International Affairs

The International Affairs major offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of diverse global issues.  Not only do students learn about the complexities of world politics; they also gain an understanding of other cultures, societies, economies, and languages in order to confront the challenges of our increasingly globalized world. All of the faculty members in our department have lived and studied in another country for a significant period of time.  Thus, we bring first-hand experience to many of the courses we teach.

The major has two tracks: Area Studies and Political Economy.  In both tracks students take a core of classes in political science within the subfields of comparative politics and international relations.  They also choose from a wide variety of internationally-related courses in other disciplines like sociology, anthropology, economics, geography and environmental studies.  The political economy track combines in-depth study of economics and political science, while also offering students a choice of courses from other disciplines.  Within the area studies focus, students can choose a concentration in Africa and the Middle East, Asia, Europe or Latin America.  Students are required to be proficient in a foreign language. Both tracks promote the development of analytical, research, writing and speaking skills that are necessary to think critically and reflect upon contemporary international issues and institutions.

The International Affairs major opens up a wide variety of career and educational opportunities.  Students will be well prepared for further study of international and global affairs at the Master’s and Doctoral levels as well as in such fields as law, journalism and economics.  Students can go directly into work for international organizations, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, state and national agencies, and other organizations at the state, national and international levels.

All International Affairs majors are encouraged to either spend a summer, semester or year studying at a university in another country, or to do an internship that is internationally-oriented.  For more information about studying at a university in another country contact the Study Abroad office. For more information on internships contact Christiane Olivo, our internship coordinator.

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The Major

All International Affairs majors must take the following courses:

  • PSCI 105 Fundamentals of Politics
  • PSCI 110 Global Issues
  • GEOG 100 World Geography or GEOG 200 Human Geography 
  • A senior seminar in Comparative Politics or International Relations (only offered in fall semesters)

We advise that you take PSCI 110 and GEOG 110 or GEOG 200 as a freshman or as soon as you declare a major. You should also begin taking foreign language courses early to fulfill the major’s foreign language requirement, which is proficiency at a 300-level or higher.

There are two tracks available in the International Affairs major.

Political Economy Emphasis

For the Political Economy track, you will be required to take three additional Political Science courses within comparative politics and/or international relations, such as:

  • Introduction to International Relations
  • Evolution of the Modern State
  • Globalization
  • Comparative Public Policy
  • International Law and Organizations

The Political Economy track also requires five courses in Economics as well as two courses with an international focus in disciplines such as business, anthropology, sociology, history and environmental studies.

Area Studies Emphasis

For the Area Studies track, you will be required to take three additional Political Science courses in comparative politics and/or international relations and four courses from a wide variety of internationally related areas, including:

  • Anthropology
  • Business
  • Economics
  • Environmental Studies
  • Geography
  • Sociology
  • Women’s Studies

You will also fulfill an area concentration in Africa and the Middle East, Asia, Europe or Latin America by taking three courses from the foreign language, geography, history and political science departments.

To help plan your major, download the International Affairs checklist for 2014-2015 International Political Economy (pdf) or Area Studies (pdf).

If you declared your major in another academic year, you must refer to the appropriate catalog.

For further details, please see about the requirements of the International Affairs major, see the UNC catalog: Area Studies Emphasis, Political Economy Emphasis