Commonwealth Honors College and the International Programs Office co-sponsor the International Scholars Program (ISP) which allows qualified students to integrate international studies coursework and study abroad during their undergraduate years. ISP is highly competitive, admitting approximately 15 to 20 students each year. Participants must be able to commit three consecutive years to the program.
Application Deadline: March 9, 2018
Goals of ISP
- To prepare students for the study abroad experience
- To foster in them an appreciation for cultures other than their own
- To provide an understanding of the international system and America’s place in it
- To help students engage in international research and complete an honors thesis or project based on their overseas experience
- To assist students in acquiring the knowledge and skills they will need to meet the challenges of an increasingly interconnected world
How does ISP achieve these goals?
- Through the study-abroad experience
- Through the ISP curriculum, which is designed to help students to see the global in everyday life and to approach all subjects from an international perspective
- By making use of the university’s international resources
- By building a community of scholars—from sophomores to seniors—who are interested in global issues and who share similar overseas experiences
Honors 251, “International Issues Seminar,” 3 credits
This is the required entry course for ISP. Its purpose is to provide students who will be studying abroad with a theoretical and practical understanding of the international system that will enable them to evaluate critically events on the national, regional and international levels. Students will explore this topic through class readings and discussions, presentations by guest speakers drawn from the UMass faculty, and independent research into a global issue that is relevant to the country where they hope to study.
Honors 252, “Cross-Cultural Preparation Seminar,” 3 credits
This intercultural communication seminar is the second of three required courses for ISP. It is designed to help students prepare for their study abroad experience by exploring the role that culture plays in both facilitating and hindering communication. It encourages students to see themselves as members of one or more cultural group and to anticipate what it will be like living, working and communicating in a new cultural environment. The seminar pays particular attention to the ethical issues that surround crossing cultural boundaries.
Together Honors 251 and 252 satisfy a 4-credit SB/G General Education requirement.
Students study abroad for one or two semesters, anywhere in the world, on any program, so long as it has been approved by the International Programs Office (IPO). Visit the IPO website for a list of possible programs.
Students complete the program by taking one of the following courses:
Honors 451, “Cross-Cultural Re-entry Seminar and ISP Project,” 3 credits
This final seminar encourages returning ISP seniors to reflect on their experiences abroad. It explores a number of cross-cultural issues in light of the seminar’s collective experience. Cultural relativism and the challenges of cross-cultural ethical judgment; the construction of personal and national identities; the understanding and portrayal of people from cultures other than one’s own; and the promises and problems of globalization are some of the issues considered. Each student completes a final project based on his or her overseas experience that forms the core of the seminar.
Honors 499L, “International Thesis Seminar,” 4 credits
This research seminar is for ISP seniors who wish to complete an honors thesis or project based on their overseas experiences. It therefore provides an alternative ending to the regular ISP course sequence by adding a more extensive research component to the program. Students enrolled in Honors 499L will continue as regular members of ISP. They will attend all sessions of Honors 451 and follow its syllabus, but with an important exception: the projects they design and begin to work on as part of Honors 499L will extend into a second semester, as an individual 499T or 499P, and once completed, will satisfy the requirements for an honors thesis or project. To accomplish this, the seminar will meet for an additional 50-minute session each week.
Benefits of ISP
- Individualized advising on the integration of study abroad with honors requirements
- Small seminars with a dedicated group of students and faculty
- Integration into a network of past and future ISP graduates
- $750.00 award per semester for study abroad
Who can participate in ISP?
- Any member of Commonwealth Honors College in good academic standing
- Non-honors students who maintain a GPA of 3.4 or above will be considered on a space available basis
How do I apply?
- Students usually apply during the spring semester of their first year
- The process begins with an information session that is held in late February or early March. The session is not a requirement, but provides a good opportunity for interested students to ask questions about the program.
- Applications are due in early April
- Interviews are conducted during the last two weeks of April
- Final decisions are announced before the end of the semester
What is the difference between the International Scholars Program and the ISP Certificate?
ISP is a program involving three core courses and a semester of study abroad. To receive the ISP Certificate, students must complete ISP as well as a "supplemental curriculum" of three additional courses. Students who choose to complete the certificate work closely with the ISP director to design a supplemental curriculum that is tailored to meet their particular needs and interests. Visit International Scholars Program Undergraduate Certificate for more information.
Madalina Akli, Ph.D.
313 Commonwealth Honors College
University of Massachusetts Amherst
157 Commonwealth Avenue
Tel: (413) 577-2613