International Relations



The International Relations Program is flexible in its design, and adaptable to students' interests regarding relevant themes, world regions, and theoretical approaches. The curriculum is built upon the foundation of seven core courses, with additional courses from a thematic track of the student's choosing, as well as a capstone course. The curriculum ensures that graduates will have both breadth and depth in the field of International Relations for their future career pursuits.

International Relations offers an interdisciplinary major, a B.A., and a minor.


If you'd like to view a full listing of our course options in International Relations or any other subject, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.

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Requirements for the Major (B.A.)

interdisciplinary, 11 courses

Seven core courses, including required theory courses in Political Science (180, 140) and Economics (160, 240); three courses in a thematic track, at least one from the list of keystone courses, with two courses at the 200-level or higher; and a capstone seminar course. IR majors must take at least three courses in a region outside of the United States (these can include courses taken in the thematic track and the capstone seminar course). In addition, IR majors must demonstrate competency in a foreign language equivalent to four semesters of language study.

Requirements for the Minor

interdisciplinary, 5 courses

POL 180; two out of three of the remaining core theory courses (POL 140, ECON 160, and ECON 240); two courses in a thematic track, at least one taken from the list of keystone courses; and at least one course in a region outside of the United States (this can include courses taken in the thematic track).


Our students choose from a variety of introductory and advanced courses, each designed to provide students with an understanding of the important questions that surround world affairs.

Below, you'll find a sampling of some of our most popular classes, as well as suggestions for making International Relations a part of your larger interdisciplinary experience at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

POL 180 International Relations


Understand the basic concepts of world politics, appreciate the evolution of the current state system and study a sampling of various approaches and theories of International Relations. Narrow your study by enrolling in a course that focuses on a particular region of interest like ECON 135 Latin American Economies.

ECON 240 International Trade


Examine how economic and financial relations among countries have different consequences and establish an understanding of the theory of gains from trade, comparative advantage and international monetary relations. Then, explore the inner workings of American Foreign Policy by enrolling in POL 290 and study how foreign policy decisions are made and implemented.

SILP 111 Arabic


In lieu of the language courses formally offered, students may choose to take on an independent study of a language by working from a provided syllabus, meeting with a native speaker for two hours each week, and using audio and visual equipment.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.