International Law and Institutions B.A.

Are you are interested in studying how law can help to solve international problems? Are you intrigued by how governments, international corporations, non-government organizations (NGOs), and other institutions are affected by international law and how they help to shape it? If so, the B.A. in International Law and Institutions may be a good choice for you.

Students pursuing the International Law and Institutions B.A. are able to take courses and work with faculty from both Department of International Studies and the Maurer School of Law. In this major, students develop an in-depth understanding of the relationship between international law and global governance through transnational and supranational institutions, including but not limited to the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, and the World Trade Organization.  Students in this major study a variety of topics, including the efforts to regulate conduct during war, develop human rights doctrines, respond to migration problems, and regulate international investments, trade, and development.

In addition to gaining extensive knowledge in international law and institutions, students pursuing the degree will develop cultural and regional expertise through extensive foreign language study, regionally focused coursework, and overseas study. International Law and Institutions majors will have an opportunity to connect their regional expertise, knowledge of international law, and global competence skills in a final Capstone research project.

The major in International Law and Institutions is housed in the Department of International Studies, which is part of the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. The major, which includes an internship, prepares students for career opportunities in a wide variety of international fields, including the public, private, or nonprofit sectors.

Coursework

Getting started

Students pursuing the International Law and Institutions B.A. are introduced to the major through four introductory courses. In particular, students are encouraged to take INTL-I 250 and POLS-Y 211 early in their coursework. The introductory courses are comparative and interdisciplinary in scope, introducing students to domestic and international approaches to law. In these courses, you will familiarize yourself with key concepts in international studies and pivotal aspects of international law.

The purpose of the introductory law courses is to acquaint you with basic notions in legal reasoning and procedures. They also introduce you to the central instruments and methods in international law, including theories of international law, methods of law formation, treaty interpretation, and interactions between national and international law.

Tracks and concentrations

There are no official tracks or concentrations in the International Law and Institutions B.A., allowing students the flexibility to focus on aspects of international law most relevant to their academic interests and career goals.  As you progress in the major, you have the option of developing specialized knowledge in a major international law subfield.

Students develop global competency through advanced International Studies and area studies coursework, regional focus, study abroad, and foreign language study. The choice of regional focus is flexible: regions may be defined geographically, linguistically, religiously, or ethnically. You gain mastery in a chosen region through language study, studying abroad, and by taking courses of interest inside and outside of the major.

Upper level coursework

Taking upper-level courses in the major deepens students’ global expertise and provides opportunities to gain specialized knowledge in key fields of international law, such as conflict and security, international human rights,  and global markets and development. The core upper-level courses are taught by faculty in both International Studies and the Maurer School of Law.

With departmental permission, students in the major will have the rare opportunity, as undergraduates, to take courses taught in the Maurer School of Law.

Overseas study and an internship focused on international law are key features of the B.A. in International Law and Institutions and are required for all majors. These experiences further enhance students’ global competency, provide applied, hands-on experience in the practice of law, and prepare them for the rigorous research required for the Capstone course.

The senior Capstone project offers the opportunity to integrate all the components of International Law and Institutions B.A. and complete the degree with a thesis based on original research of interest to the student. Majors conduct research for the Capstone under the mentorship of a faculty member and present their thesis either in class or as part of the Capstone Symposium.  

Commonly pursued majors, minors and certificates

With the help of your academic advisor, you can combine your International Law and Institutions major with many other fields of study. To help further develop in-depth regional knowledge and foreign language skills, students often pursue majors and minors in area studies or foreign languages spoken in their chosen region. Examples of such degree objectives can include majors, certificates and minors in Spanish, Portuguese, Germanic Studies, French, Italian, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, East Asian Languages and Cultures, or Central Eurasian Studies.

Students can also can enhance their education by gaining disciplinary knowledge in other fields, such as Anthropology, Folklore and Ethnomusicology, History, Journalism, Intelligence Studies, Liberal Arts and Management, Linguistics, Political Science, or Second Language Studies.

Highly motivated students who are interested in attaining professional fluency in a foreign language should consider participating in one of the prestigious Flagship programs in Arabic, Chinese, or Russian.

Enhance your major

Working with faculty

When pursuing a degree in International Law and Institutions, you have the opportunity to work with faculty who have expertise and experience in the field. Take advantage of office hours to talk with your instructors about your performance in class, the content of assignments, and how the course helps you work toward your goals.

Getting to know the faculty will also help you when it comes time to find a faculty mentor for the Capstone Seminar. In this Seminar, you will conduct a project based on original research under the guidance of a faculty mentor with extensive expertise in your selected topic. The final thesis will integrate all aspects of the major, including core and specialized knowledge in international law, regional focus, foreign language skills, practical experience gained during the internship, and overseas study.

Honors

Outstanding students with a sustained interest in research are eligible to apply for the Honors Capstone. Interested students should plan to meet with an International Law advisor for details by the end of their sophomore year.

High achieving students may be recognized for Academic Excellence in the College of Arts and Sciences, or be eligible for admission to the Hutton Honors College.

