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Bachelor of Arts in International Relations

The International Relations major must be declared no earlier than the beginning of sophomore year and no later than the end of the second quarter of the junior year. Students must submit an acceptable proposal to the director of the program and declare IR on Axess. Students completing a double major, or fulfilling International Relations as a secondary major, are also required to file a proposal by the end of the second quarter of the junior year.

Requirements for the major (70 units) are as follows; IR core courses are listed in items 1-5:

  1. POLISCI 1
  2. POLISCI 110A or 110B or 110C or 110D or HISTORY 158
  3. ECON (10 units), two of these five courses: ECON 1A, 1B, 50, 51, 52
  4. Two additional upper-division courses with strong economic components from the IR approved course offerings lists
  5. At least one of the following skills classes: ECON 102A, POLISCI 150A, STATS 60
  6. Complete either a functional specialization or an area specialization (see below for descriptions of specializations). Courses that are used in the core area (1-5 above) cannot also be counted for the specialization.
  7. At least one course must be an upper-division seminar or colloquium.
  8. At least one writing intensive course designated as Writing in the Major (WIM) for International Relations.
  9. No more than 20 units can be lower-division courses.
  10. A minimum grade of 'C' is required for courses to count towards major requirements.
  11. Completion of one quarter study overseas either through the Stanford Overseas Studies Program or an approved non-Stanford program; non-Stanford programs must be pre-approved by the IR program before the student enrolls in the program.
  12. Proficiency in a foreign language through two years of course work (second-year, third-quarter) or a proficiency exam.


The three functional specializations are:

  1. Comparative Political and Historical Analysis (CPHA)
  2. Comparative Culture and Society (CCAS)
  3. Comparative and International Political Economy (CIPE)

Students must complete a total of seven courses (35 units) for their functional specialization. Four courses must be from the student's functional area (CPHA, CCAS, CIPE); two courses from a second track; and the final course from the third track (4-2-1). Functional specializations are not declared on Axess.

The following courses are approved for each functional specialization. Updated lists are made available every quarter on the web and they are also available in the International Relations office.


INTNLREL 114D. Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law

INTNLREL 116. Politics of Divided Korea

INTNLREL 120.Terrorism and Security in Israel

INTNLREL 125. Japanese Postwar Politics

INTNLREL 131. Globalization and Organizations

INTNREL 136R. Introduction to GLobal Justice

INTNLREL 140A. International Law and International Relations

INTNLREL 140B. Theories of International Law

INTNLREL 163. History and Geography of Contemporary Global Issues

INTNLREL 170. Energy and the Climate

COMM 177K. Specialized Writing and Reporting - Human RIghts Reporting

EASTASN 189K. Politics of Divided Korea

HISTORY 102. The History of the International System (WIM)

HISTORY 120C. 20th-Century Russian and Soviet History

HISTORY 123. Reform and Revolution in Modern Russia, 1856-2008

HISTORY 125. 20th-Century Eastern Europe

HISTORY 137/337. The Holocaust

HISTORY 145B. Africa in the 20th Century

HISTORY 150C. The United States in the Twentieth Century

HISTORY 158. The United States Since 1945

HISTORY 181B. The Middle East in the 20th Century

HISTORY 195. Modern Korean History

HISTORY 195C. Modern Japanese History

HISTORY 197. Southeast Asia: From Antiquity to the Modern Era

HISTORY 198. The History of Modern China

HISTORY 202/306E. International History and International Relations

HISTORY 224/324. Violence, Islam, and the State in Central Asia

HISTORY 224A/324A. Modern Russia, Iran, and Afghanistan

HISTORY 228/328. Circles of Hell: Poland in World War II

HISTORY 252/355. Decision Making in International Crises: The A-Bomb, the Korean War, and the Cuban Missile Crisis

