International & Area Studies

Image of Japanese map used as main image for International and Area Studies research highlight.

International & Area Studies

Japanese historical map from UC Berkeley’s David Rumsey collection


Exploring the world and tackling global problems have long been a key part of UC Berkeley’s traditions. A vast number of international programs ranging from study abroad opportunities to large-scale global research collaborations facilitate the work of our faculty and students.

Research on various regions of the world is facilitated by ten interdisciplinary international and area studies centers and institutes, many of which are in Global, International & Area Studies. These programs support both contemporary and historical research on every region of the world, advancing the work of more than 800 affiliated faculty and visiting scholars, hundreds of graduate students and thousands of undergraduates across the campus.


Recent News

International News

March 1, 2023
Woman standing at a railing looking out over the water in Berlin.

Advising Germany

Professor Ulrike Malmendier discusses her role as a top economic expert in Europe.
More International & Area Studies News

International and Area Studies Institutes and Centers

At UC Berkeley international and area studies centers and institutes cover all the major areas of the world – among the largest number of such programs at any university in the United States. Funded by a mix of private philanthropy, foundation support and federal government grants they promote interdisciplinary research in international, comparative, and area studies in a variety of ways. They provide research support to UC Berkeley faculty as well as fellowships and scholarships to UC Berkeley students at the graduate and undergraduate levels. They host distinguished visitors, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scholars from around the world. Their conferences, workshops, lectures and other public outreach programs bring together faculty, students, visiting scholars and professionals for discussions on a wide range of issues. IAS Centers and Institutes also support and participate in a variety of publishing initiatives and maintain vibrant K-12 outreach programs.

International Education at Berkeley

The Role of Title VI Support

In 1959, at the height of the Cold War and following the launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik, the U.S. Congress funded Title VI of its National Defense Education Act to build an infrastructure for international education on university campuses across the nation. UC Berkeley has participated in Title VI since its inception and now receives nearly $3.5 million annually in support of its world area centers and language programs.

Title VI was founded in the spirit of internationalism that followed World War II, to encourage broad public knowledge of foreign languages and international affairs, and to ensure a steady supply of experts in languages, world areas, and international trends. As Cold War relationships have given way to new alignments and priorities, Title VI has changed and expanded in response. Funding from Title VI supports core activities across the Berkeley campus, including the operation of regional institutes and centers, language instruction, support for graduate students in a variety of disciplines, public outreach, and library acquisitions in targeted foreign languages. 

“Title VI has been indispensable not only for our area research centers but for thousands of students and young scholars,” said George Breslauer, UC Berkeley’s former Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost. “Without Title VI, we would not be able to offer some of the innovative programs that prepare Berkeley students to be globally aware citizens.”

Three programs included in the original legislation continue today at Berkeley: the National Resource Centers (NRC) program, the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS) program, and the International Research and Studies (IRS) program. These programs are designed to strengthen the capability and performance of American education in foreign languages as well as to improve teaching and public awareness concerning other cultures and languages.

In response to emerging global trends, Berkeley has used Title VI funding to develop dynamic new offerings. Berkeley students have the opportunity to study a wide diversity of languages, from Afrikaans to Yucatec Maya. Title VI funding supports instruction in many of these languages, including Arabic, fifth-year Mandarin, and Pashto, a principal language of Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan.