Department of Political Science

Major in International Relations (B.A.)

These requirements apply to all students in the Class of 2021 and later. Students in earlier classes may follow the old requirements. See other pages for information on declaring the major, for advisors and their office hours, for year-by-year course recommendations, and for a handy checklist of requirements for the major.


Students must take at least 12 courses, achieving a minimum overall GPA of 2.0 in these courses. At least 9 of these 12 courses must be listed as IR or PSC. None of the 12 courses may be taken on an S/F basis.

Tools of Political Analysis (2 courses)

Courses used to satisfy Tools of Political Analysis cannot also be used to satisfy requirements for the Core Track, Breadth, or Electives.

  • PSC 107 Introduction to Positive Political Theory
  • PSC 200 Data Analysis I (Open only to students without previous statistics course)
  • PSC 202W Argument in Political Science
  • PSC 205 Data Analysis II (Prerequisite: PSC 200 or other statistics course)
  • PSC 281 Formal Models in Political Science
  • PSC 288 Game Theory

Core Track (5 courses from one track)


Breadth (2 courses)

Select 2 track courses that are not in your Core Track.

Electives (3 courses)

Courses may be drawn from any offerings in the 3 tracks or any other courses in IR, PSC, ECO, or HIS. Courses from fields other than these can be used only with special approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Upper-Level Writing

Select any 2 W-designated courses. Included in the 12 courses listed above.

Study Abroad

Students must spend a semester (fall, spring, or summer) in an organized program of education abroad.

Language Requirement

Students must take at least 2 courses at the college level taught in a modern spoken language other than English. If 2 introductory courses are taken, both must be in the same language. Language courses used to satisfy a Humanities Cluster may be used also to satisfy this requirement. Transfer courses may be used to satisfy this requirement, with advisor approval. Advanced Placement exams may not be used to satisfy this requirement. The language courses are in addition to the 12 courses required for the major.

Additional Guidelines

Introductory courses

No more than 4 introductory courses may be counted toward the major.

Transfer Credit

All transfer courses subject to advisor approval. Transfer courses may not be used to satisfy Tools of Political Analysis or Upper-Level Writing. No more than 2 transfer courses may be used toward the Core Track. No more than 3 transfer courses may be used toward the major. Internships count as 1 course toward the major, even if students receive more than 4 credits in the internship toward general degree requirements. IR/PSC 397 (European Political Internship) is not a transfer course; it is treated like a course taught in residence at the University of Rochester.

Advanced Placement

Students who receive a grade of 4 or 5 on any AP exam in Government or History will be granted 4 credits in the major. Students who take more than one exam are not eligible for additional credit in the major. This credit is considered Elective, Introductory, and Transfer.

Overlap Policy

Students are reminded that they are subject to the College's "overlap policy" with respect to double majors and a major and minor. The policy applies to all students in the College. No more than 3 courses may overlap between any 2 majors, and no more than 2 courses may overlap between a minor and either a major or another minor. If a cross-listed course (such as PSC/ECO 288) is listed under 2 majors, it counts toward the overlap limit even if it is listed under the Political Science number in one case and a cross-listed number in the other case.

International Students

The Study Abroad and Language requirements may be waived for students who have resided for at least two years in a non-English-speaking country and who, while in that country, have taken formal education courses at the high school level or above taught in a modern spoken language other than English.