B.A. in International Relations


Program Description

In this rapidly changing world, it is not enough to simply know what's going on in one's own town, state, or country. Instead, understanding international affairs and foreign cultures is increasingly important for the educated person and citizen. To more effectively meet the dramatic changes and challenges occurring around the world, Geneseo offers a major in international relations.

The program, coordinated by the Political Science Department, is interdisciplinary; you will take courses from a variety of different academic areas including anthropology, economics, foreign languages, geography, history, management, and sociology.

The Program

All students must take a set of basic required courses which introduce students to international and comparative politics, economics, US foreign policy, the developing world and the cultural context of international relations. Electives are chosen according to the student's preferred specialization from the following tracks:

  • The Global Political Economy focuses on globalization processes, in­ternational economics, comparative economic systems, economic development, and international business.

  • The War and Peace Studies concentrates on understanding the causes of war, conflict, and disorder, as well as promotion of peace and conflict resolution.

  • The European System track focuses on problems and developments in Europe, in particular, integration and post-communist transition.

  • The Developing World track includes the study of various regions including Central and South America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, all of which are undergoing processes of political and economic development.

You will also be required to demonstrate proficiency in a modern foreign language at the intermediate level. This can be done through achievement of a grade of 4 or higher on an Advanced Placement exam taken in high school, a placement test administered by Geneseo's Department of Foreign Languages, or satisfactory completion of language study at Geneseo or another institution.

In order to satisfy the requirements for the international relations major, you must complete either a study abroad experience, an approved internship, or a special project approved by the Director of the International Relations major. The preferred option is study abroad, which provides the fullest cross-cultural exposure. This experience may be accomplished through one of many State University programs or programs from other colleges. Internships may be selected from a number of options in foreign countries or the US, primarily in Washington, DC.

The International Relations Minor

The minor in international relations is a 24-credit hour program based largely on the same structure of Basic Courses and Elective Tracks as the major.

Academic Opportunities

The faculty in International Relations builds particular expertise and experience in European and Russian affairs, the Middle East, Latin America, South Asia, international organizations, democratization, terrorism and security affairs. Faculty engage students in independent research, lead study abroad programs, and mentor honors theses. Students who excel are eligible for Sigma Iota Rho, the honor society in International Relations. The Department Colloquium series addresses major international issues. Dual degree programs and partnerships are being developed with universities in Russia, Mexico, Turkey, and China.

Co-Curricular Opportunities

Geneseo's Model United Nations Club participates each year in simulations hosted in the fall by the Georgetown University and in the winter by Harvard University. An additional experience is provided for students who want to participate in the Model European Union simulation. In alternating years, this simulation is hosted by a European university and an American university. These simulations give you the opportunity to mix with European students as well as students from other American colleges and universities. In addition, Geneseo sends one student to West Point's annual conference on US foreign policy.

Career Options and Post-Graduate Study

A major in international relations can prepare you for a number of career opportunities in international affairs. These careers include: business, education, government service, international communication, consulting, strategic planning, international law, journalism, public relations, political risk analysis, research, and the military.

Although with a B.A. in International Relations you can go directly into the job market, it is increasingly important to have a graduate degree. You are encouraged to discuss your post-graduate plans with your faculty advisor early in your studies.

Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

Founded in 1871, Geneseo is one of the premier public liberal arts colleges in the country.

Founded in 1871, Geneseo is one of the premier public liberal arts colleges in the country. Read less