BAIS Major Layout & Checklists

BAIS Major Layout

Functional Tracks (Click the links to view the checklists for each track.)
Environment and Development (ENV) 
Environmental concerns were, for many years, regarded as local or national issues. However, problems such as water and food security, ozone depletion, and climate change must be addressed through a global perspective. Whereas defining the science underpinning these issues has been relatively straightforward, achieving consensus on remediation or prevention has been a different matter.

The Environment and Development track is designed to equip students to develop a critical appreciation of global environmental issues, both from the point of view of the science underpinning these issues and the longer-term social, economic, and political implications of decisions made by local and global actors.

Global Politics and Societies (GPS)

The political world today comprises nearly 200 nation states varying greatly in size, military and economic power, and foreign policy objectives. These states, though legally sovereign, function in the context of a growing body of international norms and rules, and participate in a variety of organizations, both global and regional in scope. Adding to the complexity of international relations, the governments of these many states reflect a wide diversity of political philosophies, cultures, and leadership styles. These manifold differences pose a constant challenge to the maintenance of global peace and harmony and to the security and well being of the world’s citizens.

The Global Politics and Societies track seeks to provide students with a deep understanding of the manifold forces at work in today’s world. Students analyze international relations, the foreign policy behavior of states, and the role of international law and organizations. Students also explore the influence of divergent political cultures on contemporary international relations, both globally and regionally.

International Economics (IEC)

Why are some countries so rich and why have many remained so desperately poor? Has globalization helped the rich and hurt the poor? What is the effect of outsourcing? Should we restrict international trade and investments or should we embrace globalization and push for free trade, capital flows, and liberalized marginalization? These are some of the questions that confront every person in the world. These questions are often the root causes of international conflict but they may also be resolved to mutual benefit of the contracting parties.

Students who choose the International Economics track will study these issues, look at the empirical data, and learn about answers economists have to these questions. This track provides a solid foundation in the economic side of international studies.

Peace and Conflict Studies (PCS)

One of the most pressing realities in the world today is the persistence of violence and conflict. Disputes between and within nations are caused by weapons proliferation, international terrorism, economic inequality, religious differences, history and power disparities. Yet, there are domestic and international institutions that work to achieve conflict transformation and promote peace through human rights regimes. Students will consider the role of social movements and  revolutionary ideas to learn how ordinary people have changed the course of the world.

Students are taught to think critically, to examine and incorporate conflicting perspectives, and to debate broader principles underlying attitudes towards peace and conflict. In short, students learn the tools necessary to become engaged global citizens who can contribute directly or indirectly to peace and justice in the world.

Culture, Societies and Values (CSV)

This track applies a broad, cross-cultural perspective to the examination of life in contemporary societies. It explores alternative ways of viewing the world and cultural productions (e.g., art, language, music, religion), and by doing so, encourages a closer examination of our own values and assumptions. By exploring the complex interplay between cultural, economic, political, religious, and social realities, at both the global and local level, we can also better understand the forces that shape (and often constrain) the choices people and societies make everyday. 

The Culture, Societies and Values track aims to produce a greater awareness of and appreciation for the diversity of peoples, cultures, religions, and beliefs that make up our world, expand students’ “cultural literacy” about the problems and possibilities we face together as human beings, and enhance students’ ability to think critically about human behavior, both the sources of people’s power, resilience, and ability to bring about change and the cultural and structural forces that constraint their behavior.

Regional Minors
African Studies (AFRS) Checklist
Africa is a continent of contrasts.  The media focus on Africa’s ongoing conflicts can obscure the inspiring stories of peace and reconciliation. Pressing needs for poverty alleviation overshadow rising economic growth rates in many countries. As we enter the 21st century, there is not one Africa, but many.  The African Studies Minor challenges students to explore the complex causes of the continent’s economic, political, social, and environmental problems, while also discovering the diversity of ethnic, linguistic, religious, and social traditions that have informed the rich cultural heritage of contemporary Africa.

Through coursework in the humanities, social sciences, and languages and study abroad and internship opportunities, students deepen their knowledge of colonialism in Africa and its legacies on the history, politics, economies, and cultures of African people.

Asian Studies (ANST) Checklist

Asia is a dominant force, comprising 57% of the world's population. In San Francisco alone, 32% of the city's population is Asian, providing numerous resources for the study of Asian culture and society. More than half of US global trade is with countries of Asia (as well as over 70% of the US trade deficit!). Asian nations will be in the vanguard of economic, political, and especially technological changes in the coming decades and is the source for some of the world's most significant and long-lasting philosophical, religious, and spiritual ideas.

This minor integrates many different academic disciplines and perspectives into a holistic sense of Asian culture and society. Introductory courses in Asian history, humanities and social sciences provide a foundation upon which to add more advanced and specialized courses. An awareness of diverse perspectives, including those of people who may be marginalized or adversely affected by the forces of advanced capitalism in Asia are especially emphasized.

European Studies (EURO) Checklist

Divided for decades by a so-called "Iron Curtain", Europe has, since 1989 and the collapse of the Berlin Wall, achieved a remarkable degree of political consensus. Just beneath the surface of political tranquility, however, are fears of a revival of extremist political philosophies, and backlash against non-European migrants. Furthermore, a true European "identity" remains elusive given, continued assertions of national sovereignty by some European states and recent crisis in the European monetary union.

The European Studies minor is an inter-disciplinary approach towards achieving a better understanding of today's Europe and its place in the world. In addition, the program strongly encourages students to enroll in a semester abroad program, study tour, or internship program in Europe to acquire experience and knowledge of European society.

Latin American Studies (LAS) Checklist
The increasing economic, political, ecological, technological and demographic integration of the Americas, as well as the significant presence of Latinos in the United States, have created a critical demand for professionals who have a comprehensive understanding of Latin America and its historical relationship with the United States. As commercial integration and cultural dissemination intensify in the 21st Century, an appreciation of the social, cultural, political and economic realities of Latin America becomes essential. 

The Latin American Studies minor prepares students for a global and transnational "America," by providing sophisticated, hands-on, innovative courses. With its emphasis on interdisciplinary and comparative studies and on gaining second-language proficiency, the Program enables students to understand the historical, cultural, economic, political and social conditions that have shaped contemporary Latin America.

Middle Eastern Studies (MES) Checklist
The minor introduces students to the historical, religious, and political trends that have shaped the Middle East. Drawing upon diverse and comparative perspectives, the minor facilitates a broad understanding of the Middle East that takes into account the complexity and richness of the region. The minor enables students to understand the historical contributions of the Middle East to human civilization and the importance of the Middle East to international politics today.

The Middle East is the origin of the world's earliest civilizations and of three of the world's major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The Middle East has also produced many of the world's finest achievements in architecture, art, mathematics, medicine, philosophy, science, theology, law, and literature. A balanced and informed understanding of the region is especially useful to students interested in seeking careers in diplomacy, education, foreign service, grassroots organizing, and international relations.