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Goucher College    
  Feb 25, 2018
Goucher College 2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalogue

International Relations Major

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The purposes of the major are threefold: (1) to understand the major analytical perspectives and key concepts used by scholars to study international relations; (2) to use the theoretical literature to analyze global issues and problems; and (3) to engage in a discussion of the complex issues and developments that drive and define contemporary global politics. The 200, and 300-level courses are designed to provide a foundation in the theory and practice of international politics, and encourage critical thinking for interpreting the different perspectives on the complexities of international relations in the 21st century. The major requires 36 credits.

20 credits taken from the list below, including 12 at the 300-level.

Four credits out of those 12 credits (300-level courses) must be an out-of-major seminar from the list below (see the lists for History, Peace Studies, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies). Two 2-credit electives are equivalent to one four-credit elective at the 200-level. 


* See writing proficiency requirements


The international relations major also requires reading and speaking competence in a modern foreign language. The choice of language is up to the student and need not be limited to the languages available at Goucher. Cooperative arrangements with seven local colleges and universities open many opportunities for instruction in a variety of modern languages. However, students are advised that they must still complete two courses beyond the equivalent of the 130 level. It is incumbent on the student to ensure that courses are available to complete the requirement. If not, they should choose another language. The language requirement may be met by satisfactory performance on a test to be arranged with the Modern Languages and Literatures Program. Any of the following courses and combinations of courses will satisfy the language requirement for IR.


IR majors are also required to study abroad for a semester: students will receive elective credit for appropriate coursework at the following programs. Attending programs not on this list can satisfy the College study abroad requirement, but will not be granted IR elective credit.

Latin America: Chile, Latin American Studies in Santiago; Costa Rica, Monteverde Insitute

Europe: England, Hansard Scholars program, University of East Anglia; Scotland, University of St. Andrews; France, University of Pau; Paris: IFE; Czech Republic, Prague: European Politics

Asia: China, Chengdu; India, Christ University, Bangalore, Thailand: Asian-Pacific Rim Economics, Politics, and Culture Studies; Turkey, Bahcesehir University

Africa: Ghana, University of Ghana; South Africa (direct enroll), University of Cape Town, University of Western Cape, Rhodes University

Writing Proficiency in the IR Major

To fulfill the requirement of writing proficiency in the major, students must demonstrate proficiency in writing through the following procedure:

  1. Writing proficiency shall be judged on the basis of at least 20 pages of writing drawn from PSC 250 and PSC 257.
  2. Students wishing to achieve writing proficiency in a particular course must identify themselves to the professor by the end of the second week of class.
  3. Students are required to submit first drafts of papers as well as the revised version(s), and students must attain a B- grade for the written work. Use of the Writing Center is strongly encouraged.
  4. It is also strongly encouraged that the writing proficiency requirement be completed by the end of the junior year.

Honors in the Majors

Students wishing to pursue honors in political science or international relations must have a GPA of 3.5 in the major and an overall GPA of 3.25. By April 15 of their junior year, they must submit to the chair of the department a proposal outlining their thesis project and naming the proposed thesis director. Upon approval, the student must enroll in a two-semester (eight-credit) senior thesis course (PSC 495 ). One-semester projects are not eligible for honors. At the end of the fall semester, the thesis adviser will determine whether the project has sufficiently progressed to warrant continuation of the pursuit of honors. If not, the student may receive a grade of pass/no pass for those credits. No later than three weeks before the end of the spring semester of the senior year, the student will defend the thesis before a committee of at least three faculty members, a majority of whom are members of the department. The recommendation of the thesis committee will be brought to the department chair. The full department must approve all candidates for honors.

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