ICS Major Requirements

Two Core Courses

ICS 195, Comparative Approaches to Global Issues, taken during freshman or sophomore year.

ICS 489S, Capstone seminar, taken senior year; ICS seniors in the Distinction Program complete this requirement in the first semester of the honors thesis course sequence.

Four Global Courses

To deepen the interdisciplinary critical transnational approach introduced in ICS 195, majors complete four courses chosen from an ICS-approved list of global courses, or taken during a study abroad program. These courses were previously labeled "comparative."

The four Global courses must originate from at least two disciplinary or interdisciplinary departments (which is how Duke courses are listed on the ICS course page) and meet ICS global criteria.

Four Region Courses

To gain historical, political, and cultural knowledge depth related to one part of the world, ICS majors choose a Region concentration and complete four courses chosen from an ICS-approved list of Region courses, or taken during a study abroad program.

These four Region courses must originate from at least two disciplinary or interdisciplinary departments (which is how Duke courses are listed on the ICS course page) and meet ICS region criteria.

A region may be chosen from the following seven geographic options:

  • Africa

  • China and East Asia

  • Europe

  • Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Middle East

  • Russia and Central Asia

  • South Asia

  • Alternatively, an ICS major may propose to the DUS a differently conceptualized geographic region focused on a part of the world not captured in these region designations, for example, around a body of water or proximal borders. Cases made for such independently conceived areas should be thoughtful and intentional rather than ad hoc.

ICS regions are based on historical, cultural, political and/or economic histories of connection. At the same time, we understand state borders and regions to be dynamically produced by local and transnational processes and agendas, and recognize dramatic variety within regions.

Depth Requirements in Region and Global Courses

  • To ensure depth, ICS majors are allowed no more than one course at the 100 level in the numbering system that commenced in fall 2012 (or its equivalent in the previous system) to fulfill the eight courses required for Region and Global categories.

  • ICS majors are required to take at least one approved ICS course at the 400 level or above in the numbering system that commenced in fall 2012 (or its equivalent in the previous system) in the Region or Global categories. The second semester of the honors thesis course sequence does not exempt majors from this requirement.

  • ICS treats study abroad courses approved for Region or Global as intermediate (between 200 and 399 in the course numbering system that commenced in fall 2012).

Four Foreign Language Co-requisite Courses

  • Because language knowledge is crucial to deeper historical, political and cultural understanding, as well as social and professional functioning in a variety of settings, the ICS major requires two years (four full courses) in one non-English language used in the Region concentration.

  • These courses may be taken at Duke, at UNC, in Study Abroad programs, or may be approved transfer courses taken after secondary school at another accredited college or university.

  • College Board, IB, or other pre-university language courses, knowledge, or exams cannot be counted toward this co-requisite.

  • Language courses in fulfillment of the co-requisite can begin at any level.

  • Students are encouraged to study a rare or indigenous language relevant to their region concentration if they have such an opportunity (e.g. in a study abroad program). Although such a language may be difficult to maintain, it may count toward the four course requirement in combination with another language that counts toward the region.

  • One advanced language course (taken on campus or during study away) may double count in the appropriate Region or Global category, but only if its content is determined to meet Region or Global criteria. Please see the FAQ on "Non-English language courses that may count or double count."

  • Barring other restrictions, up to four university content courses offered in a non-English language may count toward the Foreign Language co-requisite (these are typically NOT language training courses). 

  • While the Foreign Language co-requisite is not flexible, there is reasonable flexibility in regard to the courses used to fulfill it in certain cases, such as when a student is fluent in a non-English language widely used in the Region concentration. In such a case, one of the FL co-requisites can be met with a research methods or research analysis course. As needed, alternative approaches to satisfying one of the FL co-requisites can be developed in consultation with the student's ICS advisor and ICS DUS .

    • ICS Logo

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.