International Relations and Global Studies

Degree Requirements

The International Relations and Global Studies major requires substantial coursework in a variety of disciplines within the College of Liberal Arts.  All students must complete a series of three IRG core courses, culminating in a senior capstone research project.  The major also includes a rigorous foreign language requirement, a mandatory study abroad component, and an area studies requirement in one of six regional concentrations: African and African Diaspora Studies, Asian Studies, European Studies, Latin American Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, or Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.   IRG majors must also complete 12 hours of upper-division coursework in one of four interdisciplinary study tracks:  Culture, Media, and the Arts; International Security; Science, Technology, and the Environment; or International Political Economy.  

Major Requirements

In addition to the general degree requirements listed by the College of Liberal Arts, the following courses are required to complete the major in IRG:

16-18 | 18-20 | 20-22 Catalogs

  • IRG 301: Introduction to International Relations and Global Studies
  • ECO 301: Introduction to Economics or ECO 304L: Introduction to Macroeconomics 
    • or ECO 304K: Introduction to Macroeconomics (20-22 Catalog only)
  • GRG 305: The Human World: Introduction to Human Geography
  • ANT 302: Cultural Anthropology or SOC 302: Introduction to the Study of Society
  • IRG 320F: Foundations in International Relations and Global Studies 
  • IRG 378: Capstone Research in International Relations and Global Studies
  • Area Studies: 9-hours of coursework in one of six regional areas of concentration:
    • African and African Diaspora Studies (AFR from approved list)
    • Asian Studies (ANS)
    • European Studies (EUS)
    • Latin American Studies (LAS)
    • Middle Eastern Studies (MES)
    • Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (REE)
  • Optional Minor - A minor or certificate is not required for IRG in the 16-18 catalog

14-16 Catalog and prior 

  • IRG 301: Introduction to International Relations and Global Studies
  • ECO 301: Introduction to Economics, or ECO 304K: Introduction to Microeconomics, or ECO 304L: Introduction to Macroeconomics
  • GRG 305: The Human World: Introduction to Human Geography
  • One course in World History - 3 hours
  • One of the following:
    • ANT 302: Cultural Anthropology
    • ECO 304L: Introduction to Macroeconomics
    • SOC 302: Introduction to the Study of Society
  • IRG 320F: Foundations in International Relations and Global Studies 
  • IRG 378: Capstone Research in International Relations and Global Studies
  • Minor Requirement:  IRG majors in the 14-16 catalog and prior must complete a 12-hour minor in one of six regional areas of concentration:
    • African and African Diaspora Studies (AFR from appoved list)
    • Asian Studies (ANS)
    • European Studies (EUS)
    • Latin American Studies (LAS)
    • Middle Eastern Studies (MES)
    • Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (REE)

Study Tracks (all catalogs) 

IRG majors must complete 12 hours of upper-division coursework in one of four interdisciplinary tracks:

  • Culture, Media, and the Arts
  • International Security
  • Science, Technology, and the Environment
  • International Political Economy

Foreign Language (all catalogs)

Competency in a foreign language is a critical foundation for understanding global issues beyond one's own perspective. The IRG degree plan requires 6 hours of upper-division coursework in a single foreign language in addition to the mandatory College of Liberal Arts foreign language requirement. A student will most likely complete the upper-division coursework in the same language as his/her lower division sequence; however, it is acceptable to complete the 6 hours of upper-division coursework in a different language than that used for the lower-division sequence if the student is able to meet the prerequisites.

Study Abroad (all catalogs)

Spending time in an academic setting outside the United States enables IRG majors to step outside of the confines of The University of Texas at Austin and study global affairs from a different vantage point. Not only does the study abroad experience allow students to apply their foreign-based coursework toward their degree, but this requirement also is meant to contribute toward a more general broadening of one's education and life experience beyond the university. There is an ever-expanding number of study-abroad programs that cater to many different specific interests, which can be explored in greater depth through the UT Study Abroad Office.

Capstone (all catalogs)

The IRG capstone research seminar is a one-semester organized course designed for students typically in their final year of coursework. The purpose of the seminar is to have students complete an independent research project on a subject that builds upon previous IRG major requirements. The specific case study may be narrowly focused in a geographic and chronological sense, but it should address a broader contemporary debate in international and global affairs. Students in the capstone seminar engage in a few weeks of common reading, develop a research proposal and outline, write draft pages and review fellow students’ work, present their findings in an oral presentation, and submit a final paper of around 25 pages.  

Students may choose to apply for IRG Honors, a 6-hour, 2-semester course that takes the place of the Capstone course. See Honors for more information.

Students in the 2018-20 catalog or earlier who complete a one-year honors thesis in a second major may be able to substitute that thesis course for the IRG Capstone course. Students are encouraged to consult with an IRG advisor as early as possible to ensure that their thesis will meet the necessary conditions to substitute.