HISTORY 256/356. U.S.-China Relations: From the Opium War to Tiananmen

IPS 210. The Politics of International Humanitarian Action

IPS 211. The Transition from War to Peace: Peacebuilding Strategies

IPS 219. The Role of Intelligence in U.S. Foreign Policy

IPS 220. The US, Europe and the World

IPS 243. Missile Defense

MS&E 93Q. Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism and Energy

MS&E 193/193W/293. Technology and National Security

POLISCI 110B. Strategy, War, and Politics

POLISCI 110D/110Y. War and Peace in American Foreign Policy

POLISCI 111D. British Politics

POLISCI 113F. The United Nations and Global Governance

POLISCI 114S. International Security in a Changing World

POLISCI 116. History of Nuclear Weapons (Same as HISTORY 103E)

POLISCI 140L. China in World Politics

POLISCI 144T. Democracies and Dictatorships

POLISCI 147. Comparative Democratic Development

POLISCI 147S. Comparative Democratic Politics

POLISCI 148/348. Chinese Politics: The Transformation and the Era of Reform

POLISCI 149S. Islam and the West

POLISCI 149T. Middle Eastern Politics

POLISCI 210C. Globalizations and Discontents

POLISCI 212. Managing Global Complexity (Same as IPS 201)

POLISCI 217. International Organizations

POLISCI 218. U.S. Relations in Iran

POLISCI 245R. Politics in Modern Iran

POLISCI 248. Mexican Politics

POLISCI 248S. Latin American Politics

POLISCI 346S. The Logic of Authoritarian Government, Ancient and Modern

SOC 167A/267A. Asia-Pacific Transformation


INTNLREL 114D. Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law

INTNLREL 141A. Camera as a Witness

INTNLREL 161A. Global Human Geography: Asia and Africa

INTNLREL 161B. Global Human Geography: Europe and Americas

INTNREL 165A. Global Governance and Human Rights

INTNLREL 166. Russia and Islam

AFRICAST 111/211. Education for All? The Global and Local in Public Policy Making in Africa

AFRICAST 107. Community Restructuring and Development in South Africa

CASA 77/277. Japanese Society and Culture

EASTASN 118. History, Memory and Citizenship in East Asia

ECON 143. Ethics in Economics Policy

EDUC 136/306D. World, Societal, and Educational Change: Comparative Perspectives

HISTORY 185B. Jews in the Modern World

HISTORY 221B. The Woman Question in Modern Russia

HISTORY 227/327. East European Women and War in the 20th Century

HISTORY 245E/347E. Health and Society in Africa

HISTORY 248S/448A. African Societies and Colonial States

HISTORY 295J. Chinese Women's History

IPS 210. The Politics of International Humanitarian Action

IPS 221B. Citizenship and Immigration

JAPANGEN 51/251. Japanese Business Culture

PHIL 171/271. Justice (Same as ETHICSOC 171, IPS 208, POLISCI 136S, PUBLPOL 207)

POLISCI 141. The Global Politics of Human Rights

POLISCI 149S. Islam and the West

POLISCI 215. Explaining Ethnic Violence

SOC 110/210. Politics and Society

SOC 111/211. State and Society in Korea

SOC 117A/217A. China Under Mao

STS 110. Ethics and Public Policy (Same as MS&E 197, PUBLPOL 103B)


INTNLREL 114D. Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law

INTNLREL 115. Development Issues in South Asia

INTNLREL 117. Varieties of Capitalism in East Asia: Politics and Economic Reforms

INTNLREL 118. The Political Economy of Modern Iran

INTNLREL 122A. The Political Economy of the European Union

INTNLREL 130. Science, Technology, and Development

INTNLREL 133. Introduction to Comparative and International Political Economy

INTNLREL 143. Nongovernmental Organizations and Development in Poor Countries

INTNLREL 147. The Political Economy of the Southern Cone of South America

INTNLREL 148. Economic Integration of the Americas

INTNLREL 149. The Economics and Political Economy of the Multilateral Trade System

