International Relations, as an interdisciplinary program, provides some special challenges for advising. In order to make things easier, here are answers to some of the most frequent questions and concerns that arise when advising potential or declared IR majors, as well as some procedural detail.
Information for declaring
A student may declare a major once s/he has earned 39 credits, but no later than the second semester of the junior year. There may be some significant advantage to the student once s/he declares as it provides early access to certain desirable courses during preregistration.
- The student should select an advisor from those participating in the IR program (a list is available in the faculty directory on this site). The student should bring his/her Banner "What If" Analysis and the declaration of major form to the advising meeting. All forms are available in the "Resources for Students" section of this site.
- Once the declaration form has been completed it should be submitted to the IR office (Morton 226). We will check and sign the form, and then forward to the Registrar's Office. The student will be notified by e-mail.
Details of the Major
- Requirements for a major in International Relations are spelled out in a menu format in the Catalog and also on this website in "Undergraduate Program". These include core classes, choices and electives, and the language co-requisites. Please note that courses taken on a Pass/Fail basis at the College cannot be used to satisfy any proficiency, required course, or elective.
- Electives: Students may, over the course of their studies, find classes not on the list(s) of options but which are appropriate for their chosen course of study. An example might be a seminar offered by a visiting faculty which will only be offered once. These are allowed as electives, and information about which options are available will be placed on the IR website prior to registration. The Registrar's Office will be aware of these options, and Banner should automatically apply the course to the major. Please note that Pass-Fail is not an acceptable option for any class used to fulfill a major requirement.
- The "Request for Exception to Major Requirements" form should be used when a student needs to substitute one core course for another. It can be found in "Resources for Students" on the IR website. The student should fill out the form as completely as possible. The relevant faculty member should also include the necessary information and sign the form. Once completed, the form should be handed in to the IR office (Morton 226). Approval will be based on the judgment of the IR Director, and will require approval of the Dean.
NOTE: When a student wishes to substitute one non-core course for another, a request should be sent to the IR Director. The Request for Exception to Major Requirements form is not required under these circumstances, and approval will be based on the judgment of the IR Director in consultation with relevant faculty members.
- Independent Study (INRL 480): Independent study may be used to fulfill the capstone or elective requirements for IR. The necessary form can be found in "Resources for Students". The student must fill out the form with the help of the supervising faculty member. Once completed, the form should be submitted to the IR office (Morton 226) for approval.
- Internships can provide productive and beneficial learning experiences for IR students. However, a bona fide internship is more than just experiential learning. It is expected to include an analytical or research component accompanied by significant written work. In order to ensure appropriate academic content as well as a productive experiental learning experience, the student must formulate the mandatory internship agreement with the help of a faculty supervisor. As per Catalog requirements, students must file the application form, Internship for Academic Credit, before they leave campus to begin the internship.
- Study Abroad: Although study abroad is not required for IR majors it is strongly recommended. The first stop for students interested in pursuing this option is at the Reves Center for International Studies. There students will find information about the range of study abroad options (summer, semester, academic year) available as well as all the relevant forms. The Study Abroad Handbook, available from the GEO provides both basic information to students and the necessary forms. According to the College Catalog, "Pre-approval of transfer credits by an appropriate department chair, program director, or designee is required for all study abroad programs except the William and Mary faculty-led programs." The first point of contact in the process is the GEO at Reves where student can find assistance for pre-approval of courses for transfer credit. Upon return, that office will also assist students in managing transfer credit and other post-approval issues.
- Honors: We encourage student research. Honors (INRL 495-496) is the ultimate capstone experience in this regard. Eligible applicants must carry a 3.4 GPA in IR and must also meet the College-wide standard of 3.0 overall in their junior year. Students are expected to identify a faculty memeber who is willing to serve as an advisor. The guidelines for the prospectus and the form can be downloaded from the Charles Center's website. The enrollment form is available in "Resources for Students".