2020-2021 University Catalog 
    Jul 23, 2024  
2020-2021 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

International Relations

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Director Fogarty

Advisory Committee Burnett, Chernoff, Douglas, Fogarty (Director), Lupton, N. Moore, Riley, Sparber

For those interested in world affairs, Colgate offers a major program in International Relations (IR). Students may also take IR as a minor. Study in the program begins with POSC 232 , which is normally taken in the sophomore year.


A candidate for honors in IR must choose an adviser for an honors paper and fulfill the honors requirements for the department of the faculty adviser. In addition, the honors student must (1) achieve a minimum GPA of 3.50 in the nine IR courses, (2) attain a minimum overall GPA of 3.25, (3) submit a substantial research paper that is judged superior (A– or higher) by two program faculty members.

A student whose adviser is a member of the Department of Political Science must enroll in the year-long honors colloquium (POSC 498  and POSC 499 ) in which each student writes an honors thesis. POSC 498  will be taken in the fall semester, followed by POSC 499  in the spring semester. A grade will be given in both POSC 498  and POSC 499 . Seniors who anticipate graduating with a GPA eligible for honors should speak with their advisers or the IR director in the semester prior to doing honors. POSC 498  and POSC 499  are to be taken in addition to the nine courses counted toward the IR major.

A candidate for high honors in IR must fulfill the following additional requirements: (1) achieve a minimum GPA of 3.60 in IR courses, (2) attain an overall GPA of at least 3.40, (3) gain approval of the paper as superior by a third reader, and (4) pass with distinction an oral examination by the three readers of the submitted paper. As above, the professor supervising the research must give prior approval of the paper.

Students may choose whether the grades received in both POSC 498 and 499, or neither, are to be counted toward their major GPA.

Study Groups

Students are encouraged but not required to participate in off-campus study. The IR program cosponsors a study group in Geneva that typically runs once per year. On the Geneva study group, students receive one core subfield credit for POSC 357 , and two elective credits: one for an internship course and the other for a course taken at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. IR majors who are pursuing French to complete their foreign language requirement can receive credit at the 100 or 200 level for an intensive course taken at the beginning of the Geneva study group. See Off-Campus Study for more information.

Transfer Credits

Students participating in off-campus approved programs can seek transfer credits to satisfy certain IR major and minor requirements—most commonly language courses, IR electives, or History electives. Students wishing to receive the upper-level Economics credit must seek additional approval from Colgate’s economics department. In very rare circumstances students may receive credit for a core subfield class. POSC 232 - Fundamentals of International Relations (IR)  and the IR seminar must be taken on campus.

Students should seek preapproval for any off-campus courses from the IR director, who will evaluate individual courses with respect to their rigor and substantive appropriateness. Courses whose subject matter is not international cannot receive IR credit; courses with reading and/or writing assignments below Colgate standards can only receive credit on a two-for-one basis—i.e., two off-campus courses count for one IR credit. This two-for-one formula applies to most courses taken on non-Colgate programs.


The Paul O. Stillman ‘55 Award — given annually to an outstanding senior(s) majoring in International Relations.


Majors and Minors


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