International Studies

Follow your passion for International Studies

The International Studies major is a rigorous program that’s unique in that it draws its faculty from several different departments to create a truly interdisciplinary curriculum. Students develop an in-depth understanding of major themes in international relations, current global issues, recent world history and modern cultures and societies. They also gain analytical skills suited for the study of other societies and international issues. In this era of globalization, a major in International Studies provides a competitive edge in the job market and enables success in numerous professions.

In the course of study, students gain expertise on a particular region of the world and develop a thematic concentration from wide-ranging fields, such as international development and migration, human rights and law, diplomacy and foreign affairs, international business and commerce, literature, religion, popular culture and the fine arts. This adaptability makes for innovative, interesting and career-flexible graduates.

Additional Information
Learn More


With more than 100 co-curricular opportunities, including organizations relating to academic majors, national honorary and professional societies, student and residence hall government, interest groups and recreational interests, there’s something for everyone.

Loras provides a variety of opportunities for you to get involved in the Loras Community from the moment you set foot on campus! From your first year through your senior year, we have designed programs focused on providing educational and social experiences for each student. These programs will help you develop organization, problem-solving and collaboration skills along with making your Loras experience the best time of your life.

There are more than 100 co-curricular opportunities, including organizations relating to academic majors, national honorary and professional societies, student government, special interest groups and recreational interests.

If you can’t find a student organization that interests you, we’ll help you start up your own!

+ Read more


From clubs and organizations to theater productions, concerts, athletic events, musical performances, intercultural programs, spiritual opportunities, there is so much for students to choose from.

Loras College provides a stimulating social climate for the campus and allows students to enjoy a diverse array of programs and entertainment.

On any given night of the week, students can enjoy a number of social opportunities. From clubs and organizations to theater productions, athletic events, musical performances, intercultural programs and spiritual opportunities, there is so much for students to choose from. In addition, the College Activities Board provides a variety of entertainment including: comedians, game shows, coffeehouses and concerts every weekend.

In addition, the College Activities Board provides a variety of entertainment including: comedians, game shows, coffeehouses and concerts every weekend.

+ Read more
Major Requirements

Division of Philosophical, Religious, Theological, Social & Cultural Studies
Richard Anderson, Ph.D., Chair

International Studies is an interdisciplinary major at Loras College. Its mission is to develop in its majors an appreciation of the recent history, cultural traditions, and political, economic and social institutions of other societies; an in-depth understanding of the nature of conflict and collaboration in the world arena, including global problems and different strategies for solving them; and analytical skills suited for the interdisciplinary study of other societies and international issues. The faculty members teaching in the International Studies program believe that as globalization increasingly affects the life and work of all citizens, knowledge taught and intellectual skills and dispositions cultivated in this program are not only essential for the students who plan to pursue careers in international affairs, but also important for students who will enter other professions.

Requirements for the major in International Studies (B.A.):
An International Studies major shall choose a concentration consisting of three electives and a thesis. Two of these electives shall be courses that give a student solid knowledge of a geographic area (such as Africa, East Asia, Europe, or Latin America), and the third one shall be a global thematic course (such as International Politics, Global Inequality, or International Trade). The thesis shall deal with the chosen geographic area and the theme of the chosen global thematic course. A semester of study abroad may be used to satisfy part of the concentration requirement.

Students should contact the Program Coordinator for a list of approved electives.

Req Course Cr’s
1   L.POL-121: Issues in Global Politics 3
2   L.ECO-222: Principles of Macroeconomics 3
3   L.INS-489: Senior Seminar 3
Select one from Req 4
4   L.SOC-272: Global Inequality-AC 3
4   L.HIS-175: Themes in World History 3
4   Elective: One course from L.SPA-210+ 3
5   Elective: Approved course from the I.S. Committee 3
6   Elective: Approved course from the I.S. Committee 3
7   Elective: Approved course from the I.S. Committee 3
8   Elective: Approved course from the I.S. Committee 3
9   Elective: Approved course from the I.S. Committee 3
10   Elective: Approved course from the I.S. Committee 3
30 total required credits

