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International Relations

(For 2014–2015 academic year)

Director Chernoff
Advisory Committee Chernoff (Director), Fogarty, M. Johnston, Mandle, Rotter, Turner, Wagner

For those interested in world affairs, Colgate offers a major program in international relations (IR). Students may also take IR as a minor. Study in the program begins with POSC 232, which is normally taken in the sophomore year.

Major Program

Nine courses are required for a major, including a research seminar at the 400 level. For all nine courses counted toward the major, a grade of at least C must be achieved. There is a language requirement, see below.

Students are strongly encouraged to take all six core courses listed below by the end of the junior year. The seminar must be taken by the first term of the senior year, unless special permission of the IR director is granted in advance. Both majors and minors must take the six core courses. All of these courses must be taken at Colgate.

For students seeking a major in international relations and a minor in political science, no courses may be counted toward both.
1. POSC 232, Fundamentals of International Relations (a prerequisite for upper-level courses for IR majors)
2. Core subfields requirement: at least two of the following POSC courses:
POSC 349, International Political Economy
POSC 353, National Security
POSC 357, International Institutions
POSC 366, Contemporary American Foreign Policy
POSC 374, International Law

3. Economics requirement: the following two courses:
ECON 151, Introduction to Economics
ECON 249, International Economics
(Students who have completed the relevant prerequisites may take ECON 349 in place of ECON 249.)
4. History requirement: one of the following courses:
HIST 215, American Foreign Relations, 1776–1917
HIST 216, U.S. Foreign Policy, 1917–present
HIST 232, The Crusades
HIST 242, Great Britain in Modern Times
HIST 255, The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1924
HIST 265, War and Violence in East Asia
HIST 272, War and Holocaust in Europe
HIST 316, The United States in Vietnam, 1945–1975
HIST 335, Spain and Portugal in the Age of Empires
HIST 346, Germany and Eastern Europe, 1848–1989
HIST 350, Post-war Europe, 1945 to the Present
HIST 353, History of the Modern Balkans
HIST 359, Nationalism and Arab Identity in the 20th Century
HIST 370, The Mongol Empire
HIST 382, Modern Africa
HIST 479, Seminar on Problems in the History of U.S. Foreign Policy
HIST 482, Seminar on Problems in British History since 1800
HIST 489, Seminar on Problems in Military History

5. One IR seminar (normally in POSC but, with permission, in another department within the Division of Social Sciences)
HIST 479, Seminar on Problems in the History of U.S. Foreign Policy
HIST 489, Seminar on Problems in Military History

6. Elective Courses
The courses that may be used to fulfill the remaining two electives include the following, plus the courses listed under items 2 and 5 of the major program, above.
ECON 238, Economic Development
ECON 251, Intermediate Microeconomics
ECON 252, Intermediate Macroeconomics
ECON 394, Topics in International Economic Theory
ECON 438, Seminar in Economic Development
ECON 450, Seminar in International Economics
GEOG/PCON 310, Geopolitics
GEOG/SOCI 314, Population Issues and Analysis
POSC 214, Comparative Politics: East Asia
POSC/MIST 215, Comparative Politics: Middle East
POSC/MIST 304, Islam and Politics
POSC 305, The Political Economy of East and Southeast Asia
POSC 306, Politics in China
POSC 307, The Foreign Policy of the People’s Republic of China
POSC 317, Identity Politics
POSC 320, States, Markets, and Global Change
POSC 331, Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa
POSC 348, The Rise and Fall of Communism
POSC 350, Africa in World Politics
POSC 351, Foreign Relations of East Asia
POSC 352, U.S. Defense Policy
POSC 354, Capitalism, the State, and Development in Latin America
POSC 358, Transnational Politics
POSC/REST 359, Power in Russia from Gorbachev to Putin
POSC 360, Domestic Sources of American Foreign Policy
POSC 361, Humanitarian Interventions
POSC/MIST 363, International Relations of the Middle East
POSC 364, Politics of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan
POSC 365, Just War in Comparative Perspective
POSC 367, The European Union
POSC 368, American Policy toward China
POSC 370, International Relations in the Post-Cold War Environment
POSC 390, Silent Warfare
POSC 392, The United States in East and Southeast Asia
POSC 425, Seminar: Secular and Religious Wars: The Challenge of Nationalism
POSC 430, Seminar: Problems and Issues in Post-Mao China
POSC 433, Seminar: Topics in Globalization
POSC 434, Seminar: Global Desi: Beyond IT Guys, Doctors, and Beauty Queens
POSC 436, Seminar: Continuity and Change in International Politics
POSC 437, Seminar: Democratization and Prospects for Peace and Prosperity
POSC 450, Seminar: Theory, Knowledge, and Prediction
POSC 454, Seminar: The Cold War and After
POSC 455, Seminar: American Foreign Policy
POSC 456, Seminar: War — Theories and Practices
POSC 470, Seminar: American Decision Making and the Vietnam War, 1950–1975

