Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS)

Advising Office

Mission Statement

IRIS Advising provides guidance to students exploring international opportunities on campus and around the world. IRIS Advising also assists students in navigating the many international resources and services available at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

What We Do

IRIS Advising is a cross-campus advising service for undergraduates interested in exploring the many international opportunities available at UW-Madison. If you wish to declare an area studies certificate or major, participate in an international internship, explore study abroad options, seek international career advice, or apply for international fellowships or grants, please stop in or reach out to an advisor to set up an appointment.

Picture of Lindsey. She is a white woman with long brown wavy hair and brown eyes and wears a black blazer over a white blouse.

Lindsey Bliefernicht
Assistant Director for Students and Curriculum
301A Ingraham Hall
(608) 265-2630


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International Studies Major

The International Studies (IS) Major is an interdisciplinary major with a broad background in international and transnational political, social, economic, commercial, and environmental affairs, together with a comparative study of politics, economics, security, and culture. The goal is to provide students with the necessary tools to understand global processes in their totality and how they are situated and lived in specific regions.

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Molly Donnellan
301 Ingraham Hall

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Csanád Siklós
331 Ingraham Hall

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Lindsey Bliefernicht
301 Ingraham Hall

Latin American, Caribbean & Iberian Studies Major

The Latin American, Caribbean & Iberian Studies (LACIS) Major is part of one of the major US centers for research about Latin America. This program is for those who seek a multidisciplinary education on Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain, and Portugal. It offers a wide range of courses in fields such as anthropology, business, economics, geography, history, journalism, music, political science, sociology, Spanish and Portuguese, and indigenous languages such as Yucatec Maya or Quechua.

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Sarah Ripp
209 Ingraham Hall

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European Studies Certificate

The European Studies Program offers undergraduates the opportunity to earn a Certificate in European Studies.  Potential recipients of the Certificate demonstrate a commitment to the study of Europe by attaining competency in a European language (other than English) and take either courses that address Europe as a whole or a combination of courses that cover at least three European countries or sub regions from at least two different departments.

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Lindsey Bliefernicht
301 Ingraham Hall

Middle East Studies Certificate

Given the immense importance of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in shaping contemporary world politics, the Middle East Studies certificate is designed to provide an interdisciplinary perspective of the region’s history and contemporary dynamics and their representations across the diaspora. The MES certificate offers a unique opportunity for students to develop their interest and knowledge of the MENA region through a wide range of courses taught by UW professors with great expertise in the fields of political science, history, religious studies, sociology/anthropology, art history, literature, and modern languages.

MES certificate will give students a variety of career opportunities in international affairs, public policy, journalism, governmental institutions, education, public heath, humanitarian organizations, economic development, and security, or going on to graduate school and a career in academia.

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Lindsey Bliefernicht
301 Ingraham Hall

South Asian Studies Certificate

Undergraduates interested in cross-disciplinary study of South Asia (generally defined as the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Tibetan region) may earn a Certificate in South Asian Studies. The certificate can be a valuable addition to a major in anthropology, archeology, business, communications, economics, education, geography, history, international studies, journalism, languages and cultures of Asia, political science, women’s studies, zoology, and other departments. Completion of the certificate provides a concentration in the area through interdisciplinary training and language study (optional) that provides enhanced career opportunities or increased preparation for graduate study. Applicants must fulfill the UW-Madison requirements for an established major in their school or college and achieve a minimum GPA of 2.75 in all courses they wish to count toward the certificate. Courses may not be taken on a pass/fail basis. Language study is not required for the completion of the certificate, but one year of a South Asian Language will partially fulfill the area studies requirement.

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Lindsey Bliefernicht
301 Ingraham Hall

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African Studies Certificate

The African Studies Certificate offers more than 100 Africa-related courses each year in nearly 40 diverse departments, on subjects ranging from history to politics to art, and get involved with student groups such as the African Students Association or Engineers Without Borders. You can also study abroad in Africa for an academic year, summer, or semester.

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Aleia McCord
205 Ingraham Hall

East Asian Studies Certificate

The East Asian Studies Certificate is offered by the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) and is available to students working toward a baccalaureate degree in any of the University of Wisconsin–Madison schools and colleges, and to University Special students. This certificate meets the needs of students choosing to focus on the East Asian region (China, Korea, Japan, and Tibet) within their primary major, but not wishing to commit to the rigorous language study required by the relevant majors in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures.

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David Fields
333 Ingraham Hall

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Southeast Asian Studies Certificate

The undergraduate certificate in Southeast Asian Studies is awarded to undergraduate students in any degree program other than Asian Studies (Southeast Asia Concentration). The program is intended to allow undergraduate students to document their advanced training on Southeast Asian Studies. This certificate is particularly beneficial for students majoring in International Studies by making it possible to demonstrate language and area expertise on the region of Southeast Asia, which also works well with Anthropology, History, Political Science, Sociology, Gender & Women’s Studies, Human Ecology, Journalism, and many other humanities and social science disciplines. The certificate also provides an opportunity for students with science and technology majors to concentrate their electives on the study of Southeast Asia.

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Michael Cullinane
207 Ingraham Hall

Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies Certificate

The Undergraduate Certificate in Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies (REECAS) allows students to gain knowledge of the societies and cultures of the region, drawing on many disciplines, including film studies, geography, history, literature, political science, sociology, theater, and drama. The REECAS certificate can be a valuable addition to any major and demonstrates sustained interest and expertise in the region. Although at least two years of language study is strongly advised, there is no language requirement and language courses do not count towards the REECAS certificate. Link to official listing in the Undergraduate Guide can be found here.

*Please note: the REECAS certificate can be combined with any major except for the Russian Language and Civilization major. The certificate can be combined with all other Slavic majors (within GNS+), including Russian Language and Literature, Russian for Native Speakers, and the Polish major.

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Lindsey Bliefernicht
301 Ingraham Hall