Carnegie Mellon University

Bachelor of Science in International Relations and Politics

The Bachelor of Science in International Relations and Politics (IRP) is for students who want to learn how to think systematically and develop foundational knowledge about international and domestic politics. It is an interdisciplinary major that is rooted firmly in political science and draws on strengths and insights from decision science, economics, history, modern languages, and other fields. BS IRP students wrestle with a wide range of issues including the future of democracy, the relationship between technology and politics, the drivers of war and peace, domestic politics across countries, and the formulation of effective foreign policies. IRP graduates embark on a variety of careers in government, law, public policy, intelligence, national defense, consulting, international development, and more.

International Relations and Politics is available as a primary major, additional major, and minor.

The Bachelor of Science in International Relations and Politics (IRP) is for students who want to learn how to think systematically and develop foundational knowledge about international and domestic politics. It is an interdisciplinary major that is rooted firmly in political science and draws on strengths and insights from decision science, economics, history, modern languages, and other fields. BS IRP students wrestle with a wide range of issues including the future of democracy, the relationship between technology and politics, the drivers of war and peace, domestic politics across countries, and the formulation of effective foreign policies. IRP graduates embark on a variety of careers in government, law, public policy, intelligence, national defense, consulting, international development, and more.

Core disciplinary courses for the IRP major provide foundational knowledge in the major areas of political science (American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political economy) and enable students to better understand the workings of political institutions, political behavior across countries, the decision-making of political leaders, and the prevailing challenges to the international system, among other topics.

Core methodology courses train IRP students in the social science tools and communications skills needed to analyze and write persuasively about international relations and politics. Students pursuing an IRP major learn to use a wide range of analytic tools including statistics and data science, qualitative analysis, game theory, and behavioral decision-making models as they study politics and strategy. Students also learn how to effectively communicate their analysis to affect public policy.

A rich set of electives allows students to investigate issues of grand strategy and national security, cybersecurity and international conflict, military strategy and doctrine, the politics of key regions of the world, international political economy and economic policy, representation and voting rights, climate change and development, repression and human rights, international law and diplomacy, political psychology and public opinion, and social change and revolution. 

Recognizing the importance of language and culture in understanding politics and international relations, students are required to complete the intermediate (200) level, or its equivalent, in a modern language other than English. Advanced-level study is strongly encouraged.

Open to all Carnegie Mellon undergraduates, the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program (CMU/WSP) allows students to study politics and public policy and intern in Washington, DC, for one semester. Courses taken through CMU/WSP count toward the policy seminar core requirement and electives for the IRP major.

Double Counting: Students may double count a maximum of four courses with another major or minor.

Curriculum (141 units)

Disciplinary Core Courses (complete all):

84-104 Decision Processes in American Political Institutions 9
84-275 Comparative Politics 9
84-326 Theories of International Relations 9
84-450 Policy Seminar 6
84-110 Foundations of Political Economy
(may substitute 73-102 Principles of Microeconomics or 73-103 Principles of Macroeconomics)
9

Methodology Core Courses (complete all):

84-250 Writing for Political Science and Policy 9
84-265 Political Science Research Methods 9
84-369 Decision Science for International Relations 9
36-202 Methods for Statistics & Data Science 9
Mathematics Requirement

Excluded from all double counting rules. Students must complete one of the following courses.

21-120 Differential and Integral Calculus 10
or 21-112 Calculus II
Language Requirement

Students are required to complete the intermediate (200) level or the equivalent in a modern language other than English.  Advanced level study is strongly encouraged. Students who successfully pass a language placement exam on campus, at the intermediate II level or higher, are required to take an advanced language course to satisfy the language requirement.

Electives

Students must complete 45 units (five courses) from the elective lists below. At least three courses (27 units) must be from the Institute for Politics and Strategy (84-xxx). Most courses listed below are 9-unit courses, but some are fewer. When courses offered for fewer than 9 units are chosen, students should note that a minimum of 45 units is required, and should plan to take one or more additional courses as appropriate.

