International Relations

At RWU, our interdisciplinary International Relations major celebrates human endeavor, diversity and opportunity by drawing upon subjects like history, sociology, economics, foreign language and political science. Through internships, study abroad and specialization in either globalization, culture or area studies, you’ll learn the practical diplomacy, communication and critical thinking skills needed to help make a difference in the world in careers such as government, consulting and intelligence.

The International Relations Major

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The international relations major seeks to promote a sophisticated understanding of the trans-boundary interactions of governments, organizations, cultures and people – both in terms of how such interactions exist today and how they can be improved in the future. In addition, the major seeks to help students cultivate practical analytical and communication skills that will foster professional excellence and personal achievement.
Because it is difficult to understand our dynamic and increasingly interdependent world through a single lens, the major works across multiple academic disciplines, while also providing students with the flexibility to focus upon subjects and themes of greatest interest to them. The major draws upon faculty and courses representing some twelve academic programs at RWU, including political science, history, economics, sociology, anthropology, communication, art and art history, and languages, among others.
 
To study international relations is to celebrate human endeavor, global diversity and new opportunities. At the same time, our world is deeply troubled. From the persistence of global poverty and disease to the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction and regional conflicts in Asia and the Middle East, global problems are many and often deeply disturbing. The aim of the international relations major is to give students the tools to flourish in the world while also encouraging students to use these tools to help make the world more secure, more prosperous, and more humane than it is at present. Students are encouraged to understand the world, as it really is, and also to engage themselves as global citizens working to make a difference.
 

 

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Majors pursuing the Bachelor of Arts in international relations must satisfy University Core Curriculum requirements and the College speech requirement, COMM 210. In addition, majors must complete five international relations foundation courses; a two-course sequence intended to promote intercultural negotiating skills; a minimum of eight thematically-related courses in one of four tracks: Globalization Studies; Culture and Identity; Area Studies: Europe; or Area Studies: Non- Western; and one final capstone course completing the major. Majors must demonstrate minimum proficiency in a foreign language, either by successful completion of courses at the 202-level or by test; and they must complete a sufficient number of general electives to total 120 credits. Independent study and study abroad are encouraged.
It is recommended that majors use core concentration requirements to enhance their knowledge of a single discipline or language—and to apply electives toward a related minor or second major.
 
Note: Double counting courses is not permitted in meeting requirements for the core concentration, a minor or a second major.
 

Foundation Requirements:

The following five courses are required of all majors and are prerequisites for many of the more advanced courses in the major.
 
POLSC110The US in World Affairs 
ECON112Principle of Macroeconomics 
HIST102History of Western Civilization II 
SOC100Introduction to Sociology 
POLSC210International Relations 

Intercultural Negotiation Sequence:

All majors are required to take the following two courses. It is recommended that they be taken in the sequence which follows.

COMM250Intercultural Communication 
Note: COMM 100 and COMM 101 are waived for IR majors as a prerequisite for COMM 250.
POLSC335International Negotiations 

International Relations Tracks:

Majors are required to complete a minimum of eight thematically related courses from ONE of the following four tracks:

Track #1—Globalization Studies

The Globalization Studies track examines ongoing transformations in international politics, economics and culture. The study of globalization focuses especially upon patterns of increasing interdependence and communication across cultures, as well as emerging systems of global governance and the roles of states, international organizations, multinational corporations and transnational activist networks. Courses are situated in fields such as political science, economics, sociology, anthropology, management studies, and environmental science.

Note: Courses marked with an “*” may require a non-IR prerequisite.

Requirements for this track:

POLSC340International Political Economy 
MGMT340International Management 
SOC330Globalization and Identity 
Select One:
POLSC346Foreign Policies of Russia and China 
or
POLSC348Rogue States, Allies, Regional Powers 

Electives: Select Four electives drawn from:

AAH122History of Art and Architecture II 
BIO240Concepts of Ecology* 
BIO312Conservation Biology* 
COMM330International Communication 
ECON350International Trade* 
ECON360International Macro Economics 
POLSC215Strategy and National Security Policy 
POLSC221Comparative Politics in the Third World 
POLSC327Politics of the Middle East 
POLSC330Revolution and Social Change 
POLSC344United States and the Middle East 
POLSC346Foreign Policies of Russia and China 
POLSC348Rogue States, Allies, Regional Powers 
POLSC383Global Environmental Politics 
PSYCH255Social Psychology* 
SOC201Social Stratification 
SOC350Comparative Social Movements 

Additional Elective Options are:

  • Special topics courses and independent study with permission
  • Participation in a Macro Seminar, Center for Macro Projects and Diplomacy
  • Courses from Study abroad or relevant internship. (A maximum of two could be counted against any two elective courses. Directly-related courses could, in addition, count against other IR courses.)
  • Courses from the other tracks (up to two courses.)

