The IR concentration is one of the largest concentrations at Brown. The objective of the International Relations concentration is to foster creative thinking about pressing global problems and to equip students with the analytic tools, language expertise, and cross-cultural understanding to guide them in that process. To this end, the concentration draws on numerous departments including political science, history, economics, anthropology, sociology, psychology, religious studies, and area studies. The IR concentration is organized around a multidisciplinary core and two sub-themes: security and society, and political economy and society. It has a three-year language requirement that must be linked to the student’s selected region of the world. All concentrators are required to undertake a capstone project using research in a second language.
Students in this concentration will:
- Understand global problems of conflict and political economy from multidisciplinary and comparative perspectives
- Achieve fluency in a second language
- Gain experience in using social-science research methods and theories
- Acquire expertise in one region of the world
- Produce a significant piece of original research
- Conduct research in at least two languages
Click here for a list of concentration requirements. See the IR website for more information about the concentration and the declaration process. Track and Concentration advisors' office hours and an online appointment scheduler are available here. For more information about this concentration, please visit the department's website.
Honors and CapstonesView Honors website
All concentrators must conduct a capstone project in their senior year. The capstone can take one of three forms: a two-semester honors thesis on a pressing global problem, an internationally focused research paper for an IR-approved seminar, or a directed research paper (independent study) on an international theme. See the IR program website for additional capstone information.
Honors is awarded to students who a) demonstrate outstanding performance in the concentration (2/3 A’s in IR coursework), b) have secured a thesis committee of two faculty members from different departments, c) have completed the Honors seminar series (INTL 1910-1920) senior year, and who have completed a thesis deemed to be of honors quality. Students apply in the spring of their junior year and are expected to have completed 70% of the concentration prior to senior year. Mid-year graduates apply their fifth semester. Please consult the IR Program website for a timeline and a complete description of policies and requirements. Honors students are required to present their research in the IR Honors Conference in the spring. Students interested in the Honors Program should meet with the Concentration Advisor or IR Directors.
- Political Economy and Society
- Security and Society
This concentration allows you to address the following Liberal Learning goals:
- Expand your reading skills
- Collaborate fully
- Understand differences among cultures
- Embrace diversity
- Engage with your community
- Develop a facility with symbolic languages
- Learn what it means to study the past
- Evaluate human behavior
- Work on your speaking and writing
IR students have pursued graduate and professional degrees in fields such as anthropology, sociology, political science, international affairs, business, journalism, public policy, and law. Others have applied skills acquired in IR to careers in consulting, marketing, international business and finance, government service, research, advocacy, teaching, and public service. For example, IR alumni work for the World Bank, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, Barclays Capital, Bank of America, McKinsey and Company, Reuters, NY Times-Beijing, New America Foundation, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S. Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and the Interior, as well as a host of NGOs. IR concentrators have also received distinguished research fellowships such as the Fulbright, Marshall, and Truman Scholarships.
Dept. Undergraduate Group
Visit this DUG's website to learn more.
- Annika Lichtenbaum