirement.  For thematic concentrations with ECO as the primary field, ECO 489 may fulfill the capstone requirement.  For the concentration with MCL as the primary field, FRE 495 or SPA 495 may fulfill the capstone requirement. For Global Women’s, Gender, and Secuality Issues concentration, WGS 480 may fulfill the capstone. See immediately below for the Canadian Studies capstone.  Note:  International Affairs majors with a second major may fulfill the requirement with the capstone in that major if it has sufficient content from the thematic concentration’s primary field.  Students with questions in this area must consult with their academic adviser and the IA Director before they enroll for the course
  • In conjunction with an existing course in the student’s concentration, students may propose to conduct in-depth research and analysis with the faculty member teaching the course.  Students must have written approval of the course instructor and the IA Director.  Note: Students in the Canadian Studies concentration will meet their capstone requirement via this process through CAN 401.  Any student of whatever concentration choosing this option must have senior standing and have declared the concentration in question.  Completion of the requirements of the existing course, standing alone, will not fulfill the capstone requirement.
  • A directed research project on an approved topic proposed by the student.  The project must meet the spirit and intent of the General Education capstone experience.  NOTE:  Students must have confirmation of a faculty member who will advise the project before they can register for an independent study course, and must have approval of the IA Director.
  • Undergraduate Honors Thesis on a topic clearly relevant to the major (approval of IA Director required)

Foreign Language Experience

Students must demonstrate their linguistic ability through a language exam, known as the Oral Proficiency Interview. A score of Intermediate (Low, Mid, or High) is required.

Minimum preparation for the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) is assumed to be six (6) credits at the 300 level or above in French or Spanish.

Students who wish to select German or one of the other languages taught in the Critical Languages program must consult the Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Classics.  As students choosing one of these languages cannot be guaranteed sufficient class time to reach intermediate status, they must plan to participate in an intensive immersion experience in the United States or through study abroad. The Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Classics will notify a student’s academic advisor and the IA Director whenever a language other than French or Spanish is chosen.


International students are permitted to meet the language requirement with their TOEFL score, but are encouraged to undertake further foreign language study.

Students may not use their native language to meet the language requirement.

Proficiency testing is a standard means of assessing what one can do in a language. The OPI was developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).  Detailed descriptors of the Intermediate and other proficiency levels can be found in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines, http://www.actfl.org/publications/guidelines-and-manuals/actfl-proficiency-guidelines-2012

Testing is administered exclusively by Language Testing International and is available at UMaine.

Students are advised that there are fees associated with the OPI for which they will be responsible. Assistance in making arrangements for taking the OPI will be provided by the chair of Modern Languages and Classics, who will also advise students of its current cost and method of payment. Students may register either for the OPI, involving a telephone interview with a certified ACTFL tester, or for the OPIC, a computer delivered assessment that emulates its live counterpart.

Thematic Concentration Requirements - 21-27 credit hours

Thematic concentrations are designed to provide students with substantial, in-depth, and focused study of an aspect of International Affairs.  Students must select one concentration from below and take a minimum of 7 courses up to a maximum of 9 courses from that concentration; at least 2 courses must be in a secondary field.  Other thematic concentrations may be created in the future.


B. History and Development of the Global System

 (HTY as primary field):

D. Culture, Conflict, and Globalization

Electives 21 credits (C or better):

F. Language, Culture and the Humanities

(MLC as primary field):

 21 credits at the 300 or 400 level in French or Spanish beyond the IA Language Experience Requirement (ACTFL OP rating of “Intermediate”), and 6 credits in a single discipline outside Modern Languages and Classics.

  • 1 course in advanced-intermediate (300 level) or advanced (400 level) target language grammar or linguistics
  • 1 course in the development of speaking skills
  • 1 course in the literature of the target language
  • 1 course in the target culture, civilization, or contemporary society
  • 1 travel study course in immersions (waived for a semester, year or intensive summer study abroad in immersion)
  • 2 electives taught in the target language


2 courses in any one of the disciplines listed below.  Courses from these disciplines should be selected in consultation with the academic advisor to insure their relevance to the concentration.  They may not be used to satisfy the IA Core Requirement

  • Anthropology
  • Art History
  • English
  • History
  • Music
  • Peace Studies
  • Philosophy


G. Canadian Studies

The Canadian Studies program at the University of Maine is the only area studies program at a state university in New England that is recognized by the US Department of Education under its Title VI International Education program.

From the list below, IA majors with a Canadian Studies concentration must take CAN 101 and and eight other listed courses. At least two of which must be in the same discipline. Students in the Canadian Studies concentration must meet the IA language requirement in French. 

H. Global Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Issues

Women’s Studies (now Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) has been part of the International Affairs major for a decade.  Its importance to the field of International Affairs is made clear by the recent explosion of scholarly works that combine gender with an international focus and by the increasing attention to the role that gender plays in politics, conflict, international aid, and sustainability.  It is impossible to turn on the network or internet news without seeing at least one article related to an international women’s and/or gender issue.  The Global Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Issues Concentration provides an important option for students who want to explore interdisciplinarity explicitly.

Core Courses and Non-WGS courses

 From the list below students must take 3 WGS core courses of their choice, and must select two non-WGS courses with the same designator (for example: ANT):

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