A student in the international studies graduate program attending class


The Lauder Institute offers a joint-degree program for students who rise to academic challenges and who are prepared to commit to a rigorous program of study that includes not only international studies classes on campus, but cultural immersion abroad and fieldwork resulting in publishable research papers. Through the School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, all Lauder students pursue a graduate International Studies course sequence in the social sciences and humanities in addition to fulfilling either the core requirements of the Wharton MBA degree or the requirements of the Penn Law JD.

M.A. Degree Requirements and Electives

1) Four Lauder Core Requirements. At the present, these include:

  • Area History (1 cu): students choose an Area History corresponding to their chosen Program of Concentration – Africa, East Asia, Europe, Middle East, Latin America, South Asia;
  • International Political Economy of Business Environments (1 cu): a course focused on the ways that economic, political, social and cultural institutions shape policymaking and the environment of the business firm;
  • Global and Regional Analysis (1 cu): this course provides students with an in-depth understanding of the origins and nature of our global system;
  • Leadership and Intercultural Learning (1cu): a specially designed course to develop and sharpen leadership abilities in intercultural settings. Students will participate in two Lauder Intercultural Ventures – week-long experiential modules focused on a thematic topic. Locations and topics have included:

2) Five Program of Concentration Courses (5 cu’s)

  • Interdisciplinary courses focusing on regional issues, language and culture

3) Electives from the School of Arts & Sciences (SAS)

  • Lauder students will take 1 or more electives tied to their academic and regional interests. 1 cu is required, though if students satisfy their language requirement early, they may take SAS electives in the place of INTS Language and Culture Courses.

4) The Global Knowledge Lab (GKL) research requirement:

  • Lauder students will develop research skills and methods throughout the Lauder Program. This begins in May of the first year and culminates in a two-fold capstone project – a group research project and an individual research project

International MBA/JD Joint-Credits (4 cu’s)

  • Four credit units drawn from the MBA or JD Degree Requirements will count towards the M.A. degree

All Lauder students are required to attain a superior rating on an OPI in their chosen Target Language in order to satisfy the language requirement.

Lauder Class of 2019: Please see Degree Requirements and Lauder Degree Requirements by Chart

Lauder Institute Courses

INTS 71X Area History
Survey courses about Africa; The Americas; East Asia; Europe; and South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa help students develop an historical perspective on critical values and institutions for an improved understanding of major developments in each region of specialization.

INTS 7XX: Leadership and Intercultural Learning
The course consists of a series of tightly-integrated active and classroom-based learning activities that include intensive workshops, simulations, lectures, and intensive immersions in different locations.

INTS 721 International Political Economy of Business Environments
This course deals with the ways in which economic, political, social, and cultural institutions come together to shape policymaking and the environment of the business firm. Topics include market-oriented reforms, privatization of state-owned enterprises, business groups, national systems of innovation, legal systems and venture capital, renewable energy policies, entrepreneurship, the economic & financial crisis, and government bailouts. The class will also prepare students to undertake their Global Knowledge Lab (GKL) team projects and to write their GKL individual papers.

INTS732:  Global and Regional Analysis 

This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of the origins and nature of our global system. It is divided into three modules: (a) historical drivers of global change; (b) regional analysis, with a focus on comparative politics and political economy; and (c) international law, trade, and governance.  In addition, the course continues to support student learning in preparation for their Global Knowledge Lab (GKL) team projects and individual papers.

INTS6X1 (First-summer Immersion)

INTS6X2 (Elective or program of concentration requirement)

INTS6X2 (Optional immersion)

INTS72X (Elective or program of concentration requirement)

INTS732 Global Economic History: Structure and Change
This course will provide students with a brief introduction to global economic history since the early fifteenth century.

INTS6X2 (Optional immersion)

INTS991 Master’s Research – GKL Team Project and Individual Paper
Global Knowledge Lab (GKL) Team Project is an integral part of the Lauder curriculum, extending as it does from early in the second semester of a student’s first year until the last term of the program.

INTS6X1 Language and Culture Program
Lauder students select a regional and language specialization. These languages are all for non-native speakers, and candidates must demonstrate Advanced oral proficiency prior to admission. Click through for details on the
language requirement for admission.

INTS6X2/6X3 Language and Culture Program
Students participate in specialized language and culture courses during the four semesters at Penn. Topical areas covered during the two years typically include political parties and their leaders; legal and social issues of contemporary importance; literature, history, and philosophy as ways to understand the values and the mind-set of the culture; arts, film, media, and sports as contemporary expressions of a culture and its values; and business or interpersonal situations as vehicles for gaining insights and skills needed for effective management of interactions.

Lauder Summer Research Project
As part of INTS721, International Political Economy of Business Environments, the summer research project is undertaken each year by student teams during the summer immersion program. Students work in teams to gather information and conduct interviews related to their Program of Concentration. The teams then write short articles in both their program language and in English, where relevant. These articles will be published by Knowledge@Wharton as part of its Lauder Global Business Insight Report series.  

M.A. Electives
Each student must select two electives from graduate-level offerings of the School of Arts & Sciences. These courses may focus on the region of the student’s specialization or on the broader international context. The courses may be drawn from any of the social sciences or from the humanities. Students usually take these courses during the third and fourth semesters but may complete them at other times to fit their schedules.

Global Program Courses
Upon return from the summer immersion, students in the Global Program must complete a total of four (4) classes, one during each semester of study. 

First year:

  • “The Politics of Power and Wealth” aims to provide students with the theoretical foundations for critical analysis of political order and change. It draws upon literature in the fields of anthropology, economics history, political science, and sociology.
  • “International Order Making” builds on the theoretical framework of the previous course, now layering specific examples and contextual knowledge as they relate to global, mass-scale phenomena. A variety of lecturers and practitioners focus on current issues in the fields of social movements, comparative religion, comparative political systems, global finance, international law, technology, and trade.

Second year:

  • “Fault Lines & Foresight Strategy” is a highly hands-on, team-based course designed to give Global Program students practical experience in scenario-planning, risk management, and strategic research into future trends. Students are expected to demonstrate their analytical skills by way of a foresight strategy exercise that brings together their independent analysis with the conceptual frameworks and tools introduced earlier in the curriculum.
  • “The Global Leader” explores theories of leadership that exist apart from what is commonly considered in the professional schools (e.g., Wharton, Penn Law) to facilitate leadership development through discussion, in-class simulations, and self-reflection. Course materials are drawn from literature, film, and major events in international and domestic political history.  A segment of class time is allocated for completion and presentation of student foresight strategy projects.

The Joseph H. Lauder Institute
256 South 37th street
2nd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6330