Requirements for the minor in International Studies:

Req Course Cr’s
Select one from Req 1
1   L.POL-121: Issues in Global Politics 3
2   Elective: Approved course from the I.S. Committee 3
3   Elective: Approved course from the I.S. Committee 3
4   Elective: Approved course from the I.S. Committee 3
5   Elective: Approved course from the I.S. Committee 3
6   Elective: Approved course from the I.S. Committee 3
18 total required credits

Study abroad
Majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad. With prior approval of the International Studies Committee, courses taken abroad will be eligible for transfer to Loras and credited toward the major if passed with the grade of C or better. For further information, visit the Center for Experiential Learning.

Course Descriptions

L.INS-489: Senior Seminar
A thesis-preparation seminar culminating in a public defense on a topic derived from the student’s concentration. Students are expected to develop a research paper that contributes to the literature. 3 credits.

L.INS-494: Internship in International Studies
Students are encouraged to participate in internships that expose them to the nature and variety of internationally-related careers. Such internships include working as an intern in a governmental or nongovernmental organization involved in international matters or a business organization with international exposure, work organized as part of studies abroad, and research and campus activities at Loras College. Proposal and credits are to be arranged in consultation with the Director of the International Studies Program. Junior and senior standing.

RELATED COURSES: Economics, History, Politics, Sociology

Career Opportunities

After receiving your degree from Loras, your career could take off into one of these fields:

  • International Development Agencies
  • Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs
  • International Business and Financial Services
  • Tourism
  • Public Relations
  • Telecommunications
  • International Education Services, Research, and Teaching
  • Public Policy and Non-Governmental Organizations
Loras College Department Staff

Kristin Anderson-Bricker, Ph.D.
Professor of History
563.588.7403 |
Curriculum Vitae

Kristin Anderson-Bricker completed a doctorate at Syracuse University in United States social and cultural history with specialties in race, gender and social movements. Upon graduation in 1997, she accepted a position at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. Anderson-Bricker teaches topical courses covering American history from the late nineteenth century through to the present. She also teaches on the American West, Native Americans in the Upper Mississippi River Valley, Women’s History, sexuality, African Americans and historical methods (research and teaching).

She is currently at work on a book manuscript, Going Beyond the Rules: Catholic Young Adults Making Sexual Decisions, designed to initiate between students a conversation about sex to assist them in determining the values they want to apply to their choices about sex.

Her service work has focused on diversity initiatives including committee chair responsibilities, gender equity and a civil discourse initiative (DuTalk). Anderson-Bricker has directed the Honors Program and served on many committees including Rank and Tenure, Faculty Senate and First Year Experience. In addition to serving on the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association’s travel grant committee and assessing manuscripts for the State Historical Society of Iowa, she has served the profession as a program reviewer for the National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities Iowa, Dubuque County Historical Society and Effigy Mounds National Monument.

Richard Anderson, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
563.588.7177 |

Christopher Budzisz, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Politics
Division Chair of Philosophical, Theological, Social, & Cultural Studies
563.588.7279 |

Professor Budzisz joined the Loras College Politics program in 2000, with a teaching emphasis on constitutional law, American government and institutions and political philosophy, as well as elections and political behavior. As a 2007 Fulbright Scholar, Budzisz taught in the International Relations Faculty at Chernivtsi National University in Chernivtsi, Ukraine. His research interests center around constitutional law, political thought and public policy. He has been published in PS: Political Science and Politics, and in the edited volume Engaging the Public: How Government and the Media Can Reinvigorate American Democracy.

Beyond his teaching and research interests, Budzisz is director and coach of the Loras College Moot Court program. He is also a past winner of the Mike and Linda Budde Excellence in Teaching Award. Professor Budzisz serves as the Director of the Loras College Poll, a bi-partisan public opinion survey focused on politics and society that was launched spring 2014

Roman Ciapalo, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy
563.588.7434 |

Roman T. Ciapalo, Ph.D. (Loyola University Chicago) has taught at Loras College since 1982. He has offered a variety of courses, including Ancient Philosophy, Contemporary Philosophy, and Philosophy of the Human Person, but in recent years has concentrated on teaching a variety of applied ethics courses, among them, Business Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Media Communication Ethics, and Ethics in Sports.

