BA in European Studies

European Studies is a major offered by the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies to students enrolled in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Boston University’s European Studies Program combines a unifying regional focus with a multidisciplinary approach, enabling students to bring together courses that develop their language skills; social, historical, and cultural knowledge; and political, economic, and international relations expertise. The 10-course interdisciplinary major draws on the resources of 13 College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) departments and on Boston University Study Abroad programs in Europe. Students study Europe’s cultural heritage; its political, economic, military, and religious histories; its literature, music, film, and philosophy; as well as its emergence and development as a new kind of international form through the European Union.

The breadth of the European Studies major enables students to pursue a variety of career paths. These include but are not limited to roles in government, law, business, education, and the arts.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate substantive interdisciplinary knowledge of legal, political, economic, social, cultural, and historical factors influencing European studies.
  • Display an in-depth understanding of an important functional subfield of the discipline and a major geographical region of the world.
  • Conduct theoretically informed and empirically based analysis of real-world conditions and events and present the results of that analysis persuasively in written and oral forms.


BU Hub General Education

All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in European Studies will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Diversity, Civic Engagement, and Global Citizenship, as well as some requirements in Philosophical, Aesthetic and Historical Interpretation, Scientific and Social Inquiry, Communication, and the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, cocurricular experiences.

Major Requirements

The major in European Studies requires ten 4-credit, nonlanguage principal courses, as well as knowledge (written and spoken) of a European language other than English through at least the sixth-semester level. The principal courses will be distributed across the humanities and the social sciences.

Ten Principal Courses

  • Nine courses chosen from the following lists. At least four courses must be Humanities courses and at least four must be Social Science courses.
  • One multidisciplinary capstone course, usually taken in the senior year.

Students must earn a grade of C or higher in all courses for the major. Three of these 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. It is recommended that students take courses covering at least two European countries. Although the focus of the European Studies major is on the modern and contemporary period (18th–21st centuries), students may choose to substitute up to two courses from the Middle Ages through the 17th century, with approval of the Pardee School Associate Dean of Studies or the Director of the Center for the Study of Europe.

Required Related Language Courses

Knowledge (written and spoken) of a European language other than English through at least the sixth-semester level is required of all European Studies majors. In French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish, this requirement may be satisfied by successful completion of two 300-level language courses (or their equivalents abroad) or by demonstration of equivalent proficiency. For other languages, please consult with an advisor.

Required Related Language Courses

The major is designed to accommodate and encourage study in Europe through Boston University’s Study Abroad programs.

Honors in the Major

Honors in the European Studies major within the Pardee School may be earned by completing two semesters of independent senior honors work (CAS IR 401/402) and presenting an original research paper (thesis) in written and oral form to a committee of faculty readers. The committee will consider both the thesis and the result of the oral examination to determine whether the student will receive honors in the major. A grade of B+ or better in each semester of CAS IR 401/402 is also required for the award of honors. CAS IR 401 carries one of each of the following Hub units: Writing-Intensive, Critical Thinking, and Research & Information Literacy. CAS IR 402 carries one unit in Writing-Intensive and a unit in Oral and/or Signed Communication. Students are required to attend structured workshops in the fall and spring related to each of these competencies. The research and writing is conducted under the guidance of a faculty advisor who will serve as the instructor of record for CAS IR 401/402. In consultation with their faculty advisor, students are also required to complete cocurricular activities that expand their understanding of their research topic. European Studies majors may earn principal course credit for CAS IR 401 and 402.

Admission to the European Studies Honors program requires a 3.50 cumulative and 3.60 major grade point average, at the time of application. To learn more about the application process, please visit the Pardee School of Global Studies website. Interested students should contact their Academic Advisor to discuss ideas for research and faculty advisors. Students typically apply for the Honors program in the spring of their junior year. Effective fall 2022, students may not simultaneously study abroad and participate in the Honors program.