International Relations Major

Program Overview

International Relations is a degree program that offers the student a truly interdisciplinary course of study. The major concentration emphasizes modern history, economics, and political science. The IR faculty encourages its majors to enhance the interdisciplinary nature of their studies by taking a double major or a minor concentration in modern language, economics, history, political science, business, or one of the interdisciplinary and area studies programs that the University offers (Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, Gender Studies, American Studies); by studying abroad; and/or by participating in the Washington and Philadelphia Internship Programs.

Students majoring in International Relations acquire valuable skills in communication and analysis, independent judgment, appreciation of different societies and cultures, and knowledge of world affairs and trends, all of which are critical in the increasingly global environment of today and tomorrow.

International Relations is a major rooted in the Jesuit tradition of liberal arts, especially suited to those whose orientation may be toward graduate or legal studies, government service, international business, communications, and education.

Learning Goals and Objectives

Goal 1: Students will gain a general knowledge of the field of International Relations, with exposure to the three core fields of the program, global politics, international economics, and modern history.

Objective 1.1: Students will identify and demonstrate knowledge of contemporary scholarship in the areas they have studied.

Objective 1.2: Students will identify and demonstrate knowledge of major historical and contemporary events in world affairs.

Goal 2: Students will be able to read and critically assess academic literature, orally articulate ideas, conduct research, and analyze data, appropriate to the undergraduate level.

Objective 2.1: Students will apply relevant theoretical concepts to assess real world issues.

Objective 2.2: Students will communicate an argument verbally to real world issues by analyzing or synthesizing relevant theories and concepts and/or analyzing and evaluating appropriate evidence.

Objective 2.3: Students will ask their own research question and conduct well-organized, empirically-oriented, written analysis of it by identifying, analyzing and synthesizing relevant theories and concepts, and collecting, analyzing and evaluating appropriate evidence.

Requirements or the International Relations Major

The traditional undergraduate programs include 40 courses distributed across three components: A General Education component divided into Signature Courses, Variable Courses, and an Integrative Learning requirement; a Major and Divisional component; and Free Electives. In addition to course requirements as specified in each area, students must complete one certified course in each of the following overlay areas:

  1. Diversity, Globalization or Non-western Area Studies,
  2. Ethics Intensive, and
  3. Writing Intensive. Overlay requirements are part of the forty-course requirement.

General Education Signature Courses

See this page about Signature courses. Six courses

General Education Variable Courses

See this page about Variable courses. Six to Nine courses

Social/Behavioral Sciences
ECN 102Introductory Economics Macro3

General Education Overlays

See this page about Overlays.

General Education Integrative Learning Component

See this page about Integrative Learning Component. Three courses

GEP Integrative Learning Component

International Relations majors must take three classes to satisfy the Integrated Learning Component of the GEP. Classes will stem from three groups or "types" of course, with two classes coming from one group and the third class coming from another group. Students may choose from which group they take two courses and which group they take a single course. The three groups are:

  1. Analytical Tools
  2. Foreign Languages and Literature (Modern and Classical Languages)
  3. Social Justice

The Analytical Tools category includes:

The Foreign Languages and Literature category includes:

All classes in Modern and Classical Languages numbered 202 or higher. Must be in addition to the courses used to fulfill the GEP Non-Native Language Requirement.  Or, study of a different (new) language beyond the GEP Non-Native Language Requirement may count towards this requirement.  See the IR Director for more information.

The Social Justice category includes:

Any class designated as Faith-Justice or additional GEP Overlay “Diversity” (beyond GEP DGNW requirement).

Students may petition the IR committee for non-Faith-Justice courses to count toward this requirement.

