About Us

In the School of World Studies we explore what it means to be human.

Using anthropology, foreign languages, international studies and religious studies, we investigate the depth and breadth of the human experience so that we can address the challenges we face as global citizens.

All World Studies disciplines begin with basic questions about humanity:

  • Who are we?
  • Where did we come from?
  • What do we believe?
  • How do we communicate and negotiate meaning?
  • What is our responsibility as world citizens?

Each program uses a different academic approach to answer these questions, but all School of World Studies students are empowered to gain a deeper understanding of humanity, a meaningful sense of belonging and the knowledge and skills to succeed in all aspects of life and contribute to a world that is safe, inclusive, healthy and generous for all.


The anthropology program champions a holistic and comparative approach to the study of humanity in the broadest sense. We are committed to the scientific understanding of our common humanity, as well as the informed appreciation of our cultural and historical diversity. Students are trained in all of the anthropological subdisciplines:

  • sociocultural anthropology: the study of contemporary cultures and societies
  • archaeology: the study of material remains related to human behavior
  • anthropological linguistics: the study of language in its social context as it relates to structuring thought and perception
  • biological anthropology: the study of human biological origins and the intersection of human biology and culture

a smiling v.c.u. student

a v.c.u. student talking

Foreign Language

The foreign language program offers:

  • concentrations in French, German, Spanish and dual languages
  • additional minors in Italian studies and Russian studies
  • opportunities in Arabic and Chinese

Our language programs not only provide written and oral communications skills but a deep understanding of culture and history. As a result, our graduates gain the true cultural fluency and competency necessary to succeed in diverse, international and multidisciplinary environments. Learning a language opens up numerous opportunities and experiences both professionally and personally. Being able to speak another language makes it possible to work in different countries and with different people.

Spanish-English Translation and Interpretation

The Spanish-English translation and interpretation certificate (SETI) program is Virginia’s only certificate program in Spanish-English Translation. The SETI program combines translation and interpreting theory with applied practice as students use their translation and interpretation skills in a variety of community settings and a specialized SETI internship. Graduates learn the skills necessary to be successful language professionals through the study of

  • linguistics
  • translation and interpreting theory
  • research methods
  • cultural mediation
  • computer-assisted translation tools
  • simultaneous interpretation
  • consecutive interpretation
  • sight translation

a smiling v.c.u. student

a v.c.u. student

International Studies

The international studies program uses an interdisciplinary approach to examining global issues in order to foster engaged world citizens equipped with communication skills and intercultural perspectives. Our coursework helps students understand, diversify, connect and respect different cultures from around the world. We take a grassroots approach to global issues in order to foster the genuine empathy needed to work with a community. Concentrations and minors in international studies include

  • international social justice studies
  • Latin American studies
  • world cinema
  • Middle Eastern and Islamic studies
  • Italian studies
  • Russian studies

All of these opportunities build upon the study of language, and include at least a second year college level proficiency in a foreign language.

Religious Studies

The religious studies program is a far-reaching interdisciplinary subject utilizing diverse methodologies to analyze world religions, human spirituality and religious phenomena. Our curriculum includes the major global traditions as well as newly emerging spiritualities and belief systems. We explore the artistic, ethical, historical, psychological and social dimensions of religions, as well as the influence of religions on sexuality, gender, race, health, ecology, public policy and social justice. Religious studies majors develop strong analytic, communication and creative skills useful in an increasingly globalized economy where more and more people with different beliefs are coming together. We promote critical thinking, informed conversation and real-world learning.

a laughing v.c.u. student

Come learn with us about what it means to be human.

A World Studies global citizen is someone who is curious about their place in the world, and is ready to get involved in their local, national and global communities.