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    BA in International Affairs


    Read more about this program on the institution's website

    Program Description

    Vesalius College’s Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs equips students with the broad-ranging tools and skills to understand, analyze and assess the most pressing issues in national and global politics.

    The interdisciplinary curriculum is built on the disciplines of politics, economics, law, and history and enables students to understand the complex dynamics, core debates, processes, institutions and major challenges of European and International Affairs. Students not only acquire the knowledge needed for a career in International Affairs but also develop strong analytical and critical thinking skills as well as the ability to apply theories and concepts learned to real-life problems. In addition to being taught by dedicated professors, students benefit from the first-hand experience of senior European and international policymakers, diplomats and practitioners. By drawing on world-class academics and highly-experienced policymakers, students gain fundamental insight into both the theoretical and practical, hands-on dimensions of politics, economics, and law. Prestigious internships at the offices of major Brussels-based institutions, NGOs and global think tanks complement and deepen the practical aspects of their studies.

    Career perspectives

    Our International Affairs graduates are prepared to succeed in various settings and organizations, including international organizations (such as the United Nations, EU, and NATO), ministries of foreign affairs, lobby organizations, NGOs and think tanks. Careers of our recent graduates include diplomacy, politics, research, European administration, political advising, and journalism.

    Vesalius graduates can continue their postgraduate studies in a wide range of fields, including in international relations, European studies, public policy, environmental law, international studies, migration studies, business administration, communications, leadership, and management. Our graduates who majored in International Affairs have successfully completed graduate studies in a number of prestigious universities including Oxford University, Columbia University, Brown University, the London School of Economics, the London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Georgetown University, the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, the University of Edinburgh, Boston University, and many more.

    Degree Structure

    To complete the International Affairs degree successfully at Vesalius College, a minimum of 180 ECTS is required. Most students complete the intense and rigorous study program within 3 years of admission to the college. Students are also encouraged to complete a Study Abroad semester at one of our partner universities overseas and take an internship via our prestigious internship program.

    The 180-ECTS degree program is divided into several different requirements. In general, Students start with the core curriculum, a set of courses that develop the relevant skills, knowledge, and abilities essential to the College’s distinctive undergraduate program.

    In addition to the core curriculum, students take major requirement courses. These courses are divided into politics, history, economics, and law.

    To give students the opportunity to develop areas of personal and professional interest, Vesalius College requires the completion of major electives and free electives. International Affairs students at Vesalius College may also choose a minor, regardless of their major. However, in order to obtain the ‘Minor’ classification, students must follow all four courses within that Minor.

    The capstone course is offered during the final semester of a student’s major and provides an invaluable opportunity to make full use of all of the knowledge acquired during their degree to a real-life problem. Utilizing the College’s unique access to Brussels-based policy circles and international organizations, the award-winning International Affairs Capstone course allows students to students spend a semester as close policy advisors to a high-ranking diplomat on a highly-relevant foreign policy issue. The course is valuable as students are entrusted with real-life case studies just as they enter the final semester of their Bachelor’s degree and gain a first experience of working life. The course, which won the 2013 LISBOAN Award for Outstanding Teaching (awarded by a network of over 60 top universities), gives students indispensable insight into the functioning of the EU as well as critical skills that will be valuable in their future careers.


    Core Courses 

    • Introduction to Academic Writing & Critical Thinking
    • Global Ethics
    • Introduction to Statistics
    • Global Ethics, Leadership, and Personal Development I
    • Intermediate Qualitative Research Methods
    • Intermediate Quantitative Research Methods
    • Global Ethics, Leadership and Personal Development II

    Major Requirements 

    • Introduction to Economics
    • Global History since 1945
    • Introduction to International and European Law
    • Global Politics
    • Introduction to Comparative Regional Studies
    • Macroeconomic Policy
    • International Relations between the Wars
    • Regional History of International Relations: Africa
    • Regional History of International Relations: Asia
    • Humanitarian Law
    • Theories of International Relations
    • Comparative Political Systems
    • Advanced International Relations Theories
    • Capstone in International Affairs
    • BA Thesis in International Affairs – Seminar I (Advanced Research Methods)
    • BA Thesis in International Affairs – Seminar II (Senior Seminar)

    Major Electives 

    Students should take four major electives.

