International Relations, Comparative Politics, and National Security

Today's globalized world means that what happens in other states affects America more quickly and more deeply than ever before.  The study of politics between and within other states is becoming a critical part of understanding politics in America.  The Department of Political Science offers a rich set of courses for the advanced study of the world affairs and of America’s place in 21st century international system. 

This area of emphasis within the major focuses on international relations, comparative politics, and issues of national and international security.  We offer students the ability to tailor this major to their own career goals or personal interests, with plenty of opportunity to study abroad.  

The area of emphasis prioritizes three major ways of studying international politics:

International Relations.

Courses in “international relations” focus on the inherently complex interactions of diverse global actors (nation-states, international organizations, and various transnational actors) across the mix of diplomatic-security, economics, human rights, and development issues. Our courses focus on not only the political dynamics of the international system, but also the logic and sources of national foreign policies.

Comparative Politics

Courses on “comparative politics” explore the dynamics of political systems beyond the United States. Our courses consider the national, regional, and societal diversity of such political systems with respect to their institutional structures, political cultures, and histories. Besides the fact that the study of foreign political systems is fascinating in and of itself, the comparative analysis of these systems provide a deeper theoretical understanding of political science—all in a way that includes insights into character of politics and institutions in the United States.

National Security Analysis

Courses in this area examine question relating to conflict within and between states, and the causes and consequences of war.  This includes topics ranging from intelligence gathering to the changing nature of conflict, to the causes of revolutions.  Both the definition and practice of national security has changed greatly over time and in different countries, and these courses provide students with a grounding in the issues and trade offs we all face as societies trying to achieve security in the 21st century.