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European Studies Minor

Students from any college may choose an undergraduate minor in European studies. Through an interdisciplinary curriculum that you can mold to your interests, you’ll have the opportunity to explore Europe’s past, present, and future and demonstrate a knowledge of European languages, culture, history, politics, and international relations. The minor offers the chance to take courses across colleges on subjects that shape your understanding of a globalizing world, while also providing you with an area of expertise. You will gain critical thinking skills, language abilities, and helpful frameworks for assessing today’s most pressing issues in Europe and around the world.

The requirements for the minor range from five to seven courses depending on the level of language proficiency already achieved. A list of potential courses for the minor can be found here. *This list is not comprehensive. Students may petition for the acceptance of courses that meet the requirements listed below.

  1. Completion of a core course – One of several courses can be selected to serve as the core course for the minor. These courses have a Europe-wide focus, and provide a general survey of European history, society, politics, or culture. Examples of core courses that are routinely offered are: Inside Europe (GOVT 2553), The Making of Modern Europe, from 1500 to the Present (HIST 1511), Politics of the European Union (GOVT 3437), Nineteenth and Twentieth Century European Thought (PHIL 2240), The History of Science in Europe: Newton to Darwin; Darwin to Einstein (STS 1942).
  2. Competency in a European Language – Competence can be demonstrated by completing a third-semester course (even if you have tested out of the first two), successfully passing a competency exam, or by being a native speaker of a European language. Students who pass the competency exam or are native speakers will have to substitute one additional course to reach the minimum five-course requirement.
    • Languages taught at Cornell that meet the IES requirement include Ancient Greek, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Yiddish.
  3. Completion of 3 elective courses – These electives are courses on more narrowly defined Europe-related topics in disciplines including: History, Government, Sociology, Anthropology, Comparative Literature, English, Architecture, History of Art and Visual Studies, Classics, Music, Philosophy, Industrial and Labor Relations, Science and Technology Studies. We encourage students to use their electives to explore Europe-related interests that go beyond their chosen major field of study.

Interested in learning other languages? Check out the list of available language courses offered across the University.

Undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences can major in European Studies through the independent major or the College Scholar Program. 

Already completed the requirements of the minor? Let us know at ies@cornell.edu.
Schedule an individual advising session.