His research interests include the philosophy of Gregory Skovoroda (18thcentury Ukrainian philosopher) and the intersection of Catholic Social Teaching with issues in sports and athletics. He has published one book and several articles, and has served as translator/editor of Ukrainian-language translations of two business ethics textbooks. He also serves as Faculty Advisor to the Loras Hockey Club, Loras Philosophy Club, and Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. He has lectured nationally and internationally in New Delhi, India, Bratislava, Slovak Republic, and Lviv and Kiev, Ukraine. He has been the recipient of a Fulbright-Hays Summer Seminar to Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia and was a Fulbright Scholar at Lviv State University in Ukraine during the 1993-94 academic year.

He travels to Ukraine each summer to teach business ethics courses for various MBA Programs, including the Lviv Institute of Management and Kiev-Mohyla University, and has conducted workshops on “Ethics in the Public Sector” for the city management teams of Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, and Lviv, Ukraine. During the past two summers, he has lectured at the annual two-week long “Philosophy Summer School” conducted by Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine.

He urges his Philosophy advisees to see philosophy as a way of life, rather than merely an academic discipline to be mastered, and to employ it in their search for meaning and purpose in their lives. Beginning with the 2014-2015 academic year, he will hold the Andrew P. Studdert Endowed Chair in Business Ethics and Crisis Leadership.

David Cochran, Ph.D.
Professor of Politics
Director of the Archbishop Kucera Center
563.588.7262 |
Curriculum Vitae

Originally from Lubbock, Texas, Dr. Cochran received his B.A. from Drew University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. His primary teaching and research areas are religion, race, and ethnicity in American politics; political thought; war and peace; and Irish studies. Cochran is a winner of the college’s two campus-wide teaching and leadership awards. In addition to a wide array of articles and book chapters, he is the author or co-author of four books and the co-editor of a fifth. In addition to his work in the Politics Program, Cochran directs the college’s Archbishop Kucera Center for Catholic Intellectual and Spiritual Life.

Benjamin Darr, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Politics
563.588.7507 |

Dr. Darr began teaching at Loras College in the fall of 2012, and offers courses in both comparative politics and world politics. He is particularly interested in environmental politics, the politics of the global economy, nationalism and China studies. Dr. Darr received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 2011, and his dissertation examined the state-led sources of Chinese nationalism and national identity. He has co-authored articles in the Journal of Contemporary China and in Communist and Post-Communist Studies.

John Eby, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
Chairperson for Faculty Senate
563.588.4929 |

Lisa Garoutte, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology
563.588.7022 |

Janine Idziak, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy
Director of Bioethics Center
563.588.7749 |

Dr. Idziak’s areas of interest include ethics, medieval philosophy, and the philosophy of God and religion. She received A.B., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in philosophy from the University of Michigan and subsequently earned a M.A. in theology from the University of Notre Dame. Her courses of instruction include Foundational Ethics, The Theory and Practice of Bioethics, Ethics and the New Genetics, Neuroethics, Ethics in Philosophy, Literature and Film, the Philosophy of God and Religion, Medieval Philosophy, and The Catholic Heritage.

Dr. Idziak’s research work in ethical theory has focused on the history of divine command ethics. She has held postdoctoral research appointments at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (PIMS) in Toronto and at the Medieval Institute of the University of Notre Dame. Her research has been funded by grants from PIMS, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. She is the editor of Divine Command Morality: Historical and Contemporary Readings, and has published a Latin edition and English translation of the most significant medieval text on this ethical theory, Andrew of Neufchateau, O.F.M., Questions on an Ethics of Divine Commands.

