Interdisciplinary Studies, BA

Why YOU Should Participate in a Global Education Program

The ASU interdisciplinary studies degree, one of the top five in the country, offers students the freedom to select two concentration areas from a rich menu of more than 140 possibilities (see our concentration check sheets). The core curriculum provides students the intellectual tools to integrate their concentration areas, engage in transdisciplinary problem-solving and prepare for careers and graduate programs that increasingly cross disciplinary boundaries.

Interdisciplinary studies is an approach to answering questions, solving problems and addressing contemporary social issues from multiple perspectives. Interdisciplinary studies students take an active role in designing their educational plans and defining their career goals. The degree emphasizes written communication, versatility, self-assessment and critical thinking -- essential skills for today's dynamic world.

Participating in a Global Education Program as an Interdisciplinary Studies Student

As an Interdisciplinary Studies student, perhaps the most valuable (and marketable) tools and skills are those learned studying and interning abroad.  Global Education programs provide an opportunity for you to develop a valuable intercultural communication skill set that can give you an advantage over the competition by: 

  • Exposing you to unique national and organizational cultures worldwide;
  • Expanding your knowledge of culturally specific management and leadership practices;
  • Challenging you to adapt and persevere under challenging and sometimes difficult organizational, social, and cultural circumstances;
  • Improving your language and cross-cultural skills for effective communication across populations;
  • Enhancing your portfolio of experience through the kinds of hands-on professional experience you will need to compete and succeed in today’s challenging global workplace.

A Message from the College of Integrative Sciences & Arts

With over 10 years experience directing summer internship-based study abroad programs, the evidence clearly suggests that students who have studied and interned abroad develop and demonstrate the kinds of transferable skills and perspective needed most in today’s global workplace. Our international programs provide students (from across the university) with the opportunity to experience different national and organizational cultures, ways of thinking, and approaching communication and problem solving that just isn’t possible in a traditional or online classroom environment.  Students also experience deep and meaningful personal change (greater sense of confidence, more patience, tolerance for ambiguity, innovative problem solving, better time management, etc.) as a result of our programs.  We offer a number of study abroad and study/intern abroad opportunities - along with a systematic and world-class global professional development curriculum.  These programs will change your life and jumpstart your career!

Planning Your Program

When to Participate in a Global Education Program

When to Participate in a Global Education Program

With advance planning, you should be able to easily fit one (or more) Global Education programs within your four years at ASU. A brief timeline of possible planning for a program abroad follows:

Year Term Recommended Student Action
Year 1 Fall
  • Identify a Global Education program offering through the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts
  • Identify core BIS courses that are taught abroad on your program(s) of interest, and talk with an academic advisor about your major map / sequencing of courses.
Spring / Summer
  • Identify a Global Education program offering through the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts
  • Identify core BIS courses that are taught abroad on your program(s) of interest, and talk with an academic advisor about your major map / sequencing of courses.
Year 2 Fall / Spring
  • Select one (or more) possible programs of interest, and talk to the Faculty Directors of those programs. Discuss future program dates and acceptance criteria.
  • Revisit core BIS courses that are taught abroad on your program(s) of interest, and talk with an academic advisor about your major map / sequencing of courses.
  • Consider possible scholarships, grants and other funding opportunities - plan ahead!
  • Consider family / work obligations and plan ahead in that regard as well.
Summer If you are interested in any upcoming semester-long, Fall, or Spring programs, now is the time to be sure you understand the application process and speak with the International Coordinator.
Year 3

Optimal year to participate in a Global Education program
Fall - Spring
  • Decide on programs of interest, and be sure to apply early, and follow up with the Faculty Director.
  • Many popular summer programs will be full by December - so apply early.
  • Know the deadlines for any other programs you may be interested in (when the application goes live, etc.).
  • Know which core courses you will receive credit for as part of your Global Education program of interest.
  • Complete a semester, winter break or spring break Global Education program.
Summer Complete a summer internship-based Global Education program if at all possible - many students find that the internship-based programs have the greatest “bang for your buck” in terms of future employability.
Year 4

Optimal year to participate in a Global Education program
Fall - Spring - Summer
  • If you have yet to participate in a Global Education program, many students will finish up their degree, “walk” in the Spring, and finish up their last two courses abroad on a summer program. That’s a great way to bring your undergraduate academic journey to an end.
  • Last chance to study or intern abroad! It will be the best investment in your future that you can make!

General Advice

General Advice

Advice from the College of Integrative Sciences & Arts

Typically, Global Education courses are best applied directly toward your upper division (300 or 400-level) major electives or several core courses in Interdisciplinary Studies, depending on your objectives. Generally, several BIS core courses are taught within the context of a Global Education Program including: BIS 401 Applied Study; BIS 402 Senior Seminar and sometimes BIS 302 Interdisciplinary Inquiry. Check with the Program Director of any programs you may be interested in for updated details on credits being offered.

