Bachelor of Arts in International Relations
International Relations (IR) is an interdisciplinary major focusing on the changing political, economic, and cultural relations within a globalized system. The program explores how global, regional, and domestic factors influence relations between actors on the world stage. Students are prepared for future careers, civic engagement, and life-long learning with strong analytical, writing, research, and presentation skills steeped in theory, history, and practice.
Our faculty offers courses in theory and regional/thematic issue-areas that meet the diverse needs and preferences of students. Examples of our student best practices include the development of individual and group projects in close consultation with faculty. Outcomes of such training in research and presentation skills are evident not only in classes, including the culminating senior thesis experience (I R 550), but also in student participation in IR conferences at both regional and national levels. Our students have the opportunity to publish their original research papers in the Department’s International Relations Journal.
Program Learning Outcomes
Courses for the Bachelor of Arts in International Relations have three objectives:
- To impart knowledge of basic concepts, theories and methods in international relations.
- To develop in each student at least one area of special individual competence in international relations.
- To train students in research, writing, analytical, and presentation/communication skills.
While integrating liberal arts educational goals, the program also seeks to develop marketable skills appropriate to the field. Utilizing the extensive course offerings in IR and other departments, students are encouraged to explore geographical, functional (e.g., international political economy), problem-oriented (e.g., climate change, human rights, immigration), theoretical and methodological approaches to world problems.
International Relations (B.A.) — 43 Units
Courses fulfilling the International Relations major core requirement may not be taken on a CR/NC basis.
Core (19 units)
|I R 104
|Introduction to International Relations: Politics, Economics, Environment, and People
|I R 208
|Fundamentals of International Relations Theories, Issues, and Perspectives
|I R 309GW
|International Relations Analysis and Application - GWAR
|I R 310
|U.S. Foreign Policy
|I R 312
|Introduction to International Political Economy
Electives (18 Units)
Culminating Requirements (6 Units)
|I R 550
|Senior Thesis in International Relations
Twelve units of Complementary Studies are required of all candidates for the Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations. These units must come from courses bearing a prefix other than I R, and not cross-listed with I R.
International Relations majors are offered several pathways toward completing this requirement, each of which is designed to facilitate graduation in a timely manner. International Relations majors may, with the approval of an International Relations advisor, elect to apply 12 units in a single foreign language of their choosing, courses taken in an approved study abroad program (e.g., CSU Study Abroad), courses taken as part of a second major, a minor or a certificate, and courses in a related discipline. Related disciplines typically include political science, sociology, anthropology, environmental studies, geography, global health, or journalism.
Up to 6 units of a single language or 6 upper-division units of Complementary Studies may, with the approval of a departmental advisor, also be counted as International Relations electives in fulfillment of major requirements.
General Education Requirements
|Written English Communication
|Arts or Humanities
|C1 or C2
|Social Sciences: US History
|Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD)
|Physical and/or Life Science
|Arts and/or Humanities
|SF State Studies
|Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.
|American Ethnic and Racial Minorities
|LD or UD
|LD or UD
|LD or UD
|LD or UD
Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.
First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)
- The roadmaps presented in this Bulletin are intended as suggested plans of study and do not replace meeting with an advisor. For a more personalized roadmap, please use the Degree Planner tool found in your Student Center.
- In order to choose your English Composition A2 course and your QR/Math B4 course, please complete the online advising activities at writingadvising.sfsu.edu and mathadvising.sfsu.edu. Questions? Contact Gator Smart Start.
SF State Scholar Roadmap
The San Francisco State Scholars program provides undergraduate students with an accelerated pathway to a graduate degree. Students in this program pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously. This program allows students to earn graduate credit while in their junior and/or senior year, reducing the number of semesters required for completion of a master’s degree.
Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)
For students with an AA-T in Global Studies.
GLST ADT Roadmap
For students with an AA-T in Political Science.
PLSI ADT Roadmap
For students without an ADT or an ADT not mentioned above.
This degree program is an approved pathway (“similar” major) for students earning the ADT in Global Studies
California legislation SB 1440 (2009) mandated the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to be awarded by the California Community Colleges. Two types of ADTs are awarded: Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T).
Note: no specific degree is required for admission as an upper-division student. However, the ADT includes specific guarantees related to admission and graduation and is designed to clarify the transfer process and strengthen lower-division preparation for the major.
An ADT totals 60 units and in most cases includes completion of all lower-division General Education requirements and at least 18 units in a specific major. (The Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science AS-T degrees defer 3 units in lower-division GE area C and 3 units in lower-division GE area D until after transfer.) Students pursuing an ADT are guaranteed admission to the CSU if minimum eligibility requirements are met, though not necessarily to the CSU campus of primary choice.
Upon verification that the ADT has been awarded prior to matriculation at SF State, students are guaranteed B.A. or B.S. completion in 60 units if pursuing a “similar” major after transfer. Determinations about “similar” majors at SF State are made by faculty in the discipline.
Degree completion in 60 units cannot be guaranteed when a student simultaneously pursues an additional major, a minor, certificate, or credential.
A sample advising roadmap for students who have earned an ADT and continue in a "similar" major at SF State is available on the Roadmaps tab on the degree requirements page for the major. The roadmap displays:
- How many lower-division units required for the major have been completed upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
- Which lower-division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
- How to complete the remaining 60 units for the degree in four semesters.
Students who have earned an ADT should seek advising in the major department during the first semester of attendance.
General Advising Information for Transfer Students
- Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
- The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
- a course in U.S. History
- a course in U.S. & California Government
For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit http://www.assist.org. Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:
- Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
- Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.
Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.
Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).
Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.
Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.
Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.
Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs
Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.
Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit bulletin.sfsu.edu/undergraduate-education/general-education/lower-division/#AAEL.
Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.