International Relations Major
Goals for the International Relations Major
- A student who completes a major in international relations will acquire the depth of knowledge and intellectual skills equivalent to completing a major in one of the three component disciplines (economics, history, political science).
- The student will also acquire the breadth of knowledge about the other two component disciplines necessary for an interdisciplinary approach to the study of international relations.
- The student will demonstrate advanced competence in the reading, writing, and speaking of a language other than English.
- International Relations-History majors will acquire specific knowledge about the history of modern international relations, an appreciation of the importance of culturally and geographically localized historical knowledge in the analysis of global change, and an understanding, through case studies, of the relevance of history to contemporary international issues.
Requirements for the International Relations Major
International Relations majors consist of 14 units of course work—five core courses plus nine courses in one of the three tracks. In addition to this course work, all International Relations students are required to demonstrate advanced proficiency in a modern language, normally defined as two units of language study beyond the minimum required by the College. Language courses do not count toward the minimum 14 courses. Students who studied in educational systems requiring them to read, write, and speak a language other than English have met the language requirement for the IR major. If you intend to fulfill your language requirement this way, please provide your advisor with a signed statement attesting to the above under the honor code.
Five core courses: All students majoring in International Relations must take the following courses:
It is strongly recommended that students complete all core courses by the end of the sophomore year.
Nine courses in History:
Students who elect the International Relations-History major take the following courses in addition to the International Relations core:
- Two history courses dealing with the era before ca.1900
- Three history courses dealing with the modern history of countries or regions
- Two courses dealing with modern international history to be selected in consultation with the advisor
- HIST 395: International History Seminar - HIST 369 will fulfill the HIST 395 capstone requirement for the academic year 2022-23.
(Three of these eight History courses listed above, including one pre-1900 course, must focus on one region of the world; at least three courses must deal with the non-Western world; and at least two must be at the 300 level.)
- One additional 200 or 300-level course in Africana Studies, Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, Sociology, or Women’s and Gender Studies
- At least two 300-level units must be completed at Wellesley
Honors in International Relations
The policies governing eligibility for honors work in International Relations-Economics, International Relations-History, or International Relations-Political Science are set by the individual departments. Students interested in pursuing honors should consult the relevant departmental entry in the Bulletin.
Advanced Placement Policy in International Relations
The International Relations program’s policy about AP/IB credits follows that established by the relevant department. Please consult directions for election in the departments of Economics, History, and Political Science. In no case do AP credits count toward the minimum major in International Relations.
International Study in International Relations
International Relations majors are strongly encouraged to spend at least one semester in an international study program. Transfer credits from international study programs must be approved by the appropriate department chair. Students are strongly encouraged to seek the relevant approval before studying abroad. At least two 300-level units must be completed at Wellesley.