International Relations


  • Major and Minor in International Relations

    Requirements for the Major:

    The International Relations (IR) major consists of twelve courses: seven core courses and five elective courses, as well as proficiency in a foreign language. Students must maintain a C average in courses taken to fulfill the IR major requirements.


    • Foundations

    •     ECON 110: Principles of Economics

    •     POLS 110: Introduction to Global Politics

    •     SOAN 110: Introduction to Sociology and Anthropology

    • Methods (one of the following courses)

    •     ECON/BUSN 180: Quantitative Methods for Economics and Business OR

          ECON/BUSN/FIN 130: Applied Statistics     

    •     BUSN 355: Marketing Research in Cross-Cultural Settings

    •     POLS 200: Methods of Political Research

    •     SOAN 310: Social Research: Quantitative Methods

    •     SOAN 320: Social Research: Qualitative Methods

    • Theory

    •     POLS 245: Theories of International Relations

    • History (one of the following courses)

    •     HIST 208: Europe 1715-1890

    •     HIST 209: Europe in the Twentieth Century

    • Senior Studies (one of the following courses)*

    •     IREL 480, IREL 481, or IREL 482: International Relations Senior Seminar

    •     IREL 493: International Relations Senior Research Project

    •     IREL 494: International Relations Senior Thesis (two course credits)

    •     POLS 481 or POLS 483: Senior Seminar in Global Politics


    The five additional courses required for the IR major are comprised of 200 and 300 level international studies courses offered by various departments and programs, here listed as fields.**  Students take at least one course in three different fields (but no more than three in any single field and only one course in Field 5).  Furthermore, of the five at least two must be comparative studies courses, which are designated below with the plus symbol (+).  In consultation with their academic advisors, students majoring in international relations choose areas of specialization.  Areas can be either functional (e.g., development studies, international political economy, international law and organization, cultural studies, international history) or regional (e.g., Latin American studies, European studies, Islamic world studies, Asian studies, African studies).  Taken together, the academic work students perform in their five elective courses must complement their chosen specialization.  Within 60 days of declaring the major, IR students must submit to their advisor and the IR chair the following:  (1) the title of the intended specialization along with a one-page description of the specialization and its main learning goals; and (2) a list of possible courses for the five-course specialization.  Students may change their specializations (and the list of possible elective courses) through the end of the third year of full-time studies.

