European Studies Major

Students majoring in European Studies specialize in one of three tracks:

In addition to five courses in their track of specialization, and two in each of the other two tracks, all European Studies majors are required to take an interdisciplinary capstone seminar, to attain significant proficiency in a European language other than English, and to complete a complementary minor (or second major) in a related social science or humanities discipline.


Ten Principal Courses

  • Five courses, covering at least two countries, in the track of specialization
  • Two courses from each of the two remaining tracks (total of four courses)
  • An interdisciplinary capstone course, usually taken in the senior year

A grade of C or higher must be obtained in all courses. Three of the 10 principal courses must be at an advanced level (400 or above). No more than five of the courses may be in a single discipline. Although the focus of the European Studies major is on the modern and contemporary periods (eighteenth–twenty-first centuries), one or two courses from the Middle Ages through the seventeenth century may be substituted in any track.

A minimum of five courses for the major must be taken in the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS). With advisor approval, up to five courses taken in Europe (with the exception of internships) may be applied toward the requirements for the major.

If you are majoring in two College of Arts & Sciences majors, you can double-count five classes between the two majors. You can double-count two classes between a major and a minor.

Language Proficiency

Written and spoken knowledge of a European language other than English is required of all European Studies majors. The six-semester or equivalent requirement may be satisfied by successful completion of language requirements below (or their equivalents abroad) or demonstration of equivalent proficiency in another European language.

  • French: one language course numbered 304 or higher
  • German: two language courses numbered LG 303 or higher
  • Italian: one language course numbered LI 304 or higher
  • Modern Greek: two courses numbered CG 350 or higher
  • Russian: one language course numbered LR 304 or higher
  • Portuguese: please consult with Prof. Bianconi
  • Spanish: two language courses numbered LS 303 or higher
  • Turkish: please consult with Prof. Micallef

Required Complementary Minor or Second Major

All students majoring in European Studies are required to complete a minor or, preferably, a second major, in one of the following related humanities or social sciences disciplines: English, History, History of Art & Architecture, International Relations, Modern Languages & Comparative Literature, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, Romance Studies, or Sociology. Requirements of a double major can be accomplished in four years with careful planning.

Study Abroad

A wealth of annual course offerings in 11 CAS departments make it possible to complete all requirements for the European Studies major without leaving Boston. However, the major is designed to accommodate and encourage study in Europe through Boston University programs in England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland. For more information, please visit BU Study Abroad.