» Intercultural Studies Program

Intercultural Studies Program

The Intercultural Studies Program enables students to learn about cultural and cross-cultural skills and relationships in the United States and beyond. The program uses an interdisciplinary and developmental model to examine cultures and subcultures, dominant and subordinate group interrelationships, and cross-cultural communications and interactions. It is designed to help students to participate more meaningfully in their social, civic, and increasingly global world of work roles.

Minor in Intercultural Studies
Major in Intercultural Studies
Criteria for Admission
Nursing Majors with an Intercultural Studies Minor
Minor Course Requirements
Course Offerings

Coordinators: Brenda Forster, Ann Frank Wake, Kathleen Rust
Advisors: LuEllen Doty, Bruce Fischer, Charles Goehl, Heather Hall, Carole Hillman, Jane Jegerski, Mary Teresa Johnson, Wallace Lagerwey, Nancy Lee, Michael Lindberg, Debra Meyer, Linda Niedringhaus, Paul Parker, Kathleen Rust, Earl Thompson, Mary Jo Young.


Minor in Intercultural Studies
In consultation with an ICS program coordinator or ICS advisor, students choose a focus for their ICS minor. Students are expected to develop an understanding of one cultural group or to explore a thematic interest in depth. Examples of ICS program focuses include U.S. racial groups, U.S. ethnic groups, cross-cutting minority groups, international areas, or thematic concerns.

The minor requires five course credits. Students take two core courses, two focus elective courses, and two one-half credit intercultural courses. At least half must be taken at Elmhurst College. Some focuses, especially international, may need additional foreign language competency.

Objectives of the Minor
Students earning a minor in intercultural studies should be able to:

  • Develop cultural group knowledge and understanding;
  • Use intercultural models to analyze similarities and differences between cultures (ethnic, racial, gender, social class, and other minority and national identities) and their interactions;
  • Develop ability to analyze power, social hierarchy, and social inequality effects in interactions involving individuals, groups, organizations, and nations; and
  • Develop a problem-solving focus as it relates to the ability to effectively communicate with and relate to others from various cultural or national backgrounds.


Major in Intercultural Studies
Majors in intercultural studies will complete the course work for a minor. An additional four courses, including an applied course, will be worked out with an ICS co-coordinator. The interdepartmental major format currently will be used in developing the ICS major. Students interested in an ICS major are advised to take it as a second major.


Criteria for Admission
Admission to the intercultural studies program requires:

  • A grade-point average of 2.5 or better
  • The development, with assistance from an ICS program coordinator, advisor, or seminar instructor, of a learning contract and course plan
  • Participants must maintain a 2.5 or better grade-point average in intercultural studies program minor course work.
  • Sophomore or higher standing is preferred


Certification in Elementary Education, Early Childhood Education, Special Education, and Early Childhood Special Education with a Concentration/Minor in Intercultural Studies
Students interested in combining certification in one of the education majors with an intercultural studies concentration/minor should identify themselves to both their education advisor and an intercultural studies coordinator or advisor to develop a course work plan which can include courses in their education major for the intercultural studies elective focus courses. A suggested course work plan is available.


Nursing Majors with an Intercultural Studies Minor
Students interested in combining their nursing major with an intercultural studies minor should identify themselves to both their nursing advisor and an intercultural studies coordinator or advisor to develop a course work plan which can include courses in the nursing major for the intercultural studies minor. A suggested course work plan is available.


Minor in Intercultural Studies
Core Conceptual Courses
To develop a conceptual base for intercultural understanding, students must take two courses from among the following:
ENG 230 Readings in Race, Class and Gender
SOC 304 Majority-Minority Relations
COM 315 Multicultural Communication
ICS 275 Introduction to International  Studies
BUS 271 Introduction to Global Business
BUS 350 Managing Diversity

Focus Elective Courses
Working with an ICS program coordinator or ICS advisor, students select at least two focus elective courses from various options to complete their specific cultural or thematic focus work. These options include:

  • Regular and adapted Elmhurst College courses;
  • Special January Term courses;
  • Portfolio documentation of workshops, training sessions, lectures, retreats, etc., undertaken with an intercultural studies program focus;
  • Independent study, research, field experience;
  • Travel-study; and
  • Study, Work-Study, or Service-Learning abroad.

Intercultural Courses
To develop an understanding of cultural and thematic issues as guided by program objectives, students take two half-course credit intercultural studies courses, as follows:
ICS 270  Intercultural Basics (Half course)
ICS 370  Intercultural Capstone (Half course)


Course Offerings

ICS 270 Intercultural Basics
Half course
The first intercultural seminar includes conceptual review, introduction to intercultural models, and student-generated cultural and international comparisons. Topics develop the stated objectives for the minor. Students enrolled in the ICS program for a minor are encouraged to take this course early in their program. The course is open to any student wishing to gain understanding of intercultural dynamics. Fall Term, Day.

ICS 275 Introduction to International Studies
This course uses a global perspective to introduce students to international political, economic, social, ethnic, and gender issues and institutions. Emphasis is placed on discerning and analyzing the nature of intercultural interactions, both historical and contemporary. Offered upon request.

ICS 280/380 Intercultural Experiential
Quarter, half, three quarter, or full course credit
Students may pursue their intercultural focus on an individual basis through attendance at relevant guestships, lectures, workshops, retreats, travel-learning, service learning, peer-education, or other independent guided endeavors. Students will document participation through a descriptive journal and write a short reflective paper describing what each experience taught them about themselves, about their focus group or theme, and about intercultural interactions.  Consent of an ICS co-coordinator is required. May be repeated for credit for different experiences. Prerequisite: 280 none; 380 completion of ICS 270. Pass/No Pass Grading. Offered every term.

ICS 370 Intercultural Capstone
Half course
Students enrolled in the program for a minor complete a second seminar. The goal of this course is participation in an intercultural field experience with reflective writing or the development and presentation of a capstone project. The writings or project, developed in consultation with a seminar instructor, address individual and program objectives, as detailed in the student’s program contract. Students should take this course at the end of their ICS program. Prerequisites: ICS 270, approval of an ICS program coordinator or advisor. Spring Term, Day.

ICS 390 Special Topics in Intercultural Studies
Directed study of intercultural topics determined by faculty expertise and student interest. Offered as needed.

ICS 492 Independent Study
Half or full course
An independent course for students to pursue their special intercultural interests. Prerequisite: Consent of an ICS co-coordinator and course instructor. Upon request and approval.


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