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.

Degree Requirements

The International Relations Major

Click to Open

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.

SubjectNumberTitle
POLSC110The US in World Affairs
ECON112Principles 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.

SubjectNumberTitle
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:
SubjectNumberTitle
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:

SubjectNumberTitle
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
POLSC334United 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 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:
SubjectNumberTitle
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
Electives:

Select four electives drawn from:

SubjectNumberTitle
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 European-based 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:
SubjectNumberTitle
HIST30520th Century Europe
POLSC120Comparative Politics
POLSC325Modern European Politics
POLSC346Foreign Policies of Russia and China
Electives:

Select four electives drawn from:

SubjectNumberTitle
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:
SubjectNumberTitle
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:

SubjectNumberTitle
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***
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

***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.

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.

To read more about our academic offerings, or to view full course descriptions, please refer to our University Catalog.

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