About the Major

International Relations (IR) majors pursue a course of study in world politics that includes classes in political science, economics, history, environmental policy, languages, and other fields. IR majors may focus on a range of issues including international security, international trade and finance, political and economic development, human rights and humanitarian policy, democratization, climate change, global health as well as the politics, history, and cultures of other countries and world regions. All IR majors must spend at least one quarter studying abroad and achieve high proficiency (through second-year college level) in a foreign language. The IR major prepares students for careers in the government, nongovernment, and private sectors, and for admission into graduate programs, including law, international policy, business, political science, economics, and journalism.

Stanford students at IR commencement ceremony

Special Note: Overseas Studies Requirement and the COVID-19 Crisis

No IR major will be denied graduation if program cancellations or risks associated with COVID-19 prevent them from completing their overseas studies requirement. We take great pride in the fact that all IR majors spend at least one quarter studying abroad, and we know that students look forward to their time overseas.  But your safety and well-being are our highest priority. Please be assured that we will work to accommodate you if your plans are disrupted, including waiving the requirement if necessary.

How to Declare the Major

Core Requirements

Specialization Courses

Writing in the Major

Studying Abroad

Foreign Language

Double or Secondary Major

Frequently Asked Questions

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