    Should students wish, major electives may also be taken from the following:

    • History of Genocide
    • The EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy
    • Understanding Contemporary Conflicts in Europe and Beyond
    • Ethnic Conflict, Reconciliation and Post-War Reconstruction
    • Global Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism and (De-) Radicalisation
    • European Union Politics
    • The EU’s Approach to Democratisation and Human Rights
    • International Organisations and Global Governance
    • The United Nations and Global Governance
    • An Introduction to the Modern Middle East
    • US Foreign Policy to the Middle East
    • Russian Foreign Policy
    • Contemporary Political Debates
    • Political Theory for International Affairs
    • International Political Economy
    • NATO and Transatlantic Approaches to Security
    • The EU and Military Approaches to Security
    • International Approaches to State-Building, Reform and Good Governance
    • European and Global Governance of Migration
    • Policies in the European Union
    • The Government and Politics of Global Powers
    • Global Economic Governance
    • Environmental Law
    • International Banking Law and Financial Regulation
    • Competition Law
    • Comparative Constitutional Law
    • Intellectual Property Law
    • European Organisations
    • International Commercial Arbitration
    • Introduction to International and European Law
    • Introduction to Legal principles and Theories
    • Legal Aspects of Migration
    • Global Politics
    • Advanced Business Law
    • EU Constitutional Law
    • Legal Analysis, Research & Writing
    • Human Rights
    • Law of the EU Internal Market
    • Global Practice of Corporate Communication & Public Relations
    • Marketing Communication & Advertising in a Global Context
    • Internship

    Free Electives 

    Students also choose three free electives from any of the Bachelor-level courses offered by Vesalius College or one of its partner institutions previously mentioned.

    For example, students may choose courses within their major, another major, or outside the curriculum of all majors (i.e. language courses).

    Learning Objectives

    • The bachelor has a profound knowledge of the main actors and the main processes in European and global/international affairs and is able to apply this knowledge in the current international affairs.
    • The bachelor has a demonstrable insight into the theoretical and historical frameworks in the academic literature on international affairs. S/he is able to apply these frameworks in order to understand and interpret the current processes and dynamics in international affairs.
    • The bachelor has insight into the broad societal context and is able to take this societal context into account in the analysis and interpretation of current problems in international affairs.
    • The bachelor knows and is able to apply common qualitative and quantitative research methods and is able to apply these in the field of international affairs.
    • The bachelor has an open and academic attitude, characterized by accuracy, critical reflection and academic curiosity.
    • The bachelor is able to apply a multi-disciplinary perspective in his analysis of international affairs.
    • The bachelor is able to work in a multi-cultural team.
    • The bachelor recognizes the importance of life-long learning.
    • The bachelor is able to communicate clearly, fluently and accurately; as well in a written report as in an oral presentation.
    • The bachelor is able to include ethical judgments in his analysis of current problems in international affairs and assesses the impact of these ethical judgments on the Solutions proposed for current international affairs.
    Last updated Nov 2020

    About the School

    Vesalius College is one of the few higher education institutions in Brussels that offers European-focused Bachelor’s degrees solely taught in the English language. Founded in 1987 by the Vrije Univers ... Read More

    Vesalius College is one of the few higher education institutions in Brussels that offers European-focused Bachelor’s degrees solely taught in the English language. Founded in 1987 by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Boston University, Vesalius College offers American-style education that includes small classes, low student-teacher ratios and participatory classroom experiences. Vesalius College takes full advantage of its location in the Capital of Europe with guest lectures from European policymakers, diplomats, business leaders, journalists and other experts. With a diverse student body drawn from all corners of the globe (50 + nationalities), Vesalius College provides an enriching academic and cultural experience. Read less