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2021 Best Colleges for International Studies

Approximately 7,627 international studies degrees were awarded to students last year in the United States. With so many choices it can be a challenge finding the best choice. This year's Best Colleges for International Studies ranking analyzed 62 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in international studies. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 15% of schools for International Studies students.

Choosing a Great International Studies School

Best Colleges for International Studies The international studies program you select can have a big impact on your future. Important measures of a quality international studies program can vary widely even among the top schools. To make it into this list a school must excel in the following areas.

Overall Quality is a Must

The overall quality of a school is important to ensure a good education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To take this into account we include a school's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a host of different factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

The lowest ranked school in our list is in the top 10% of our overall quality ranking while the vast majority are in at least the top 9%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 166 to 77 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Better Early and Mid Career Salaries

International Studies graduates from schools on this list tend to earn more after college than those from other schools. While the average international studies bachelors degree from U.S. colleges results in an average starting salary of $29,580, graduates of colleges on this list average $36,989.

Starting Salary  ( 32700 to 40499 )
$0
$42,400

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on International Studies students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other international studies students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized international studies related accrediting body.

Our complete ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best colleges for International Studies students.

More Ways to Rank International Studies Schools

Since picking the right college can be one of the most important decisions of your life, we've developed the Best International Studies Schools ranking, along with many other major-related rankings, to help you make that decision.

In addition to our rankings, you can take two colleges and compare them based on the criteria that matters most to you in our unique tool, College Combat. Go ahead and give it a try, or bookmark the link so you can check it out later.

Best Schools to Study International Studies in the United States

Below you'll see a list of the best colleges and universities to study international studies.

Top 10 Best International Studies Colleges

#1

Brandeis University

Waltham, MA

Any student who is interested in international studies needs to take a look at Brandeis University. Located in the city of Waltham, Brandeis is a private not-for-profit university with a moderately-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 75 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Brandeis is a great university overall.

Brandeis University is one of the most popular universities to study international studies in the United States with roughly 67 graduations in the most recent data year. Brandeis University international studies students receive $6,428 more than the average international studies graduate.

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#2

Colby College

Waterville, ME

Any student who is interested in international studies needs to take a look at Colby College. Colby is a small private not-for-profit college located in the town of Waterville. A Best Colleges rank of 46 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Colby is a great college overall.

There were approximately 36 international studies students who graduated from this degree at Colby in the most recent year we have data available. Graduates from the international studies major at Colby College earn $4,828 above the average college graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

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#3

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston College is a good option for individuals interested in a International Studies degree. Located in the city of Chestnut Hill, Boston College is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 61 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Boston College is a great college overall.

There were about 81 international studies individuals who graduated from this program at Boston College in the most recent year we have data available. International Studies graduates from Boston College receive an earnings boost of around $7,228 above the typical earnings of international studies graduates.

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Every student who is interested in international studies needs to take a look at University of California - San Diego. UCSD is a very large public university located in the city of La Jolla. A Best Colleges rank of 94 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UCSD is a great university overall.

There were about 500 international studies students who graduated from this program at UCSD in the most recent year we have data available. International Studies graduates from University of California - San Diego receive an earnings boost of around $2,328 over the typical earnings of international studies majors.

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Located in the rural area of Sewanee, Sewanee is a private not-for-profit university with a small student population. This university ranks 132nd out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Tennessee.

There were roughly 26 international studies individuals who graduated from this degree at Sewanee in the most recent data year. Students who graduate from the international studies program make about $31,000 in the first couple years of working.

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#6

Pepperdine University

Malibu, CA

Pepperdine is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit university located in the suburb of Malibu. This university ranks 149th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

Pepperdine University is a fairly popular university to study international studies in the United States with approximately 38 graduations in the most recent year we have data available. Students who graduate from the international studies program earn about $35,900 in their early career salary.

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Located in the midsize suburb of Santa Barbara, UCSB is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 133rd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

There were about 341 international studies individuals who graduated from this degree at UCSB in the most recent data year. Students who graduate from the international studies program make around $32,200 for their early career.

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UC Irvine is a very large public university located in the city of Irvine. This university ranks 122nd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

University of California - Irvine is a fairly popular university to study international studies in the United States with approximately 200 graduates in the most recent year we have data available. Grads of the international studies program state that they receive average early career earnings of $36,600.

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#9

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

U of U is a very large public university located in the medium-sized city of Salt Lake City. This university ranks 180th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Utah.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, U of U also offers a Master's Degrees in international studies. Soon after graduation, international studies students typically earn around $35,700 at the beginning of their careers.

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Located in the town of Charles Town, American Military University is a private for-profit university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 1262nd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of West Virginia.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, American Military University offers a Master's Degrees in international studies. International Studies students from American Public University System get an earnings boost of approximately $16,828 over the typical income of international studies graduates.

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Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Colleges for International Studies award.

Rank College Location
11 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
12 Spelman College Atlanta, GA
13 University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
14 University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
15 Texas A&M University - College Station College Station, TX

International Studies by Region

View the Best Colleges for International Studies for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

International Studies is one of 28 different types of Multi / Interdisciplinary Studies programs to choose from.

Majors Similar to International Studies

Related Major Annual Graduates
Other Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 34,024
Biological & Physical Science 28,954
Interdisciplinary Studies 6,368
Nutrition Science 4,688
Behavioral Science 3,629

View All International Studies Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Yerpo. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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