Main content start

How to declare

Declare your International Relations (IR) Major

To declare International Relations (IR) as your major, please read over the major requirements and policies below and then log into AXESS and indicate that you want to declare the IR Major.  Next, you need to complete the IR Major Declaration Packet (see below); in order to do so, you will need to identify and obtain the signature of your IR Major Advisor (see IR Major Advisor Guide below).  Please drop by the IR Office to visit with a Peer Advisor (see office hours), who will assist you in identifying a suitable IR Major Advisor and in completing your Course Plan. Once your forms are completed, please drop them off at (or submit them electronically to) the IR Office (intlrelations [at] (intlrelations[at]stanford[dot]edu)) or with a Peer Advisor and collect your IR T-shirt!  The IR Faculty Director will review your IR Major Declaration and, upon approval, we will confirm your major declaration in AXESS. You should try to declare your IR major early in your Stanford career, but no later than the first quarter of your junior year—this includes those declaring IR as a secondary or double major.

IR Major Declaration Packet

IR Major Advisor Guide

IR majors are required to:

  1. Complete 30 units of Core courses in Political Science, Economics, History, and Statistics.
  2. Complete 40 units of Primary and Secondary Specialization courses.
  3. Demonstrate foreign language proficiency by (a) completing at least two years of university-level instruction or (b) passing a proficiency exam administered by the Language Center (foreign language units do not count towards the major).
  4. Complete one quarter of overseas study through the Bing Overseas Studies Program or a pre-approved non-Stanford program.
  5. Complete a senior capstone paper, practicum, or project (beginning with the Class of 2025).

Additional Policies

  • At least one course must be a seminar or colloquium.
  • At least one course must be designated by the IR Program as writing intensive (WiM).
  • All courses counting toward the major must be taken for a LETTER GRADE and receive a “C” or better (with the exception of foreign language courses used to satisfy the 2-year language requirement, which may be taken for CR/NC). Transfer courses from universities outside Stanford must receive a B- or better to count toward the degree.
  • Up to 2 units of IR pre-approved or petitioned courses that are not offered for a letter grade may be applied toward IR specializations or filler coursework, if completed for ‘S’ grades.
  • Up to five units of Directed Reading can be counted towards your IR major requirements.
  • Up to three non-Stanford courses, for a maximum of 15 units, may be counted toward the IR major. A minimum grade of B- is required for transfer credit. Petitions for credit must be submitted to the IR office.
  • Advanced Placement units do not fulfill the foreign language requirement.
  • If double majoring, courses used to fulfill the requirements for the second major cannot be counted towards the IR major.


If you have any questions about the IR major or how to declare, please stop by the IR Office anytime or visit with a Peer Advisor during office hours or send a message to irpeeradvice [at] (irpeeradvice[at]stanford[dot]edu).