International Relations

  • The Department of Political Science and International Relations offers two majors. For information on the Political Science major, please see the Political Science section of this catalog.

The International Relations Major

The International Relations (IR) major is an interdisciplinary field of study designed for students who seek a holistic understanding of international affairs. The curriculum is rooted in political science and provides students with a strong background in international relations and comparative government. At the same time, the curriculum reflects the recognition that international political phenomena are best understood from a variety of perspectives and includes courses from disciplines such as history, economics, religious studies, fine arts and literature. In order to complement their academic training with first-hand experience in a foreign country, students are also required to complete 3 units in a study abroad program. Graduates from the IR program are well prepared for careers in government, private industry, law, education and the nonprofit sector, as well as for graduate study in political science and international affairs. Students should note that courses counted toward another major/minor cannot also be counted toward the International Relations major or minor and that the department does not accept on-line transfer credits toward the major/minor.

USD/Washington Center Internship Semester and Intersession Seminar

University of San Diego students have the opportunity to enroll in a semester-long internship program in Washington, D.C. and earn academic credit toward their major. These internships are coordinated through the Political Science and International Relations Department and The Washington Center, a nationally recognized internship program that pioneered the development of full-time internships in the nation’s capital. The internship program combines real-world work experience with academic learning in a unique environment that fosters success and achievement. Students earn 12 semester units for participating in a full-time fall or spring semester program, and 6 to 9 units in the summer. Students may not enroll in more than 6 internship units, and only 3 units may be used toward the major or minor.

Students also have the opportunity to enroll in a 3-unit intersession course in Washington, D.C. (POLS 434 Washington, DC: the Press and the Presidency). This course provides students with an opportunity to study current political, social, and economic issues while living in Washington, D.C. for two weeks.

USD Internship Program

Students may enroll in POLS 448, “Internship in Political Science.”  An internship provides an opportunity to gain practical, “real world” experience that gives depth and understanding to political issues and concepts discussed in the classroom.  It encourages students to develop the ability to use personal experience to bring new insights and understanding to political processes.  It also provides an opportunity to experience political and administrative activities, which may suggest future career possibilities. Students may not enroll in more than 6 internship units, and only 3 units may be used toward the major or minor.

Preparation for the Major

POLS 120Introduction to American Politics3
POLS 150Introduction to Comparative Politics3
POLS 170Introduction to International Relations3-4

Major Requirements

42 units of upper division work to include (note: course descriptions are listed under the Political Science major):

