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International Relations Minor

In the Einaudi Center’s international relations minor (IRM), you study the politics, economics, history, languages, and cultures of the world and gain a fresh perspective on your major field of study. The minor is open to all Cornell undergraduates and includes courses from across the university.

About the Minor

flags of many nations

IRM is an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor—not a major or a department—open to students enrolled in any of Cornell’s undergraduate colleges. In addition to your regular degree courses, you have the flexibility to take a range of courses across colleges and departments.  

Your opportunities as an international relations minor extend beyond the Ithaca campus. If you study abroad for a semester or year, you can complete some of the minor’s requirements, including the language requirement.  

IRM graduates have gone on to higher education in disciplines such as political science and anthropology, as well as to successful careers in international law, economics, agriculture, trade, finance, journalism, public policy, and government service.

Course Requirements

Your courses will reach across the university, concentrated in four groups. You must complete eight courses selected from the four groups, including one core course from each group. All courses for the minor must be taken for a letter grade.  

Core Courses

Group 1: International Economics and Development

  • AEM/ECON 2300—International Trade and Finance 
  • ECON 3545—International Finance and Macroeconomics  
  • ECON 4510—International Trade Theory and Policy

Group 2: World Politics and Foreign Policy

  • GOVT 1817—Making Sense of World Politics 

Group 3: Transnational Processes and Policies

  • DSOC 2050—International Development  
  • DSOC 3311—Environmental Governance  
  • GOVT 3867—War: Causes and Conduct

Group 4: Cultural Studies

  • ANTHR 1400—The Comparison of Cultures
  • GOVT 4365—Ethnonational Communities and Conflicts 

Course Focus and Distribution

Choose a focus on 1) politics and economics, or 2) culture. Select your eight courses around one of these focuses.  

Focus on Politics and Economics of International Relations

  • One core course from each group. 
  • One elective from each group.  

Focus on Culture

  • One core course from each group. 
  • One elective from either Group 1 or 2. 
  • One elective from Group 3. 
  • One elective from Group 4. 
  • One additional elective from either Group 3 or 4.   

Fall 2020 Courses

This list includes the most commonly taken courses, but not all possible electives, for Groups 1-4. If you are interested in a course that you believe satisfies the IR minor requirements, please check in with the administrative coordinator (during office hours, by appointment, or by email). Please be prepared with the course description and the syllabus, if possible.

Group 1: International Economics and Development

  • Core
    • ECON 4510 – International Trade Theory and Policy
  • Electives
    • AEM 2350 – Introduction to the Economics of Development
    • AEM 2500 – Environmental and Resource Economics
    • AEM 2805 – Strategic Responses to Poverty and Hunger in Developing Countries
    • AEM 3557 – Exceptionalism Questioned: America and Europe
    • AEM 4420 – Emerging Markets
    • AEM 4450 – Toward a Sustainable Global Food System: Food Policy for Developing Countries
    • AEM 4545 – International Finance and Macroeconomics
    • AEM 4880 – Global Food, Energy and Water Nexus – Engage the US, China, and India for Sustainability
    • DSOC 3010 – Theories of Society and Development
    • ECON 3545 – International Finance and Macroeconomics
    • ECON 3910 – Health, Poverty, and Inequality: A Global Perspective
    • CRP 3854 – Special Topics in Regional Development and Globalization
    • ILRIC 2350 – Work, Labor, and Capital in the Global Economy
    • ILRIC 4337 – Labor and Employment in the Middle East and North Africa
    • ILRIC 4340 – Special Topics in International and Comparative Labor

Group 2: World Politics and Foreign Policy

  • Core
    • GOVT 1817: Making Sense of World Politics
  • Electives
    • ASIAN 2222 – The World of Modern Japan
    • ASIAN 4429 – Vitality and Power in China
    • ASIAN 4448 – China, Tibet, and Xinjiang
    • ASRC 3353/GOVT 3353 – African Politics
    • GOVT 2283 – Political Institutions Under Autocrats
    • GOVT 2817 – America Confronts the World
    • GOVT 3071 – Enduring Global and American Issues
    • GOVT 3303 – Politics of the Global North
    • GOVT 3687 – The US and the Middle East
    • GOVT 3867 – War: Causes and Conduct
    • GOVT 3967 – What is China?
    • GOVT 4264 – Social Movements in Latin America
    • GOVT 4365 – From Existential Conflict tCoexistence? The Case of Israel-Palestine
    • HIST 1650 – Myths of Monarchy in Europe, Medieval Times to the Present
    • HIST 1740 – Imperial China
    • HIST 2315 – The Occupation of Japan
    • HIST 2969 – The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire
    • HIST 3081 – Stability and Crisis: Capitalism and Democracy, 1870 to the Present
    • HIST 3312 – What was the Vietnam War?
    • JWST 3805 – Israeli Politics
    • SOC 3354 – Transformation of Socialist Societies
    • SOC 3683 – Comparative Corruption
    • SOC 4540 – Fascism, Nationalism, and Populism

