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About Tufts International Relations Program


Academic Mission:

The International Relations Program at Tufts University offers a course of study for undergraduate students with a primary interest in international and regional studies. The field of international relations includes the study of:

  • The history, politics, economics, and cultures of regional systems around the world
  • International economics
  • Global health, nutrition, and the environment as they relate to international relations
  • The causes and consequences of war and the conditions for peace
  • 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
  • How individuals perceive themselves in their relationships to the world through prisms such as gender, class, religion, race, nationality, and ethnicity

A major in international relations is therefore interdisciplinary. However, it should not be conceived simply as an agglomeration of knowledge from several fields. Rather, both faculty and students in international relations strive to compare and integrate the methodologies and evidence they acquire in different disciplinary settings as they seek answers to similar questions.


The International Relations Program at Tufts University was created in 1977, as one of the first international relations programs in the country. In that inaugural year under its first director, Professor John S. Gibson of the Political Science Department, the Program enrolled 27 students. Today, with over 600 declared majors and an international reputation, the IR Program has become one of Tufts University's most popular undergraduate concentrations.

Yet its popularity has not prevented the Program from delivering the hallmark of a Tufts education—small class sizes allowing for individual faculty attention to students. This is due in no small measure to the inclusiveness of Tufts' approach to international relations. An interdisciplinary major, the Program draws upon the strengths of 18 related departments and programs. Additionally, the IR Program has a staff dedicated to keeping the students and faculty informed and prepared to navigate the rigorous program.