Major in Intercultural Studies

By examining culture, race, ethnicity, religion and other social components of various regions and nations, graduates gain an understanding of how these various cultures and societies interact with each other.

Intercultural studies majors have the opportunity to work to promote pathways, and remove the barriers that foster peaceful and fruitful relationships throughout the world. Careers in social work, education, not-for-profit and health and human services are just a few of the career options this major can provide.

Objectives of the Major

  • To fully develop cultural group knowledge and understanding;
  • To competently use intercultural models to analyze similarities and differences between cultures (ethnic, racial, gender, social class and other minority and national identities) and their interactions;
  • To develop an ability to analyze power, social hierarchy, and social inequality effects in interactions involving individuals, groups, organizations and nations;
  • To develop problem-solving skills as they relate to the ability to effectively communicate with and relate to others from various cultural or national backgrounds;
  • To advance the ability to recognize, understand and utilize multidisciplinary concepts, theories and perspectives as applied to intragroup and intergroup relationships and situations;
  • To continue enhancement of self and own group knowledge and acceptance in order to more fully develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and commitment to function ever-more effectively in various intergroup contexts, including globally;
  • To enhance the ability to act in applied learning roles and to interact effectively in intercultural situations.

Major Requirements (9.5 credits)

To develop an understanding of cultural and thematic issues as guided by program objectives, students take three one-half-credit and two full-credit intercultural studies courses, as follows:

Required Courses (3.5 credits)

  • ICS 270 Introduction to Intercultural Studies (.50 credit)
  • ICS 271 Intermediate Intercultural Studies (.50 credit)
  • ICS 275 Introduction to International Studies
  • ICS 370 Intercultural Capstone
  • ICS 380 Intercultural Experiential

Core Conceptual Courses (3.0 credits)

To develop a conceptual base for intercultural understanding, students must take at least three courses from among the following:

  • BUS 350 Cultural Diversity in Organizations
  • COM 315 Intercultural Communication
  • ENG 230 Readings in Race, Class and Gender
  • GEO 350 Geography of Sexual and Gender Identities
  • ICS 375 Critical Issues in Women’s Studies
  • ICS 385 LGBTQ Identities: Individual and Communal Journeys
  • ICS 390 Special Topics in Intercultural Studies
  • ICS 492 Independent Study (.50 or 1.00 credit)
  • PSY 325/425 Psychology and Culture
  • SOC 212 Cultural Anthropology
  • SOC 304 Majority-Minority Relations

Students must earn a C or better in the required courses and core conceptual courses to count toward an ICS major.

Areas of Study Courses (3.0 credits)

Working with the ICS department chair, students select three elective courses from the available areas of study to complete their specific cultural or thematic focus work. These options include:

  • Regular and adapted Elmhurst University courses (e.g., foreign language courses)
  • Special January Term courses
  • Portfolio documentation of workshops, training sessions, lectures, retreats, etc., undertaken with an intercultural studies program focus.

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