Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Janet Thomas

Second Advisor

Linda Drake Gobbo


The prioritization of international education is gaining momentum among higher education institutions. One specific testament to this fact is the steady growth in study abroad participation. As the overall percentage of students studying abroad for credit during their undergraduate career rises, policies are being created in a variety of contexts to promote international education experiences (Open Doors). Amidst these fledgling policies, a 22-year-old major-specific study abroad requirement has thrived and continues to evolve in today’s global state.

This capstone is an analysis of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Geneseo’s International Relations (IR) policy requiring all undergraduate degree seeking students to participate in a for-credit international experience in order to graduate. The policy outlines a number of options for the required international experience, including an internship and a special project, yet places the greatest emphasis on study abroad for academic credit. Using supplemental data and resources, both the history and the future of this unique policy will be examined, taking into consideration SUNY Geneseo’s Internationalization campaign. There will also be a literature review presented, which will look at various policies mandating study abroad and the way different campuses work toward increasing participation and maintaining best practices. In addition, the perspectives of key stakeholders will be presented using interview responses and day-to-day observations. With the completion of the analysis, recommendations and consistent themes will be presented on SUNY Geneseo’s IR policy, assessing the impact it has had to date as well as potential options to promote sustainability in the years ahead. Recommendations include documenting formal goals and objectives, standardizing pre-departure and re-entry processes, and conducting comprehensive assessment and evaluation.


International and Comparative Education


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