The international relations major seeks to promote a sophisticated understanding of the trans-boundary interactions of governments, organizations, cultures and people - both in terms of how such interactions exist today and how they can be improved in the future. In addition, the major seeks to help students cultivate practical analytical and communication skills that will foster professional excellence and personal achievement.
Because it is difficult to understand our dynamic and increasingly interdependent world through a single lens, the major works across multiple academic disciplines, while also providing students with the flexibility to focus upon subjects and themes of greatest interest to them. The major draws upon faculty and courses representing some twelve academic programs at RWU, including political science, history, economics, sociology, anthropology, communication, art and art history, and languages, among others.
To study international relations is to celebrate human endeavor, global diversity and new opportunities. At the same time, our world is deeply troubled. From the persistence of global poverty and disease to the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction and regional conflicts in Asia and the Middle East, global problems are many and often deeply disturbing. The aim of the international relations major is to give students the tools to flourish in the world while also encouraging students to use these tools to help make the world more secure, more prosperous, and more humane than it is at present. Students are encouraged to understand the world, as it really is, and also to engage themselves as global citizens working to make a difference.
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.
Double counting courses is not permitted in meeting requirements for the core concentration, a minor or a second major.
The following five courses are required of all majors and are prerequisites for many of the more advanced courses in the major.
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.
International Relations Tracks:
Majors are required to complete a minimum of eight thematically related courses from ONE of the following four tracks:
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.
Courses marked with an “*” may require a non-IR prerequisite.
Requirements for this Track:
**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.
Select Four Electives Drawn from:
***A student may select one of HIST 381 , HIST 382 or HIST 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).
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.
Normally, to be taken second semester of senior year.
All Majors are Required to Take Either:
- A directed senior research project, independent study.
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.
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.