At The College of Wooster, the major in International Relations (IR) adopts a global focus and an interdisciplinary approach. The IR major program consists of courses in Political Science, History, and Economics. At the time they declare a major, students select one of these three departments as their home department. Students are also required to take one foreign language course beyond the first four beginning and intermediate courses and participate in an Overseas Term.
The coursework must include Introduction to International Relations and Theories of International Relations in Political Science, and Principles of Economics and either Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory or Intermediate Microeconomic Theory in Economics. In order to assure that students receive a thorough background in the complexities of international relations, majors must also select courses in three areas of study:
- Specialized International Relations: two courses, one from Political Science and one from History. Choices include Problems of the Global Community, United States Foreign Policy, Comparative Foreign Policy, The United Nations System, Nationalism and Interdependence and International Security in Political Science and Twentieth Century Europe, The Fall of the Soviet Union and Rise of the New Russia and The United States and China in History.
- The Global Economy: two courses in addition to the two required economics courses. Students may study International Trade, International Finance, or Economic Development in Economics, and/or International Political Economy in Political Science.
- Comparative Political and Economic Systems: one course selected from Political Science offerings including Politics of Western Europe, Government and Politics of Africa, The Politics of Developing Countries, and Peace Studies.
The IR major consists of 13 courses in political science, history and economics. Coursework covers international politics, diplomacy and conflict; the global economy; and comparative political and economic systems. At the time they declare a major, students select one of these three departments as their home department. Before beginning junior Independent Study, majors take at least one social science methods course in the home department. They also choose their I.S. advisers from that department.
The field of international relations explores the behavior of governments, international institutions, multinational corporations, non-governmental organizations, and sub-national groups. International relations scholars investigate the rich complexity of relationships between the actors -- political, economic, historical, geographic, and cultural -- that characterize today’s world. In addition, we seek to understand the enormous tide of recent changes in the international system that have made this discipline more intellectually challenging and more relevant to our daily lives than ever before.
Like all Wooster students, IR majors complete independent research guided by faculty mentors in their home department. After completing the methods coursework required by the home department, and, in most cases, the Overseas Term, each student researches and then writes a senior thesis on a topic of particular interest. Recent projects have included: The European Union and the Limits of Cooperation, The Reversal of Development in Argentina, Intervention in Genocide, Economic Satisfaction: Public Opinion and War Proneness, States vs. Terrorists, Analysis of the Deterioration of U.S.-Cuban Relations, Globalization and Political Violence in Italy, and The Impact of Women's Leadership at the United Nations.
The International Relations faculty recognize that student understanding of the complexities of the field of international relations is enhanced by exposure to politics, people, languages, and cultures different from their own. Therefore, IR majors complete a term of overseas study from a long list of Wooster endorsed programs. The overseas experience should be at least one semester or term in length.
The International Programs Office has information on all approved overseas opportunities, and the Director assists students in selecting programs and making arrangements for such study. These overseas opportunities permit IR majors to travel virtually anywhere in the world -- from Kenya, Spain, Australia, and Nicaragua, to the Czech Republic, France, and China.
Wooster's International Community
The College of Wooster has long believed that international students are valuable assets to the College community. These students come to Wooster from countries that literally span the globe. This year, for example, we have students from numerous countries including Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Romania, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Tanzania, United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe.
Visible manifestations of the lively international community on campus include the International Students Association, which regularly sponsors programs to celebrate the regions of the world that are represented on campus and presents lectures, panel discussions, dance exhibitions, music events, and even dinners which serve the traditional food of the areas highlighted. In addition, select international students represent their home countries on campus through community presentations with the Ambassadors Program. The Model United Nations program allows Wooster students to compete in national role-playing simulation competitions, where they act as diplomats representing countries engaged in international negotiations on major global issues. IR majors may also continue to practice Chinese, French, German, Russian or Spanish by living in one of the language suites located in Luce Hall.