International Relations Course Recommendations

Major in International Relations (BA)

Few courses in political science and international relations carry prerequisites, and programs vary greatly according to student interest. But we outline here a few basic principles that we hope are useful to students in their planning for a major.


Take two to three introductory (100-level) classes to explore the major and its various tracks. PSC 200 is also an appropriate course for first-years. Students might also consider beginning or furthering their study of a modern spoken language other than English.

Explore the Center for Education Abroad to begin learning about opportunities for study abroad. Most students go abroad in their junior year, but some go as sophomores.

International students could meet with an advisor this year or in their sophomore year to see if they are exempt from the study abroad and language requirements.


Take one to two classes in tools of political analysis. Students should aim to complete this requirement in their sophomore year or, at the latest, in the fall of their junior year, since these classes provide background that is helpful in other classes. Students interested in pursuing the senior honors program should take a class in statistics. (If the statistics class is PSC 200 or PSC 205, it satisfies a requirement for tools of political analysis. Statistics courses taught in other departments would not satisfy this requirement but can still be used in applying for the honors program.)

Also take two classes in your core track or to satisfy breadth or electives. While many sophomores take 100-level classes, most will take 200-level (or more advanced) classes. At least one of these courses could satisfy upper-level writing.

Finalize plans for your semester abroad, meeting with an advisor to gain pre-approval for any courses you are considering for transfer credit.

Begin or continue your study of a modern spoken language other than English.


Complete tools of political analysis by the fall semester and continue taking 200-level (or more advanced) classes for your core track, breadth, and electives. At least one of these courses should satisfy upper-level writing.

Students interested in the senior honors program should submit their petitions no later than March 15.


Aim to complete all requirements for your major by the fall of your senior year, leaving the spring for electives and extra coursework in your major, if desired.