International and Area Studies

International Relations

International Relations
Hours60 - 86 Credit Hours
MAPMajor Academic Plan

Program Requirements

No double counting of courses within the major will be allowed unless noted otherwise.
requirement 1 Complete 2 courses
Introductory Core Courses:
requirement 4 Complete 2 courses
Research foundations and methods:
requirement 5 Complete 1 option
Research foundations and methods: complete one of the following options:
option 5.1 Complete 2 courses
Note: Econ 388 can double count for an elective under specialization B and G.
option 5.2 Complete 1 course
requirement 11 Complete 1 option
Achieve proficiency in a foreign language. Students must complete courses for one language to a specified level. Some prerequisite courses may be waived with equivalent language experience. The foreign language requirement is waived for international students for whom English is their second language. Students can also receive credit for many less commonly taught languages (e.g., Tagalog, Thai). Please see the Center for Language Studies website ( for information on which languages are offered and when or visit the Kennedy Center Advisement Office.
option 11.2 Complete 2 courses
Preferably taken abroad.
option 11.3 Complete 2 groups
option 11.4 Complete 2 groups
requirement 12 Complete 1 option
Specializations: Complete one of the following tracks (no double-counting of major courses allowed):
option 12.2 Complete 1 group
B. Political Economy
Complete four courses from at least two disciplines. At least two courses must be from economics. NOTE: Completion of the Econ 378/388 sequence for the statistics requirement above will also count as fulfillment of one course in this track.
option 12.4 Complete 1 group
D. Latin American Politics and History
Complete four courses from the following. At least one course must be from political science and one course from history.
option 12.5 Complete 1 group
E. Middle Eastern Politics and History
option 12.7 Complete 2 groups
G. Economic and Political Development:
group 12.7.1 Complete 1 course
Note: Econ 431 cannot be double-counted for the 400-level economics course in the core; Econ 388 is the preferred route to fill the statistics prerequisite for this course.
Complete three courses from the following, of which one course must be from political science. NOTE: Completion of the Econ 378/388 sequence for the statistics requirements above will also count as fulfillment of one course in this track.
With the prior approval of the international relations coordinator, a maximum of 3 hours of IR 398R, 399R, or IAS 351R may be used toward meeting the four-course requirement of specialization. Only the second semester of IAS 351R would be allowed.
requirement 13 Complete 1 option
Capstone research experience:
Note 1: Only MESA 495, Poli 450, or Poli 470 can fill the GE Advanced Written and Oral Communication requirement when coupled with Poli 200.
Note 2: Students majoring in international relations may not pursue a double major or minor in either economics or political science because of the course overlap between international relations and those majors.
Program Outcomes: 

Factual Knowledge

Demonstrate factual knowledge of important international trends and events related to politics, economics, geography, and history.

Analyzing International Affairs

Analyze international affairs by using theoretical concepts and ideas from more than one IR-related discipline.

Writing Effectively

Communicate effectively in writing and in speech.

Critical and Analytical Thinking

Think critically and analytically about international problems and events, and synthesize concepts, information and experiences from different disciplines relevant to international affairs.

Analysis and Research

Employ appropriate methods of analysis and research, both qualitative and quantitative, to provide sophisticated analyses and clear, logical arguments relating to important questions about international relations.