PROGRAM OVERVIEW The international relations major is an interdisciplinary program designed to meet the needs of students interested in understanding and/or working in international affairs. The goal is to train students for responsible global citizenship and entry into internationally related jobs in business, government, or international public or private agencies. The curriculum is designed to provide greater breadth than is possible by concentration in a single discipline, yet permit sufficiently focused study in international affairs to prepare the student for direct entry into the field of international service or continued post-graduate study.
FACULTY Five full-time faculty, all affiliated with the Department of Political Science, serve as academic advisers to students majoring in international relations and teach courses in the program. In addition, faculty from various other departments, including history, economics, and culture and society, offer courses that are included in the international relations major.
ACADEMIC PREPARATION High school coursework (or equivalent training) in a foreign language is highly recommended, though not required, as preparation for students planning to major in international relations.
REQUIREMENTS FOR MAJOR The major requires completion of requirements in areas described below.
Foreign Language: Students are required to complete two years of coursework or credits in a single language or demonstrate equivalent competence. Options for fulfilling this requirement include bilingual competence due to family background or life experience, high school training, college coursework by transfer from another institution, study abroad, and coursework through Drake's world languages and cultures department.
The Basic Core: Majors are required to take 24 credit hours of specific economics, politics, and history classes, including the International Relations Senior Seminar.
Comparative Perspectives: Students must complete a minimum of nine credit hours in Comparative Perspectives. Students must take six credit hours in a single regional area (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, or the Middle East) and at least three credit hours in the cross-regional area. Students may take an additional three credit hours in either this category or in thematic perspectives to fulfill the total credit hour requirements for the major.
Thematic Perspectives: Students must complete a minimum of nine credit hours in Thematic Perspectives. Students may take an additional three credit hours in either this category or in comparative perspectives to fulfill the total credit hour requirements for the major.
International Relations Seminar: Majors are required to complete Politics 192: International Relations Seminar. This course is offered each fall and must be taken during the senior year. Politics 192 counts as a Senior Capstone under the Drake Curriculum. Students also are encouraged, though not required, to study abroad during either their sophomore or junior year. Students studying abroad may waive three of the 12 credits required under Comparative Perspectives. Students should consider study abroad options in consultation with their academic adviser and the study abroad coordinator.
DRAKE CURRICULUM The Drake Curriculum, required of all undergraduates, is designed to help students meet personal and professional goals as they acquire fundamental knowledge and abilities in ten Areas of Inquiry, including communication, critical thinking, artistic experience, historical consciousness, information and technology literacy, international and multicultural experiences, scientific and quantitative literacy, values and ethics, and engaged citizenship. Students work closely with their academic advisers to craft a program of study in general education that prepares students for civic and professional leadership.
The Drake Curriculum also requires a First Year Seminar, which fosters development of critical thinking and written and oral communication skills through a topical focus, and a Senior Capstone, in which students demonstrate the capacity to bring information, skills, and ideas to bear on one project.
INTERNSHIPS & OPPORTUNITIES International relations students have opportunities to participate in Model United Nations, Model European Union, and Model Arab League programs. Volunteer (and occasionally paid) internship opportunities are available with local community organizations that deal with international affairs, such as the Iowa Council for International Understanding. Majors are encouraged to study abroad during either their sophomore or junior years. Students may complement the IR major by completing the global ambassador certificate program.
CAREER OPTIONS Majors are prepared for a wide range of internationally related jobs in business, government, or international public or private agencies. In addition, many graduates go on to post-graduate study. Information on careers, internships, and graduate programs related to international affairs may be obtained from academic advisers and Drake International.
HONORS The Elsworth Woods Prize is presented annually to the most outstanding senior majoring in international relations.
STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVITIES The Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship sponsors campus events and student programming related to international affairs.
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