Major in International Relations

Bachelor of Arts in International Relations degree requirements:

Core: 19 Units

  • IR 104: Introduction to World Affairs (3 Units)
  • IR 308: Fundamentals of IR: Theories, Issues, and Perspectives (4 Units)
  • IR 309GW: International Relations Analysis and Application-GWAR (4 Units)
  • IR 310: U.S. Foreign Policy (4 Units)
  • IR 312: Introduction to International Political Economy (4 Units)
  • IR 550: Senior Thesis in International Relations (6 Units) (Culminating Experience)

Core Course Sequencing

Core courses for the major must be completed in a particular order and students should be aware of the following pre-requisites for core courses:

  • IR 308 (can be concurrently taken with 310 and 312; 104 and 308 can be concurrently taken with 104 with instructor's permission)
  • IR 310 and IR 312 (can be concurrently taken with IR 308 but students must either be enrolled in IR 308 in the same semester or have already taken IR 308 prior to taking IR 310 and IR 312)
  • IR 309 Applications in IR (GWAR) (can be concurrently taken with 310 and 312, cannot be concurrently taken with 308)
  • IR 550 Capstone thesis seminar (cannot be concurrently taken with any of the courses above; must have C or above in IR 309 to be eligible to take IR 550. Students will be dropped from 550 if they have not completed all core requirements prior to enrollment in the course. This course is available over fall, spring and summer terms)

Grading Basis

Students cannot take any of the IR core courses for CR/NCR grades. They must receive letter grades for the courses. They can pass any of these courses (except 309) with D as the lowest grade and still graduate. In 309, they need C or above to be eligible to take 550.

Electives: 18 Units

In addition to the core requirements listed above, students are required to complete elective courses taken either among courses offered only inside the department or through a combination of IR and non-IR courses. However, a minimum of 12 UNITS must be from within International Relations or be previously approved International Relations courses (with an “IR” course number prefix), as listed in the Academic Bulletin. 6 additional units may be in any other field of study, but must be pre-approved by a department advisor. Courses in the study of a foreign language may count as electives.

Complementary Studies

Twelve units of complementary studies are required of all candidates for the B.A. degree in International Relations. These units must come from courses bearing a prefix other than IR and that are not cross-listed with International Relations. They can be lower or upper division courses. Students can also satisfy this requirement by completing a related minor, a secondary major, or through an approved study-abroad program. Complementary studies courses should have a direct bearing on the study of politics, or deepen and enrich the study of politics. Such courses are typically found in departments like Political Science, Urban Studies and Planning or Philosophy and in the College of Ethnic Studies. Six of the twelve Complementary Studies units may count toward the major as elective units, if approved in advance by an IR adviser. Students must consult with an adviser in the department to ensure that their choices fulfill the department’s requirements.

Study abroad

IR students are encouraged to study abroad and can complete many of their elective units while away. Students should be aware however, that IR core courses cannot be substituted for courses taken abroad. We are able to count 6 units of study abroad electives directly, without any need for equivalency to a particular course. Then others can be counted if they are regarded as equivalent to our IR elective courses. Language classes do count as electives for the major but students should be advised that they need to have XX upper division units to graduate and will need to ensure that enough upper division courses will fulfill this requirement.

Instructional activity courses

(IR 640 internship/ IR journal, IR 699 Independent study, IR 685 TA) can be counted toward IR electives. Students cannot count more than 4 units of 685 toward their degree. Students can take IR 640 twice and count both sections. All of the instructional courses utilize permits and students should be advised to select the right number of units in the course in the drop-down menu at the time of registration. It is very difficult to fix the number of units past the permit period. Permits should be taken from the professor who will supervise the activity, and students should be provided the schedule number of the course with the permit so that they don’t sign up for the wrong section.

  • IR 699 (independent study) requires a syllabus, list of activities and a form that needs to be sent to the Dean’s office.
  • IR 640, if utilized for an internship, requires a short paper related to the internship (criteria determined by the instructor) for the grade.

Inquiries about the IR Journal permits should be directed to the faculty advisor of the IR journal. The course has a syllabus that specifies requirements and deadlines.


Students should apply for graduation within the deadlines (late September and Mid February) each year. (Late applications are allowed but there is a fee). Students should see an adviser in advance to the deadline to approve their application. Print out the graduation form and they bring the filled out (by hand or print) “major” page to faculty for review and signature. After receiving faculty signature, students should seek the Chair to obtain his signature. Students may take their last courses, such as IR 550, over the summer yet still walk in the graduation in the previous Spring. Those students should still apply for graduation in the Spring. A student who applies for graduation in the spring can still take courses over the summer, but not the next fall. They would have to reapply for the following spring commencement.

Courses that satisfy the GE Requirement

IR Course #


LD/UD; Area

104 (ES; GP; SJ)

Introduction to World Politics

LD: Area D: Social Sciences: D1: Social Sciences

306 (GP

U.S.-Central American Relations

UD: Area D

310 (GP; AERM)

U.S. Foreign Policy

UD: Area D

312 (GP;

Introduction to International Political Economy

UD: Area D

315 (GP; ES; SJ

Introduction to Global Peace Studies

UD: Area C

322 (GP;

Latin American Policy Analysis

UD: Area D

324 (GP; ES;

Middle East and North Africa in International Relations

UD: Area D

326 (GP;

South and Southeast Asia Foreign Relations

UD: Area D

327 (GP;

Europe: Forming a More Perfect Union

UD: Area D

331 (GP; ES; SJ

Global Environmental Crisis

UD: Area D

335 (GP; AERM)

Muslim Societies in Transnational Perspective

UD: Area D

336 (GP;

Politics of Globalization

UD: Area D

337 (GP;

Introduction to the European Uni

UD: Area D

404 (GP;

Politics of China

UD: Area D

407 (GP;

Politics of Russia

UD: Area D

411 (GP;

East Asian Politics

UD: Area D

412 (GP;

South Asian Politics

UD: Area D

413 (GP;

Media Chinese

UD: Area D

416 (GP;

Ethnicity and Nationalism

UD: Area D

430 (GP;

Israeli Democracy: Politics, Institutions, and Society

UD: Area D

530 (GP;

The Arab-Israeli Conflict

UD: Area D

544 (GP; SJ

Women in the World

UD: Area D