Track #2 – Culture and Identity

The Culture and Identity track track explores how myriad cultural traditions around the globe have evolved and influenced each other throughout history and also shaped the formation of personal identity. While scholars today debate the possible emergence of a universal global culture, global communication has reinforced particular identities, attachments and allegiances along national, ethnic, religious and tribal lines. Courses are situated in fields such as anthropology, literature, sociology, communication, art and architecture, political science, psychology.

Note: Courses marked with an “*” may require a non-IR prerequisite.

Requirements for this track:

ANTH100Introduction to Cultural Anthropology 
and
One Anthropology elective with International content (select one):
ANTH220Self, Culture and Society** 
ANTH356World Cultures** 
ANTH380Culture Change and Development** 

**If a student selects either ANTH 220; ANTH 356 or ANTH 380, the student may not take the same course to fulfill the electives requirement below.

and

SOC330Globalization and Identity 
POLSC321Politics and Ethnic Conflict 

and

Electives:

Select four electives drawn from:

ANTH220Self, Culture and Society 
ANTH356World Cultures 
ANTH380Culture Change and Development 
AAH122History of Art and Architecture II 
AAH311History of American Art* 
AAH312History of Modern Art 
AAH313Art and Architecture of Africa 
AAH323Art and Architecture in the Islamic World 
COMM330International Communication* 
COMM380Visual Media in a Cultural Context* 
ENG290British Literature II: From Romanticism to Modernism 
ENG301Contemporary American Literature 
ENG320Studies in Global Literatures* 
ENG360Studies in Ethnic American Literature 
MRKT402International Marketing* 
PHIL258American Philosophy* 
POLSC302Political Parties and Interest Groups* 
POLSC307Gender in American Politics 
POLSC325Modern European Politics 
POLSC327Politics of the Middle East 
POLSC344United States and the Middle East 
POLSC346Foreign Policies of Russia and China 
POLSC348Rogue States, Allies, Regional Powers 
POLSC383Global Environmental Politics 
PSYCH255Social Psychology* 
PSYCH335Social and Emotional Development* 
SOC201Social Stratification 
SOC230Population and Society 
THEAT331Modern Drama 
THEAT332British Theatre and Performing Arts 
THEAT333Asian Drama and Dance 

Additional Elective Options are:

  • Special topics courses and independent study with permission
  • Participation in a Macro Seminar, Center for Macro Projects and Diplomacy.
  • Courses from Study abroad or relevant internship. (A maximum of two could be counted against any two elective courses. Directly-related courses could, in addition, count against other IR courses.)
  • Courses from the other tracks (up to two courses).

Track #3--Area Studies: Europe

The European Area Studies track examines the history, politics, economics, literature, arts and cultural traditions of Europe. Particular attention is given to the pivotal role of Europe in shaping modernity as well as prospects for Europeanbased international organizations, especially the European Union, to serve as prototypes in strengthening channels of global collaboration. The longstanding impact of Europe in propelling economic capitalism and political liberalism is examined alongside themes such as immigration and resurgent nationalism. Courses are situated in fields such as economics, history, political science, art and literature.

Note: Courses marked with an “*” may require a non-IR prerequisite.

Requirements for this track:

HIST30520th Century Europe 
POLSC120Comparative Politics 
POLSC325Modern European Politics 
POLSC346Foreign Policies of Russia and China 

Electives

Select four electives drawn from:

AAH122History of Art and Architecture II 
ECON360International Macro Economics 
ENG320Studies in Global Literatures 
HIST310Studies in European History 
HIST33119th Century Europe 
PHIL254Contemporary Philosophy* 
POLSC326Post Communist World 
POLSC340International Political Economy 
SOC330Globalization and Identity 

Additional Elective Options are:

  • Special topics courses and independent study with permission
  • Participation in a Macro Seminar, Center for Macro Projects and Diplomacy.
  • Courses from Study abroad or relevant internship. (A maximum of two could be counted against any two elective courses. Directly-related courses could, in addition, count against other IR courses.)
  • Courses from the other tracks (up to two courses).

Track #4--Area Studies: Non-Western

The Non-Western Area Studies track examines the history, politics, economics, literature, arts and cultural traditions of Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Special attention is given to economic restructuring and political transitions to democracy in the aftermath of colonialism as well as communism. Courses are situated in fields such as anthropology, history, political science, sociology and management studies.

Note: Courses marked with an “*” may require a non-IR prerequisite.

Requirements for this track:

POLSC120Comparative Politics 
POLSC221Comparative Politics in the Third World 
POLSC348Rogue States, Allies, Regional Powers 
Select one from:
HIST381Critical Periods and Topics in Asian History** 
HIST382Critical Periods and Topics in African History** 
HIST383Critical Periods and Topics Latin American History** 

**If a student selects either HIST 381,HIST 382 or HIST 383, the student may not take the same course to fulfill the electives requirement below.

Electives

Select four electives drawn from:

ANTH356World Cultures* 
AAH313Art and Architecture of Africa 
AAH323Art and Architecture in the Islamic World* 
COMM330International Communication 
ECON360International Macro Economics 
HIST381Critical Periods and Topics in Asian History*** 
HIST382Critical Periods and Topics in African History*** 
HIST383Critical Periods and Topics Latin American History*** 

***A student may select one of HIST 381, 382 or 383 as an elective; which is in addition to the one HIST course required for the Non- Western track.

PHIL212Eastern Philosophy* 
POLSC326Post Communist World 
POLSC327Politics of the Middle East 
POLSC330Revolution and Social Change 
POLSC340International Political Economy 
POLSC344United States and the Middle East 
POLSC428Mexican Politics 
SOC201Social Stratification 
SOC330Globalization and Identity 

Additional Elective Options are:

  • Special topics courses and independent study with permission.
  • Participation in a Macro Seminar, Center for Macro Projects and Diplomacy.
  • Courses from Study abroad or relevant internship. (A maximum of two could be counted against any two elective courses. Directly-related courses could, in addition, count against other IR courses.)
  • Courses from the other tracks (up to two courses).

Capstone Course:

The capstone course is intended, in most cases, to reconnect students to the general interdisciplinary study of international relations; and to provide culmination—and real world context-- for their personalized studies.

Note: Normally, to be taken second semester of senior year.

All majors are required to take either:

  • A directed senior research project, independent study.
  • Senior seminar, such as ANTH 460 Senior Seminar, HIST 420 Senior Seminar, or POLSC 460 Senior Seminar.

or

  • POLSC 386 International Law and Organization—covering the management of international relations (including a substantial research paper).

Language and Study Abroad:

All students are required to demonstrate at least minimum proficiency in a foreign language, either by successful completion of courses at the 202-level or by test.
 
Students entering the major without a language are encouraged to use foreign language to meet the core concentration requirement.
 
Study abroad is strongly encouraged—consideration to be given with respect to substituting courses for the major, especially with respect to the tracked courses.
 
Note: As listed above under track electives, any two courses taken abroad or in a related internship could be used to count against up to two elective courses in a student’s track provided they are international in content--even if the content of these courses does not substitute for the recommended electives.

Internship Opportunities

(partial list)

  • Washington, D.C. – Various sites
  • US State Department and Foreign Embassies
  • Law Firms, Corporations, and Non-Profit Organizations

Research Projects

(partial list)

  • Model United Nations
  • Model Arab League
  • Center for Macro Projects and Diplomacy
  • Economic development in Gaza
  • Foreign policy beliefs of Chinese, Russian and US political elites
  • Political culture and the Arab-Israeli conflict

Employers

(partial list)

  • Accenture
  • Sub-Saharan Africa Program at Partners Global
  • Peace Corps
  • World Wildlife Foundation
  • US House and Senate (staff)
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • US Marine Corps
  • DigitalGlobe Satellite Imagery
  • NASCAR Corporate
  • Powell Tate Consulting

Graduate Study

(partial list)

  • George Washington University
  • New York University
  • London School of Economics
  • Duke University School of Law
  • Roger Williams University School of Law
  • American University School of Law