2022-23 Pomona College Catalog 
    Jun 13, 2024  
2022-23 Pomona College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG] Use the dropdown above to select the current 2023-24 catalog.

International Relations Major

Requirements for the Major in International Relations


  1. Social Science Courses. All IR majors must complete a set of courses across social science disciplines:
    • Introduction to International Relations (POLI 008 PO );
    • Either Comparative Politics (POLI 005 PO ) or United States Foreign Policy (POLI 007 PO ).
    • 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.
    • 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. 
    • International Economic Relations (IR 118 PO ) (Prerequisite: ECON 051 PO ) or International Economics (ECON 123 PO ) (Prerequisites: ECON 051 PO  and ECON 052 PO ). (IR 118 and ECON123 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 eitherStatistics for Politics and International Relations POLI 090 PO ,  Economic Statistics ECON 057 PO , or Survey and Quantitative Research Methods SOC 104 PO  (Prerequisite: SOC 051 PO ). 
    • The Qualitative Methods requirement focuses on ethnographic, case study, or historiographic methods and can be met with the successful completion of either: Methods in Anthropological Inquiry ANTH 105 PO , a history research course (HIST101 course or by petition), Comparative Case Studies (IR  101  PO), or Qualitative Research Methods SOC 102 PO  (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 ). IR 100 is offered every semester by rotating faculty from different departments. Before taking IR 100 PO , students should complete as many of the requirements in 1 above as possible, and particularly Introduction to International Relations (POLI 008 PO ), 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 seminar is restricted to IR majors only. 
  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. See the link for International Relations Courses below for examples; the IR Coordinator can approve other courses upon petition. (No course may be used to meet both a core course requirement indicated in 1 or 2 above and 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. Third-year proficiency is reached upon 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 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. Students can test out of the requirement with verification of language proficiency by language instructors.
  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 should 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. IR majors must complete a two-semester research thesis on an international or global topic. All IR majors must take Senior IR Seminar IR 190 PO  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, and 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 is normally able to offer competitive research grants to seniors to pursue their thesis research through field work or acquisition of required materials such as data sets. Students apply for the grants in IR 190. 
  8. All IR majors must also take Senior Thesis IR 191 PO  in the spring of their senior year. IR 190 PO  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.

Additional Rules and Requirements:

  • All courses must be taken for a letter grade to count toward the major.
  • 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 IR Coordinator.
  • IR majors who double major must complete their IR senior thesis on a topic different from the topic of their capstone paper, project, or thesis for their other major.
  • Senior IR majors must participate in the public thesis presentations to be eligible for senior prizes and distinction in the major.