In the area of applied ethics, Dr. Idziak’s work focuses on bioethics. She is founding director of Loras’ Bioethics Center, which provides services to the community locally and within the State of Iowa. She currently serves as Health Care Ethics Consultant and chair of the Medical-Moral Commission for the Archdiocese of Dubuque; as chair of the ethics committee at Stonehill Franciscan Services in Dubuque; and as a member of the Institutional Ethics Committee, the Clinical Ethics Committee, and the IRB at Mercy Medical Center in Dubuque. Within the State of Iowa, she serves on the Board and IRB of the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City and on the Data and Safety Monitoring Committee for NewLink Genetics in Ames. She previously served on the Pandemic Ethics Committee of the Iowa Department of Public Health and, at the national level, on the Ethics Commission and in the House of Delegates of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA). Dr. Idziak’s community work in bioethics has led to the publication of three books: Ethical Dilemmas in Allied Health, Ethical Dilemmas in Long Term Care, and Organizational Ethics in Senior Health Care Services. Her community service has been recognized by a national level Trustee of the Year award from AAHSA.

Rev. William Joensen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Dean of Campus Spiritual Life
563.588.7463 |

Fr. Joensen teaches courses in the history of philosophy (Ancient and Modern), philosophy of being (metaphysics), philosophy of knowledge (epistemology), philosophy of the human person and courses in our Catholic Identity mission course category.

As academic advisor to Philosophy majors, Fr. Joensen tries to help students see how their awakening intellectual passions and life and work experiences might be indications of worthy professional pursuits. He also strives to help them appreciate how habits of mind, such as analytical thinking and critical reflection, and the ability to communicate ideas lucidly in written and spoken form will serve them all their lives.

As Dean of Campus Spiritual Life, he promotes the Catholic mission and identity of the College through the Faith and Values Education Committee and other avenues, including student-development programming. He is also chaplain to the Daughters of Isabella group of Catholic Loras Duhawk women, and offers individual spiritual direction to students and others.

Each summer, Fr. Joensen participates as a faculty member at the Tertio Milllennio Seminar in Krakow, Poland, which brings together European and American young adults to study Catholic social and moral teaching in the spirit of Blessed Pope John Paul II. He is also a regular contributor of scriptural and seasonal reflections to Magnificat®, a Catholic spiritual resource.

Mark Kehren, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
563.588.7633 |

Jacob Kohlhaas, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Moral Theology
563.588.7308 |

Dr. Kohlhaas received his Ph.D. in Theology from Duquesne University where his dissertation considered contemporary Catholic theological accounts of parenthood and the nature of kinship within the Christian tradition. He received his M.A. in Doctrine, with a minor in History, at Catholic Theological Union where his thesis compared and contrasted developments in Catholic and Lutheran perspectives on human sexuality since the mid-twentieth century. Dr. Kohlhaas teaches courses on Christian morality and the Catholic moral tradition including Introduction to Christian Values, Issues in Christian Ethics, Christian Sexual Morality and Catholic Social Teaching as well as Introduction to Theology and Religious Studies and Social Justice Today. Dr. Kohlhaas’ research centers on questions of Theological Anthropology, particularly the moral aspects of the human need and capacity for relationships. This has led to specific research in the areas of sexual ethics, family ethics, environmental ethics, and theologies of children and parenthood.

Christoffer Lammer-Heindel, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
563.588.7733 |

Within the Philosophy Program, Dr. Lammer-Heindel teaches Critical Reasoning, Introduction to Philosophy, Contemporary Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Science. He also teaches Democracy and Global Diversity and Catholicism and Taoism, both of which are general education courses. His academic expertise includes analytic ethics and contemporary social and political philosophy. His research interests pertain to issues surrounding the nature of moral duties and obligations, especially institutionally or collectively held moral duties and obligations, as well as sustainability ethics. He is the author of the critical reasoning handbook, which is used in the Modes of Inquiry course.

Amanda Osheim, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Practical Theology
Director of Breitbach Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program
563.588.7506 |

Dr. Osheim received her doctorate in systematic theology from Boston College. Her courses include Introduction to Religious Studies and Theology; Foundations for Ministry; God’s Literature; Empowered Catholic Women, The Four Marks, and Communication for Communion. Dr. Osheim’s particular interest is ecclesiology, which is the study of the church’s identity and mission. She also collaborates with the Archdiocese of Dubuque to develop programs that meet the growing need for lay leadership in parishes.

