International Relations/Political Science
International Relations-Political Science Faculty Director: Prof. Paul MacDonald
International relations is an interdisciplinary field concerned with understanding global interactions, both in the historical past and in the present. The major is designed to expose students to a wide range of viewpoints and analytical methodologies in their study of such fields as diplomacy and foreign policy, peace, war and security, international political economy and development, and human rights.
Goals for the Major
- A student who completes a major in international relations will acquire the depth of knowledge and intellectual skills equivalent to completing a major in one of the three component disciplines (economics, history, political science).
- The student will also acquire the breadth of knowledge about the other two component disciplines necessary for an interdisciplinary approach to the study of international relations.
- The student will demonstrate advanced competence in the reading, writing, and speaking of a language other than English.
- International Relations-Political Science majors will be familiar with the historical study of international relations, across both world regions and centuries, complete at least five courses in the International Relations subfield of Political Science, and engage in intensive research, writing, and interaction with a faculty members.
Requirements for the Major
The International Relations-Political Science (IR-POLS) majors consist of 14 units of course work—five core courses major plus nine additional course described below. They are alsorequired to demonstrate advanced proficiency in a modern language, normally defined as two units of language study beyond the minimum required by the College. Language courses do not count towards the minimum 14 courses.
Five Core Courses
All students majoring in IR-POLS must take the following core courses:
- ECON 101
- ECON 102
- ECON 213, 214, or 220
- HIST 205
- POL3 221
It is strongly recommended that students complete all core courses by the end of their sophomore year.
Nine Additional Courses
IR-POLS majors must take nine additional courses from among the following:
- Five political science courses in the International Relations subfield of Political Science (POL3) beyond POL3 221, at least two of which must be at the 300 level and one of which must be a seminar.
- Comparative Politics (POL2) courses that the director agrees may count for this requirement.
- Two Political Science courses in Comparative Politics:
- Either POL2 202 or POL2 204
- One of the following area studies courses: POL2 205 [Europe], 206 [Russia], 207 [Latin America], 208 [China], 211 [South Asia], 308 [East Asia]
- One political science course in American Politics (POL1), Political Theory (POL4), or Research Methods (POL 299)
- One additional 200- or 300-level course in, for example, Africana Studies, Anthropology, Economics Environmental Studies, History, Peace & Justice Studies, Philosophy, Sociology, or Women’s & Gender Studies, dealing with a particular country or region, or with relations among nations, or with transnational institutions or phenomena.
The policies governing eligibility for honors work in International Relations-Political Science are the same as for Political Science majors.
Advanced Placement Policy
International Relations majors are strongly encouraged to spend at least one semester in a study-abroad program. Transfer credits from study-abroad programs must be approved by the department transfer credit advisor. Credit for courses taken outside of Wellesley transfter at the 200-level.
Please consult the IR-POLS director about which courses at MIT can be counted towards the major.