Univ of Southern California
University of Southern California
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International Relations

Undergraduate Degree

Major Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in International Relations

The International Relations major requires a minimum of 40 units. All majors and minors must complete IR 210 International Relations: Introductory Analysis. All majors must complete an additional methodologically oriented course: either IR 211 International Relations: Approaches to Research or IR 212 Historical Approaches to International Relations or IR 213 The Global Economy. Normally IR 210 should be completed before attempting 400-level courses.

Four semesters of a single foreign language are required. All majors are encouraged to obtain as much foreign language training as possible either through a major or a minor in a foreign language or through a study program abroad.

Beyond IR 210 and IR 211 or IR 212 or IR 213, international relations majors are required to take eight additional courses. Majors must choose two, three-course concentrations. One of these should be from the following: Culture, Gender and a Global Society; Foreign Policy Analysis; International Political Economy; International Politics and Security Studies; Regional Studies (Europe; Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia; Latin America; the Middle East and Africa; or Pacific Rim). The student may design the second concentration with the support of a regular faculty member and approved by the International Relations Curriculum Committee. Every concentration must include at least one international relations course, typically the introductory course.

International Politics and Security Studies
War and peace are at the heart of relations among nations. These courses investigate defense analysis, arms control, peace-building and strategic studies. The domestic, technological and international factors influencing defense and arms control policies and negotiations are considered. The World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and the numerous crises of the Cold War are the backdrop in these courses. Required course: IR 307 or IR 381. Additional courses are: IR 303, IR 304, IR 309, IR 310, IR 318, IR 382, IR 383, IR 384, IR 385, IR 386, IR 402, IR 403, IR 422, IR 427, IR 445, IR 483, POSC 366 and POSC 448ab.

International Political Economy
These courses focus on what used to be considered “low” politics, but which have become key issues. Money, trade, investment, development, the environment and foreign economic policy are examined. Required course: IR 330. Additional courses are: ECON 338, ECON 450, ECON 452, IR 305, IR 309, IR 323, IR 324, IR 325, IR 326, IR 337, IR 363, IR 364, IR 439, IR 454, POSC 430 and POSC 431.

Foreign Policy Analysis
This area examines the external relations of states, particularly the domestic and international factors that influence the formulation and implementation of national foreign policies. Factors within states (leadership, small group dynamics and domestic lobbying groups) and factors between states are stressed. Required course: IR 341 or IR 343. Additional courses are: IR 303, IR 309, IR 346, IR 365, IR 368, IR 385, IR 403, IR 441, IR 442, IR 443, IR 445 and IR 465.

Regional Studies
The regional studies field focuses on geographic regions, such as the Pacific Rim, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. These courses test general theories of international relations within the framework of a specific region. The economic, political, ethnic and social history of a region are examined to help explain current developments and interstate and domestic policies and issues within a region.

Europe: Required course: IR 369. Additional courses are: ANTH 326, FREN 400, FREN 410, GERM 465, HIST 312, HIST 313, HIST 332, HIST 414, HIST 422, HIST 427, HIST 434, IR 368, IR 369, IR 385, IR 468, POSC 370, POSC 371, POSC 463, SPAN 320 and SPAN 350.

Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia: Required course: IR 345. Additional courses are: HIST 320, HIST 328, HIST 416, IR 346, IR 438, IR 439, POSC 464 and SLL 330.

Latin America: Required course: IR 364. Additional courses are: ANTH 328, ANTH 425, GEOG 335, HIST 372, HIST 374, IR 337, IR 365, IR 465, IR 466, POSC 350, POSC 430, POSC 431, SPAN 320 and SPAN 481.

The Middle East and Africa: Required course: IR 362 or IR 367. Additional courses are: ANTH 327, ECON 342, IR 362, IR 363, IR 364 and POSC 351.

Pacific Rim: Required course: IR 358 or IR 360. Additional courses are: ANTH 323, ANTH 324, EALC 340, EALC 345, EALC 350, EALC 375, ECON 343, HIST 333, HIST 337, HIST 340, IR 333, IR 361, IR 384, IR 442, POSC 352, POSC 355, POSC 356, POSC 377 and POSC 453.

Culture, Gender and Global Society
This field explores identities and interests shaping the politics of intellectual global society. Required course: IR 305 or IR 316. Additional courses are: EALC 375, IR 303, IR 306, IR 309, IR 310, IR 315, IR 318, IR 344, IR 382, IR 403, IR 422, IR 424, IR 438, IR 444, POSC 456, PPD 382, SOCI 335, SOCI 435, SOCI 445, SOCI 460 and SOCI 470.

