International Affairs

An IAS Major Concentration

Study the relationships between political entities. 

Why do states, nations and societies cooperate, compromise, and fight? Living and working in our rapidly changing global arena presents great opportunities to advance the human condition, improve political and civil liberties, recast bargains between governments and their societies, transform social welfare, and advance the boundaries of knowledge and scientific exploration. Yet, the same context presents great risks as people fear loss of identity, worry about economic subordination and loss to those beyond their borders, encounter the export of environmental degradation, and confront potential decline in personal and social autonomy. You can explore the heightened economic, political, social, cultural and environmental interdependence that generates prospects for cooperation, but also serious challenges, which create the possibility of conflict, but also for compromise.

Concentration objectives

The IAS concentration in International Affairs offers an interdisciplinary approach to understanding relations between societies. It provides opportunities to examine complex global issues and processes from multiple perspectives, to help understand the fundamental processes of cooperation, compromise, and conflict in the global arena. The program provides you with knowledge and skills for understanding and working with difficult international and cross-cultural problems that states, societies and communities face.


To satisfy the concentration requirements, browse the available courses.

Browse International Affairs Courses


This concentration requires 36 units of coursework:

  • 3 units of Research Methods coursework (any level)
  • 6 units of introductory coursework (100-200 level) from two different academic disciplines
  • 9 units of advanced coursework from the Core Courses list (300-400 level)
  • 15 units of advanced elective International Affairs coursework (300-400 level)
  • 3 units of additional coursework (any level)

NB At least six units of advanced coursework must be at the 400 level.

Additional requirements:

  • Students must fulfill the standard IAS foreign language requirement:  the successful completion of four semesters of one (1) language appropriate to their concentration.
  • We strongly encourage students to study abroad. For those students who do not study abroad, an additional 3 unit course at the 300 or 400 level is required.
  • We strongly prefer students to select their study abroad location and their regional specializations consistent with their chosen language of study (e.g., students who wish to study in Latin America must satisfy their language requirement with either Spanish or Portuguese).
  • Throughout the course of completing the Development concentration, students must show depth in at least one world area by taking a minimum of two courses focused on the same area, and breadth by taking a third course focused on a different area. We consider world areas to be Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America and South Asia.
  • All advanced credits counting for the IAS major must be unique to the IAS major.
  • Students must receive a grade of C+ or higher in all IAS courses; all courses taken for IAS credit must be taken for a letter grade, including language courses.

NB A single course may satisfy more than one of the distribution requirements (i.e. disciplinary or world area). Some of these requirements may be completed while abroad.


If you have questions about this major concentration, please contact Professor Sobel.

Contact Professor Sobel