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Linfield College
Angkor Wat, Cambodia- Linfield College
International Relations

Requirements for Majors and Minors

The International Relations curriculum aims to help all students demonstrate the learning goals of the major, which include the ability to:

  • Think critically, systematically, and creatively about important questions facing our world by employing conceptual, theoretical, and methodological tools;
  • Explore issues and seek meaning from multiple perspectives: disciplinary, cross-cultural, and philosophical;
  • Integrate concepts and make connections across disciplines;
  • Cultivate superior communication skills: written, listening, and oral;
  • Assume ownership over their growth as scholars, professionals, and citizens;

As part of their course of study, all IR majors conduct rigorous cross-disciplinary training, demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language, and study abroad for at least a semester. While IR is an interdisciplinary major, it is also grounded in the Department of Political Science, a close-knit department that will host the senior sequence for IR majors and provide a sense of “home.”

As part of this journey, we use the Program for Liberal Arts and Civic Engagement (PLACE), Pizza and Politics, and other department-sponsored events as opportunities to apply knowledge to vital international issues of the day. We engage in skills development exercises such as mock interviews (both for jobs and for media) and hold workshops on topics like listening and writing policy memoranda or blog posts. All students conduct one on one guided research with faculty through the proseminar requirement; many of them perform additional duties as work study students or recipients of student-faculty collaborative research grants. The journey culminates in the spring of your senior year with a public defense of your senior portfolio, including your thesis. Students who receive a high pass on their defense and hold a 3.5 GPA in the major or above will be awarded an honor’s thesis.

Along the way, we have a lot of fun as well. POLS faculty host an annual white elephant gift exchange at the end of each fall semester for all POLS/IR majors. This not only provides an opportunity for students and faculty to come up with and claim creative gifts, but to welcome new majors to the department and celebrate the accomplishments of the semester. Plus, we provide snacks.

And, once it’s all over and behind you, you’ll get a chance to participate in the senior toast. We laugh, we cry, we honor your hard work and bright future.

Major in International Relations

44 credits including:

  • POLS 210 Introduction to International Politics (4 credits)
  • POLS 390 Introduction to Comparative Politics (4 credits) OR SOAN 350 Global Political Economy (4 credits)
  • ECON 210 Principles of Economics (4 credits)
  • POLS 489 Senior Project (3 credits)
  • POLS 490 Senior Seminar (3 credits)

Methods Requirement: POLS 230 Research and Methodology or HIST 285 Methods of Historical Research or SOAN 307 Social Research Methods - 4-5 credits (subject to approval from HIST and SOAN, double-majors recommended)

History Requirement: At least 4 credits in an upper division (300 level or above) international history course

Theory and Practice of International Politics Requirement:4 credits from POLS 361 Current Debates in US Foreign Policy, POLS 362 International Law, Ethics, and Global Governance, POLS 370 Topics in International Politics, POLS 371 Political Psychology, POLS 384 US Foreign Policy or POLS 385 Topics in Comparative Politics, plus corresponding POLS 498 1 credit proseminar course (5 credits total) 

Comparative Culture, Philosophy, and Ethics Requirement: At least 4 credits from ANTH 111 Cultural Anthropology, POLS 220 Great Political Thinkers, PHIL 160 Philosophy East and West, PHIL 180 Moral Problems, PHIL 365 Social and Political Philosophy (at least 3 credits), TCCA 230

Foreign language proficiency through a second year level

Successful completion of a foreign study abroad of at least one semester approved in advance for this purpose (courses taken abroad may count toward IR electives) 

IR students in New Zealand

At least 10 additional credits from the IR major elective list below, including at least one 300 level course or above.  Students are encouraged to work closely with their advisor to ensure a focused course of study.

International Relations Major Elective List

  • ANTH 111 Cultural Anthropology
  • ECON 331 International Economics
  • ECON 332 Development Economics
  • ECON 333 International Monetary Economics
  • ECON 341 Environmental Economics
  • ECON 342 Natural Resource Economics
  • HIST 120, 121 History of Western Culture I and II
  • HIST 122, 123, History of World Civilizations I and II
  • HIST 124 East Asia Before 1800
  • HIST 125 East Asia Since 1800
  • HIST 126, 127 Introduction to Eurasian Civilizations I and II
  • HIST 144 Europe Since 1500
  • Any other relevant upper division history course
  • MSCM 150 Introduction to Mass Communication
  • MSCM 333 Mass Media and Society
  • MSCM 337 Mass Media and the Law
  • MSCM 340 Mass Media and Popular Culture
  • MSCM 345 Mass Media, Politics, and Public Opinion
  • Any other relevant MDLA course
  • PHIL 150 Fundamentals of Philosophy
  • PHIL 180 Moral Problems
  • PHIL 285 Philosophy of Science
  • PHIL 306 Environmental Ethics
  • PHIL 360 Philosophy of Law
  • PHIL 365 Social and Political Philosophy
  • PHIL 375 Comparative Philosophy
  • POLS 201 American Politics
  • POLS 220 Great Political Thinkers
  • POLS 330 Politics and the Arts
  • POLS 361 Current Debates in US Foreign Policy
  • POLS 362 International Law, Ethics, and Global Governance
  • POLS 370 Topics in International Politics
  • POLS 371 Political Psychology
  • POLS 384 US Foreign Policy
  • POLS 385 Topics in Comparative Politics
  • RELS 115 Religious Ethics
  • RELS 140 The Holy Qur'an
  • SOCL 370 Society, State, and Social Policy
  • TCCA 230 Intercultural Communication: Global Perspectives
  • TCCA 335 Nonverbal Communication
  • Any relevant internship course; any relevant study in DC or abroad; or any relevant January term course abroad.

Given the interdisciplinary nature of international relations, other courses may, on occasion, be approved to count toward the major.  The student may therefore petition the coordinator of the International Relations program, expressing a rationale for the substitution. This rationale must include a signed agreement between the student and course instructor that the student’s major project, counting for at least 1/3rd of the course grade, will be devoted to an international relations issue.  The IR coordinator must approve the petition before the Registrar will accept the substitution.

Double-majors with other disciplines are encouraged and three courses (up to 12 credits) may count toward both major requirements.  Double-majors in Political Science and International Relations, however, are not permitted.

Minor in International Relations

24 credits including: 

  • POLS 210 Introduction to International Politics (4 credits)
  • ECON 210 Principle of Economics (4 credits)
  • A relevant upper division (300 level or above) POLS course
  • A relevant upper division (300 level or above) HIST course
  • At least 8 additional credits of approved IR major elective courses, including at least one at the 300 level or above
  • One year of foreign language, see BA language requirement

Only two courses counted for the minor may be double counted toward major and LC requirements.