International Relations Major

Major in International Relations, History

International Relations is an interdisciplinary field concerned with understanding global interactions, both in the historical past and in the present. IR-History is one of the three tracks of the interdepartmental major in International Relations.

Students who successfully complete a major in IR-History will have acquired, in addition to the body of knowledge, experience, and intellectual skill shared by majors in History (see History Major):

  • Interdisciplinary background training, especially in economics and political science.
  • Specific knowledge about the history of modern international relations.
  • An appreciation of the importance of culturally and geographically localized historical knowledge to a larger understanding of international relations.
  • An understanding, through case studies, of the relevance of history to contemporary international issues.

Requirements for the Major

The IR-History major consists of 14 units of course work as described below. In addition to this course work, all IR-History students are required to demonstrate advanced proficiency in a modern language, normally defined as two units of language study beyond the minimum required by the College. Language courses do not count towards the minimum 14 courses, nor do AP/IB credits. The IR-History program director for 2021-22 is Lidwien Kapteijns.

I. IR-History majors take the same set of five "core" courses as their counterparts in the IR-Political Science and IR-Economics tracks:

  • Econ 101
  • Econ 102
  • Econ 213 or 214 or 220
  • HIST 205
  • POL3 221

II. IR-History majors take, in addition to these courses, nine courses distributed as follows:

1. Two history courses dealing substantively with the premodern period to be selected in consultation with the student’s advisor.

2. Three history courses dealing with the modern history of countries or regions or with modern international history. If a modern international history is chosen to fulfill the requirement specified here, it must be in addition to the two required modern international history courses specified in section 3.

3. Two courses dealing with modern international history to be selected in consultation with the student’s advisor.

4. HIST 395: International History Seminar

(Three of these eight history courses must focus on one region of the world; four courses [which may include HIST 395, but not HIST 205] must deal with the world beyond Europe and North America; and at least two courses must be 300-level seminars [may include HIST 395].)

5. One additional 200- or 300-level course in, for example, Africana Studies, Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, Sociology, or Women's and Gender Studies to be selected in consultation with the student’s advisor.

6. At least two 300-level units must be completed at Wellesley.

Honors in IR-History are governed by the same provisions and procedures as Honors in History.

IR-History Committee (Major Advisors)

  • Pat Giersch
  • Lidwien Kapteijns, Director
  • Alejandra Osorio
  • Ryan Quintana
  • Nikhil Rao
  • Quinn Slobodian