International Relations is an interdisciplinary major emphasizing the systematic study of political and economic relations between governments and people in different states, as well as comparisons across different political and economical systems. Students must also understand the historical and geographical basis for current international relationships.
The International Relations Major
Where can I learn more about majoring in International Relations?
Interested students should meet with either the International Relations faculty coordinator, Professor Ray Christensen one of the counselors at the Kennedy Center Advisement Center (273 HRCB).
How do I declare a major in International Relations?
Go to the Kennedy Center Advisement Center (273 HRCB), where the secretaries will assist you. Seniors must meet with an academic advisor before approval to switch to the major will be granted.
Office Hours: M 10:00 a.m., W noon, F 2:00 p.m., or by appointment
The IR program is governed by an interdisciplinary Executive Committee of five people from at least two disciplines that meet as needed, conducting most of its work by e-mail communication. An interdisciplinary group of affiliated faculty, made up of about thirty faculty from six disciplines, approves the work of the executive committee and makes major curriculum changes. Most of the assessment of the major is done by the IR coordinator through competency exams and surveys of graduates. The Executive Committee and the affiliated faculty review the results of these exams and surveys and make recommendations for needed changes. The results of the assessment work are communicated annually to all faculty affiliated with the IR major. At that time the faculty comment on the assessment results and those same results inform decisions regarding the curriculum structure of the major.
Sigma Iota Rho (SIR), Model United Nations, International Society, foreign language clubs, choirs, and honor societies. See the clubs page.
Recent experience has proven that International Relations majors and minors who have completed internships fare significantly better when applying for jobs or graduate school. The gold standard is spending a semester or summer interning abroad.
If finances or life circumstances make it impossible to leave Provo, you can still have an outstanding internship experience through local providers. Visit the Internships page for more information.
This major gives students a strong liberal arts education along with useful technical skills. International relations majors will learn analytical concepts and ideas that allow them to organize, explain, and make sense of relations between states and comparisons among them. High proficiency in math and statistics, writing, and a foreign language will prepare students for a wide variety of career paths—including, but not limited to, government, law, business, and international organizations. Many career paths will require graduate-level training. Therefore, the degree should be seen as certifying fluency in the ideas and methods of multiple fields so that students can find and pursue their own specialized interests rather than as a terminal degree.
These alumni notes appeared in past issues of Bridges, the Kennedy Center’s alumni magazine.