International economics and cultural affairs is an interdisciplinary major program that combines study of a foreign language and culture with internationally focused courses in economics, geography, history, and political science. Students select a regional emphasis (East Asia, Europe, or Latin America) which, in turn, determines the specific courses and language study the student will undertake.
The IECA major is distinct from an international business major because it is designed to prepare students for a variety of careers, from international commerce and banking to policy design and government service. It helps students to understand a particular region in all its complexity — cultural, political, and economic. If students want to combine their talent for foreign languages and appreciation of things international with a mix of career-oriented courses, IECA might be the major for them. Students majoring in IECA improve their linguistic fluency and cultural familiarity by studying in another country and participating in an internship or cooperative education experience while there. All IECA seniors do a required research project on a topic of international importance; past themes have included human rights, globalization, security and human mobility. Potential employers seek individuals who can function abroad and are more apt to give preference to those who have already had study or work experience overseas.