Institute for Politics and Strategy Electives
84-200 Security War Game Simulation
84-303 International Human Rights
84-304 In the News: Analysis of Current Events
84-306 Latin American Politics
84-307 Economic and Political History of Contemporary China
84-310 International Political Economy
84-312 Terrorism in Sub-Saharan Africa
84-313 International Organizations and Law
84-315 Political Economy of International Migration
84-316 Political Economy of Transatlantic Partnership
84-317 Defense Resourcing: From Strategy to Execution
84-318 Politics of Developing Nations
84-319 Civil-Military Relations
84-322 Nonviolent Conflict and Revolution
84-323 War and Peace in the Contemporary Middle East
84-324 The Future of Democracy
84-325 Contemporary American Foreign Policy
84-327 Repression and Control in Dictatorships
84-328 Military Strategy and Doctrine
84-329 Military Strategic Theory
84-330 The Shading of Democracy: The Influence of Race on American Politics*
84-331 Money, Media, and the Power of Data in Decisionmaking*
84-333 Power and Levers for Change in Washington, DC*
84-334 The History and Practice of Economic Statecraft*
84-336 Implementing Public Policy: From Good Idea To Reality*
84-337 Biomedical Science Research, Policy, and Governance*
84-339 Seminar in Public Policy Research*
84-340 Making Change: How Organized Interests Work in Washington*
84-346 Legal Issues in Public Administration*
84-348 Advocacy, Policy and Practice*
84-352 Representation and Voting Rights
84-360 CMU/WSP Internship Seminar*
84-362 Diplomacy and Statecraft
84-365 The Politics of Fake News and Misinformation
84-370 Nuclear Security & Arms Control
84-372 Space and National Security
84-373 Emerging Technologies and the Law
84-380 US Grand Strategy
84-383 Cyber Policy as National Policy
84-386 The Privatization of Force
84-387 Technology and Policy of Cyber War
84-388 Concepts of War and Cyber War
84-389 Terrorism and Insurgency
84-390 Social Media, Technology, and Conflict
84-393 Legislative Decision Making: US Congress
84-402 Judicial Politics and Behavior
84-405 The Future of Warfare
84-421 Advanced Topics in American Politics
84-440 Collaborative Research in Political Science

*Denotes courses taught in Washington, DC, through the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program (CMU/WSP).

Additional Electives
19-452 EPP Projects II
70-342 Managing Across Cultures
70-365 International Trade and International Law
70-430 International Management
73-332 Political Economy
76-318 Communicating in the Global Marketplace
79-203 The Other Europe: The Habsburgs, Communism, & Central/Eastern Europe, 1740-1990
79-205 20th Century Europe
79-223 Mexico: From the Aztec Empire to the Drug War
79-227 Modern Africa: The Slave Trade to the End of Apartheid
79-229 The Origins of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, 1880-1948
79-230 Arab-Israeli Conflict Since 1948
79-233 The United States and the Middle East since 1945
79-257 Germany and the Second World War
79-262 Modern China: From the Birth of Mao ... to Now
79-264 Tibet and China: History and Propaganda
79-265 Russian History: Game of Thrones
79-266 Russian History and Revolutionary Socialism
79-267 The Soviet Union in World War II: Military, Political, and Social History
79-275 Introduction to Global Studies
79-288 Bananas, Baseball, and Borders: Latin America and the United States
79-301 History of Surveillance: From the Plantation to Data Capitalism
79-302 Killer Robots: The Ethics, Law, and Politics of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems
79-307 Religion and Politics in the Middle East
79-313 "Unwanted": Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Patterns of Global Migration
79-314 The Politics and Culture of Memory
79-318 Sustainable Social Change: History and Practice
79-320 Women, Politics, and Protest
79-343 Education, Democracy, and Civil Rights
79-377 Food, Culture, and Power: A History of Eating
79-381 Energy and Empire: How Fossil Fuels Changed the World
79-385 Out of Africa: The Making of the African Diaspora
79-398 Documenting the 1967 Arab-Israeli War
80-135 Introduction to Political Philosophy
80-136 Social Structure, Public Policy & Ethics
80-249 AI, Society, and Humanity
80-321 Causation, Law, and Social Policy
80-335 Social and Political Philosophy
80-348 Health, Human Rights, and International Development
80-447 Global Justice
82-3xx or 4xx Advanced Level Modern Language Class
88-281 Topics in Law: 1st Amendment
88-284 Topics of Law: The Bill of Rights
88-411 Rise of the Asian Economies