Approved Courses

The Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS) evaluates the content of courses offered by departments in the College of Literature Science and Arts (LSA) as well as other University of Michigan colleges and schools. The courses listed below are currently approved by PICS for International Studies majors and minors, and will fulfill PICS requirements as indicated.

We will consider approving non-listed courses on a case-by-case basis. To learn more, please see our frequently asked questions (FAQ) page. 

  • Course Approval Requests
    If you wish to submit a request for course approval please use Course Approval Form.
    Elective and regional courses are student-designed and can be approved by a PICS advisor.

For a thorough discussion of international studies degree requirements, please see the major and minor information pages.

Core International Studies Courses

Students must complete core international studies courses (NEW: Effective WN 2014 course subject is changing to INTLSTD):

  • CICS 101 (INTLSTD 101): Introduction to International Studies
  • CICS 301 (INTLSTD 301): Topics of International Studies
  • CICS 401 (INTLSTD 401): Advanced Seminar

For the core courses for International Studies majors doing a sub-plan in Comparative Culture and Identity please see the sub-plan requirements.

Grade Grievances: If you have concerns about or are considering disputing a grade you have received in one of the core international studies courses (INTLSTD 101, 301, or 401) please review the International Studies Grade Grievance Policy.

Foreign Language Requirement

All IS majors must attain six term proficiency (three years) in a language other than English, during their course of study. To clarify what constitutes proficiency in frequently chosen languages, please see this list for the following languages: Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Chinese, Hindi, Urdu, Japanese, Korean, German, Czech, Polish, and Russian. Please contact a PICS advisor if your language is not listed.

Research Methods Requirement

At least one quantitative research methods course is required.
Select one quantitative research methods course from the following list.

Minimum credit hours: 3

ECON 309: Experimental Economics    

ECON 401: Intermediate Microeconomic 

ECON 405: Intro to Statistics

POLSCI 391: Intro to Modeling Political Processes

POLSCI 490: Game Theory & Formal Models

POLSCI 499: Methods of Political Analysis       

SOC 210: Elementary Statistics

SOC 310: Intro to Research Methods                                     

STATS 250: Intro to Statistics & Data Analysis   


Regional Course Requirements

IS Majors will also be required to complete at least one course focusing on a world region/country related to the foreign language of choice. This course cannot be double counted with a sub-plan course.

Minimum credit hours: 3

What counts as a regional course?

Upper level language courses beyond the 6th term language requirement that have a focus on culture,history, arts. etc. may work as a regional course as well as relevant study abroad courses. Examples:

Language: Spanish    Region: Latin America

Courses: POLSCI 347 Politics and Society in Latin America; SPANISH 328 Studies in Hispanic Popular Culture; STDABRD 240 Spanish Culture

Language: French    Region: Western Europe

Courses: FRENCH 369 Literature, History, and Culture of Modernity; WOMENSTD 317 Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800

Language: Japanese    Country: Japan

Course: HISTART 292 Introduction to Japanese Art and Culture



The electives are designed to allow students to further personalize their major. Students will elect three advanced courses which will be expected to build upon the the theme of their sub-plans. The selected courses should thus contribute to the coherence of the student’s overall concentration. Students may select additional sub-plan, regional, or relevant study abroad courses, however there is no preapproved list of electives. Because there is no preapproved list, students must seek and obtain the approval of elective courses--on a course-by-course basis--from a PICS advisor. It is strongly advised that this approval be obtained before taking the class.

Minimum credit hours: 9

Minimum Grade Requirement

Students shall receive no grade lower than C- in any of the required courses listed above