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Major and Minor in International Relations

Requirements for the Major:

The International Relations (IREL) major consists of twelve courses: seven core courses and five elective courses.  Students must maintain a C (2.0) average in these courses to fulfill the requirements in the major.  In addition, they must also obtain the grade of C (2.0) or better in at least one 300-level language course.



•     IREL 110: Principles of Economics

•     IREL 140: Introduction to Global Politics

•     IREL 160: Introduction to Sociology and Anthropology

Methods (one of the following courses)

•     BUSN 355: Marketing Research in Cross-Cultural Settings

•     COMM 256: Communication Research Methods (IREL-COMM double majors only)

•     ECON/BUSN/FIN 130: Applied Statistics

•     HIST 300: Theory and Methods (IREL-HIST double majors only)

•     IREL 249: Methods of Political Research

•     MATH 150: Introduction to Probability and Statistics

•     SOAN 310: Social Research: Quantitative Methods (IREL-SOAN double majors only)

•     SOAN 320: Social Research: Qualitative Methods (IREL-SOAN double majors only)


•     IREL 245: Theories of International Relations

History (one of the following courses)

•     IREL 220: Europe 1715-1890

•     IREL 221: 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 or POLS 486: Global Politics Senior Seminar


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. **  IREL majors are also encouraged to appeal to the chair of the IREL Program to count courses not listed below as Elective Courses.  The electives must meet the following criteria:

  • At least one course in each of three different fields and no more than three courses in any single field.  Only one course credit in Field 5 is allowed.  
  • At least two of the five courses in any field must be comparative in nature – that is, comparing the political, economic, socio-cultural, etc. attributes of two or more countries. Comparative courses are designated below with the plus symbol (+). 
  • At least three of the five courses must be at the 300-level. 