Advice from the Global Education Office

  • Be sure to view the list of recommended steps for getting started on your study abroad journey.
  • Attend a Study Abroad 101 info session to get all the basic information from a GEO Student Recruiter on program types, eligibility, housing, finances, searching for and choosing a program and the application process. Discover times and locations.
  • Attend a Financing Your Global Education Program workshop to get information on program fees and deadlines, how financial aid can apply to Global Education programs, how to utilize community-based funding and tips on finding and applying for Global Education scholarships. Discover times and locations.

Meet With Your Academic Advisor

Meet With Your Academic Advisor

How to make an appointment

Key questions to ask

  • What are my remaining degree requirements?
  • How many upper-division credits do I still need to complete for my degree?
  • How many elective credits (lower vs. upper division) do I have left to complete my major?
  • What remaining prerequisites must I fulfill, and how will a Global Education program impact my progress?
  • Which of my remaining degree requirements could I complete abroad?  Are there any that I cannot take abroad?
  • Can I receive academic credit for an internship abroad?
  • Are there any in-residence requirements I need to be aware of before I go abroad?

Meet With the Global Education Office

Meet With the Global Education Office

Meeting with a Peer Advisor

Peer Advisors are ASU students who have participated in various types of programs and who are here to help you get started on a journey of your own!  They are prepared to help you understand the different types of programs offered, narrow down your program options, guide you on the application process, discuss program costs, and speak about student life abroad.

No appointments are necessary to meet with a Peer Advisor.

  • Stop by the Global Education Office anytime Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Contact a Peer Advisor by email  or Live Chat with them on the Global Education Office website.
  • Call a Peer Advisor at (480) 965-5965.

Meeting with an International Coordinator

Your International Coordinator can answer your questions about specific programs, can talk you through the application process, and can help you find funding resources for your particular program on the Global Education Office website. Your International Coordinator is happy to meet with you multiple times to answer your questions, and he/she would be glad to schedule meetings in person, by phone, or via Skype.

  • Find the name of your International Coordinator listed on the Global Education Office webpage for your program of interest.
  • Schedule an appointment online. Click on the International Coordinator name for your program of interest and follow the prompts to schedule your appointment.
  • Visit an International Coordinator during walk-in hours in Student Services Building, Room 278.

Key questions to ask the Global Education Office

  • What are the eligibility requirements for my program(s) or interest?
  • What is involved in the application for my program(s) of interest? Is admission to the program competitive?
  • How will I get ASU credit and grades for the courses I take abroad?
  • What courses are available on my program? How can I get courses approved for my program(s) of interest?
  • What is the cost of participating in my program(s) of interest? What do I need to consider in preparing an estimated budget for my program(s) of interest, and what expenses do I need to plan for upfront?
  • Where can I find more information about scholarships for Global Education programs?

Research Your Funding Options

Research Your Funding Options

Pursuing a global experience is an investment in your future. Like any other type of investment, it requires careful planning and management. However, the personal, academic, and professional rewards that you will gain from this experience will last a lifetime. You should carefully consider costs, budgets, and financing when selecting and preparing for your global experience.

Review Cost Sheet

You can find a Cost Sheet for your program on the Cost Info tab of the Global Education Office webpage for your program. The Cost Sheet will highlight the costs that are billed to your student account as well as additional estimated costs that are not billed to your student account but that you might expect to spend while participating. Be sure to note what expenses are included in the fees charged by the Global Education Office, and remember to budget additional money for airfare, passport and visa fees and personal expenses as needed since these are not included in any Program Fee.

Research Funding

Once you have reviewed the Cost Sheet for your program and are aware of the costs you might expect to spend on your program, you can begin to make a plan for financing your global education program. You can receive funding for your program through financial aid, scholarships and grants, and community-based fundraising efforts. We encourage you to:

  1. Speak to Financial Aid and Scholarship Services (FASS) about financial aid;
  2. Use our Scholarships and Grants page to search for general global education scholarships and scholarships that are unique to your program;
  3. Read the Community-Based Funding Guide for creative ways that past ASU students have funded their programs.

Financial Aid

We encourage you to speak to a Financial Aid Counselor, who can help you figure out how your financial aid might be applied to your global education program. Be sure to seek answers to the following questions from a Financial Aid Counselor:

  • How do loans work for my global education program? What kinds of aid/loans do I currently receive, and are there any restrictions on this aid if I participate on a GEO program?
  • Have I reached the maximum of (insert name of) loan allowed per academic year?
  • When will funds be released for my semester of participation?
  • How will additional scholarships impact my ASU financial aid?

Major-Specific Scholarships

Some CISA Global Education programs program offer scholarships that are available only to program participants. Check with your individual program to see if additional scholarship opportunities exist.

