World Studies Program Navigation

Degree Requirements

World Studies Colloquium (1 credit, pass/fail, fall semester)

A forum for discussion of cross-cultural experience and international work, with participation by faculty, alumni, and current students. The sessions include an introduction to the World Studies Program (WSP) as well as to international resources at Marlboro and SIT.

Origins of the Contemporary World (4 credits, spring semester)

An introductory seminar designed to help students situate themselves in time and place, and to begin to think historically, culturally, and geographically. Students will select a region of the world to focus on, and provide weekly presentations tracking their region’s developments, decade by decade, over the last century. The class will also consider major themes of the recent past including: colonialism, genocide, human rights, socialism, globalization, and environmental change.

Comparative Studies (3 classes)

Students will take classes which will both prepare them for internship and enhance their capacity to think broadly and subtly about cultural complexity.

Specifically, students will take at least one class each to:

  • provide background on their intended destination for internship;
  • provide comparable background on a different world area;
  • consider the unity and diversity of human situations across cultures such that they can grapple intelligently with unfamiliarity and understand how differences in culture influence profound distinction in worldviews.

World Studies students will consult with their advisors, both when they select courses that address the Comparative Studies requirement and again when drafting responses to the following additional World Studies-specific questions in the course of their Sophomore Review.

Students will be asked to address how their Comparatives Studies courses encouraged them to:

  • Examine questions concerning the unity and diversity of the human situation across cultures
  • Engage in various analytic processes so as to better understand ourselves in relation to individuals from other cultures
  • Become comfortable with unfamiliarity and understand how differences in culture influence profound distinction in worldviews
  • Be prepared for cross-cultural understanding in your future academic work in the classroom and in the field

Finding an Internship (1 credit, pass/fail, spring semester)

A course devoted to resume and cover-letter writing, networking, interviewing, and researching organizations doing international work. Students begin writing drafts of their WSP internship proposals.

Language study (see description below)

Research Methods (4 credits, currently spring semester)

A class devoted to cultivating students’ skills in field research, focusing on, but not limited to, social scientific methods like interviewing, surveying, and participant/observation. Students will learn about contemporary debates in the field and consider matters of ethics in conducting fieldwork. The class supports each student in developing a research proposal to be submitted to Marlboro’s Institutional Review Board for approval.

Tutorial (Optional! 1 credit)

In the semester before internship, students should work closely with faculty sponsors. This requirement can be met in one of two ways: (1) a one-credit tutorial with a faculty sponsor focusing on internship goals and projects and background readings on the internship site; (2) one credit’s worth of work on internship goals, projects, and background readings folded into an existing tutorial or course with a faculty sponsor.

Internship (12-18 credits)

A six-to-eight month working internship in a foreign culture complemented by 12-18 credits of independent academic projects conducted via e-mail with different Marlboro faculty.

SIT Course (3 credits)

WSP students are required to take a graduate course at SIT Graduate Institute. This class could be in such areas as sustainable development, peace and conflict studies, and intercultural communication. Please note: Students need to plan carefully due to different academic calendars. Please consult Maggie or Jaime about how to incorporate an SIT class into your studies.

Senior Seminar (1 credit, pass/fail)

An eight-week seminar addressing re-entry issues and the integration of international field experiences into senior Plan work.

The Language Requirement

Competence in a foreign language is an integral part of the World Studies Program. To fulfill the World Studies Program language requirement, students must do one of the following:

  1. Pass an oral proficiency exam in a foreign language at the intermediate or advanced level as measured by ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). Students must pass the oral proficiency exam one month prior to their graduation date. Testing is arranged through the international office by request of the student.
  2. Successfully complete intermediate (second-year) language study. At least two semesters of this work must occur at Marlboro and must conclude with a grade no lower than a B.

Marlboro offers Arabic, French, Spanish, Greek, Latin, and Chinese. Other languages may be studied through small group tutorials, guided self-instruction and study abroad.

Questions? Contact Jaime Tanner, Director of World Studies ( or Maggie Patari, Director of Global Learning and International Services (


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