European Studies (BA)

This major is being discontinued and will not accept new students after September 30, 2020. Students who have declared this major prior to September 30, 2020 will use these standards to complete the program requirements.


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 politics and business. What happens in Europe matters for the United States.

European Studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to familiarize students with the politics, history, language and culture of this diverse continent. European Studies must be pursued as part of a double or triple major or as a minor. The major and minors are intended to supplement students’ majors in more traditional academic disciplines, as well as to provide a “home” for courses taken while studying abroad in Europe. European Studies helps students build their resumes and “European credentials” when added to majors in international relations, political science, history, foreign language, fine arts, English or international business. The European Studies Program also 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. For a more detailed description of the program, faculty, facilities, academic and co-curricular opportunities please go to the European Studies Program website.


Students must have another major in a traditional academic discipline. 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.


All students should have an advisor in the major and should contact the department directly to have an advisor assigned if they do not already have one.  Meetings with academic advisors are required prior to students receiving their PIN for course registration each semester. All majors should work closely with their advisor in discussing career expectations, choosing their major electives, developing their entire academic program and planning their co-curricular or supplemental academic experiences.

In European Studies, all students are advised by the Program Director in addition to the advisor in their other major. It is important to work with both to plan an academic pathway that includes the required co-curricular and study abroad experiences.

Dual Majors

European Studies majors must have a second major in a traditional academic discipline. An unlimited number of courses may be applied to the major from study abroad programs in Europe, the core curriculum, the All-College Honors Program or from a second, third, or fourth major. Most dual major combinations can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement. However, in some cases, additional course work may be required. In order to declare a dual major, the student must complete the appropriate dual major request form and get the signature of each department chairperson and program director and the appropriate associate dean.

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.


An Ignatian Foundation

All undergraduate students must complete either the Canisius Core Curriculum or the All-College Honors Curriculum. Many schools refer to their college-wide undergraduate requirements as "general education" requirements. We believe that the core curriculum and the honors curriculum are more than a series of required classes; they provide the basis for a Jesuit education both with content and with required knowledge and skills attributes that are central to our mission.

Free Electives

Students may graduate with a bachelor's degree with more but not less than 120 credit hours. Free electives are courses in addition to the Canisius Core Curriculum or All-College Honors Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach the minimum number of credits required for graduation. The number of credits required to complete a bachelor's degree may vary depending on the student's major(s) and minor(s).

Major Requirements

Select one of the following:3
Comparative Government and Politics
Field 4 course on European History (1 course)
History and Politics Major Electives (3 courses)9
European Foreign Language, Literature and Culture Major Electives (4 courses)12
European Studies Major Electives (2 approved courses from any field)6
Total Credits30

Major Experiences

Majors in European Studies must 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 or minor.

Major or minors must also demonstrate proficiency in German, French or Spanish through the 216/217 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.

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.

Additional Course Considerations

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, fine arts and literature, history, religion, philosophy and foreign language.

It is especially important for students to take a course in a European foreign language in their first semester at Canisius College and continue with this language at least through the 216/217 level. Students should also fulfill 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 and PSC 355 (European Union) after that.

Students may participate in an annual international, intercollegiate simulation of the European Union, known as EuroSim, which is related to PSC 355. This program is held in Europe and the United States in alternating years. Additional information is available on the European Studies Program website.


Recommended Semester Schedule for Major Course Requirements

Select one of the following:Select one of the following:
PSC 150 
Foreign Language, Literature and Culture Major ElectiveForeign Language, Literature and Culture Major Elective
History and Politics Major ElectiveHistory and Politics Major Elective
European Studies Major ElectiveHistory and Politics Major Elective
European Studies Major Elective 

Learning Goals & Objectives

Student Learning Goal 1

Majors will apply knowledge of European government and politics to real world situations. 

Students will:
  • Objective A: Demonstrate knowledge of important political figures and events in contemporary European politics;
  • Objective B: Demonstrate an understanding of key issues in contemporary European politics;
  • Objective C: Demonstrate an understanding of how key governmental institutions in Europe function.

Student Learning Goal 2

Majors will communicate at the intermediate level in a Modern European foreign language (comparable to Canisius College course level 216).

Students will:
  • Objective A: Speak with fluency and grammatical correctness in the target language;
  • Objective B: Understand verbal communication in the target language;
  • Objective C: Read a in the target language;
  • Objective D: Write in the target language.

Student Learning Goal 3

Majors will apply knowledge of European History to real world situations.

Students will:
  • Objective A: Understand how contemporary European society has been shaped and influenced by Europe’s history;
  • Objective B: Understand the significance of key European historical figures and events when referred to in contemporary social discourse.

Student Learning Goal 4

Majors will apply knowledge of European language, literature, and culture to real world situations.

Students will:
  • Objective A: Recognize the key beliefs, values, norms and cultural artifacts that comprise societal culture in Europe, including its various sub-cultures;
  • Objective B: Appreciate the contributions made to Europe’s culture by some of its key cultural figures from literature and the fine arts;
  • Objective C: Understand the significance of key contributions to European literature and fine arts when references to these contributions are made in contemporary social discourse or everyday life.


Select one of the following:3
Comparative Government and Politics
Field 4 course on European history (1 course)
History and Politics Major Electives (2 courses)6
European Foreign Language, Literature and Culture Major Electives (3 courses)9
Total Credits18

Students must complete the appropriate minor request form.

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. Pending approval of the Program Director, courses to be applied to the minor can be taken abroad or as part of other majors, the core curriculum or the All-College Honors Program.

Minors are an important part of the undergraduate curriculum.  If students declare a minor by sophomore year, they can usually complete it in a timely manner.  Students should work with their advisor to determine if it is possible that the minor can be completed by graduation.  

To receive a minor, a student must complete at least 9 credit hours of coursework distinct from their major(s) and from other minors, and students must complete more than 50% of the coursework required for the minor at Canisius. Please note that “ancillary/supporting” courses required for a major may still count as distinct courses as long as the remaining coursework still meets the 30 credit-hours required for a major. For more information about minor policies, please see the Declaring Majors and Minors page in the catalog.