Community-Based Funding

Check out the Global Education Office website to learn more about community-based funding, including tips and tricks for crowd-source funding. There is funding out there… you just have to ask!

Attend Financing Workshop

Would you like help learning about your financing options? We offer Financing Your Global Education Program Workshops through fall and spring semesters. Join us to learn how to finance your global education program through financial aid, scholarships and grants, and community-based funding.

Helpful Links

Some of the most important qualities I’ve learned from my time abroad are flexibility, a greater sense of confidence and a greater sense of self-discovery. I’ve learned flexibility through my internship and navigating an intercultural environment. Furthermore, being in a foreign office has forced me to be able to adapt to changes as they occur and be comfortable in an uncomfortable environment. My self-confidence has increased because, coming here without knowing anyone or knowing if I would make friends was nerve-wracking, but I embraced my confidence and pushed myself beyond my comfort zones to meet everyone sharing this journey with me.
-Natalie Kilker 


I became more of a global citizen than I was before. I think living and working in a brand new culture was very eye-opening. It makes you see things from a different perspective. I am glad I went on this trip and learned so many lessons.
-Anastasiya Borunova


Throughout my study abroad program, I have had the opportunity to learn about myself personally as well as professionally. One of the main things that I have learned throughout this program is about pace. This program truly taught me to take a step back and slow down and live more in the moment. The most important lessons that I have learned throughout my program and as an intern include communication, organizational culture and motivation skills.
-Camille Johnson

Recommended Programs

Although Interdisciplinary Studies majors can participate in any ASU study abroad program, the College of Integrative Sciences & Arts recommends the following programs.

Program Type: Partnership
Available Terms: Summer
Country: Portugal
Unique Features: Learn what it takes to become a global entrepreneur and take part in a life-changing experience! The goal of this program is to go from an idea to a tech start-up in 15 days. The program is designed to offer students an experiential learning opportunity that affords deep insight into the real startup life. Porto, located along the Douro River estuary in northern Portugal, has public art is everywhere, from azulejos decorating metro stations to street art decorating medieval walls.
Program Type: Faculty-Directed
Available Terms: Post-Spring
Country: Jordan
Unique Features: This course and program provides a global immersion experience into one of the most socially-, culturally-, and historically-complex regions in the world – Jordan and the Middle East. Students will complement their prior knowledge in social entrepreneurship and sustainability with a hands-on learning experiences from NGOs, non-profits, and emerging entrepreneurs in Jordan.
Program Type: Faculty-Directed
Available Terms: Summer
Countries: Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania
Unique Features: Invest two weeks in the Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia this summer for an unparalleled adventure through medieval towns, spectacular natural landscapes, and deep insight into the future of digital culture, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation! Whether you’re interested in digital culture, leading edge technology and innovation, entrepreneurship and the start-up scene, venture capital, exploring exotic cultures, wandering medieval towns, or exploring magnificent natural landscapes, this program is a “must do” on your bucket list!
Program Type: Faculty-Directed
Available Terms: Summer
Country: Ireland
Unique Features: This seven week program is designed for ASU students of any major interested in participating in a powerful, individualized international internship in Dublin. One of the premier capital cities of Europe, Dublin is a historic and contemporary cultural center and Ireland’s hub for education, the arts, government, economy and industry. In addition to working four days per week, students will either enroll in a seminar-style course that focuses on Ireland's role in the global workplace or complete an independent research project.
Program Type: Global Intensive Experience
Available Terms: Post-Spring
Country: Dominican Republic
Unique Features: Join us in the Dominican Republic! Students on this program will connect with the Peace Corps community to get a "taste of the Peace Corps." They will help to implement ecologically sustainable projects in rural areas, engage with leaders working on community development projects, and participate in a site visit to a current Peace Corps Volunteer. Visit a Haitian batey and snorkel in blue waters. Students will write a project proposal based on their experience during Session B online.
Program Type: Partnership
Available Terms: Fall, Spring
Country: United Kingdom
Unique Features: Study and intern in London with CAPA internships available in businesses of every kind as well as nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations. Students who participate receive an unlimited Tube pass and work experience that provides strong professional and cultural foundations for the future.
Program Type: Partnership
Available Terms: Fall, Spring
Country: Australia
Unique Features: Internships are available in businesses of every kind, as well as nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations. Local staff visit each CAPA internship site, many of which are frequent recipients of CAPA interns. Students are placed in sites within commuting distance of the center that best meet their individual interests, abilities and academic background. Internship students are required to participate in a seminar series entitled "Learning through Internships." Faculty act as internship mentors to ensure that participants have academic guidance during their internships. An Opal card is included for transport throughout Sydney, on ferries, trains, buses and the light rail.




Key Contacts and Resources