Arts and Sciences Learning Objectives
The International Relations (IR) major aims to provide an interdisciplinary – but also
coherent and rigorous – undergraduate education in international affairs.
All of the courses in our curriculum fulfill one or more of the requirements
outlined below, and as such contribute to our aim of providing competency in
the following three areas:
Students should display oral and written proficiency in a language
other than their native language.
Students should be able to use fundamental concepts in the study of
international relations. The fundamental concepts include:
The major philosophical, theoretical and methodological approaches of the
study of international relations from the perspective of political science
including nationalism, sovereignty, power, conflict and interdependence.
Economic analysis of commercial arrangements including trade, finance,
development, comparative economic systems, health and the environment.
The role of identities, values and prejudices that are the product of
historical processes and the interaction of different peoples.
Meta-narratives and theoretical frameworks for analyzing issues of cultural,
religious and political life within societies and between political communities.
Students should be able to apply the fundamental concepts of the study
of international relations to a specific sub-field within international
relations. Subfields include:
Regional and comparative analysis from an historical, political economic
and cultural perspective
International economics including trade, finance, the environment and
Global health, nutrition and the environment
Core Requirements (5 Courses)
The Core Requirements constitute the shared foundation of knowledge that
is needed by all IR majors, regardless of thematic concentration. They
are comprised of broad introductory courses that cover the major themes
and debates within individual disciplines on the study of international
affairs. Students must complete a course in each of the five core
requirements in order to attain sufficient mastery of the IR Program's
major constituent disciplines.
- Core Requirement 1 – Introduction to International Relations (PS
61): PS 61 presents the major philosophical, theoretical, and
methodological approaches to the study international relations from
the perspective of political science.
- Core Requirement 2 – Principles of Economics (EC 5): EC 5
introduces students to the fundamentals of microeconomic and
macroeconomic analysis, a necessary prerequisite for the further
study of international economics.
- Core Requirement 3 – International Economics: A core course in
international economics is a broad and introductory course that
acquaints students with the evaluation of international commercial
arrangements. The main areas addressed include trade, finance,
development, comparative, and environmental economics, but attention
is also given to economic history, philosophy, and strategic
analysis where relevant to analysis of international relations.
- Core Requirement 4 – The Historical Dimension: A core course in
the historical dimension is a broad and introductory course that
serves to emphasize the way international relations are deeply
grounded in identities, values, and prejudices that are themselves
the products of long historical processes and the interaction of
- Core Requirement 5 – Theories of Society and Culture: A core
course in theories of society and culture is a broad and
introductory course that provides meta-narratives and theoretical
frameworks for analyzing enduring issues of cultural, religious, and
political life both within societies and between political
communities. It focuses on the normative considerations – such as
the role of the individual in the community, views on the meaning
and highest forms of human existence, and the relationship between
the government and the governed – that are necessary for a
well-rounded understanding of international relations.
Thematic Concentration (7 Courses)
The Thematic Concentrations are designed to provide students with a
substantial, in-depth, and focused study of one aspect of international
affairs. All students must select one Thematic Concentration (or
sub-concentration) and take a total of seven courses in it, distributed
across the disciplines. In order that the knowledge gained be
cumulative, moreover, no more than three of these courses may be an
introductory-level course, and at least one must be a capstone research
course (senior seminar, directed research, or senior honors thesis). We
offer six Thematic Concentrations:
- Thematic Concentration 1 – Regional and Comparative Analysis: This
consists of five sub-concentrations, each focusing on a major geographic
region outside the United States: (a) Europe & the former Soviet Union;
(b) East and Southeast Asia; (c) Africa; (d) Middle East and South Asia;
(e) Latin America.
- Thematic Concentration 2 – International Economics: The
sub-concentrations here are (a) international trade; (b) international
finance; (c) international environmental economics; (d) international
- Thematic Concentration 3 – Global Health, Nutrition, and the
Environment: This concentration addresses the conceptual connections
between issues of global health, nutrition, the environment, and
sustainable development as they relate to international affairs.
- Thematic Concentration 4 – International Security: This concentration
focuses on the causes and consequences of war and the conditions for
peace, issues that lie at the heart of the multidisciplinary study of
- Thematic Concentration 5 – Globalization: This concentration
focuses on focuses on the spread of ideas through global practices and
behaviors such as human rights, migration, urbanization, media, technology,
empires and colonialism, and the study of culture.
- Thematic Concentration 6 – Identity: This concentration
focuses on how individuals perceive themselves in their relationships
to the world through prisms such as gender, class, religion, race, nationality, and ethnicity.
Majors in International Relations must display oral and written
proficiency in a foreign language. The level of proficiency required is
eight semesters or the equivalent.
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