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 Politics and International Relations, 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 five interdependent areas described below.
Foreign Language Requirement Students must demonstrate functional competence in a second language (including reading, writing, speaking and oral comprehension) prior to graduation. Options for achieving the necessary competence include family background or life experience, high school training, college coursework (by transfer from another institution), study abroad, independent study and participation in the Drake Language Acquisition Program.
The Basic Core Majors are required to take 18 credit hours of specific economics, politics and history classes.
Comparative Perspectives Majors are required to take a minimum of 12 credit hours under Comparative Perspectives. Of these, six hours must be taken in a single regional area. At least three hours must be taken under the Cross-Regional category. The remaining three hours may be taken in any of the four categories (these final three credits may be waived for students who study abroad). Relevant courses taken through study abroad programs may count toward the Comparative Perspectives requirements. Also, relevant Drake courses offered on an occasional basis may be considered. In all cases, the choice of courses must be made with the approval of the student's academic adviser.
Thematic Perspectives Majors are required to take a minimum of 12 credit hours of coursework under Thematic Perspectives, distributed across at least two categories. Options include International Politics and Economics, International Peace and Conflict Studies and International Values and Ethics. Relevant courses taken through study abroad programs may count toward the Thematic Perspectives requirements. Also, relevant Drake courses offered on an occasional basis may be considered. In all cases, the choice of courses must be made with the approval of the student's academic adviser.
International Relations Seminar Majors are required to complete Politics 192: International Relations Seminar. This course is offered each spring 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 first-year seminars, which foster 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 the Center for International Programs and Services.
HONORS The Elsworth Woods Prize is presented annually to the most outstanding senior majoring in International Relations.
STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVITIES The Pricipal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship sponsors campus events and student programming related to international affairs.