Mission and Goals

Our Mission: The Department of International Studies and Political Science offers one of the most rigorous and intense majors at the Institute, emphasizing political science, ethics, foreign language acquisition, economics, study abroad and history. The program aims to inspire cadets to participate in the global community and expects IS graduates to strive for leadership roles upon graduation.

It complements the VMI Academic Program mission "to educate cadets in a rigorous academic environment that encourages life-long learning and develops citizens of character who anticipate, respond, and lead in a complex and changing world" and directly supports Strategic Initiative #1 of the VMI Strategic Plan - "to provide an academic program with an international reputation for excellence to establish VMI as one of the premier small colleges in the nation."

Our Goals: The International Studies major provides broad training in the liberal arts with a very strong emphasis on student achievement. Student proficiency in the discipline is achieved by successfully meeting the following goals. 

  • Demonstrate a broad understanding of international and national politics
  • Achieve a heightened awareness of the world around them
  • Use the method of scientific inquiry to analyze domestic and international processes
  • Employ creative and critical thinking in the analysis of world events
  • Understand social science methodology and produce credible undergraduate research
  • Develop an intellectual curiosity of national, cross-national, and international processes

Our Achievements: Over the past seven years, the Department of International Studies has produced majors who demonstrate both academic excellence and superior leadership ability. Five of the last eight First Jackson-Hope awards have gone to IS majors. On average, 49% of IS majors graduated "with distinction" or as "distinguished," while the average for all graduates is approximately 29%.

Over the last six years, 23% of 1st Class IS Majors served as Cadet Captains, compared to 8% of all 1st class cadets. IS graduates continue to enter some of the top graduate programs for law and political science/international studies in the country, while the IS Board has established internships providing experience in many U.S. government agencies and across the private sector.