2023-2024 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Oct 04, 2023  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Course Catalog

International Relations, BA


International Relations Program
102 Maxwell Hall


Sherburne Abbott, Lamis Abdelaaty, Edwin Ackerman, Merima Ali, Alan Allport, Douglas V. Armstrong, Elizabeth Ashby, Hossein Bashiriyeh, Mona Bhan, Erin Hern, Stuart Brown, Horace Campbell, Linda Carty, A.H. Peter Castro, Matthew R. Cleary, Donald H. Dutkowsky, Michael R. Ebner, Colin Elman, Gary Engelhardt, Margarita Estévez-Abe, Jerry Evensky, Christopher Faricy, Shana Gadarian, Peng Gao, Cecilia Green, Ryan Griffiths, Dimitar Gueorguiev, Paul M. Hagenloh, Timur Hammond, Petra Hejnova, Azra Hromadzic, Matthew Huber, Vivian Ike, Jok Madut Jok, Hugo Jales, Seth Jolly, Amy Kallander, George Kallander, Thomas M. Keck, Osamah F. Khalil, Audie Klotz, Radha Kumar, Prema Kurien, Norman A. Kutcher, Derek Laing, Scott Landes, Sandra Lane, Yoonseok Lee, Mengxiao Liu,  Andrew London, Yingyi Ma, Gladys McCormick, Daniel McDowell, Devashish Mitra, D. Glyn Morgan, Inge O'Connor, Arthur Paris, Thomas Perreault, Jane Read, Lars Rodseth, Alexander Rothenberg, Robert A. Rubinstein, Mark E. Rupert, Tod Rutherford, S.N. Sangmpam, Rebecca Schewe, Maureen Schwartz, Yüksel Sezgin, Martin S. Shanguhyia, Naomi Shanguhyia, Abdulaziz Shifa, Farhana Sultana, Brian D. Taylor, Robert Terrell, Simon Weschle, Jamie L. Winders, Yael Zeira

The undergraduate BA major in international relations helps students develop the analytic, cultural, and linguistic skills needed to understand contemporary international affairs, to function effectively in a global environment, and to prepare for further academic or professional study and international career opportunities. This multidisciplinary program provides students with tools and approaches from social science disciplines - anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, and sociology - to explore current issues in international affairs and to conceptualize global citizenship.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Recognize global political and economic patterns and relationships.

2. Interpret similarities and differences in cultures, norms, and institutions.

3. Apply theoretical and analytical perspectives in two of nine concentrations: Culture, Identities and Citizenship; Global Health and Environment; International Law and Organizations; Human Rights; International Political Economy; International Security and Diplomacy; Migration; Technology and Global Politics; and Regional Studies with options in Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, and the Americas.

4. Demonstrate foreign language competency necessary to study or work abroad.

5. Effectively utilize appropriate quantitative or qualitative research tools, analytical techniques, and presentation skills to explain and interpret contemporary issues in international relations.

Major Requirements

Graduation with a Bachelors of Arts degree in international relations requires an overall grade point average of 2.0 or higher in upper-division courses for the major, including a grade of ‘C’ or better for work undertaken to fulfill the senior capstone requirement.

To declare an International Relations major, or to remain in good standing if directly admitted to the program, students must complete one of three introductory courses with a grade of B or better at Syracuse University. The remaining introductory courses must be completed with a passing grade.

Requirements for the major include 36 credits in courses taken for the major, plus fulfillment of the major’s language proficiency requirement (see below). At least 21 credits must be from courses numbered 300 or higher.  The major requirements include:

  • Required introductory courses
  • Research methods requirement
  • Concentration courses
  • Language proficiency
  • Senior capstone seminar

Please note that some required courses have prerequisites. Students should meet with an International Relations advisor to plan accordingly and to ensure all prerequisites are met.

Research Methods Requirement

Each student major takes two 3-credit courses in social science research methods, one from each list below. 

Concentration Courses

Each student major takes 9 credits (3 courses) in each of two concentrations chosen from among the following: Culture, Identities and Citizenship; Global Health and Environment; Human Rights; International Law and Organizations; International Political Economy; International Security and Diplomacy; Migration; Technology and Global Politics; and Regional Studies focused on one of the following regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, or The Americas.

Language Proficiency

Each student major must demonstrate proficiency in a contemporary spoken language other than English. If the student selects a regional studies concentration, this language should be spoken in the selected geographic area. This language should be spoken in the geographic area chosen for the student’s region concentration. Proficiency is demonstrated by coursework through at least the level of Course IV (202) taught by the Syracuse University Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, or the equivalent. We strongly encourage students to continue language study to an advanced level of literacy and fluency.  Students for whom English is a second language must complete coursework through ENL 213.

Senior Capstone Seminar

The remaining 3 credits are fulfilled in an advanced seminar in which the student designs and implements a capstone project. The capstone typically consists of an original research paper, but other models for written work may be considered at the discretion of the IR Program. Each semester a list of approved senior seminar courses is posted on the International Relations Program website, and capstone proposals must be approved by the faculty of the International Relations Program. Students must earn a minimum grade of a ‘C’ in the written work and for the seminar in order to fulfill the capstone requirement. 

Additional Program Opportunities

International relations majors are encouraged to study abroad during their undergraduate program. Syracuse Abroad offers a rich variety of courses that can be applied to the International Relations major requirements.

Participation in the Maxwell-in-Washington Program, a 15-credit seminar and internship program, is open to all majors. For more information on how this program applies to the International Relations major, please contact the International Relations Program office.

Credits for internships in international relations, including internships abroad and IRP 471 - Global Internship in Washington, D.C., may be counted toward the major upon prior approval by the International Relations Program.

Co-curricular activities including the International Relations Learning Community (a residential program for incoming students), the Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society, Model United Nations Club and Team, International Relations Club, invited speaker series, and other events throughout the Maxwell School are available. More information is available on the International Relations website.

The International Relations Program also offers minors in Global Political Economy and Global Security Studies. For more information, please see the Course Catalog listings for these two programs or visit the International Relations website.  

Program faculty will invite majors who meet the eligibility requirements to participate in the Distinction Program. The Distinction Program offers an enhanced research and mentoring experience.  Working closely with a faculty member, Distinction candidates produce a research project of substantially greater depth than the capstone research project required of all international relations majors. In addition, the Distinction Program provides young scholars the skills and support needed to produce a project suitable for presentation at an academic conference or for publication in an undergraduate social science academic journal.  Graduation with Distinction requires a grade of B or higher on the Distinction paper and in the Distinction seminar.

Concentration Courses

This is a partial list of courses that can be applied to the major. A full list of on-campus courses that are approved each semester for the major (including special and selected topics) as well as courses through Syracuse Abroad and Maxwell-in-Washington can be found by visiting the International Relations website

Regional Studies

Students can select one of the following regions as a concentration: