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International Relations Major

International Relations

We focus on international interactions and offer you a comparative perspective on the contemporary global system. You will think creatively about complex global problems in the analysis of political, societal, cultural, ethical, and normative aspects of international relations. 








Total Credit Hours: 120

International Relations Requirements (33 hours)

Core Degree Requirements (24 hours)

General Education (up to 45 hours)

Electives (36 hours)

What You'll Study

  • You'll take 120 credit hours for a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, including Virginia Tech's Pathways. Available courses include: 
    • Theoretical Approaches to Global Order
    • World Politics
    • The Global Economy and World Politics
    • Nations and Nationalities
    • Comparative Government and Politics
    • International Law
    • International Organizations
    • International Conflict Management
    • Violent Political Change
    • Global Environmental Issues
    • The Politics of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender

The international relations major focuses on international interactions and offers a comparative perspective on the contemporary global system with an emphasis on foreign language proficiency. Select from nine languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish, to fulfill this requirement.



Curious how the degree requirements will fit into your experience at Virginia Tech? See the roadmaps below for a sample schedule of courses each year. Your academic advisor will help you create a personalized version based on your goals and other areas of interest. The individualized plan will also include your AP, IB, dual enrollment, or transfer credit.

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What is a Major in International Relations?

We foster creative thinking about complex global problems and our graduates successfully serve their communities and the nation. Our program emphasizes the methods of analysis used in the social sciences and humanities to help you think critically about international phenomena and analyze the choices and challenges that arise.

Why Study International Relations Here?

Study with our renowned faculty who are experts in international relations. We offer broad training in the liberal arts, emphasizing the study of foreign languages. Opportunities to pursue undergraduate research, conduct field studies, and participate in study abroad are available. Many of our students also engage in the Department of State’s Diplomacy Lab Program and Wonk Tank competition.

Beyond the Classroom

Get Involved

Participate in the Department of State’s Diplomacy Lab Program and Wonk Tank competition. Many of our students also join our active student organizations including (Inter)National and Regional Model UN, International Model NATO, International Model Organization of American States (MOAS), National and Regional Model Arab League, and National Model African Union.


Get Experience

Internships and cooperative education programs give you an opportunity to receive academic credit for working in a professional setting. Our students complete internships with the U.S. government, international organizations, and national, state, or local administrative agencies. Talk to an advisor who can help you find and secure a meaningful internship opportunity.


Travel and Learn 

Although studying abroad isn't required, it can often be a pivotal experience for you. Living in a different country is the best way to understand the differences and similarities between cultures. It allows you to develop a personal expertise in a specific national or regional context or language.




Our faculty members are productive authors, scholars, and award-winning teachers who are always eager to mentor students on research projects in their field of interest. We have experts on Japan, the European Union, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, the United Kingdom, and other nations, as well as specialists in topics like international security, citizenship, and human rights. If you'd like some guidance on an undergraduate research project, just ask!


What Our Students Are Saying

Careers and Further Study

What do I do with a major in international relations?

Our program offers a broad liberal arts education, meaning you'll gain critical thinking and writing skills that apply in any field. Our alumni include vice-presidents of major banks, managers in multinational corporations, foreign service officers, civil servants in the Pentagon and United States intelligence agencies, and Peace Corps volunteers. Graduates of this program have also been admitted to some of the most prestigious law and graduate schools in the country. Some common careers of our graduates include:

  • Military officers
  • Financial consultants
  • Political organizers
  • Teachers
  • Journalists
  • Lawyers
  • Foreign aid administrators
  • Engineers
  • Law enforcement