European Studies

European Studies

Courses & Curriculum

Today’s world has been shaped by Europe. In fact, the study of Europe is growing even more important as globalization intensifies and the world becomes increasingly interdependent. Meanwhile, the expanding European Union has emerged as an influential player in international diplomacy and business and represents Europe’s future in the 21st century.

European Studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to familiarize students with the politics, history, language and culture of this diverse continent. European Studies can be pursued as part of a double or triple major, as a minor, or as a certificate program. The major and minors are intended to supplement students’ majors in more traditional academic disciplines, as well as provide a “home” for courses taken while studying abroad in Europe.

European Studies helps students build their resumes when added to majors in international relations, political science, history, foreign language, fine arts, English or international business. The European Studies Program encourages students to develop fluency in a modern European foreign language and to study abroad in Europe. By guiding students in their course selection and encouraging them to develop valuable skills and experiences, European Studies helps prepare students for graduate school, apply for fellowships, such as the Fulbright Scholarship, and enter careers in international law, business, diplomacy or teaching

Co-Curricular Opportunities

Students may participate in an annual international, intercollegiate simulation of the European Union, known as EuroSim, which is related to PSC 355 (European Union). This program is held in Europe and the United States in alternating years. Additional information is available on the European Studies Program website and from the Political Science department. Students may also enjoy an international living experience in the Campion residence hall.

Requirements for the major

Students must have a second major in a traditional academic discipline. An unlimited number of courses may be applied to the major from fields of study in the core curriculum, the All-College Honors Program or from a second, third, or fourth major. No more than four courses at the 100-level may be counted toward the European Studies major. At least one course in the major must be taught by a member of the History Department, and one must be taught by a member of the Political Science Department. 
Majors in European Studies must also complete a substantial short- or long-term experience in Europe to be approved by the Program Director. For this, students must complete and submit a reflective journal. An example of an acceptable short-term experience would be EuroSim. Long-term experiences would include one of the college’s study abroad semesters in Europe or an alternative approved by the Program Director. Many courses taken abroad can be applied to the requirements of the major, minor, and/or core. 

Major or minors must demonstrate proficiency in German, French or Spanish through the 216 level, the approved equivalent, or at a lower level of proficiency for other European languages when combined with approved study abroad in a country where that language is spoken

Jean Monnet Award

Each year, the program honors its best graduating senior, taking into account academic performance, study abroad and co-curricular activity related to Europe. 

European Studies Major Curriculum

1. Core Curriculum Requirements: 
View the Core Curriculum requirements. All students complete these requirements as part of their overall Canisius education.

2. Major course requirements:    (10 courses)

PSC 150 Comparative Government & Politics 


Field 4 course on European history (1 course)

3 credits

History and Politics Major Electives (3 courses)

9 credits

European Foreign Language, Literature and Culture (4 courses)

12 credits

European Studies Major Electives (2 courses)

6 credits

3. Requirements of second/third major (10- 20 courses)

30-60 credits

4.  Free electives:
Free electives are courses in addition to the Core Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach a minimum of 120 credit hours for graduation. Students may graduate with more but not less than 120 credit hours.

Courses in a modern European language or those on European literature may be counted toward the language, literature and culture or major elective categories noted above. Latin and Ancient Greek may not be used to fulfill the modern foreign language requirement, but courses in the Classics can be counted in the major. For further details and options, students should consult with their advisor and the Director of the European Studies Program.

Recommended Schedule

The variety and sequence of courses for the European Studies major will vary according to the second or third academic major. Students are encouraged to fulfill their fields of study, attributes for the core curriculum and requirements of the All College Honors Program by taking courses on Europe in the social sciences, art and literature, history, religion, philosophy and foreign language. It is especially important for students to pursue a European foreign language at least through the 215-216 level and fulfill the Field 4 or Honors requirements by taking courses on European history. Students with a strong interest in European politics should take PSC 150 during their first year.

European Studies Minor 

Total (6 courses)

18 credits


European History & Politics (3 courses)

9 credits


PSC 150 Comparative Government and Politics, 


Field 4 course on European history


All College Honors course on European history (1 course)

3 credits

History and Politics Major Electives (2 courses)

6 credits


European Foreign Language, Literature, and Culture (3 courses)

9 credits


Courses in a European foreign language (0-8 courses)

0-28 credits

The requirements for proficiency in a modern European foreign language are the same as for the major. No more than three courses at the 100-level may be counted toward the minor. A maximum of two courses in a modern European foreign language may be counted toward the language, literature or culture category of the minor. Courses taken from a second or third major, area studies or the All-College Honors Program may be applied to the European Studies minor.

International Business

A special minor has been tailored to the needs and interests of students majoring in International Business. Consult the Program Director for details.