BA in International Relations

APU’s international relations major prepares effective leaders who have a global worldview, preparing them for careers in international politics, diplomacy, history, and more.

50 units

The international relations major prepares students to be effective leaders in their community, nation, and the world. Students learn to make sense of global events, to identify the degree to which peaceful interactions and political crises shape the world, and to articulate Christian perspectives on relations between peoples and nations. The international relations major prepares students for many vocations through rigorous training in international politics, philosophy, history, geography, diplomacy, and security studies.

Career Opportunities

International relations majors are prepared for a variety of careers in the public and private sectors, in fields such as government, diplomatic relations, and economic negotiations. These include vocations in the federal government focusing on foreign policy formulation or analysis, aid programs, and development and cultural exchange, as well as careers dedicated to national security issues such as counterterrorism and cybersecurity. In the private sector, some students find the major useful as they prepare for careers in international business and commerce, while others have used the major as preparation for nonprofit development enterprises in agriculture and food production, or toward improving delivery of health services and clean water. Still others devote their time and energy to stopping human rights abuses including human trafficking.


The Department of History and Political Science maintains the following requirements for each of the majors it offers:

  1. Students must complete all prerequisites for any HIST or POLI course with a C- or better before taking the course (except as noted in the course description).
  2. Students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in all political science and history courses required for the major.
  3. Students must complete each HIST or POLI course with a C- or higher for the course to meet a degree requirement in the Department of History and Political Science.
Core Requirements
POLI 150American Government 13
POLI 160Introduction to Politics3
POLI 180Intro to International Relations3
POLI 300Writing 3: Research and Writing 23
HIST 334History of American Foreign Affairs3
POLI 496Senior Seminar: Religion and Politics 33
Foreign Language Requirement: IR majors must complete two years (four semesters) of college-level study in the same modern foreign language (French, German, Spanish, Italian, or other modern foreign language approved by the department chair). Refer to the course catalog at to see which courses are available.14
Subject Requirements: Upper-Division Core9
Select 9 units from the following:
Political Geography
Comparative Politics
Seminar in International Relations
Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Theories of International Relations
Diplomacy and Foreign Policy
National Security
Politics of Developing Countries
Regional Studies
International Organizations
Select at least 9 units from the following courses not selected above:
Economics of the Developing World
Comparative Economics
International Trade and Finance
Globalization and Development 4
Modern Africa
Enlightenment Europe
Europe 1789-1914
Europe 1914-1992
Ritual and Re-enactment in Modern Latin America
Political Geography
Comparative Politics
Seminar in International Relations
Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Theories of International Relations
Diplomacy and Foreign Policy
National Security
Politics of Developing Countries
History and Politics of the Non-Western World
Political Science Practicum
The American Presidency
Regional Studies
International Organizations
Political Topics
Directed Research
Total Units50

Meets the General Education Civic Knowledge and Engagement requirement.


Meets the General Education Writing 3 requirement.


Meets the General Education Integrative and Applied Learning requirement.


Meets the General Education Social Sciences requirement

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program shall be able to:
  1. American Government: Explain the principles, purposes, and main features of American government.
  2. International Politics: Explain the main features of international politics.
  3. Theory and Foreign Policy: Articulate the main schools of thought respecting international relations and describe the principal interests and ideas that inform U.S. foreign policy.
  4. Political Philosophy: Analyze the writing of major thinkers in the history of political philosophy.
  5. Christian Foundation: Articulate a Christian understanding of politics and government.
  6. Professional Writing: Demonstrate ability to write and cite sources to professional standards within the discipline.