If a student chooses a regional studies concentration, then his or her foreign language requirement should be in a language appropriate to that region. Four semesters of a single foreign language are required. Foreign language units do not count toward the minimum total of 40 units for the international relations major.

The student must take at least 32 units of international relations courses, including the two 200-level IR courses. Additionally, he or she must take at least eight upper division courses from the above curriculum, including at least one regional course and one 400-level course.

Honors Program

The honors program centers around IR 494 Honors Thesis Seminar that culminates in a thesis based on original research. In the spring of the junior year, students who have earned a GPA of 3.5 in the major and an overall GPA of 3.3 submit an application, two letters of recommendation and a research proposal that identifies the thesis topic to the student affairs office. Upon admission to the program, the student identifies an appropriate faculty member to co-supervise the thesis and, in the fall of the senior year, enrolls in IR 494. If the program is completed successfully (a B+ or better in IR 494, a major GPA of 3.5 and an overall GPA of 3.3 [A = 4.0]), the transcript will read “with Honors.”

Bachelor of Arts in International Relations (Global Business)

The B.A. in International Relations with an emphasis in Global Business will give students the opportunity to pursue a degree in international relations and acquire specific skills in one of four concentrations in international business: international finance, international financial management, global marketing or global management. Students who have earned a GPA of 3.0 or above and a “B” average in IR 210 International Relations: Introductory Analysis and a second 300-level or above IR course are eligible to apply during their sophomore year. In addition to the IR requirements, students need to complete the following prerequisite courses: ECON 203 Principles of Microeconomics, ECON 205 Principles of Macroeconomics, MATH 118x Fundamental Principles of the Calculus and MATH 218 Probability for Business before they can begin this program. The international relations course work consists of 28 units: IR 210, a regional course, a 400-level course, an international political economy course (IR 324, IR 325, IR 326 or IR 330) and three upper division electives.

Course work at the Marshall School of Business consists of ACCT 410x Accounting for Non-Business Majors or BUAD 250a Core Concepts of Accounting Information and 20 units in the respective areas of concentration. International finance: BUAD 215x Foundations of Business Finance, BUAD 310 Applied Business Statistics, BUAD 350 Macroeconomic Analysis for Business Decisions or ECON 305 Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory, FBE 462 International Trade and Commercial Policy and FBE 464 International Finance; international financial management: BUAD 215x Foundations of Business Finance, BUAD 310 Applied Business Statistics, FBE 432 Corporate Financial Strategy, FBE 436 Financial Management of Multinational Corporations, FBE 462 International Trade and Commercial Policy; global marketing: BUAD 307 Marketing Fundamentals, BUAD 310 Applied Business Statistics, MKT 450 Consumer Behavior and Marketing, MKT 465 Global Marketing Management and MKT 470 Marketing Research; global management: BUAD 304 Leading Organizations, MOR 431 Interpersonal Competence and Development, MOR 462 Management Consulting, MOR 470 Global Leadership and MOR 492 Global Strategy.

Bachelor of Science in Global Health

The Bachelor of Science in Global Health is a multidisciplinary degree of the Keck School of Medicine’s Department of Preventive Medicine. Students complete course work in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Studies. For degree requirements, see Preventive Medicine.

Progressive Degree Program in International Relations

This progressive degree program permits superior students to complete all requirements for both the B.A. and the M.A. degrees in international relations in five years. Students may apply on completion of 64 units of course work, but not later than the end of their junior year (or the completion of 96 units). To be eligible for admission, students must have at least a 3.5 overall GPA and a 3.75 major GPA and must have completed IR 210 International Relations: Introductory Analysis and IR 211 International Relations: Approaches to Research, or equivalent courses, as well as at least two upper division IR courses with at least one at the 400 level. The application for admission to a progressive degree program must be accompanied by an approved course plan proposal and letters of recommendation from two USC faculty members in the School of International Relations. The requirements for both the B.A. and M.A. degrees must be satisfied. Further details about progressive degrees can be found here.

Students enrolled in a progressive degree program are encouraged to pursue minors in either foreign language, economics, public policy or regional studies to attain regional and functional expertise in addition to their training in international relations.

Minor in International Relations

The minor in international relations allows students to develop a specialty in the field without a full major. Requirements are: IR 210 International Relations: Introductory Analysis and four upper division courses including at least one regional course and one 400-level course. Students planning to minor in international relations should see the School of International Relations advisors in Von KleinSmid Center 301.