Major Requirements

Major Concentration

Foundational Courses (Classes of 2018 and 2019)
ECN 101Introductory Economics Micro3
POL 113Intro to Comparative Politics3
POL 115Introduction to Global Politcs3
IRT 211World Regional Geography3
Foundational Courses (Class of 2020 and beyond)
ECN 101Introductory Economics Micro3
POL 113Intro to Comparative Politics3
POL 115Introduction to Global Politcs3
Core Courses (Classes of 2018 and 2019)
IRT 250Research & Writing in INTR3
or POL 231 Soph Sem: 1989/2011
IRT 495IR Senior Capstone Seminar3
or POL 403 Nations and Nationalism
or POL 404 Contemporary Peacebuilding
or POL 409 Contemporary Internt Migration
Core Course (1 course) (Classes of 2020 and beyond)
Capstone Course from: POL 403, POL 404, or POL 409 . 1
IR majors who double-major in POL must complete a second Senior Capstone Course to fulfill the POL major requirements. In addition, Capstone Courses do not count towards the Upper Division Course requirements for either major.
Experiential Learning: (1 course) (Class of 2020 & beyond):
POL Internship Course (POL 411, POL 412, POL 413, POL 414, or POL 491 HIS 491) or any Service Learning course (with SLR attribute).
Upper Division Courses: (8 courses) (Classes of 2018 and 2019)
Majors will select a total of 8 courses from the list of approved IR courses (see below). In completing this requirement, students must take (1) at least two upper division IR courses in History and (2) at least one upper division course each in Economics and Political Science. Course descriptions can be found in the relevant Departmental listings of the catalog.
Upper Division Courses: (9 courses) (Classes of 2020 & beyond) 2
Majors will select a total of 9 courses from the list of approved IR courses (see below). In completing this requirement, students must take (1) at least one upper division IR course in Economics, (2) at least two upper division IR courses in History, and (3) at least two upper division IR courses in Political Science. Course descriptions can be found in the relative Departmental listings of the catalog.
International Trade
International Macroeconomics
Economic Development
Modern Economic Systems
U.S. Economic History
Ecn. of Multinatnl Enterprises
African Economies
Asian Economies
Chinese Economics
Ecns of Migration & Immigratn
American Hist. 1865 to Present
Historical Intro to Latin Am
Latin American-U.S. Migration
His Intro to the Islamic World
Historical Intro to Asian Civ
AP European History Credit
Historical Intro to Mod.Africa
United States and Latin Am
History of Modern Mexico
Social Protest in Latin Am His
French Revolution and Napoleon
Europe in 20th Cent, 1914-1939
Europe in 20th Cent, Since1939
France 1814-1914
The Age of Empire
Age of Aristcy: Brit 1689-1832
Victorian Britain, 1815-1901
Twentieth Century Britain
Germany: Fr Rev through WWI
The Weimar Repblc & Nazi Germy
History of Russia, 1682-1881
Russia-Soviet Union 1861-1991
Stalinism 1920 to 1950
African Ethnicities
Exchng & Conq in Mod E. Asia
Gndr, Ideolgy & Rev in E. Asia
Modern China
Japan Since 1800
Clnlism & Ntnlism SE Asia
Modern South Asia
History of Islam in Asia
Contemporary China
India & Pak: Colony to Nation
Progressive Era to New Deal
Postwar Am, 1945 to the Presnt
Am Foreign Policy, 1775-1914
US in the World, Wilson-Reagan
Philadelphia Area Internship (depending on specific internship)
Political Science
Politics, Ideology, & Film
Latin American Politics
Asian Democ at the Crossroads
Russian Politics
Comp Pols of MENA
The EU and European Politics
Contemp Cuban Politi, Std Tour
Democracy:Perspect. from Rome
Dictatorship, Asian Style
Political Geography
Revolts and Revolutions
Memory & Recon. in Global Soci
International Human Rights
Global Political Economy
Global Security
War and Peace
American Foreign Policy
Contemporary Intil Migration
Theories of Internat Relations
Interntnl Relatns of East Asia
Ethics in Interntionl Affairs
Women, Gender & World Politics
Washington Internship I
Washington Internship II
International Internship I
International Internship II
Philadelphia-Area Internship
International Relations
Honors Rdgs & Research in IR
Honors Rdgs & Research in IR


The Washington Internship is described under Special Programs and allows students to work in Washington for a whole semester and earn course credits (POL 411/POL 412 Washington Internship). The Philadelphia-Area Internship Program is described under the Political Science Program (as POL 491) and History Program (as HIS 491). IR students can take both HIS 491 and POL 491. However, only one of the two courses will be counted towards the IR course requirements.

University Honors Requirements

To receive University Honors credit, an Honors Program student who is an International Relations major must have a 3.5 GPA, complete the Honors curriculum of 8 courses as specified, and must undertake two consecutive semesters of research/study in the form of a senior thesis with a faculty mentor. These two courses may be counted toward the student's total upper division international relations courses. Specific requirements for the Honors thesis may be found under the Honors Program.