Be inspired. Be involved. Be international.

The International Affairs Program (IAFS) is a comprehensive and flexible interdisciplinary major within the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder leading to the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. Our major requirements include courses from the Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History and Political Science departments, as well as other departments across the college and campus.

Students have a geographic concentration which allows them to deepen their knowledge about that region of the world and attain proficiency in the regional language. Regions of geographic concentration include: Africa/Middle East, Asia, Europe/Eurasia, and Latin America. Students also complete courses within the four Functional Areas: Development and Culture; International Economics, Business, and Political Economy; Political Geography, International Security, Foreign Policy; Institutions, Rights, and Norms.

With opportunities to study abroad, complete an internship, add a certificate, and graduate with honors, an IAFS degree is comprehensive, flexible, and robust. Students who graduate through the program go on to work in foreign service, government, international development, education, business, law, non-profit organizations, and more.

Prospective Students                CU Admissions


  • As of 2021, IAFS has an incredibly high retention rate of 98% for majors. Despite having a challenging curriculum, including the high language requirement, the six year graduation rate for IAFS is 78%, well above CU Boulder's average.
  • As of 2019, 9% of IAFS seniors graduated with honors, representing the highest percent of honors graduates among social science units in the College of Arts and Sciences, and 11th highest among all CU Boulder degree-granting units.
  • In 2020, The IAFS program was one of the largest programs in the College of Arts and Sciences with over 574 students enrolled in the program, the 8th highest enrollment within the College of Arts and Sciences. 
  • In 2021, the average length of time it took an IAFS student to graduate was 3.67 years. 
  • IAFS prioritizes study abroad and real life experience, while also providing grants and support to make study abroad and internships feasible for all students. 

(information gathered from the 2020 IAFS Academic Review and Planning Advisory Committee (ARPAC) report and Academic Review and Planning documentation. 

 IAFS majors begin their studies with a survey of the most compelling global issues of the day and then go on to perform a detailed analysis of international relations and economics. Courses also focus on issues of international development, the environment, political economy, political geography, international institutions, global gender issues, the problems of war and peace, and human rights, and United States foreign policy. Students analyze the effects of international trade, investment, world population, and the use of resources.

 The undergraduate degree in international affairs emphasizes knowledge and awareness of:
  • major political, economic, social and ­cultural problems facing the international community, including international economic relations, world population and ­resource utilization
  • the international political system in the broadest global context, international organizations and alliances and foreign political systems and processes
  • ethical issues involved in international relations
  • patterns of conflict and ­cooperation among nations and peoples
  • chief historical factors that give rise to existing international institutions and processes
  • problems and issues in United States foreign policy

In addition, students completing the degree in international affairs are expected to acquire the ability and skills to:

  • analyze an international problem from a political, economic, historical and cultural perspective
  • read, critically evaluate and synthesize information obtained from international affairs literature
  • analyze international phenomena critically
  • communicate, orally and in writing, findings to other students of international affairs and to a broader audience
  • communicate in other cultural contexts through advanced foreign language study

"Our gen-ed curriculum reflects the old idea of artes liberales as applied to the challenges of the future. College graduates today are expected to change jobs more frequently than in the past and adapt to a rapidly changing employment landscape. The liberal arts are designed to train students to adaptthink criticallystep out of their comfort zone and work well in trans-disciplinary teams. But perhaps most importantly, artes liberales ignite an enduring passion to learn." - James W.C. White, Dean of Arts & Sciences (source)

  • 93% of employers say that candidates' demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly and solve complex problems is more important than their undergraduate major
  • 55% of employers want recent graduates to have both field-specific knowledge and skills as well as a broad range of knowledge and skills
  • 4 of 5 employers agree that all students should acquire broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences
  • 96% of employers want employees with ethical judgment, integrity, and intercultural skills
  • 92% of liberal arts alumni report being satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs

"Today it is no longer sufficient, or satisfying, to study a single discipline in isolation. Just as the line between domestic and international has blurred, so too the lines between disciplines are disappearing. Historians must understand economics and science; political scientists must appreciate budgets and finance. Furthermore, educated individuals must be able to combine technical and cultural skills, not only to expand their knowledge, but also to apply it. Cross-cultural competence is the critical new human resource requirement created by the global environment." Maria Pinto Carland and Lisa A. Gihring (Careers in International Affairs, 7th edition).

  • International Affairs is a comprehensive and flexible interdisciplinary program ileading to the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree.
  • The interdisciplinary approach means you will take a diverse range of courses. 
  • Our major requirements include courses from the Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History and Political Science departments, as well as other departments across the college and campus.
  • Through your geographic concentration, you will deepen your knowledge about a selected region of the world and attain proficiency in a language of that region, as well as familiarity with its cultural and political activities.
  • The program offers an honors programoff-campus experience opportunities, and an internship class, as well as certificate programs.

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