International Politics (IPOL)

Overview

The globalization of ideas, goods, and communication presents the world with both unprecedented hopes and challenges. How do individuals, states, and organizations cooperate for mutual gain? Conversely, why and how do they compete against each other?

The International Politics major (IPOL) offers a multidisciplinary approach to understanding these basic questions with courses in diplomacy, religion, economics, security, media, and gender. IPOL also provides geographically-specific courses to see how different countries and regions address the topics of cooperation and competition.

Sample Courses

SFS-Q offers a variety of courses that fulfill the requirements of the IPOL major.
Below are some recently offered courses:

  • ANTH 360: War Ethnography
  • GOVT 317: Social Movements and Interest Groups
  • GOVT 329: Women in Politics
  • GOVT 416: Comparative Politics of Middle East
  • GOVT 417: Gulf Politics
  • INAF 258: Lebanon: History, Society and Politics
  • INAF 324: Global Environmental Politics
  • INAF 298: History and Structure of UN
  • INAF 330: Water Resources in World Politics
  • INAF 400: Democracy in Divided Societies
  • INAF 422: African Politics and Development
  • IPOL 385: Contemporary Global Security Issues
  • IPOL 388: External Intervention in the Middle East
  • IPOL 389: Political Extremism in Europe
  • IPOL 391: Politics of Identity in Middle East
  • IPOL 393: War and Diplomacy in South Asia



Integrated Writing Requirements

International Politics is an interdisciplinary major that explores the processes between actors in the international system. There is currently only one core requirement in this major – Quantitative Methods for International Politics (IPOL 320).  The student must also take 10 other courses that have been approved for the IPOL Major program. These courses come under the headings of Political Theory, International Relations and Comparative Politics.

The IPOL major’s interdisciplinary nature does not lend itself to a narrow set of guidelines, and there is a recognition that no one means of written assessment or writing style should be required across IPOL approved courses. Some will require several shorter papers in the form of book reviews, responses, course papers or assessed quizzes. Others require longer final papers or written examinations. Others again require a combination of both. All tend to combine written assessments with other demonstrations of learning and development including, but not limited to, graded oral presentations.

That said, IPOL is a writing-intensive major and student needs to be able to absorb, analyze and disseminate information on a wide range of issues and topics in written form. There are some commonalities in terms of this writing requirement across IPOL approved courses.  All IPOL courses have the goal of building on the core concepts and theories provided to students in Introduction to International Relations (GOVT060-70) and Comparative Political Systems (GOVT121-70). Inherent in this is the objective of further developing the student’s foundational writing skills to reach a level that is commensurate with the analytic tradition and which provides those planning to progress to graduate study with the necessary writing skills to succeed at that level.

Quantitative Methods, for example, trains students how to use statistical tools, analysis, and inference in writing with the expectation that these skills will be applied where relevant in the writing requirements in other IPOL courses.  There is also a commitment that writing in the Major will develop:

  • The skills necessary to conduct research and use citation styles correctly.
  • An awareness of the centrality of structure and clarity in scholarly writing.
  • An ability to offer argument-driven analysis that examines critically arguments and counter-arguments.
  • An ability to apply the relevant theoretical literature and historiographical debates.

Honors & Awards

The honors program allows the student to examine a significant scholarly issue in detail and to focus his or her time and attention on an important issue in which he or she is deeply interested. Honors theses are original works of thought and research, not merely summaries of the work and ideas of others. 

By writing an honors thesis, the student gets a sense of how much he or she enjoys the kind of original research done in graduate school. The student also demonstrates that he or she can independently design and carry out a long-term research project - a skill that both employers and graduate and professional schools find very attractive.

To apply for Honors track:

  • GPA of 3.3, or strong evidence of the capacity to achieve it.
  • By March 1 of junior year, submit a thesis proposal to IPOL field advisor.

 To qualify for Honors:

  • Complete both Honors seminars (Research and Thesis) in the senior year.
  • Final written thesis must gain the approval of a faculty committee, which usually includes the seminar instructor, the curricular dean, and the IPOL field advisor. The thesis should be in the range of 50-80 pages. The student should speak with his or her thesis advisor to determine a paper length. The student will give a formal presentation attended by all IPOL faculty in residence during the spring semester in which the thesis is completed.
  • Earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.33 and a grade point average of 3.67 in the major by the date of graduation.

IPOL presents a yearly Outstanding IPOL Graduating Senior Award to a graduating IPOL senior who has demonstrated outstanding performance in written work, in cumulative grade point average, and in leadership.
 

How to Declare

During the second semester of their sophomore year, students meet with their academic advisor to declare their major. When declaring a major, sophomores prepare a declaration proposal outlining the reasons why they are pursuing one of the majors offered at SFS-Q, including how the intended major coincides with their academic interests and possible career goals.

Degree Requirements

Read about degree requirements for all Majors 

View details 

IPOL Specific Requirements

IPOL majors must take:

  • Quantitative Methods for International Politics (IPOL 320)
  • And any 10 courses that have been approved for the International Politics major program.

Students may select IPOL courses that focus on:

  • International law
  • International institutions
  • Ethics and human rights
  • Diplomacy and statecraft
  • International security
  • Trans-national actors and forces
  • Diplomatic history
  • International political economy
  • What kind of careers do IPOL majors enter upon graduation?

    Students who elect this major often pursue careers in diplomacy, security studies, international organizations, and international law.

  • What if I am interested in topics or issues besides those covered in IPOL electives?

    All SFS-Q students, regardless of their major, take a number of free electives that allow students to explore courses and issues that interest them but that do not directly relate to their specific major.

  • Do I have to take both research seminars during my senior year in order to qualify for honors in IPOL, or may I elect to take only one of those courses?

    To qualify for honors, students must take both the research methodologies seminar and the thesis seminar.

  • Can I enroll in Honors and complete a certificate at the same time?

    One cannot pursue Honors and a Certificate simultaneously, given the heavy workload. If the student insists on doing both, he or she MUST complete the Certificate thesis in the junior year. The deadline for submitting the certificate thesis in its approved form would be the first day of classes in the student’s senior year.