The purposes of the major are threefold:

  1. to understand the major analytical perspectives and key concepts used by scholars to study international relations;
  2. to use the theoretical literature to analyze global issues and problems; and
  3. to engage in a discussion of the complex issues and developments that drive and define contemporary global politics.

The 100-, 200-, and 300-level courses are designed to provide a foundation in the theory and practice of international politics, and encourage critical thinking for interpreting the different perspectives on the complexities of international relations in the 21st century.

The major requires 36 credits of course work. International Relations majors must take the following:

  • PSC 202
  • PSC 250
  • PSC 257
  • PSC 350

Take one 300- level seminar outside PSC

Students must take two of the following:

  • PSC 224
  • PSC 258
  • PSC 259
  • PSC 262
  • PSC 263
  • PSC 265
  • PSC 266

Students must take four additional courses from the list below (one at the 300-level):


  • ANT 234
  • ANT 238
  • ANT 255
  • ANT 310

Business Management

  • BUS 221
  • BUS 231
  • BUS 331
  • BUS 335


  • COM 257
  • COM 335


  • EC 271


  • HIS 201
  • HIS 220
  • HIS 221
  • HIS 222
  • HIS 224
  • HIS 238
  • HIS 277
  • HIS 286
  • HIS 288
  • HIS 338
  • HIS 387

Latin American Studies

  • LAM 226
  • LAM 264

Peace Studies

  • PCE 241
  • PCE 310
  • PCE 340

Political Science

  • PSC 200
  • PSC 201
  • PSC 202
  • PSC 221
  • PSC 224
  • PSC 225
  • PSC 243
  • PSC 256 (7-week course)
  • PSC 258
  • PSC 259
  • PSC 262
  • PSC 263
  • PSC 266
  • PSC 290
  • PSC 304
  • PSC 316
  • PSC 321
  • PSC 323 or WS 323
  • PSC 350
  • PSC 359
  • PSC 375


  • SOC 220
  • SOC 245

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

  • WS 240

The international relations major also requires reading and speaking competence in a modern foreign language. The choice of language is up to the student and need not be limited to the languages available at Goucher. Cooperative arrangements with seven local colleges and universities open many opportunities for instruction in a variety of modern languages. However, students are advised that they must still complete two courses beyond the equivalent of the 130 level. It is incumbent on the student to ensure that courses are available to complete the requirement. If not, they should choose another language. The language requirement may be met by satisfactory performance on a test to be arranged with the Modern Languages and Literatures Department. It may also be met by completion of any of the following courses and combinations of courses: FR 245 FR 258 GER 234 AND either GER 240 or GER 250 RUS 251 RUS 260 SP 250 SP 260 SP 263

IR majors are also required to study abroad for a semester; students will receive elective credit for appropriate coursework at the following programs. Attending programs not on this list can satisfy the college study abroad requirement, but will not be granted IR elective credit.

  • Latin America: Chile, Latin American Studies in Santiago; Costa Rica, Monteverde Institute
  • Europe: England, Hansard Scholars program, University of East Anglia; Scotland, University of St. Andrews; France, Internship Francophone Europe
  • Asia: China, Chengdu; India, Christ University, Bangalore
  • Africa: Ghana, University of Ghana; South Africa (direct enroll), University of Cape Town, University of Western Cape, Rhodes University

Honors in the Major

Students wishing to pursue honors in political science or international relations must have a GPA of 3.5 in the major and an overall GPA of 3.25. By April 30 of their junior year, they must submit to the chair of the department a proposal outlining their thesis project and naming the proposed thesis director. Upon approval, the student must enroll in a two-semester (eight-credit) senior thesis course (PSC 450). One-semester projects are not eligible for honors. At the end of the fall semester, the thesis adviser will determine whether the project has sufficiently progressed to warrant continuation of the pursuit of honors. If not, the student may receive a grade of pass/no pass for those credits. No later than three weeks before the end of the spring semester of the senior year, the student will defend the thesis before a committee of at least three faculty members, a majority of whom are members of the department. The recommendation of the thesis committee will be brought to the department chair. The full department must approve all candidates for honors.