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Undergraduate Program

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 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 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 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 (fall, spring, or summer) in an organized program of education abroad.

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 140, HIST 141, HIST 150, HIST 151, HIST 160, and HIST 161. In religion and classics, only RELC 100-111 are defined as introductory.

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.

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.