Major in International Relations (BA)


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 general advising information, 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 INTR or PSCI. None of the 12 courses may be taken on an S/F basis.

Tools of Political Analysis (Two Courses)

Courses used to satisfy tools of political analysis cannot also be used to satisfy requirements for the core track, breadth, or electives.

  • PSCI 107: Introduction to Positive Political Theory
  • PSCI 200: Data Analysis I (Open only to students without previous statistics course)
  • PSCI 202W: Argument in Political Science
  • PSCI 205: Data Analysis II (Prerequisite: PSCI 200 or other statistics course)
  • PSCI 280: Intermediate Positive Political Theory
  • PSCI 281: Formal Models in Political Science
  • PSCI 288: Game Theory

Core Track (Five Courses from One Track)

Breadth (Two Courses)

Select two track courses that are not in your core track.

Electives (Three Courses)

Courses may be drawn from any offerings in the three tracks or any other courses in INTR, PSCI, ECON, or HIST. Courses from fields other than these can be used only with special approval from the director of undergraduate studies.

Upper-Level Writing

Select any two W-designated courses. Included in the 12 courses listed above. No more than one of these courses may be used to satisfy the writing requirement in a second or third major.

Study Abroad

Students must spend a semester in an organized program of education abroad. Study abroad is typically done in the fall or spring term. With special permission of the director of undergraduate studies, it can also be done for a summer semester, provided coursework runs a minimum of four full weeks. (Given the myriad challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the study abroad requirement was waived for students in the classes of 2021 and 2022.)

Language Requirement

Students must complete, with a satisfactory letter grade, at least two courses at the college level taught in a modern spoken language other than English. If two 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 four introductory courses may be counted toward the major. In most departments, all 100-level courses are considered introductory. The exceptions are courses offered by the Department of History and the Department of Religion and Classics. In history, only the following courses are defined as introductory: HIST 102, HIST 103, HIST 104, HIST 120, HIST 121, HIST 134, HIST 135, HIST 140, HIST 141, HIST 150, HIST 151, HIST 160, HIST 161, HIST 176, HIST 183, and HIST 184. In religion and classics, only RELC 100-111 are defined as introductory. Note that many courses are co-located (or cross-listed); in those cases, the classification of the course as introductory or not will be made according to the parent (P) listing.

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 two transfer courses may be used toward the core track. No more than three transfer courses may be used toward the major. Internships count as one course toward the major, even if students receive more than four credits in the internship toward general degree requirements. PSCI/INTR 394A: European political internship is not a transfer course; it is treated like a course taught in residence at the University of Rochester. Credit is not granted for online courses.

Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate

Students will be granted four credits in the major if they receive a grade of 4 or 5 on any AP exam in Government, a grade of 5 on any AP exam in History, a grade of 5, 6, or 7 on the Higher Level IB exam in Global Politics, or a grade of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB exam in History. 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 three courses may overlap between any two majors, and no more than two courses may overlap between a minor and either a major or another minor. If a cross-listed course (such as PSCI/ECON 288) is listed under two 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.

Note on Language and Study Abroad Requirements

The Study Abroad requirement will be considered already satisfied for students who have resided anywhere outside the United States and its territories for at least two years during the four-year period immediately preceding their matriculation at the University of Rochester.

The Language requirement may be considered already satisfied for either: (1) students whose native language is a modern spoken language other than English and who were educated primarily in that language for at least eight years, or (2) students who have attended at least two years of high school or college in a non-English-speaking country (or in a non-English-speaking region in a multilingual country) where the primary language of instruction for those courses was the language of that country or region.