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Center for Global Education
Center for Global Education

International and Area Studies

Academic Programs with International Focus

Butler University is committed to providing academic programs of the highest quality in international and area studies.

Global and Historical Studies

Global and Historical Studies (and its predecessor program, Change and Tradition) has been a centerpiece of the Butler core curriculum since 1983. All students are required to take two GHS courses, normally in the sophomore year.

The learning objectives for Global and Historical Studies are:

  • Students will practice employing a conceptual framework for global and historical studies which appreciates cultures as dynamic, heterogeneous, and constantly in conversation with one another.
  • Students will approach the topic from a variety of sources and disciplines—including the arts, the humanities and the social and natural sciences.
  • Students will understand the benefits and challenges of living in a culturally diverse and increasingly globalized world
  • Students will continue development of skills of expository writing

GHS course offerings include:

  • South Asian Civilizations
  • Postcolonial Studies
  • Modernizing and Contemporary Europe
  • Frontiers in Latin America
  • East Asian Interactions
  • Resistance and Reaction:  Colonialism and Postcolonialism in Africa
  • Resistance and Rights: Global Women
  • China and the Islamic Middle East
  • Revolutionary Europe and Nigeria
  • Freedom and Movement in the Transatlantic World
  • Modern Middle East and North Africa

View more information on Global and Historical Studies.

Department of Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures (MLLC)

The department offers extensive programs in  Chinese, French, German, and Spanish. The curriculum utilizes a large component of film and video, exposing students to a foreign language in its natural setting, at its natural pace and in a cultural context. Butler also organizes faculty-led language and culture programs abroad—a semester-long program in Spain, based at the University of Alcalá de Henares, and a three-week summer intensive Spanish language program in Costa Rica.

The study of other languages and cultures offers students communicative skills and understanding that are increasingly valuable in many fields. Students also may attend graduate school and continue their education in a foreign language or related area.

View more information on Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures.

International Studies (major and minor)

This interdisciplinary program is designed to give students an awareness of the diversity, complexity and interdependence of the world community, and to provide them with the background to understand and analyze the political, economic, social and cultural aspects of current world problems and issues. Students can focus their studies on various world regions and thematic areas. Students are encouraged to pursue a second major or minor in a complementary discipline. Studying abroad, although not required, is an important component of the program.

The major offers students the cultural competency necessary to be successful in an increasingly complex and global job market. It prepares students for careers in government, international organizations, journalism, international consulting, international business, education, community development, and human rights work with non-governmental organizations (NGO's). It also provides a foundation for graduate work in such disciplines and programs of study as law, international studies, international relations, area studies, social sciences (anthropology, history, political science, sociology, etc.), comparative literature, religion studies, public policy and public administration.

View more information on the International Studies Program.

International Business Major

Nearly all businesses and markets are global and now more than ever, international experience is required for job consideration. The International Business (IB) major incorporates both a foreign language requirement and a concentration in an area such as finance, accounting, marketing, marketing information systems, or economics.

IB majors explore issues that impact the domestic and world economy: oil prices, competing imports, domestic interest rates, stock price changes, and more. Internships are available with such organizations as Homeland Security, Departments of Commerce (in America, Canada, China and Mexico), and at businesses both local and abroad.

The combination of both business and language skills opens up opportunities for students.  Many students study abroad and also perform an overseas internship, providing high levels of fluency in a language.

View more information on the International Business Major.

Peace and Conflict Studies

The Peace and Conflict Studies Program seeks to promote a critical understanding of the nature and dynamics of violent conflict and the conditions and practice of peace. It provides a structured program of study for students interested in issues of violence, conflict, social justice, human rights and peace. Contemporary peace studies is an arena of interdisciplinary research, study, dialogue, reflection and action which is supported by a broad disciplinary base drawing on the social sciences and humanities. Through interdisciplinary study and practice, grounded in methodological training that is discipline-specific, majors in Peace and Conflict Studies prepare for graduate study and a variety of careers in policy analysis, government, non-governmental organizations, journalism, teaching, law and business.

View more information on Peace and Conflict Studies.


The expansive discipline of anthropology explores the human condition with a range of perspectives and approaches, appreciating humans as both biological and cultural creatures. The primary focus of our program is Cultural Anthropology, which studies the ways that humans create meaning, forge alliances, assert differences, and both reinforce and create a new social and political hierarchies and vectors of inequality. Throughout the curriculum, students are trained to critically read and understand the complexities of ethnography-the qualitative research method and product that defines the discipline. They also have the opportunity to produce their own original ethnographic work in course research assignments as well as larger honors thesis projects, which may be the outgrowth of study abroad, field school, or internship experiences.

Knowledge acquired by students in the theoretical frameworks and methodological means for understanding and analyzing cultural institutions, practices and phenomena will help prepare students for future careers spanning from non-profit work, to health care, to education and business. Program majors will also be well prepared for advanced graduate study in Anthropology and other social sciences, and professional programs ranging from Public Health, to Social Work, to Business or Law School.

View more information on Anthropology.

Asian Studies

Butler offers a wide range of courses in Asian studies, including Asian history, politics, religious studies, anthropology and ethnomusicology, as well as beginning, intermediate and advanced Chinese language.

Butler gratefully acknowledges the support of the Freeman Foundation, which awarded us a four-year grant through its “Undergraduate Asian Studies Funding Initiative.” Grant funds enabled Butler to undertake a number of initiatives to strengthen Asian Studies, including:

  • Establishing a new faculty position in modern East Asian history
  • Providing scholarships for study abroad in Asian countries
  • Operating our summer intensive Chinese language and culture program at Nankai University
  • Providing student-faculty collaborative research grants for fieldwork in Asian settings
  • Enhancing the library collection in Asian studies; and establishing a new faculty position in modern East Asian history
  • Engaging in Asia-related community outreach projects in the areas of secondary education, international business, and the visual and performing arts

The Seminar on Religion and World Civilization

The Seminar on Religion and World Civilization is a program of the Center for Faith and Vocation at Butler University, promoting understanding of interfaith and intercultural relations through the discussion of religious issues in global perspective. Seminar themes in recent years include Religion and Global Health (2012-2013); Global Christianity in the 21st Century (2011-2012); and Religion, Peacemaking, and Conflict (2010-2011).

View more information on the Center for Faith and Vocation.

Washington Learning Program

Butler University is proud to offer its students a semester-long academic and internship program in Washington, D.C. A wide variety of international companies, government offices, and cultural institutions are located in D.C., providing Butler students from any academic major with substantive internship opportunities.

View more information on the Washington Learning Program.