The Department of Government
The Department of Government

International Relations

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS focuses on the relations among independent states and the sources of state behavior. Since independent states are not regulated by a common government, they must confront the problem of how to enforce any agreements they might reach, and bear in mind the fact that the use of force is an option available to any state. Much of the literature about international relations focuses on the effects of these propositions. At the University of Texas, the field of international relations is divided into the following sub-fields: conflict (including the study of wars, military crises, alliances, and the like); international political economy; and international law and organization.


The core course, GOV 388K The Study of International Relations is required of all students choosing international relations as one of their fields. In addition, we encourage all IR students to take two semesters of a seminar on research in international relations. The first is taken in the spring of their second year and focuses on preparing an article-length paper that can serve as a master's thesis. The second takes place in the spring of the third year and focuses on preparing a dissertation prospectus. The second and third year students will take these courses together. Additionally, students are encouraged to take the department's first three statistics courses and may choose to take one or two courses in formal theory.

Listing of Graduate Seminars

  • International Law and Organizations
  • International Political Economy
  • International Secruity
  • Political Violence
  • Research in International Relations
  • Study of International Relations


With substantive specialties in international relations theory, international security and conflict, international law and organization, international political economy, and civil wars and terrorism, our faculty broadly covers modern international relations research. Faculty regularly publish in the leading political science journals and university presses and have received numerous awards for their work. Faculty regularly work together and publish with graduate students, including recent publications in Journal of Conflict Resolution and Conflict Management and Peace Science. And with methodological expertise in historical and case study analysis, statistics, formal theory, and experiments, we are well-equipped to train and prepare Ph.D. students for a competitive job market.

Broader Intellectual Environment

The University of Texas also offers a number of opportunities outside the Government Department for students interested in international relations. The Strauss Center on International Law and Security, with faculty across Government, History, the LBJ School, and the Law School funds a number of speakers, workshops, colloquia, and other events for the international relations community throughout the year. Innovations for Peace and Development, co-direct by Michael Findley, funds numerous students to engage in research and policy work related to peacebuilding and development. The Clements Center for History, Strategy, and Statecraft with faculty affiliates across History, Government, and the LBJ School also provides opportunities for students interested in the intersection of international politics and history. The European Union Center and other region-specific centers similarly offer opportunities for interested students.

  •   Map
  • Department of Government

    The University of Texas at Austin
    158 W 21st ST STOP A1800
    Batts Hall 2.116
    Austin, TX 78712-1704