Undergraduate scholarships and awards

Incoming students who are directly admitted to the College of Arts and Sciences with International Law and Institutions as their intended major may be eligible for special scholarships.

Options for pursuing scholarships and awards that relate to International Law and Institutions include:

Internships

Internships offer you a chance to develop both technical and transferable skills while making vital professional contacts with others in the field. Many students begin exploring internship opportunities, including overseas study programs with internships, as early as their freshman year.

Students in the International Law and Institutions B.A. are required to complete an internship or a practicum focused in international law. The goal of the internship is to allow you to apply the knowledge you gain through you studies in a professional field of international law while also gaining additional practical skills and knowledge.  International Law and Institutions majors have the option of earning course credit through the internship and can apply for the Dean’s Scholarship to help fund their domestic or abroad internships.

International Law and Institutions B.A. majors may consider pursuing internship opportunities though the following organizations:

Learn more about internships, including other options for receiving credit, through The Walter Center for Career Achievement, where you’ll find many resources for both domestic and international internships.

Foreign language study

Foreign language study is one of the key features of the International Law and Institutions BA. Students must complete at least two semesters of foreign language beyond the College’s basic foreign language requirement.  Students have the option to satisfy this requirement through advanced language study in one language or by taking courses in other languages after satisfying the College’s requirement.

As one of the premier institutions in the U.S. for the study of languages, IU Bloomington offers courses and resources in over 60 languages.

Below is a sampling of language study resources available to students at IU Bloomington.

Overseas study

Study abroad is an important part of undergraduate education in our increasingly interconnected world. All International Law and Institutions students study abroad as part of their major. Typically students work with the IU Office of Overseas Studies to select overseas programs lasting six weeks or longer that align with their academic interests and career goals. The Office of Overseas Study provides a variety of semester, academic year, or short-term summer programs, ranging from language and cultural immersion programs to thematic programs, with a specific disciplinary or professional focus.

Below are some examples of the wide variety of programs that are offered by the Office of Overseas Study:

The College of Arts + Sciences also directly hosts a variety of study abroad programs, some even featuring IU faculty, that might be right for you. Learn more about study abroad opportunities and locations through conversation with International Law and Institutions faculty, your academic advisor, and through the Office of Overseas Study.

Student groups

The International Studies Undergraduate Association is open to all majors in the International Studies Department.  The mission of the Association is to create networking opportunities and facilitate connections between current students and alumni through various events throughout the year.

Sigma Iota Rho (SIR) is an honor society, whose mission is to support and provide opportunities for scholars and practitioners in the fields of international studies, international affairs, and global studies. Through SIR events and social media, members have the opportunity to connect and network with faculty and professionals in international and global fields.  Members also are eligible to apply for the SIR funding, ranging from scholarships to research grants, and have the opportunity to publish their work on the Journal of International Relations.

Students interested in leadership opportunities within the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies can apply for membership in the Global Student Seven (GS7), an advisory board to the School’s Executive Dean. This board is tasked with providing candid, mature student perspectives on affairs concerning the School of Global and International Studies.

If you are interested in gaining experience in recruiting, you can become a Student Ambassador and participate in organizing and coordinating a vast array of events for prospective and current SGIS students.

International Law and Institutions majors interested in foreign policy, international relations, and security studies might consider joining the Student Alliance for National Security (SANS). SANS is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting awareness and education on national defense and global security issues, providing opportunities for students to meaningfully engage in discussion on global security and have a public voice on those issues.

Explore beINvolved to connect with any of the 750+ student organizations that already exist, or to start a new one.

Volunteer opportunities

 There are numerous opportunities for volunteer engagement, allowing you to give back to the local community while developing useful job skills. The organizations below can help you connect with others from the university and beyond:

Sign up to receive weekly emails from the Bloomington Volunteer Network to learn about local opportunities and organizations.

Professional organizations

Use the Indiana University Library system to search for Associations Unlimited, an online directory of associations, professional societies, non-profit organizations, and much more.

Build your skills

Through the major

The International Studies and Institutions B.A. provides you with a set of skills and qualities that are relevant and transferable to many areas of study and work. These include:

  • Be able to place international law in historical, cultural, and intellectual contexts.
  • Analyze international legal instruments, including treaty interpretation and methods of interpreting national and international court decisions.
  • Understand how formal international organizations and courts create and interpret international law.
  • Identify and critically evaluate key areas in which international law operates, including human rights; relations between states; management of international and internal conflict; international trade; and the regulation of the environment.
  • Recognize what international law has in common with national law and how international law influences and interacts with domestic law and institutions.
  • Analyze the challenge of adapting existing international law to manage new realities, including new technologies and increasingly influential networks of non-state actors.
  • Comprehend the intersection between international law and the operation of international institutions.

Through a College of Arts and Sciences degree

Your coursework provides many opportunities to develop the following five foundational skills that will serve you well in every career path:  

  • Question critically
  • Think logically
  • Communicate clearly
  • Act creatively
  • Live ethically

These foundational skills will aid you in landing your first job and advancing professionally throughout your working life. Not only are these the skills that employers say they value most in the workplace, they provide the best preparation for lifelong success in a world of complexity, uncertainty, and change.