Core Courses
12 Upper-Division Units (POLS 330 is a prerequisite for POLS 495):
POLS 330Research Methods in Political Science (typically offered Fall and Spring)3
POLS 350Theories of Comparative Politics (typically offered in Fall)3
POLS 370Theories of International Relations (typically offered in Spring)3
POLS 380Theories of International Political Economy (typically offered in Fall)3
International and Comparative Politics
Select 15 Upper-Division Units (five courses) from among the following:15
Politics and Religion
Comparative Law
International Law
Law of the Sea
Politics and the Environment
Comparative Politics of Developing Countries
Revolutionary Change
Politics in Europe
Politics in Latin America
Politics in South Asia
Politics in the Middle East
Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa
Politics in South Africa
Politics in the United Kingdom
Politics in France
Politics in Germany
Politics in Russia
Politics in Mexico
Politics in Japan
Politics in China
American Foreign Policy
U.S.-Latin American Relations
U.S. National Security
Regional Security
Transnational Crime and Terrorism
International Human Rights
International Organizations
Model United Nations
Washington, DC: Directed Study in International Relations
Washington, DC: Internship in International Relations
Washington, DC: Class in International Relations
Special Topics in International Relations
Internship in International Relations
Independent Study in International Relations
Humanities and Social Sciences
Nine Upper-Division Units (three courses) with no more than three units (one course) taken from one department. Students must take one course from the History Department (from those listed below). Other upper division courses with predominantly international or comparative content can be used upon specific approval by the department Chair. Note: Some of the courses listed below may have additional prerequisites. 19
Anthropology
South American Archaeology
Nautical Archaeology
Post Medieval Seafaring and Empire
Piracy in the new World
Antiquities: Who Owns the Past?
Art History
Memory, Monument, Museum: Politics of Display
Art in Public Spaces
Modern Art: 1780-1920
Art of the Twentieth and Twenty First Centuries in Europe and the Americas
The Avant-Garde and Mass Culture: Art and Politics
Business
International Financial Management
International Comparative Management
Global Marketing
Global Purchasing and Supply Management
Communication
International Media
Advanced Topics in International Media
Media and Conflict
Economics
International Economics
Economic Development of Latin America
Economic Development of Asia
English
Dante
Modern And Contemporary Drama
Global Literature and Culture
Modern and Contemporary European Literature
Modern And Contemporary British Literature
Modern and Contemporary Fiction
History
World War I
World War II
Birth of Two Nations: France and India
Topics in Modern Europe
France in Revolution and War
The British Imperial Experience
History of Spain
Topics in Russian and East European History
Topics in Modern World History
Modern Middle East
Modern Latin America
Topics in Latin America History
History of Brazil
Topics in Asian History
China: Rise to Global Power
Japan: Samurai to Subaru
Women's Lives in East Asia
The African Historical Experience
Topics in African History
U.S. Foreign Relations in the Long 19th Century
Twentieth Century U.S. Foreign Relations
History of Mexico
Language
French
Introduction to the Analysis of French Literary Texts
Cultural Backgrounds of French Civilization
Survey of French Literature I: Middle Ages to 18th Century
Survey of French Literature II: 19th to 21st Centuries
Topics in Language, Literature, or Culture
Contemporary French Civilization
FREN 409Contemporary African Francophone Theatre3
French Theater
French Prose
French Novel
French Poetry
French Women Writers
Topics in French Literature, Language or Culture
German
Readings in German Literature
Cultural Backgrounds of German Civilization
German Literature from 1900 to the Present
Topics in Language, Literature, or Culture
Topics in German Literature
Italian
ITAL 302Contemporary Italy: Culture, Politics and Society3
Introduction to Italian Literature and Culture I: From the Middle Ages to the 17th Century
Introduction to Italian Literature and Culture II: From the Enlightenment to Today
ITAL 394Topics in Language, Literature, or Culture3
Studies in Italian Film
Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Italy
Studies in Modern Italian Literature and Culture
Studies in Contemporary Italian Literature and Culture
Dante and His Times
Topics in Literature, Language, or Culture
Spanish
Cultural History of Spain
Introduction To Cultural Analysis
Cultural History of Latin America
Survey of Spanish Literature
Survey of Latin American Literature
SPAN 394Topics in Language, Literature, or Culture3
SPAN 410DLatin@ Literatures and Cultures3
Studies in Medieval Spanish Literature
Studies in Spanish Literature of the Golden Age
Don Quijote de la Mancha
Studies in 18th and 19th Century Pennisular Literature and Culture
Studies in 20th and 21st Century Peninsular Literature and Culture
Studies in Hispanic Film
The "New" World
Latin American Short Story
Latin American Novel
Latin American Poetry
Mexican Literature and Culture
Jewish Latin America
SPAN 494Topics in Language, Literature, or Culture3
Music
Music History II: 1600-1830 (Monteverdi-Beethoven)
Topics in World Music
Topics in Ethnomusicology
Philosophy
Social Ethics
Environmental Ethics
Ethics of War and Peace
Studies in Modern European Philosophy
Studies in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Studies in Asian Philosophy
Theology
The Hindu Tradition
Jewish Faith and Practice
Buddhist Thought and Culture
Islamic Faith and Practice
The Daoist Tradition
Religions of China
Afro-Latin Religions
Latino/a Theologies
Liberation Theology
The Prophetic Tradition of Israel
The Holocaust: Religious Questions
1

Other upper division courses with predominantly international or comparative content can be used upon specific approval by the department Chair. Note: Some of the courses listed below may have additional prerequisites.