Minor in Global Communication

The rise of global firms and international changes that followed the end of the cold war raise new opportunities and challenges. This minor provides students from fields such as business, journalism, engineering and political science an understanding of the dynamic nature of global relations, communications and technology. The global communication minor consists of six 4-unit courses, three from International Relations and three from Communication.

Required International Relations CourseUnits
IR 305Managing New Global Challenges4

International Relations Regional Courses (select one)Units
IR 303Leadership and Diplomacy4
IR 325Rich and Poor States in the World Political Economy4
(departmental approval)
IR 326U.S. Foreign Economic Policy4
IR 327International Negotiation4
IR 330Politics of the World Economy4
IR 333China in International Affairs4
IR 345Russian and Soviet Foreign Policy4
IR 360International Relations of the Pacific Rim4
IR 361South and Southeast Asia in International Relations4
IR 362The International Relations of the Contemporary Middle East4
IR 363Middle East Political Economy4
IR 365Politics and Democracy in Latin America4
IR 367Africa in International Affairs4
IR 368French Foreign Policy: 1945 to the Present4
(offered in Paris only)
IR 369Contemporary European International Relations4
IR 383Third World Negotiations4
IR 384Introduction to Asian Security4
IR 385European Foreign Policy and Security Issues4
IR 403Transnational Diplomacy and Global Security4
IR 439Political Economy of Russia and Eurasia4
IR 442Japanese Foreign Policy4
IR 468European Integration4

IR Elective
Select one 300 or 400 level IR course

Required Communication CourseUnits
COMM 487Communication and Global Organizations4

Communication electives (select two)Units
COMM 324Intercultural Communication4
COMM 339Communication Technology and Culture4
COMM 345Social and Economic Implications of Communication Technologies4
COMM 371Censorship and the Law: From the Press to Cyberspace4
COMM 385Survey of Organizational Communication4
COMM 430Global Entertainment4
(Prerequisite: COMM 300)
COMM 431Global Strategy for the Communications Industry4

Total Units: 24

Minor in International Policy and Management

The minor in international policy and management brings together courses from the School of International Relations, dealing with the new global challenges, specific regions of the world and international organizations and policies, and the School of Policy, Planning, and Development, dealing with core management skills and public policy processes. Students will gain an understanding of the changes and challenges transforming the world and a taste of the policy and management skills to deal with them. To increase their understanding of the context and application of these concepts, students must complete a semester-long internship either in Washington, D.C. or Los Angeles with an organization that has an international focus.

Students take three courses in international relations, including the gateway course, IR 305 Managing New Global Challenges, three courses in public policy and management, and an approved internship through the School of International Relations (IR 491x).

Required Courses from International Relations: IR 305; one regional course selected from: IR 333, IR 345, IR 358, IR 360, 361, IR 362, IR 363, IR 365, IR 367, IR 369, IR 383, IR 385, IR 439, IR 442, IR 468; one course from either the regional course list or the following: IR 306, IR 307, IR 310, IR 315, IR 316, IR 318, IR 323, IR 324, IR 325, IR 326, IR 327, IR 330, IR 341, IR 343, IR 344, IR 381, IR 382, IR 427, IR 441, IR 444.

The Policy, Planning, and Development component requires the completion of the following three options:

From Policy, Planning, and Development: PPD 225; two additional courses from the following: PPD 357, PPD 371, PPD 373, PPD 476 or PPD 482; or from Public Management: PPD 402; two additional courses from the following: PPD 313, PPD 407, PPD 411a, PPD 476.

Each student is required to complete an approved internship with an international focus. Students take a two-unit internship through the School of International Relations (IR 491).

Interdisciplinary Nonprofits, Philanthropy and Volunteerism Minor

See the School of Policy, Planning, and Development section.

Interdisciplinary Peace and Conflict Studies Minor

See Peace and Conflict Studies Program.

Interdisciplinary Russian Area Studies Minor

See Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.


Advisement is required for all majors and minors. Students are encouraged to meet with School of International Relations advisors at least once a semester to review the direction of their individual programs. Students are also encouraged to seek the advisement of faculty members whose specializations are appropriate to their programs of study.

Academic Specialization

Students majoring in international relations who wish to develop their own specialization or emphasize a particular regional area may establish with a faculty advisor, or with School of International Relations advisors, an academic program that will accomplish the students’ objectives.