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Requirements

Majors and Minors in Politics and International Relations

The Department of Politics and International Relations is a joint department that offers 2 majors and 2 minors –a major and minor in Politics, and a major and minor in International Relations.

The Majors and Minors in Politics and International Relations were redesigned in 2021. The new requirements will apply to all students who matriculate in Fall Semester 2021 and thereafter (see College Catalog pdf archives for major and minor requirements before Fall 2021).

Effective for those entering the College in Fall 2021, students cannot double major, major and minor, or double minor within the Department of Politics and International Relations.

Requirements for the Politics Major:

Politics majors must take a minimum of 10 Politics courses.

  • Four core courses, taken in any order:
    • Politics 110: Introduction to Global Politics or Politics 140: Introduction to Comparative Politics
    • Politics 120: Introduction to American Politics
    • Politics 130: Great Political Ideas
    • Politics 200: Methods of Political Research
  • Five elective courses in Politics (POLS), at least three of which must be at the 300-level or above
  • Senior Studies Requirement:
    • Senior Seminar (The International Relations senior seminar can be substituted) or
    • Senior Research Project or
    • Senior Thesis

To graduate with a major in Politics, students must earn a C average (GPA 2.0) across all courses earned for letter grades counted towards the major. Up to two course grades of “P” Pass will be counted toward the major in Politics, with the exception that senior studies requirement (senior seminar, senior research project, or senior thesis) may not be earned on a Pass-Fail basis.

Requirements for the Politics Minor:

Politics minors must take a minimum of 6 Politics courses.

  • Two of the following four courses:
    • Politics 110: Introduction to Global Politics
    • Politics 120: Introduction to American Politics
    • Politics 130: Great Political Ideas
    • Politics 140: Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • Four elective courses in Politics (POLS), at least two of which must be at the 300-level or above

Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA in the Politics minor.  There are no restrictions on Pass-Fail courses in the Politics minor.

Requirements for the International Relations Major:

International Relations majors must take a minimum of 11 courses.

  • Three foundations courses, taken in any order:
    • International Relations 110: Principles of Economics or International Relations 160: Introduction to Sociology and Anthropology
    • International Relations 130: Introduction to Comparative Politics
    • International Relations 140: Introduction to Global Politics
  • One theory course
    • International Relations 245: Theories of International Relations
  • One methods course
    • International Relations 249: Methods of Political Research (or acceptance of alternative methods course by appeal to Department Chairperson)
  • One history course
    • International Relations 220: Europe 1715-1890 or
    • International Relations 221: Europe in the Twentieth Century or
    • International Relations 234: Modern East Asia
  • Four elective courses, at least three of which must be at the 300-level or above
    • Three international relations courses (240-259 and 340-359)
    • One non-international relations course from the Forester Fundamental Curriculum - Global Perspectives category at the 200 or 300 level (a 200-level modern language course does not count)
  • Senior Studies Requirement
    • Senior Seminar or
    • Senior Research Project or
    • Senior Thesis
  • Language competency
    • In addition to the eleven-course curriculum in International Relations, IREL majors shall demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English. This requirement may be satisfied with one culture-oriented modern language course at the 300-level of instruction taught in a language other than English. 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 Politics and International Relations Department Chairperson shall arrange these special examinations and has the sole authority to waive this requirement.

To graduate with a major in International Relations, students must maintain a C (2.0) average across all courses earned for letter grades counted towards the major. In addition, they must also obtain the grade of C (2.0) or better in one 300-level language course. One course grade of "P" Pass will be counted toward the major in International Relations, with the exception that senior studies requirement (senior seminar, senior research project, or senior thesis) may not be earned on a Pass-Fail basis.

Requirements for the International Relations Minor:

International Relations minors must take a minimum of 8 courses in two parts.  Students must maintain a C average in courses taken to fulfill the IREL minor requirements. There are no restrictions on Pass-Fail courses in the minor.

Part 1

CORE COURSES (4)

  • International Relations 110: Principles of Economics or International Relations 160: Introduction to Sociology and Anthropology
  • International Relations 130: Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • International Relations 140: Introduction to Global Politics
  • International Relations 245: Theories of International Relations

Part 2

Option A

  • Four elective courses (with two at the 300-level or above):
    • Two international relations courses (240-259 and 340-359)
    • Two non-international relations courses from the Forester Fundamental Curriculum - Global Perspectives category

Option B

  • Two elective courses (with one at the 300-level or above):
    • One international relations course (240-259 and 340-359)
    • One non-international relations course from the Forester Fundamental Curriculum - Global Perspectives category
  • Two modern language courses (taught in the same non-English language) at the 200-level or above

Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA in the International Relations minor.  There are no restrictions on Pass-Fail courses in the International Relations minor.

Transfer and Advanced Placement (AP) Credits  

Courses transferred from other colleges and universities may be substituted for Lake Forest College courses in politics and international relations after consultation with a student’s advisor and with the permission of the Chairperson of the Department of Politics and International Relations.  The Department of Politics and International Relations gives automatic credit for Politics 140 to any student who scores a 4 or 5 on the Comparative Politics Advanced Placement (AP) Exam, and credit for Politics 120 to any student who scores a 4 or 5 on the United States Politics Advanced Placement (AP) Exam.