International Relations


The objective of the International Relations concentration is to foster creative thinking about pressing global problems and to equip students with the analytic tools, language expertise, and cross-cultural understanding to guide them in that process. To this end, the concentration draws on numerous departments including political science, history, economics, anthropology, sociology, psychology, religious studies, and area studies. The IR concentration is organized around a multidisciplinary core and two sub-themes: security and society, and political economy and society. It has a three-year language requirement that must be linked to the student’s selected region of the world. All concentrators are required to undertake a capstone project using research in a second language. Prospective concentrators should visit the IR site for next steps.

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Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Understand global problems of conflict and political economy from multidisciplinary and comparative perspectives
  • Achieve fluency in a second language
  • Gain experience in using social-science research methods and theories
  • Acquire expertise in one region of the world
  • Produce a significant piece of original research
  • Conduct research in at least two languages


Click here for active courses that fulfill concentration requirements. See the IR website for a full list of courses that fulfill requirements and this page for more information about the declaration process. Advisors' office hours and an online appointment scheduler are available here

Honors and Capstones

View Honors website

All concentrators must conduct a capstone project in their senior year. The capstone can take one of three forms: a two-semester honors thesis on a pressing global problem, an internationally focused research paper for an IR-approved seminar, or a directed research paper (independent study) on an international theme. See the IR program website for additional capstone information.

Honors is awarded to students who a) demonstrate outstanding performance in the concentration (2/3 A’s in IR coursework), b) have completed the Honors seminar series (INTL 1910-1920) senior year, and c) who have completed a thesis deemed to be of honors quality by two faculty members. Students apply in the spring of their junior year and are expected to have completed 70% of the concentration prior to senior year. Mid-year graduates apply their fifth semester. Please consult the IR Program website for a timeline and a complete description of policies and requirements. Honors students are required to present their research in the IR Honors Conference in the spring. Students interested in the Honors Program should meet with the Concentration Advisor who directs the Honors Program.


  • Political Economy and Society
  • Security and Society

Liberal Learning

This concentration allows you to address the following Liberal Learning goals:

  • Expand your reading skills
  • Collaborate fully
  • Understand differences among cultures
  • Embrace diversity
  • Engage with your community
  • Develop a facility with symbolic languages
  • Learn what it means to study the past
  • Evaluate human behavior
  • Work on your speaking and writing

Download the full statement on Liberal Learning at Brown

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Affiliated Departments


Director of Undergraduate Studies

Graduating Class

Year Total Capstone Honors
201383 83 
201457 57 
201575 75 
201659 59 
201761 61 

Alumni Pathways

IR students have pursued graduate and professional degrees in fields such as anthropology, sociology, political science, international affairs, business, journalism, public policy, and law. Others have applied skills acquired in IR to careers in consulting, marketing, international business and finance, government service, research, advocacy, teaching, and public service. For example, IR alumni work for the World Bank, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House,  Barclays Capital, Bank of America, McKinsey and Company, Reuters, NY Times-Beijing, New America Foundation, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S. Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and the Interior, as well as a host of NGOs. IR concentrators have also received distinguished research fellowships such as the Fulbright, Marshall, and Truman Scholarships.

See more details on the CareerLAB website.

Dept. Undergraduate Group

Visit this DUG's website to learn more.

Student Leaders:

  • Amelie-Sophie Vavrovsky
  • Saanya Jain

If you are an advisor and would like to make changes to the information on this page, contact, or email Dean Besenia Rodriguez.