Courses of Study 2014-2015 
    Jun 12, 2024  
Courses of Study 2014-2015 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

International Relations Minor

140A Uris Hall
(607) 255-4195
D. R. Lee (Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management), director


The International Relations (IR) minor is an interdisciplinary program for undergraduate students enrolled in any of the seven undergraduate colleges at Cornell. The IR minor provides a structured yet flexible program that enables 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, international development, and government service, among others. They have gone on to work in international and nongovernmental organizations, in cross-cultural affairs, in journalism, and in education.

The International Relations 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 IR minor in addition to their regular degree. Students concentrating in international relations have majored in fields ranging from anthropology, economics, city and regional planning, human development, communications, government, and history to applied economics and management, natural resources, industrial and labor relations, engineering 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.

Course Requirements

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:

  1. International Economics and Development
  2. World Politics and Foreign Policy
  3. Transnational Processes and Policies
  4. Cultural Studies

Within these four subject areas, courses are also divided into “core” and “elective” categories. Altogether, students must complete eight courses from the four groups according to one of two options. Option A emphasizes the politics and economics of international relations. Option B puts greater stress on culture. 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 must be taken for a letter grade. Courses can count both toward a major and the International Relations minor.

Option A: One core course from each of Groups 1, 2, 3, and 4; one elective from each of Groups 1, 2, 3, and 4

Option B: One core course from each of Groups 1, 2, 3, and 4; one elective from either Group 1 or Group 2; one elective from each of Groups 3 and 4; one additional elective from either Group 3 or Group 4

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 in 140A Uris Hall, as well as from the website. Note: These lists of elective courses are illustrative, not complete.  Other courses throughout the university qualify for the IR minor.  Please see the IR administrative coordinator for details.

Language Requirement

Students in the IR minor are expected to complete additional language study beyond the College of Arts and Sciences’ degree requirement (for those in Arts and Sciences). This study can be accomplished in one of two ways: (1) two years of one foreign language (proficiency plus one course that uses the language to explore some aspect of foreign culture); (2) two languages at proficiency.

Study Abroad

Students in the IR minor are 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 concentration highly compatible with courses taken abroad. Students are encouraged to contact the administrative coordinator before departure.


Transcripts will reflect successful completion of the requirements for the minor. In addition, students will receive a special certificate and a letter of confirmation signed by the director of the IR minor and the director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.


To obtain course lists, to enroll, and for all further information, please contact the IR administrative coordinator, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, 140A Uris Hall, (607) 255-4195;

Course List

Core course options (one from each group) and selected possible electives are listed below.  Please note that the elective courses listed are only illustrative.  Other elective courses are also commonly taken; options should be discussed with the administrative coordinator. Most courses are offered one semester only. Offerings may change, so see the administrative coordinator, course roster, and IR website for updates and further details.

Group 1: International Economics and Development

Group 2: World Politics and Foreign Policy

Group 3: Transnational Processes and Policies

Group 4: Cultural Studies: