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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.   

Spring 2021 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
    • AEM/ECON 2300 – International Trade and Finance
    • ECON 4510 – International Trade Theory and Policy
    • AEM 4300 – International Trade Policy
  • Electives
    • GOVT 3044 – China's Next Economy
    • ECON 3550/ AEM 4315 – Economics of Developing Countries
    • ECON 3875 – Policy Analysis: Welfare Theory, Agriculture, and Trade
    • AEM 2000 – Contemporary Controversies in the Global Economy
    • ILRIC 2350 – Work, Labor, and Capital in the Global Economy
    • ILRIC 3375/5375 - Labor Practices in Global Supply Chains: Multi-Stakeholder Perspectives
    • ILRIC 4367 – Migration and Mobility: Theories & Lived Realities
    • ILRIC 4395 - Empire of the Migrants
    • ASRC 3652 – African Economic Development Histories

Group 2: World Politics and Foreign Policy

  • Core
    • Not offered in the spring
  • Electives
    • GOVT 3253 – Germany in Europe
    • GOVT 3071 – Enduring Global and American Issues
    • GOVT 3837/HIST 3837 – WIM: The Cold War
    • GOVT 4877/ASIAN 4475 – China and Asian Security
    • GOVT 4000 – International Security & World Politics
    • GOVT 4000 – US Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective
    • GOVT 4000 – The End of Regionalism?
    • HIST 2285 – Fascism in the Twentieth Century: History and Theory

Group 3: Transnational Processes and Policies

  • Core
    • Not offered in the spring
  • Electives
    • GOVT 3253 – Germany in Europe
    • GOVT 3071 – Enduring Global and American Issues
    • DSOC 2090 – Social Inequality
    • DSOC 2650 – Latinos in the United States
    • PAM 2810 – Migration: Histories, Controversies, and Perspectives
    • ASRC 3652/HIST 3652 – African Economic Development Histories
    • SPAN 3580 – Race and Immigration in Spain

Group 4: Cultural Studies

  • Core
    • ANTHR 2400 – Cultural Diversity and Contemporary Issues
  • Electives
    • ASRC 1590 – History and Popular Culture in Africa
    • ASRC 2452 – Dress Cloth and Identity
    • ASRC 4602 – Women and Gender Issues in Africa
    • FREN 2310 – Introduction to French and Francophone Literature and Culture
    • FREN 2320 – Introduction to French and Francophone Film
    • FREN 3210 – Readings in Modern French Literature and Culture
    • FREN 3975 – Body Politics in African Literature, Cinema and Media
    • HIST 3519 – History of State and Society in Modern Iran: Through Literature and Film
    • HIST 4237/FREN 4375/GERST 4375/ROMS 4370 – The Holocaust and History Writing
    • HIST 4666 – Mass Media and Identities in the Modern Middle East
    • LATA 3609 – Brazilian Ensemble - Deixa Sambar
    • LATA 3800 – Poetry and Poetics of the Americas
    • LATA 4910 – Latin American Literature and Mass Media
    • MUSIC 1105 – An Introduction to Western Music Theory and African Diaspora Music of the Caribbean and Americas
    • MUSIC 2209 – History of Western Music III: Postwar Music and Sound
    • MUSIC 2330/ASIAN 2259 – Music in and of East Asia
    • SPAN 2460 – Contemporary Narratives by Latina Writers
    • SPAN 3580 – Poetry and Poetics of the Americas

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?
3 + 1 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.