The Einaudi Center offers an International Relations Minor, which is an interdisciplinary program open to undergraduates enrolled in any of the seven Cornell undergraduate colleges. It provides a structured yet flexible program for undergraduates to take advantage of the vast resources available at the university for studying the politics, economics, history, languages, and cultures of the countries and regions of the world.
Graduates of the program have gone on to pursue further education in fields such as political science and anthropology and to successful careers in international law, economics, agriculture, trade, finance, and government service. They have worked in international and nongovernmental organizations, in cross-cultural affairs, in journalism, and in education.
The IR Minor is not a major or a department, but rather a program offering a selection of courses reaching across colleges and departments. Students pursue the Minor in addition to their regular degree. Students have majored in such fields as anthropology, city and regional planning, communications, government, history, natural resources, industrial and labor relations, and computer science. International course work and language study add a global and cross-cultural dimension to those majors. Some students even design an independent major in some aspect of international relations or comparative social or cultural studies. Spending a semester or year of study abroad can contribute to meeting the course requirements of the IR Minor, including the language requirement.
These requirements are designed to expose students to a broad range of perspectives in international relations while allowing them to tailor their course selections to specific interests. Courses throughout the university are grouped into four subject areas:
- International Economics and Development
- World Politics and Foreign Policy
- Transnational Processes and Policies
- Cultural Studies
Courses within these four subject areas are designated as “core” or “elective.” Students must complete eight courses selected from the four groups according to one of two strategies.
Option A emphasizes the politics and economics of international relations.
- One core course from each group
- One elective from each group
Option B puts greater stress on culture.
- One core course from each group
- One elective from either Group 1 or Group 2
- One elective from Group 3, one elective from Group 4, and one additional elective from either Group 3 or Group 4
In choosing either option, students should ensure that they acquire familiarity with more than one geographic region or country.
All courses used to fulfill the Minor requirements, including language courses, must be taken for a letter grade.
Before pre-enrollment each semester, a course list for the following semester (as well as lists for the current and previous semesters) can be obtained from the IR administrative coordinator, as well as from the IR website. Note: These lists of elective courses are illustrative, not complete. Other courses throughout the university qualify for the IR minor. Please contact the IR administrative coordinator for details.
IRM students are expected to complete additional language study beyond the College of Arts and Sciences degree requirement of “proficiency.” For most languages, proficiency is attained by completing a course at the 2000 level, by which point the basic grammar and structure of the language will have been covered.
The requirement can be fulfilled in one of 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)
All language courses must be taken for a letter grade.
IRM students are strongly encouraged to study abroad to bring a practical dimension to their expertise in international issues. Those who choose this option will find the requirements for the Minor highly compatible with courses taken abroad. To learn more about programs available for study abroad, consult Cornell Abroad, and contact the Administrative Coordinator of the IR Minor to discuss how your study abroad program can help fulfill the Minor requirements.
Students may enroll in the International Relations Minor at any point but are encouraged to do so early in order to be put on the email list for announcements of news and activities of the program. There is no penalty for withdrawing from or not completing the Minor. To enroll, please contact the Administrative Coordinator.
Transcripts reflect successful completion of the requirements for the Minor. In addition, students receive a certificate and a letter of confirmation signed by the Director of the International Relations Minor and the Director of the Mario Einaudi Center.
Core course options (one from each group) and selected possible electives are listed below. Please note that the electives list is intended to be representative but not exhaustive. Other elective courses are commonly taken; options should be discussed with the administrative coordinator. Please note that some courses, especially in Group 1, have prerequisites and others have limited enrollment. Most courses are offered one semester only. Offerings may change, so see the administrative coordinator, Class Roster, and IR website for updates and further details.