International Affairs | Political Science | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

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International Affairs

The International Affairs Specialization is designed for individuals interested in careers in the international arena--including work in the Foreign Service; international organizations such as Amnesty International, International Red Cross, and the United Nations; and multinational corporations.

Many students express a desire to do something with an international focus after graduation because they believe the world around them, in all its diversity and complexity, offers opportunity and excitement that are not available at home. They are right to hold this belief. The image of a shrinking world may be a cliché, but it is an accurate one. Nations have become so interconnected that an appreciation of how international issues, events, and cultures affect our lives is now basic to a good education and a key to finding a good job.

Individuals with an education in international affairs may be found working in international business, the Peace Corps, human rights and refugee relief organizations, the Foreign Service, the military, international organizations such as the UN, private foundations, journalism, and education. Many students find that a curriculum with significant international content is exceptional preparation for graduate, law, or professional school as well. Whatever your choice of career or course of study in the international realm, it is likely to involve contact with foreign cultures and analysis of politics within or between foreign countries.

The discipline of political science has always contributed significantly to research and instruction in international affairs. Two of the subfields of the discipline, international relations and comparative politics, deal exclusively with politics beyond our borders. Coursework from these subfields comprises the international affairs specialization, which is a concentration within the requirements of a political science major. The substantive knowledge and analytical skills acquired through the specialization will equip you to face the challenges of an increasingly competitive, globalized economy. Students taking the specialization also are encouraged to engage in multi-disciplinary studies, including foreign language, and may integrate a study-abroad experience into their programs.

Political science majors preparing for careers in international affairs must meet the basic requirements for the political science major including core courses, a minimum of 33 credit hours in political science, three 400-level courses, international affairs specialization requirements and completion of an existing minor or interdisciplinary program of study. In fulfilling these requirements, majors preparing for international affairs will have the opportunity to study international relations, comparative politics, international political economy and the politics of specific countries and regions. (The Director of Undergraduate Studies approves minors and study abroad programs.)

Political Science Major with International Affairs Specialization

*Credit Hours indicated within ().

  • University Core Curriculum (41)
  • College of Liberal Arts (11)
  • Major in Political Science (49-52)
    • Core requirements: POLS 114, 205, 250, 270 and 300 (15)
    • International Affairs Course Sequence: POLS 372i, 375, 480 (9)
    • Political Science 400-level courses (6)
    • Political Science Electives (3)
  • Minor (or interdisciplinary study) (15-18)
  • Electives (17-20)

Total (120)

»To view an international affairs specialization checklist in a PDF table, click here.