Main Content

International Relations

The program of study in International Relations combines a rigorous and diverse set of courses from the social sciences and the humanities to help students develop conceptual and problem solving skills to address global issues that are by nature complex and interdisciplinary. The International Relations major is administered by the Department of Politics, in consultation with the History, Economics and Business, Modern Languages, and Classics Departments.

Course Requirements: Students in the International Relations major must take a minimum of 11 courses, as specified in the requirements below. 

International Politics Requirement. Students must complete the following five core courses:

  • PO104 Comparative Politics
  • PO106 International Relations
  • PO232 International Political Economy
  • PO203 Research Methods in Political Science
  • PO478 Senior Seminar

 International Political Institutions Requirement. Students must complete one of the following:

  • PO214 International Law
  • PO224 International Organization and Global Governance

 International Relations Theory Requirement. Students must complete one of following:

  • PO205 Diplomacy
  • PO320 International Relations Theory
  • PO322 Justice and War in International Relations

History Requirement. Students must complete any two of the following:

  • HI226 Modern European History
  • HI275 Asian Civilization
  • HI277 Modern Africa, 1807-Present
  • HI 329 Modern Germany
  • HI330 Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century
  • HI331 European Socialism
  • HI332 Modern France
  • HI333 Europe Since 1945
  • HI355 Modern American Foreign Relations
  • HI376 Modern Latin American History
  • HI377 Modern Russia
  • HI378 Modern China
  • HI379 Modern Japan
  • HI382 History of the Middle East
  • HI384 British Empire
  • HI385 Vietnam WarSpecial Topics: Cold War

Geography Elective. Depending on scheduling availability, one geography course may count for one of the two required history courses. Students may complete any one of the following:

  • GE202 Political Geography
  • GE212 Cultural Geography
  • GE221 Economic Geography

 Economics  Requirement. Students must complete one of the following:

  • EC247 International Economics [Prerequisite:Economics 141 and 142]
  • BU322 International Business Management
  • BU333 International Marketing [Prerequisite:Business 231]

Language Requirement. Students must complete one advanced level language course (or a literature course for a language that does not offer an advanced language course). Students are also strongly encouraged to complete a language minor. The senior comprehensive examination will include a language component.

Senior Comprehensive Examination: Comprehensive examinations, both written and oral, are required. The written exam is the ETS National Test in Political Science. The oral exam will require the student to discuss different aspects of international relations before a committee composed of faculty from the Politics, History, and Business and Economics departments. These oral comprehensives will have a language component. The individual student's selected foreign language will determine which professor from the modern language or classics department will be asked to participate in the oral examination. Students completing language minors do not have to take the language component of the oral comprehensive examination. 

Study Abroad: Students are strongly encouraged to gain real international experience during their undergraduate years through study abroad, travel and internships.

Course Sequence - Classes of 2015 - 2017


Please refer to the College Catalogue and consult with your academic advisor for recommended course sequencing. Revised graduation requirements for each graduating class can be found in the Guide to the Core Curriculum.

Course Sequence - Class of 2018 and Beyond


Freshman Year
Conversatio I Conversatio II
Freshman English (or Other Core Requirement) Freshman English (or Other Core Requirement)
Language Language
Comparative Politics International Relations

In the sophomore year: IR majors generally take their international political institution requirement, their economics requirement, and one of their history requirements. Depending on initial placement, they may also be completing their modern or classical language requirement. The remainder of their schedules can be filled by other core or major requirements, general electives or courses for a minor or double major.

In the junior year: IR majors generally take International Political Economy (PO 330), their international relations theory requirement, and the second of their history requirements. They also take Research Methods in the spring semester. Students who study abroad will need to take Research Methods at a different time. The rest of students' schedules can be occupied with other major requirements, core requirements, general electives, or courses for a minor or double major.

In the senior year: IR majors take their senior seminar requirement in the fall semester. The rest of their schedules can be occupied with other major requirements, core requirements, general electives, or courses for a minor or double major.