Group 3: Transnational Processes and Policies

  • Core
    • DSOC 2050 – International Development
    • DSOC 3311 – Environmental Governance
  • Electives
    • AAS 2100 – South Asian Diaspora
    • AAS 4123 – Archipelagoes: Cartographies of Race, Sound, and Sexuality
    • ANTHR 4466 – Citizenship, Borders, and Belonging
    • ANTHR 4471 – Jewish Diasporas
    • BSOC 3231 – Global Health Security and Diplomacy
    • BSOC 4682 – Medicine and Healing in Africa
    • CRP 4770 – Seminar on Issues in African Development
    • DSOC 1300 – Just Food: Exploring the Modern Food System
    • DSOC 3400 – Agriculture, Food, Sustainability and Social Justice
    • GOVT 2274 – Global Studies Gateway
    • GOVT 3715 – Colonialism and Postcolonialism
    • HIST 2381 – Corruption, Collusion, and Commerce in Early America and the Caribbean
    • HIST 2542 – The Making of Contemporary Africa
    • HIST 2755 – Race and Slavery in the Early Atlantic World
    • HIST 4086 – Histories of Food Insecurity
    • IARD 4020 – Agriculture in Developing Nations I
    • ILRIC 2390 – People Power: Resistance, Protest and Revolution
    • ILRIC 2650 – Globalization and Financialization at Work
    • ILRIC 4337 – Labor and Employment in the Middle East and North Africa

Group 4: Cultural Studies

  • Core
    • ANTH 1400 – The Comparison of Cultures
  • Electives
    • AIIS 1100 – Indigenous North America
    • ANTHR 2415 – Anthropology of Iran
    • ANTHR 2846 – Magic and Witchcraft in the Greco-Roman World
    • ANTHR 3516 – Power, Society, and Culture in Southeast Asia
    • ANTHR 4216 – Maya History
    • ANTHR 4637 – Shi’ism: Poetics and Politics
    • ANTHR 4682 – Medicine and Healing in Africa
    • ARTH 2600 – Introduction to Modern Western Art: Materials, Media, and the End of Masterpieces
    • ARTH 2711 – Archaeology of the Roman World: Italy and the West
    • ARTH 2800 – Introduction to the Arts of China
    • ARTH 4171 – 19th Century Art and Culture
    • ARTH 4695 – Studies in Global Modern Art: Art of the Arab World, Central Asian, Iran, Turkey
    • ARTH 4820 – Art in Zen and Zen in Art
    • ARTH 4855 – Threads of Consequence: Textiles in South and Southeast Asia
    • COML 3261 – Global Cinema I
    • COML 3980 – Theorizing Gender and Race in Asian Histories and Literatures
    • HIST 2158 – St. Petersburg and the Making of Modern Russia
    • HIST 2530 – Introduction to Islamic Civilization
    • HIST 2650 – Ancient Greece from Helen to Alexander
    • HIST 2749 – Mughal India and the Early Modern World, c. 1500-1800
    • HIST 2852 – Judaism and the Origins of Christianity
    • ITAL 2203 – Languages/Literature/Identities
    • ITAL 3730 – Italian Modernities
    • LATA 2170 – Early Modern Iberian Survey
    • LATA 2800 – Perspectives on Brazil
    • MUSIC 1202 – Classical Music from 1750 to the Present
    • MUSIC 1320 – Music of Latin America
    • MUSIC 1341 – Gamelan in Indonesia History and Cultures
    • SPAN 2230 – Perspectives on Spain
    • SPAN 2235 – Perspectives on Spain in Spanish

Language Requirements

IRM students must achieve language skills beyond the level of proficiency. For most languages, proficiency is attained by completing a course at the 2000 level, covering basic grammar and structure of the language.  

The language requirement can be fulfilled in two ways:  

  • Demonstrated proficiency in two foreign languages, or   
  • Demonstrated facility in one foreign language (proficiency plus one course that uses the language to explore some aspect of a foreign culture, such as literature or film). 

Study Abroad

You are strongly encouraged to study abroad, which will bring a practical dimension to your expertise in international issues. To learn more about programs available for study abroad, consult Education Abroad, part of the Office of Global Learning.  

How to Apply

Please submit the form (below) to enroll in the international relations minor.

Contact the administrative coordinator if you have further questions or to schedule an appointment. Faculty director Christopher Way is an additional resource for international relations minors.  

Enrollment Form

Month and Year
Do you have a foreign language that you are interested in?
Are you interested in a particular region of the world? If yes, which one?
What kind of career path in the international realm interests you?