The International Relations major is essentially a double major in political science and economics, with a minor in a foreign language. As such, the major combines three important skills that all employers and graduate programs value: excellent writing (political science emphasizes this), quantitative analysis and working with data (economics emphasizes this), and knowledge of the culture and language of another country. Students who are interested in acquiring these three skills and who would like to acquire these skills while learning about other countries and the relationships between countries should consider the IR major. It is not necessary, however, to major in IR to simply study other countries of the world. The study of things international also includes other social science majors with a strong international component (such as political science, history, geography, or economics), area studies majors, language majors, or other combinations of majors and minors.
The International Relations Major
Where can I learn more about majoring in International Relations?
Interested students should meet with either the International Relations faculty coordinator, Professor Ray Christensen one of the counselors at the Kennedy Center Advisement Center (273 HRCB).
How do I declare a major in International Relations?
Go to the Kennedy Center Advisement Center (273 HRCB), where the secretaries will assist you. Seniors must meet with an academic advisor before approval to switch to the major will be granted.
What are the major’s requirements?
See the BA in International Relations page in the BYU Undergraduate Catalog
What knowledge and skills may I expect to gain as an International Relations major?
For the expected Learning Outcomes for the International Relations major, click here.
Professor of Political Science
Contact by email for an appointment.
The IR program is governed by an interdisciplinary faculty committee made up of about thirty faculty from six disciplines. In addition, one of the committee members acts as the faculty coordinator for the major. All major curriculum decisions are made by the faculty committee, which conducts most of its work by email communication. The faculty coordinator reports on the status of the major to the committee and initiates any committee discussions of curriculum changes. Most of the assessment of the major is done by the IR coordinator through competency exams and surveys of graduates. The faculty committee reviews the results of these exams and surveys and make recommendations for needed changes. The results of the assessment work are communicated annually to all faculty affiliated with the IR major. At that time the faculty comment on the assessment results and those same results inform decisions regarding the curriculum structure of the major.
Affiliated Faculty Directory
Clubs and Honor Societies
Sigma Iota Rho (SIR) is the honor society for the IR major. There are various other clubs that might be of interest to some IR majors. Please see the clubs page.
IR majors do many types of internships, and these internships are most useful if they are in a company or an organization that you intend to work for, or in a field in which you are interested in working. For strategies to find internships, see item 6 on the course substitutions and internships page. To see what internships IR majors do, see the internships and international experiences page.
This major gives students a strong liberal arts education along with useful technical skills. International relations majors will learn analytical concepts and ideas that allow them to organize, explain, and make sense of relations between states and comparisons among them. High proficiency in math and statistics, writing, and a foreign language will prepare students for a wide variety of career paths—including, but not limited to, government, law, business, and international organizations. Many career paths will require graduate-level training. Therefore, the degree should be seen as certifying fluency in the ideas and methods of multiple fields so that students can find and pursue their own specialized interests rather than as a terminal degree.
These alumni notes appeared in past issues of Bridges, the Kennedy Center’s alumni magazine.
Top 10 IR Majors (PDF)
IR Course Schedules 2022 (PDF)
IR Course Schedules 2022 (Excel)
Course Substitution and Internships (PDF)
Internships and International Experiences (PDF)
Inspirational Learning (internship/study abroad) Scholarships (PDF)
Data about IR Majors (PDF)