Additional courses may be added as they become available in the future.

All IR majors are required to take POSC 232, Fundamentals of International Relations. POSC 152, Global Peace and War does not ordinarily count toward the IR major. Students who take POSC 152 before deciding on an IR major must also take POSC 232, but may count POSC 152 as one of the two IR electives with written permission from the IR program director.

Students who have AP credit for ECON 151 must take one additional elective course. Students may not count their IR senior seminar toward any other major or minor requirement.

Language Requirement

For both majors and minors, reading proficiency in a Western European language equal to that attained by completion of two 300-level courses with a grade of at least C.

Alternatively, for students interested in a non-Western European language, such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, etc., the requirement can be satisfied by completion of four Colgate University courses, or their equivalents, in an approved language with a grade of at least C. To receive credit for courses taken off campus, arrangements must be made in advance with the director of the IR program.

Minor Program

Minors must fulfill the same requirements as those majoring in IR except for completion of the additional history course and the two other elective courses. The minor requires that students take the six core ECON and POSC courses (items 1, 2, 3, and 5 of the major program, above), including a seminar, and complete the language requirement (see above). A grade of at least C must be achieved in the six courses counted toward the minor. A student may not count toward an IR minor any courses being counted toward a major in political science.


A candidate for honors in IR must choose an adviser for an honors paper and fulfill the honors requirements for the department of the faculty adviser. In addition, the honors student must (1) achieve a minimum GPA of 3.50 in the nine IR courses, (2) attain a minimum overall GPA of 3.25, (3) submit a substantial research paper that is judged superior (A– or higher) by two program faculty members.

A student whose adviser is a member of the Department of Political Science must enroll in the year-long honors colloquium (POSC 498 and POSC 499) in which each student writes an honors thesis. POSC 498 will be taken in the fall semester, followed by POSC 499 in the spring semester. A grade will be given in both POSC 498 and 499. During the fall semester, students work primarily with their primary adviser. Seniors who anticipate graduating with a GPA eligible for honors should speak with their advisers or the IR director in the semester prior to doing honors. POSC 498 and POSC 499 are to be taken in addition to the nine courses counted toward the IR major.

A candidate for high honors in IR must fulfill the following additional requirements: (1) achieve a minimum GPA of 3.75 in IR courses, (2) attain an overall GPA of at least 3.40, (3) gain approval of the paper as superior by a third reader, and (4) pass with distinction an oral examination by the three readers of the submitted paper. As above, the professor supervising the research must give prior approval of the paper.

Study Groups

Participation in a study group is encouraged but not required. The IR program co-sponsors a study group in Geneva every year or every other year. Typically two non-seminar courses may be counted as IR major electives. In some years a third course may be offered that counts as fulfilling the history requirement. Students who participate in other study groups and who wish to be certain of receiving credit toward the major or the minor must receive prior approval from the IR director. Typically no more than one credit is granted toward the major or minor for work completed on non-IR Colgate study groups. Credit is given only for courses that meet Colgate standards.