    • Field 1. History

    •     HIST 212: Origins of East Asia+

    •     HIST 213: Modern East Asia+

    •     HIST 216: History of India

    •     HIST 217: Modern South Asia+

    •     HIST 255: History of Russia

    •     HIST 257: World War II: Europe+

    •     HIST 272: History of Mexico

    •     HIST 288: Women in Modern History+

    •     HIST 260: Modern China

    •     HIST 264: World War II in Asia+

    •     HIST 262: Modern Japan

    •     HIST 348: Stereotyping Indian Cities

    •     HIST 340: Topics in East Asian History+

    •     HIST 342: Problems in Modern Chinese History: Film

    •     HIST 351: Contemporary Islamic Societies+

    •     HIST 345: Islamic Cultures in South Asia+

    •     HIST 347: Race & Empire in Colonial South Asia+


    • Field 2. Politics

    •     POLS 210: Politics of Europe+

    •     POLS 211: Islam in Africa+

    •     POLS 213: Non-Violence and Politics of Change+

    •     POLS 214: Politics of South Africa

    •     POLS 215: Asian Politics+

    •     POLS 216: Politics of Middle East+

    •     POLS 217: African Politics+

    •     POLS 219: Politics of Latin America+

    •     POLS 240: American Foreign Policy

    •     POLS 241: Global Issues

    •     POLS 242: Politics of the Developing World+

    •     POLS 310: State and Nation Building+

    •     POLS 311: Comparative Nationalism+

    •     POLS 317: Global Democratization+

    •     POLS 318: Topics in Comparative Politics

    •     POLS 346: International Humanitarian Law

    •     POLS 347: International Institutions

    •     POLS 348: International Law

    •     POLS 349: Topics in International Relations


    • Field 3. Business and Economics

    •     ECON 220: Macroeconomic Theory

    •     ECON 245: Child Labor in Latin America

    •     ECON 280: The Mexican-American Border+

    •     ECON 381: Economics of Development+

    •     BUSN 322: Emerging Markets Analysis+

    •     BUSN 341: Global Cultures & International Business-Chicago+

    •     BUSN 342: African Culture & Business Development+


    • Field 4. Cultures and Societies


    •     EDUC 320: Comparative and International Education+

    •     EDUC 322: Education in Developing Countries+

    Modern Languages


    •     CHIN 260: Intro to Chinese Culture in English

    •     CHIN 313: Chinese for International Affairs and Business


    •     FREN 305: Introduction to French Culture

    •     FREN 308: Contemporary France

    •     FREN 320: French for International Affairs & Business

    •     FREN 330: The French-Speaking World+

    •     FREN 333: Exploring French Culture thru Film

    •     FREN 340: Advanced French International Affairs


    •     GERM 333: Modern German Film


    •     SPAN 304: Cocina y Cultura y Literatura+

    •     SPAN 306: Intro Latin American Culture+

    •     SPAN 308: Spain Today

    •     SPAN 320: Spanish for International Affairs

    •     SPAN 321: Business Spanish

    •     SPAN 333: Cine e Historia Espana y America Latina+

    •     SPAN 337: The Latin American World+

    •     SPAN 338: Cine Latinoamericano+

    •     SPAN 340: Advanced Spanish International Affairs

    •     SPAN 380: Cine, Literatura y Sociedad America Latino+

    •     SPAN 400: Women’s Voices in Latin America+

    •     SPAN 425: Latin American Culture+

    •     SPAN 480: Literature & History in Hispanic World+


    •     PHIL 212: Multicultural Approaches to the Environment+

    •     PHIL 272: Currents in Latin American Thought+

    •     PHIL 275: Desire and Discipline: Asian Morals+

    •     PHIL 276: Social Justice and Human Rights+

    •     PHIL 277: Social Justice Versus Freedom?

    •     PHIL 285: Topics in Japanese Thought

    •     PHIL 305: Comparative Philosophy: East and West+


    •     RELG 213: Islam+

    •     RELG 214: Hinduism+

    •     RELG 215: Introduction to Buddhism+

    •     RELG 216: Chinese Religions+

    •     RELG 220: Islam and Pop Culture+

    •     RELG 255: Islam and Modernity+

    •     RELG 318: Contemporary Buddhism and Society+

    •     RELG 321: Jewish-Christian-Muslim Conversations

    Sociology and Anthropology

    •     SOAN 221: Cultures of Modern Africa+

    •     SOAN 231: Histories & Cultures Latin America+

    •     SOAN 245: Medical Anthropology+

    •     SOAN 246: Anthropology of Communication+

    •     SOAN 247: Anthropology of Pacific Islands+

    •     SOAN 250: Anthropology of Globalization+

    •     SOAN 253: Family and Kinship+

    •     SOAN 271: Technology and Human Values+

    •     SOAN 280: Gender, Culture, and Society+

    •     SOAN 302: Sexuality and Society+

    •     SOAN 315: Social Ethics of Energy Production & Use+

    •     SOAN 322: Sociology of Islam+

    •     SOAN 354: Anthropology of Place+

    •     SOAN 355: Power and Violence+

    •     SOAN 385: Intellectuals and Society+

    •     SOAN 390: Sociology of Religion+


    • Field 5. Applied International Relations

    At the discretion of the IR Chair, an appropriate domestic or international internship may count as a single elective credit.


    Foreign language proficiency

    In addition to the twelve-course curriculum in international relations, IR majors shall demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English.  This requirement may be satisfied with a grade of C minus or better in one foreign language course at the 300 level of instruction.  Students whose native language is not English may have this requirement waived if they take and pass an oral and written examination in their native language.  The chair of the International Relations program shall arrange these special examinations and has the sole authority to waive this requirement. 


    Distributional requirements, double-counted courses, and course appeals

    • Normally, students count three 100-level courses for the international relations major (ECON 110, POLS 110, and SOAN 110).  The sole exception applies to students who meet the IR major’s methods course requirement with BUSN/ECON 180, in which case a curriculum with four 100-level courses is permissible. 
    • Of the twelve courses that comprise the international relations major, at least four courses must be at the 300 or 400 levels. 
    • IR majors may double-count two courses for the international relations major toward the other major or a minor.
    • IR majors may appeal the IR chair to substitute as many as four transferable courses taken at another academic institution of higher learning in the United States and abroad for core and elective courses (other than the senior studies requirement).


    Requirements for the Minor: 

    The International Relations (IR) minor is comprised of eight courses in two parts.  Students must maintain a C average in courses taken to fulfill the IR minor requirements.

    Part 1


    • POLS 245: Theories of International Relations
    • Choose three of the following courses: 

    •     POLS 110: Introduction to Global Politics

    •     ECON 110: Principles of Economics

    •     SOAN 110: Introduction to Sociology and Anthropology

    •     HIST 208: Europe 1715-1890 or HIST 209: Europe in the Twentieth Century

    •     IREL 480: International Relations Senior Seminar or POLS 481: Senior Seminar in Global Politics***

    Part 2

    Option A

    •     Four elective courses from at least two separate fields, with two at the 200 level and two at the 300 level.

    Option B

    •    Two elective courses from separate fields, with one at the 200 level and one at the 300 level.

    •     Two foreign language courses (in the same language) at the 200 level or above.

    IR minors may double-count two international relations courses with a major or another minor.

    * Majors may also appeal to the IR chair to substitute a senior seminar in Business, Economics, History, or Sociology/Anthropology for IREL 480 or POLS 481.  Consent of the appropriate senior studies instructors and the academic advisor is also required.


    ** Some of these courses are cross-listed in two or more departments and/or programs, but they are listed here according to their “home” department or program.   Also, some courses, especially those at the 300 and 400 levels, have departmental/program prerequisites; please check the appropriate departmental/program web site for more information on prerequisites.


    *** IR minors may also appeal to the IR chair to substitute a senior seminar in Business, Economics, History, and Sociology/Anthropology for IREL 480 or POLS 481.  Consent of the appropriate senior studies instructors and the academic advisor is also required.