How do I declare an ICS major or change my major?

  • All Duke students must declare a major no later than the Friday before mid-semester break of the fourth semester of enrollment (students may declare a major earlier).

  • Before declaring the major, do your best to complete your Long Range Plan, which is available on your ACES record. Be sure you have read the ICS requirements.

  • Once you have done your best to complete the Long Range Plan, meet with your Academic Advisor in the Academic Advising Center to review, finalize, and submit your Long Range Plan.

  • Once this process is complete, you will receive a welcome message from ICS with an attachment, the ICS Curricular Planning Form.

  • Please fill the form out to the best of your ability and return it to Lisa Poteet ( as an attachment.

  • Within about a week, you will see on ACES that you have been assigned an ICS faculty advisor.

  • Prior to registration each semester, you must meet with your ICS advisor, who will clear you to register after discussion of your progress toward graduation.

  • You can change your major by contacting the Registrar at 919-684-2813 or

When should I take ICS 195?

ICS 195, Comparative Approaches to Global Issues, is required of all majors, is taught in fall and spring terms, and should be taken in the first or second year of study. Students who plan to be ICS majors are expected to complete the course before a study-away semester.

In certain situations, juniors or rising juniors may make a case to the ICS DUS  for special permission to enroll in the course. If the DUS approves enrollment and the student has attended early class meetings, permission to enroll will be granted if there is space.

How do I know who my ICS faculty advisor is?

If you are a declared ICS major, your advisor's name shows up on your personal information page on ACES/STORM. You can also e-mail .

ICS requires every major (including those with a double major) to schedule a meeting with their ICS faculty advisor during the book-bagging period every semester before registering for courses. This includes students who are planning to study away as well as students who are completing study-away programs, including in cities like Washington, DC, New York or Los Angeles. Students not in Durham should schedule phone calls or video chats with their faculty advisers. 

Can I combine an ICS major with another major or minor?

The program places no limits on the number of courses that can simultaneously be used for the ICS major and other majors and minors. Students should consult university policy with respect to double counting for certificates and with individual departments to determine if other limits exist. 

Does ICS allow interdepartmental majoring?

The IDM program requires a student to complete at least 14 courses from two academic disciplines/departments and has a number of other requirements. ICS does not participate in the interdepartmental major option.

Can a Focus course count toward the ICS major?

Focus courses are limited to first-year students. If you are taking or have taken a Focus course that you believe meets ICS global or region criteria, and this course is not already on the ICS approved list, please contact the ICS DUS  with the syllabus.

Does ICS count Independent Studies courses toward the major?

No.  Independent Studies courses do not satisfy the requirements for ICS.  Independent Studies courses can however be helpful to students pursuing honors projects because they can provide time to develop and hone ideas and writing.

I notice a number of courses focused on pre-1700 classical, medieval or Renaissance studies. Can these count toward ICS?

ICS is designed to study relevant issues from 1700 onward. While classes that count for ICS can have content that begins in prior time periods, the focus must be on a time period after 1700. 

I see that some courses are approved for both Region and Global requirements. Can I use a single course that is approved for both categories to fulfill a Region and a Global requirement?

The short answer is no. The ICS major is designed to give students both expertise in a region and ways to understand and think critically about global issues. We want students to choose courses that challenge them in both areas, so we require four courses in your Region and four courses in the Global category.

We do, however, allow students to double-count a content course conducted in their chosen non-English language for a language credit. For example, a class on Modern French Cinema conducted in French can count for both a Region course (Europe) and a foreign language course.

What kind of non-English language courses may I count or double count for the region or global requirement?

To count or double count in the region or global categories, the content of a language course must meet region or global criteria.

The syllabus and course description must reflect a scholarly focus structured around questions and materials that extend well beyond training in speaking, reading, and writing in the language.

The course must also be linguistically advanced enough to facilitate this level of scholarly engagement.

Please see ICS major requirements for further details and notes.

Can I use AP credit to satisfy the foreign language co-requisite?

No.  Because language provides unique access to a culture, the philosophy of the ICS major is that one can never become too proficient in a language. Please see ICS major requirements for further details and notes.

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Curricular Planning Form

This form will track your progress in the major. Each ICS major must complete a Curricular Plan, updated with and approved by an ICS advisor each semester, to assure they are on track toward fulfilling major requirements.