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International Relations, as an interdisciplinary program, provides some special challenges for major advisors. This page is to help advisors with some of the basics. 

How students declare an International Relations major
  • Students may declare a major in International Relations once they have earned 39 credits and must declare prior to completing 59 credits.
  • Students should select a major advisor from those participating in the International Relations program, as listed in the International Relations faculty directory.
  • Students should submit completed major declaration forms [pdf] to the International Relations program office. The form will then be checked, signed, and submitted to the Registrar.
  • Use our typical plan of study [pdf] to help students decide which courses to take when.
International Relations major requirements
Requirements for the major are listed in the William & Mary Catalog. These include:
  • Part A: Core Curriculum
  • Part B: Research Methods
  • Parts C & E: Social and Cultural Contexts courses and Electives
  • Part D: Capstone 
  • Second language requirement.  

Use our typical plan of study [pdf] to help students decide which courses to take when.

Please note that courses taken as Pass/Fail cannot be used to satisfy any major requirement.

How to fulfill a major requirement with an unlisted course
  • Each semester there are a variety of topics courses that fulfill International Relations requirements. The list of approved topics courses for the current and/or upcoming semester can be found on the Elective & Capstones page. 
  • If the course is not listed on this page, but the student still thinks the course should count towards the major, contact the IR Director of Advising
How to substitute a course for a major core requirement
  • Students must complete the Course Substitution Request [pdf] form when they wish to substitute one core course for another. Completed forms should be submitted to the Office of Academic Advising.
  • Substitutions for non-core courses are approved by the International Relations program director. Use the Request for Exception to Major Requirements [pdf] form to request such a substitution.  The completed form should be submitted to the International Relations program office for approval.
Completing Independent Studies
  • Independent Study (INRL 480) allows students to work individually on a subject of interest under the supervision of an International Relations faculty member. It may be used to fulfill the capstone or elective requirement. 
  • Complete the Application for Independent Study [pdf]. Once filled out by the student and the supervising faculty member, the form should be submitted to the International Relations program office for approval.
Academic credit for an internship
Internships provide a productive and beneficial learning experience. However, an academic internship (INRL 498) is more than experiential learning. It is expected to include an analytical/research component and significant written work. 
International Relations Honors Projects
  • Honors is a significant opportunity for student research.  An Honors project (INRL 495 and INRL 496) can be used to meet the International Relations capstone requirement.  Eligible applicants must have a 3.4 GPA in the major and a 3.0 GPA overall in their junior year. The student must identify a faculty member who is willing to serve as an advisor. 
  • Students should complete the Application for Admission to International Relations Honors [pdf] form and submit the completed form to the International Relations program office.
  • All other aspects of Honors administration are handled by the Charles Center.
Study Abroad
Study Abroad is a valuable learning opportunity for IR students. The Global Education Office at the Reves Center manages all aspects of the study abroad process.