BIO 147/247. Controlling Climate Change in the Twenty-First Century

EASTASN 183C. Doing Business in China

EASTASN 185C/285C. Economic Development of Greater China: Past, Present, and Future

ECON 106. World Food Economy

ECON 111. Money and Banking

ECON 113. Technology and Economic Change

ECON 115. European Economic History

ECON 117. Economic History and Modernization of the Islamic Middle East

ECON 118. Development Economics

ECON 120. Socialist Economies in Transition

ECON 122. Economic Development of Latin America

ECON 124. Contemporary Japanese Economy

ECON 126. Economics of Health and Medical Care (Same as BIOMEDIN 156/256)

ECON 150. Economic Policy Analysis (Same as PUBLPOL 104)

ECON 155. Environmental Economics and Policy (Same as EARTHSYS 112)

ECON 162. Monetary Economics

ECON 165. International Trade and Finance

ECON 166. International Trade

ECON 167. European Monetary and Economic Integration

ECON 169/269. International Financial Markets and Monetary Institutions

HISTORY 279/379. Latin American Development: Economy and Society, 1800-2000

HUMBIO 129. Critical Issues in International Women's Health

HUMBIO 129S. International Health

IPS 222. Economic Development

POLISCI 110A. Sovereignty and Globalization

POLISCI 110C/110X. America and the World Economy (110C fulfills WIM)

POLISCI 140. Political Economy of Development

POLISCI 211. Political Economy of East Asia

POLISCI 213R. Political Economy of Financial Crisis

POLISCI 216. Law, Economics, and Politics of International Trade (Same as LAW 306)

POLISCI 242S. Politics of Welfare State Expansion and Reform

POLISCI 247R. Politics and Economics in Democracies (WIM)

1- and 2-unit options

INTNLREL 191. International Relations Journal


INTNLREL 197. Directed Reading in International Relations—open only to declared International Relations majors.

INTNLREL 198. Senior Thesis—open only to declared International Relations majors with approved senior thesis proposals.

INTNLREL 199. Honors Research: Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law in Developing Countries

INTNLREL 200A. International Relations Honors Field Research

INTNLREL 200B. International Relations Honors Seminar


The area specializations are: Africa, Europe, Latin America, and Russia/East Europe. Students must complete a total of seven courses (35 units) with five courses directly related to their area specialization. Three of these five courses must be in one of the three tracks (CPHA, CCAS, CIPE), one course in a second track, and the final course in the third track. The ten remaining units must be fulfilled by comparative or further area course work.

Students must also demonstrate proficiency in a language, other than English, commonly spoken in the area chosen, by completing two years of language study or by passing a second-year, third-quarter proficiency exam.

Check the IR office for updated information about the area specialization requirements. Area specializations are not declared on Axess.


The International Relations honors program offers qualified students the opportunity to conduct a major independent research project under faculty guidance. Such a project requires a high degree of initiative and dedication, significant amounts of time and energy, and demonstrated skills in research and writing.

In their junior year, students should consult with prospective honors advisers, choose the courses that provide academic background in their areas of inquiry, and demonstrate an ability to conduct independent research. Students can select from the IR honors option or the CDDRL (Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law) option which focuses on issues of democracy, development, and the rule of law; for information on the CDDRL, see

Students should submit their honors thesis proposal late in Winter Quarter of the junior year; check with IR office for the exact deadline.

Prerequisites for participation include a 3.5 grade point average (GPA), a strong overall academic record, good academic standing, successful experience in writing a research paper, and submission of an acceptable thesis proposal. Students are required to enroll in INTNLREL 200A, International Relations Honors Field Research, in Spring Quarter of their junior year and consider participating in Honors College. CDDRL option students should enroll in INTNLREL 199, Honors Research: Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law in Developing Countries. In their senior year, honors students must enroll in INTNLREL 200B in Autumn Quarter and in research units each quarter with their faculty adviser. Honors students present a formal defense of their theses in mid-May. Students must receive at least a grade of 'B+' in order to graduate with honors in International Relations.

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