Her research focuses on discernment of the Holy Spirit within the church; development of church doctrine and practice; and the evolving role of lay ministers in the church’s life. Dr. Osheim is an editor and contributor at Other recent publications include: “On Our Pilgrim Way [Responses to ‘Evangelii Gaudium’].” America: The National Catholic Review vol.210 no. 1 (January 6-13, 2014); “Theology: serving the conversation.” C21 Resources, Fall 2013, p. 37.; “The Local Church in Dialogue: Toward an Orthopraxis of Reception.” In Visions of Hope: Emerging Theologians and the Future of the Church. Kevin J. Ahern, ed. Orbis Books, 2012.

Kathrin Parks, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology
563.588.7819 |

David Pitt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Theology
563.588.7324 |

Dr. Pitt is trained as a liturgical historian and as a liturgical musician. His Ph.D. in Theology (Liturgical Studies) is from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, where he researched the reform of the rite for adult initiation in the Roman Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council. His M.A. in Liturgical Music (Organ Performance and Composition) is from St. John’s University, Minnesota. These academic interests guide his teaching and his research, motivating him to investigate areas in which the Tradition of the Church might inform and direct contemporary pastoral practice. He co-edited A Living Tradition: Essays on the Intersection of Liturgical History and Pastoral Practice (Liturgical Press, 2012). Author of over 45 essays, article, and book reviews, he has especially focused on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), the liturgical year, issues in the performance of liturgical music, and the music of Olivier Messiaen. Pitt held the 2013-2014 John Cardinal O’Connor Chair for Catholic Thought, during which time he was researching the history of Eucharistic praying. Pitt is actively involved in liturgical music ministry, currently serving as Organist at St. John’s Episcopal Church. He has led pastoral workshops and given organ concerts and recitals across the United States and in Canada.

John Waldmeir
Professor of Religious Studies
563.588.7966 |

Dr. Waldmeir teaches courses on religion and culture, sacred scripture, and world religions. A member of the Loras faculty for sixteen years, he has published four books, most recently Cathedrals of Bone, The Role of the Body in Contemporary Catholic Literature. A fifth book on the contemporary Catholic Church in Ireland, is forthcoming. He has held the annual John Cardinal O’Connor Chair for Catholic Studies twice at Loras, and recently won the Cardinal Newman Award for outstanding campus teaching and leadership.

Rev. Douglas Wathier, S.T.D.
Interim Vice-President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Theology
Director of Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program
563.588.7013 |

Fr. Wathier received S.T.D. (Sacrae Theologiae Doctor) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, with an emphasis on the transmission of revelation and the act of faith. He teaches courses in the Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program, including Character and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition; The Once and Future Church; The Displaced Person: Human Dignity and Human Rights; Councils, Creeds and Culture; Belief and Unbelief and the Good Life; and Leadership Seminar for Social Justice. He also teaches christology and ecclesiology in the graduate program, offers J-term courses with travel in Germany and Italy. Fr. Wathier is the Director of the Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program, and serves as an instructor in the Archdiocese of Dubuque’s Deacon Formation Program.

Fr. Wathier’s academic interests include Catholic Identity in Higher Education. He has been invited to give presentations about this topic at Arizona State University and Fordham University. He also has given a presentation about the reception of revelation and the clerical abuse scandal at Georgetown University.

Lee Zhu, Ph.D.
Professor of History
563.588.7199 |

Dr. Lee S. Zhu was born in China. He received his doctorate degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He teaches East Asian History, Russian history and the history of the Second World War and the Cold War. His research interests center on the history of the Soviet Union during the Stalin period and the history of the People’s Republic of China during the Mao years. Dr. Lee conducted research in archives in Moscow, Shanghai and Beijing, and he published several scholarly articles examining the impact of the Communist ideology on Soviet and Chinese education. He took students on summer research trips and January-term trips to China.