2

Students may take any upper division course offered by the department of political science and international relations, including: Political Theory, American Politics, International Politics, Comparative Politics, or Internship.

Political Science

Three Upper-Division Units (one course). Students may take any upper division course offered by the department of political science and international relations, including: Political Theory, American Politics, International Politics, Comparative Politics, or Internship.

Study Abroad

Students must take at least 3 units outside the United States, as part of a study abroad experience.  These units may be in any academic discipline, and may be either upper or lower division units.  This requirement does not add to the overall number of units required for the major. No more than six units from non-USD faculty led study abroad courses may be applied toward Section B of the major.

International Relations Senior Capstone Seminar

POLS 495: International Relations majors are required to complete the Senior Capstone Seminar. The purpose of this course is to provide students with an opportunity to apply and integrate what they have learned as a International Relations major. Students will have the opportunity to choose from Senior Capstone Seminars that focus on completing a research project, a community project, or a simulation project.

Recommended Program of Study, International Relations

Freshman Year
Semester IHours
Preceptorial3
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to American Politics 
Introduction to Comparative Politics 
Introduction to International Relations 
CC or electives6-9
Semester II
Select one of the following: 
Introduction to American Politics 
Introduction to Comparative Politics 
Introduction to International Relations 
CC or electives9-12
Sophomore Year
Semester I
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to American Politics 
Introduction to Comparative Politics 
Introduction to International Relations 
CC or electives9-12
Semester II
Select one of the following:3
Theories of Comparative Politics 
Theories of International Relations 
Theories of International Political Economy 
Upper-Division IR3
CC or electives9
Junior Year
Semester I
Select one of the following: 
Theories of Comparative Politics 
Theories of International Relations 
Theories of International Political Economy 
POLS 330Research Methods in Political Science (or Upper-Division IR)3
Upper-Division Humanities3
CC or electives6
Semester II
Select one of the following:3
Theories of Comparative Politics 
Theories of International Relations 
Theories of International Political Economy 
POLS 330Research Methods in Political Science (or Upper-Division IR)3
Upper-Division Humanities3
CC or electives6
Senior Year
Semester I
POLS 495Senior Capstone Seminar (or Upper-Division IR)3
Upper-Division Humanities 3
Electives9
Semester II
POLS 495Senior Capstone Seminar (or Upper-Division Humanities )3
Upper-Division POLS3
Electives9

*The study abroad requirement is three units and is recommended during the junior year or in the summer following the sophomore or junior year.

The International Relations Minor

POLS 150Introduction to Comparative Politics3
POLS 170Introduction to International Relations3-4
Select one of the following:3
Theories of Comparative Politics
Theories of International Relations
Theories of International Political Economy
Select 9 additional Upper-Division Units of international and/or comparative politics, to be selected in consultation with an advisor from the political science/international relations faculty.9

Study Abroad

Students must take at least 3 units outside the United States, as part of a study abroad experience.  These units may be in any academic discipline, and may be either upper or lower division units.  This requirement does not add to the overall number of units required for the major. No more than six units from non-USD faculty led study abroad courses may be applied toward the minor.

Chair

Vidya Nadkarni, PhD

Faculty

Del Dickson, JD, PhD

Casey B. K. Dominguez, PhD

Patrick F. Drinan, PhD, EMERITUS

Emily Edmonds-Poli, PhD

Cory C. Gooding, PhD

Timothy W. McCarty, PhD

Noelle Norton, PhD

Lee Ann Otto, PhD

Michael R. Pfau, PhD

David Shirk, PhD

Avi Spiegel, JD, PhD

Andrew Tirrell, JD, MALD, PhD Candidate

J. Michael Williams,, JD, PhD

Randy Willoughby, PhD