Field 1. History

•     IREL 224: Immigration in France, 1945 to Today

•     IREL 225: History of Russia

•     IREL 226: World War II: Europe+

•     IREL 228: History of Mexico & the Borderlands

•     IREL 230: Modern China

•     IREL 231: Modern Japan

•     IREL 233: Origins of East Asia+

•     IREL 234: Modern East Asia+

•     IREL 320: Twentieth Century British Culture

•     IREL 327: The Russian Revolution

•     IREL 330: Topics in East Asian History+

•     IREL 332: Problems in Modern Chinese History: Film

•     IREL 333: Doing Business in/with China

Field 2. Politics

•     IREL 223: Capitalism: A Global History

•     IREL 240: American Foreign Policy

•     IREL 241: Global Issues

•     IREL 242: Politics of the Developing World+

•     IREL 250: Politics of Europe+

•     IREL 251: Politics of Russia

•     IREL 252: The Post-Communist World+

•     IREL 255: Asian Politics+

•     IREL 257: African Politics+

•     IREL 259: Politics of Latin America+

•     IREL 340: International Terrorism

•     IREL 342: International Political Economy

•     IREL 347: Global Governance

•     IREL 348: International Law

•     IREL 350: State and Nation Building+

•     IREL 353: Comparative Foreign Policy+

•     IREL 355: Dictators, Despots, and Tyrants+

•     IREL 357: Global Democratization+

Field 3. Business and Economics

•     IREL 212: Macroeconomic Theory

•     IREL 213: Principles of Marketing

•     IREL 214: The Mexican-American Border+

•     IREL 215: Child Labor in Latin America+

•     IREL 310: Emerging Markets Analysis+

•     IREL 311: Global Cultures & International Business-Chicago+

•     IREL 312: African Culture & Business Development+

•     IREL 316: Social Entrepreneurship

•     IREL 318: Economics of Development

Field 4. Cultures and Societies


•     IREL 395: Comparative and International Education+

•     IREL 396: Education in Developing Countries+

Environmental Studies

•     IREL 296: Terrorism and the Environment

Modern Languages


•     Introduction to Arab Cultures+


•     CHIN 232: Chinese Cinema

•     CHIN 260: Intro to Chinese Culture in English

•     CHIN 313: Chinese for International Affairs and Business


•     FREN 230: Exploring French Literature through Film

•     FREN 231: French Culture through Film

•     FREN 308: Contemporary France

•     FREN 320: French for International Affairs & Business+

•     FREN 326: Chanson et société+

•     FREN 327: Introduction to French Culture

•     FREN 328: Contemporary France

•     FREN 330: The French-Speaking World+

•     FREN 338: Cinema Francais


•     GERM 333: Modern German Film


•     SPAN 236: Latin American Film+

•     SPAN 302: Cancion y sociedad+

•     SPAN 304: Cocina y Cultura y Literatura+

•     SPAN 305: The Civilization of Spain

•     SPAN 306: Intro Latin American Culture+

•     SPAN 308: Spain Today

•     SPAN 320: Spanish for International Affairs+

•     SPAN 321: Business Spanish

•     SPAN 322: Medical Spanish

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

•     SPAN 334: Cine Español

•     SPAN 337: The Latin American World+

•     SPAN 338: Cine Latinoamericano+

•     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+


•     IREL 283: Philosophy of Self: East and West+

•     IREL 285: Desire and Discipline: Asian Morals+

•     IREL 286: Social Justice and Human Rights+

•     IREL 287: Social Justice Versus Freedom?

•     IREL 288: Topics in Japanese Thought

•     IREL 385: Comparative Philosophy: East and West+


•     IREL 260: Islam and Pop Culture+

•     IREL 262: Global Christianity+

•     IREL 263: Global Islam+

•     IREL 264: Global Hinduism+

•     IREL 265: Global Buddhism+

•     IREL 266: Chinese Religions+

•     IREL 267: Religion and Politics+

•     IREL 268: 21st Century Islam+

•     IREL 269: Religion and Gender in South Asia+

•     IREL 360: Religion in Global Context+

Sociology and Anthropology

•     IREL 271: Cultures of Modern Africa+

•     IREL 272: Histories & Cultures Latin America+

•     IREL 273: Cultural Ecology of Africa+

•     IREL 274: Globalization of Culture and Society+

•     IREL 275: Sociology of Terrorism+

•     IREL 373: Globalization, Modernity, and Culture+

•     IREL 374: War and Conflict+

•     IREL 375: Sociology of Religion+

Field 5. Applied International Relations

At the discretion of the IREL 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, IREL majors shall demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English.  This requirement may be satisfied with a grade of C 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 and course appeals

  • Normally, students count three 100-level courses for the International Relations major (IREL 110, IREL 140, and IREL 160).
  • Of the twelve courses that comprise the international Relations major, at least four courses must be at the 300 or 400 levels.  This combines three 300-level elective courses, and at least one course credit for senior studies at the 400-level.
  • 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 (IREL) minor is comprised of eight courses in two parts.  Students must maintain a C average in courses taken to fulfill the IREL minor requirements.

Part 1


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

•     IREL 110/ECON 110: Principles of Economics

•     IREL 140/POLS 110: Introduction to Global Politics

•     IREL 160/SOAN 110: Introduction to Sociology and Anthropology (first-year and second-year students only)

•     IREL 220/HIST 208: Europe 1715-1890  or IREL 221/HIST 209: Europe in the Twentieth Century

•     IREL 480, IREL 481, or IREL 482: International Relations Senior Seminar  or POLS 481, POLS 283, or POLS 486: Global Politics Senior Seminar ***

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 of a department or program for an IREL senior seminar.  Consent of the appropriate senior studies instructor, department/program chair,  and the academic advisor is also required.

** 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. 

*** IR minors may also appeal to the IREL chair to substitute a senior seminar of a department or program for an IREL senior seminar.  Consent of the appropriate senior studies instructor, department/program chair,  and the academic advisor is also required.

The numbering of IREL courses is as follows:

110s: Introductory level
21x and 31x: International economics and business
22x and 32x: European and Latin American history
23x and 33x: Asian history
24x and 34x: International politics
25x and 35x: Comparative politics
26x and 36x: Comparative and global religions
27x and 37x: Sociology and Anthropology
28x and 38x: Philosophy
290 – 299 and 390 – 399: Miscellaneous (e.g., ES, Education)
480s: IR senior seminars