Skills desired by employers

Each year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers asks employers what key skills and qualities they are looking for in recent college graduates.

The following are some of the most commonly desired attributes across many employment sectors:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Analytical and quantitative skills
  • Ability to take Initiative
  • Being detail oriented
  • Demonstrating adaptability
  • Technical skills relevant to the field
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Computer skills
  • Organizational ability

As you explore various career fields, pay attention to specific job descriptions and  requirements. If there are areas where your skills or knowledge are lacking, talk with your academic advisor and career coach about how you can develop in those areas while you are at Indiana University.

Your academic advisor and career coach can also help you find ways to strengthen and deepen the knowledge you already have, becoming more prepared for whatever path you select after your college career.

Launch your career

Plan your search

A good career exploration starting point is an appointment with the School of Global and International Studies career coach.

The Walter Center for Career Achievement offers job search resources, career courses, job fairs, information about internships and full-time jobs, and help with social media networking through professional organizations. Get advice about how to write your resume and prepare for job interviews, too.

Explore and enroll in Career Communities to learn more about industries relevant to your interests. These offer unique information about each field, including alumni spotlights, opportunities and resources, and in-person events.

You might want to take a specialty career course to help you maximize your time at IUB. School of Global and International Studies students should consider taking ASCS-Q 296, College to Career II: Navigating the Arts and Sciences Experience. This course provides the opportunity for students to explore the relationship between their chosen field of study and life after graduation while developing a career and academic development plan for post-collegiate success.

The job market

As the world becomes more connected and interdependent, employment opportunities have greatly increased for students with knowledge about international issues and appreciation for multiculturalism.

Students with the International Law and Institutions B.A. degree can take their education in many directions. Initial and long-term destinations for graduates include positions in many job sectors: non-governmental organizations, federal and state government, research and policy think tanks, non-profit and foreign aid organizations, international banking and business, and the military.

Want to see where your fellow majors go right after graduating from IU? Check out the Walter Center’s First Destinations survey!

Need more ideas? The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers career information about hundreds of occupations.

Talk with International Studies faculty, the academic advisor and other students to gain insights into the career paths taken by graduates of the Department of International Studies and the School of Global and International Studies.

Post-graduate short-term experiences

After graduation, a short-term experience or internship can help you make connections, gain life skills, and assess your interest in future careers. Talk with your career coach and use these and other resources to find opportunities that are a good fit with your educational experience and career goals:

Teaching positions give you a chance to hone language and communication skills. Find international English teaching jobs through organizations such as Center for International Education Exchange, Institute of International Education, and LanguageCorps.

Fellowships for post-graduate study

Fellowships are temporary post-graduate opportunities to conduct research, work in a field, or fund graduate school. Most opportunities can be found through universities, non-profit, and government organizations.

Good examples of resources for finding fellowship opportunities include:

Graduate and professional study

When applying to graduate or professional schools, you'll need letters of recommendation from faculty members who are familiar with your work. Make a practice of attending office hours early in your academic career, to get to know your professors and discuss your options for advanced study in the field.

An International Law and Institutions B.A. degree is good preparation for entry into law school, especially if you desire to continue with an international focus. If law school is an interest, be sure to consult with an advisor in the Health Professions and Prelaw Center throughout your undergraduate career.

Additionally, students pursue other graduate programs in a wide variety of fields, such as area studies, foreign languages and literatures, public affairs, non-profit management, international relations, finance, and business.

Students who pursue graduate studies in International Studies have gone into careers with top academic and research institutions, the military and intelligence communities, the United Nations, World Bank, non-governmental organizations, media, business and entrepreneurship.

You might consider these graduate opportunities offered by the following schools at Indiana University:

Alumni connections

Talk with International Law and Institutions faculty, the academic advisorcareer coach and other students to gain insights into the career paths taken by graduates of this degree.

The IU College of Arts + Sciences has thousands of active alumni. Check out the IU College Luminaries program, which connects students with the College's most influential, successful, and inspiring alumni.

Join the Walter Center Success Network to remain in touch, network directly with College of Arts +Sciences Alumni, and let others know where your path takes you.


Is it for you?

The B.A. in International Law and Institutions attracts students form a variety of backgrounds and interests. They typically have the following qualities:

  • Interest in global affairs and how law can affect people and institutions
  • Wish to make overseas study a significant part of their undergraduate education
  • Commitment to developing practical skills through an internship focused on international law
  • Motivation to study a foreign language
  • Desire to develop in-depth cultural competency in a particular region
  • Appreciation for intercultural communication and diverse cultural perspectives

Learn more

Contact the International Law and Institutions B.A. academic advisor and schedule an appointment to explore your options. Complete information about the requirements of the major can be found in the College of Arts and Sciences Bulletin.

Department website
Advisor email address
intladvs@indiana.edu