International Politics (IPOL)

  • Curricular Field Chair: Professor Gerd Nonneman
  • Curricular Dean: Dean Julien Moutte


The globalization of ideas, goods, and communication presents the world with unprecedented hopes and challenges. How do individuals, states, and organizations cooperate for mutual gain? Conversely, why and how do they compete against each other?

The International Politics major (IPOL) offers a multidisciplinary approach to understanding these basic questions with courses in diplomacy, religion, economics, security, media, and gender. IPOL also provides geographically-specific courses to see how different countries and regions address the topics of cooperation and competition.

International Politics Major Requirements (9 courses)

  • IPOL 212 Scope and Methods for Political Science (Spring of Year 2)
  • IPOL 320 Quantitative Methods (Year 3)
  • 1 course from the Comparative Politics concentration 
  • 1 course from the International Relations concentration 
  • 5 courses that have been approved for the IPOL major program 

Sample Courses

  • ANTH 360: War Ethnography
  • GOVT 317: Social Movements and Interest Groups
  • GOVT 329: Women in Politics
  • GOVT 416: Comparative Politics of Middle East
  • GOVT 417: Gulf Politics
  • INAF 258: Lebanon: History, Society and Politics
  • INAF 324: Global Environmental Politics
  • INAF 298: History and Structure of UN
  • INAF 330: Water Resources in World Politics
  • INAF 400: Democracy in Divided Societies
  • INAF 422: African Politics and Development
  • IPOL 385: Contemporary Global Security Issues
  • IPOL 388: External Intervention in the Middle East
  • IPOL 389: Political Extremism in Europe
  • IPOL 391: Politics of Identity in Middle East
  • IPOL 393: War and Diplomacy in South Asia

Integrated Writing Requirements

International Politics is an interdisciplinary major that explores the processes between actors in the international system. There are currently two core requirements in this major: Scope and Methods for Political Science and Quantitative Methods for International Politics (IPOL 320).  The student must also take 7 other courses that have been approved for the IPOL Major program. These courses come under the headings of Political Theory, International Relations and Comparative Politics.

The IPOL major’s interdisciplinary nature does not lend itself to a narrow set of guidelines, and there is a recognition that no one means of written assessment or writing style should be required across IPOL approved courses. Some will require several shorter papers in the form of book reviews, responses, course papers or assessed quizzes. Others require longer final papers or written examinations. Others again require a combination of both. All tend to combine written assessments with other demonstrations of learning and development including, but not limited to, graded oral presentations.

That said, IPOL is a writing-intensive major and student needs to be able to absorb, analyze and disseminate information on a wide range of issues and topics in written form. There are some commonalities in terms of this writing requirement across IPOL approved courses. All IPOL courses have the goal of building on the core concepts and theories provided to students in Introduction to International Relations (GOVT060-70) and Comparative Political Systems (GOVT121-70). Inherent in this is the objective of further developing the student’s foundational writing skills to reach a level that is commensurate with the analytic tradition and which provides those planning to progress to graduate study with the necessary writing skills to succeed at that level.

Quantitative Methods, for example, trains students how to use statistical tools, analysis, and inference in writing with the expectation that these skills will be applied where relevant in the writing requirements in other IPOL courses. There is also a commitment that writing in the Major will develop:

  • The skills necessary to conduct research and use citation styles correctly.
  • An awareness of the centrality of structure and clarity in scholarly writing.
  • An ability to offer argument-driven analysis that examines critically arguments and counter-arguments.
  • An ability to apply the relevant theoretical literature and historiographical debates.

How to Declare

During the first semester of their sophomore year, students meet with their academic advisor to declare their major. When declaring a major, sophomores prepare a declaration proposal outlining the reasons why they are pursuing one of the majors offered at GU-Q, including how the intended major coincides with their academic interests and possible career goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Students who elect this major often pursue careers in diplomacy, security studies, international organizations, and international law.

All GU-Q students, regardless of their major, take a number of free electives that allow students to explore courses and issues that interest them but that do not directly relate to their specific major.

To qualify for honors, students must take both the research methodologies seminar and the thesis seminar.

One cannot pursue Honors and a Certificate simultaneously, given the heavy workload. If the student insists on doing both, he or she MUST complete the Certificate thesis in the junior year. The deadline for submitting the certificate thesis in its approved form would be the first day of classes in the student’s senior year.