2020-21 Pomona College Catalog 
    May 13, 2021  
2020-21 Pomona College Catalog

International Relations Major

Requirements for the Major in International Relations

IR majors may use courses from the other Claremont Colleges or from study abroad to meet some of their major requirements, upon petition to the Program Coordinator. Courses used to meet major requirements are expected to be taken with a letter grade.

  1. Social Science Courses.  All IR majors must complete a set of courses across social science disciplines:
    1. Politics. Introduction to International Relations (POLI 008 PO ); one of Comparative Politics (POLI 005 PO ) or United States Foreign Policy (POLI 007 PO ).
    2. A history course with world, international or regional content, such as Latin America since Independence (HIST 032 CH ), Africa in World Politics, 1884 to 2000 (HIST 041 AF ), Worlds of Islam (HIST 042 PO ), Middle East and North Africa since 1500 (HIST 043 PO ), Modern East Asia: China, Japan and Korea (HIST 062 PO ), Modern Europe since 1789 (HIST 071 PO ), or any history course listed in this catalog as being an IR course.
    3. An anthropology or sociology course with world, international or regional content, such as Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology (ANTH 002 PO ), Globalizations (SOC 090 PO ), or any anthropology or sociology course listed in this catalog as being an IR course. 
    4. Economics. Students have two options to complete the international economics requirement.  Option 1: International Economic Relations (IR 118 PO ). Prerequisite: (ECON 051 PO ).  Option 2:  International Economics (ECON 123 PO ). Prerequisites: (ECON 051 PO ) and (ECON 052 PO ). (International Relations 118 and Economics 123 may not both be taken for credit.)
  2. Methods. The IR major requires one qualitative and one quantitative methods course, which must be taken before the senior year in order to facilitate research on the senior thesis. The Quantitative Methods requirement focuses on statistical analysis or survey methods and can be met with the successful completion of one of: POLI 090 PO :  Statistics for Politics and International Relations, ECON 057 PO  :  Economic Statistics or SOC 104 PO  : Survey and Quantitative Research Methods (Prerequisite: SOC 051 PO ).  The Qualitative Methods requirement focuses on ethnographic or historiographic methods and can be met with the successful completion of one of: ANTH 105 PO :  Methods in Anthropological Inquiry, a history research course (usually numbered 100 and above and involving primary research), or SOC 102 PO : Qualitative Research Methods (Prerequisite: SOC 051 PO ). (No course may be used to meet both the qualitative methods requirement and a requirement in 1 above or 4 below).
  3. Intermediate International Relations Seminar: IR 100 PO.  All IR majors must take IR 100 PO, and the seminar is  normally restricted to IR majors only.  IR 100 is offered every semester by rotating faculty from different departments. Before taking IR 100 PO , students should have completed at least one course in each part of 1 above, and particularly Introduction to International Relations, in order to have basic competence in the relevant disciplines. The topic of IR 100 PO changes every semester at the discretion of the instructor. The instructor provides her/his disciplinary perspectives on specific international or comparative issues, bearing in mind that students may have limited background in some disciplines. 
  4. Advanced Electives.  All IR majors must take at least two courses numbered 2 or 3 digits (or the equivalent from other colleges or study-abroad programs), with an international or non-U.S. focus, from the fields of anthropology, economics, history, politics, or sociology. Follow the link for International Relations Courses below for examples; the Program Coordinator can approve other courses upon petition. IR majors may not use any course both to meet a core course requirement indicated in 1 or 2 above and to serve as an advanced elective.
  5. Language Requirement.  All IR majors must reach third-year proficiency in one foreign language or second-year proficiency in two languages. Students can test out of the requirement with verification of language proficiency by language instructors. Depending on their initial language skills, most IR majors are expected to take 1 to 4 language classes. Given the study-abroad requirement, no student is required to take more than 4 language classes. For those fulfilling the requirement through courses at the Claremont Colleges, third-year proficiency generally involves completion of one course at the fifth-semester level or completion of a course at the fourth semester level plus study abroad in a country of the same language. Second-year proficiency generally is reached upon completion of a course at the fourth semester level or completion of a course at the third semester level plus study abroad in a country of the same language.
  6. Study Abroad. IR majors are expected to have a substantive adult experience living abroad and encountering another culture. This requirement can be met with the completion for credit of at least one semester of study abroad in a program approved by Pomona College. Majors unable to study abroad may petition the IR Coordinator to find an alternative way to experience a connec­tion with other cultures, such as through participation in a suitable domestic academic exchange program or internship. International students who have lived and studied outside the United States up to their matriculation at the College are considered to have met the study abroad requirement.
  7. Senior exercise.  All IR majors must take IR 190 PO : Senior IR Seminar in the fall of their senior year. This course helps students initiate their senior thesis research. It focuses on: identifying a research question; developing a research proposal; writing a literature review; developing a peer-support system. The course is not discipline-based but is anchored in the methodologies of the various social sciences.  The IR Program normally is able to offer competitive research grants to seniors to pursue their thesis research through field work, acquisition of data sets, and so on. Students apply for the grants as part of the research proposal in IR 190 PO. All IR majors must also take IR 191 PO : Senior Thesis in the spring of their senior year. The thesis counts for a full credit towards graduation but does not meet as a class.  Students work under the supervision of one or two faculty thesis readers throughout the spring semester based on the plan developed in IR 190 PO . IR majors who double major are expected to do their IR senior thesis on a topic different from the topic of their capstone paper or project for their other major.