Nov 20, 2019  
USC Catalogue 2017-2018 
USC Catalogue 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

International Relations

Return to: USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences  

The School of International Relations (SIR) offers a BA in international relations; a BA in international relations (global business); a BA in international relations and the global economy; a dual MA in international relations/Juris Doctor offered with the USC Gould School of Law; a Master of Public Diplomacy; and a PhD in political science and international relations offered with the Political Science Department. The SIR also offers minors in global communication, international relations and international policy and management.

The SIR encourages undergraduate double majors, especially with economics, environmental studies, geography, history, journalism, foreign languages, political science and sociology. Programs are flexible, allowing students to gain a broad background in international studies and, at the same time, to specialize in a particular area. Minors in international relations; international policy and management; international urban development; and global communication, as well as interdisciplinary minors in nonprofits, philanthropy and volunteerism; and Russian area studies are also offered.

Von KleinSmid Center 330
(213) 740-6278; 740-2136
FAX: (213) 821-4424

Director: Wayne Sandholtz, Ph.D.


Robert R. and Katheryn A. Dockson Chair in Economics and International Relations and Professor of International Relations and Economics: Joshua Aizenman, PhD

John A. McCone Chair in International Relations and Professor of International Relations and Law: Wayne Sandholtz, PhD

Robert Grandford Wright Professor and Professor of International Relations and Middle East Studies: Laurie A. Brand, PhD*

Dean's Professor of International Relations: Patrick James, PhD*

University Professor, Wallis Annenberg Chair of Communication Technology and Society and Professor of Communication, Sociology, Planning, and International Relations: Manuel Castells, PhD (Communication)

Professors: Jonathan D. Aronson, PhD* (Communication); David Kang, PhD; Steven L. Lamy, PhD*; Najmedin Meshkati, PhD (Civil and Environmental Engineering); Gerardo Munck, PhD; Michael Parks (Communication); Brian Rathbun, PhD; Philip Seib, JD (Communication); Mary Elise Sarotte, PhD; Edwin M. Smith, JD (Law)

Associate Professors: Robert English, PhD; Jacques Hymans, PhD; Saori N. Katada, PhD; Daniel Lynch, PhD; Carol Wise, PhD

Assistant Professors: Pablo Barbera, PhD; Erin Baggott, PhD; Brett Carter, PhD; Andrew Coe, PhD; Benjamin Graham, PhD; Jonathan Mark, PhD

Professor of the Practice of International Relations and Economics: Lord John Eatwell, PhD

Professor of the Practice: Gregory Treverton, PhD

Associate Professors (Teaching): Nina Rathbun, PhD; Pamela K. Starr, PhD

Assistant Professor of the Practice: Jeffrey R. Fields, PhD

Assistant Professors (Teaching): Douglas Becker, PhD; Shannon Gibson, PhD

Adjunct Assistant Professor (Teaching): Mehmet Sinan Birdal, PhD

Lecturers: Megan Becker, PhD; Iva Bozovic, PhD; Fayez Hammad, PhD; Evis Mezini, PhD; Jessica Peet, PhD

Emeritus Professors: Peter A. Berton, PhD*; Michael G. Fry, PhD; Abraham F. Lowenthal, PhD; John S. Odell, PhD; Ron Steel, MA; Rodger Swearingen, PhD; J. Ann Tickner, PhD

Emeritus Professor of the Practice: Gary W. Glass, PhD

*Recipient of university-wide or college award for teaching or research.

Undergraduate Degrees

Honors Program

The honors program centers around the IR 494 Honors Thesis Seminar  that culminates in a thesis based on original research. In the spring of the junior year, students who have earned a GPA of 3.5 in the major and an overall GPA of 3.3 submit an application, two letters of recommendation and a research proposal that identifies the thesis topic to the student affairs office. Upon admission to the program, the student identifies an appropriate faculty member to co-supervise the thesis and, in the fall of the senior year, enrolls in IR 311  to develop the formal research design and complete the literature review. Students may enroll in IR 311  in the fall of their junior year if their research interests are well specified. In the spring of the senior year, the student enrolls in IR 494 . If the program is completed successfully (a B+ or better in IR 494 , a major GPA of 3.5 and an overall GPA of 3.3 [A = 4.0]), the transcript will read "with Honors."

Dornsife Washington, D.C. Program (See USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences )

Bachelor of Arts in Central European Studies

See the department of Slavic Languages and Literature  for program requirements.

Bachelor of Science in Global Health Studies

The Bachelor of Science in Global Health Studies is a multidisciplinary degree of the Keck School of Medicine's Department of Preventive Medicine. Students complete course work in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Studies. For degree requirements, see Department of Preventive Medicine .

Interdisciplinary Nonprofits, Philanthropy and Volunteerism Minor

See the USC Price School of Public Policy .

Interdisciplinary Russian Area Studies Minor

See Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures .


Advisement is required for all majors and minors. Students are encouraged to meet with School of International Relations advisers at least once a semester to review the direction of their individual programs. Students are also encouraged to seek the advisement of faculty members whose specializations are appropriate to their programs of study, and with the School of International Relations' career adviser.

Academic Specialization

Students majoring in international relations who wish to develop their own specialization or emphasize a particular regional area may establish with a faculty adviser, or with School of International Relations advisers, an academic program that will accomplish the students' objectives.

Graduate Degrees

The School of International Relations offers graduate curricula leading to several different graduate degrees. With courses and faculty renowned for their strengths in a great variety of fields — culture, gender and globalization, political economy, foreign policy and security, regional studies — our graduate international programs generally emphasize training for careers in advanced research and teaching. The school also welcomes professionally oriented students with related interests in fields such as law, communication, economics and business and public policy.

The School of International Relations has programs leading to a dual MA in international relations/Juris Doctor offered with the USC Gould School of Law; Master of Public Diplomacy; and a PhD in political science and international relations offered with the Political Science Department.

Admission Requirements

The School of International Relations welcomes talented candidates from a variety of academic backgrounds. Admission decisions are based on consideration of applicants' prior academic performance, as reflected in course grades and letters of recommendation. Applicants also are strongly encouraged to submit a sample of their written work in English, preferably a research-oriented paper. The committee also considers the potential for success in a graduate program based on Graduate Record Examinations scores. Business, government and other practical experiences related to international relations also are taken into account.

It is strongly recommended that master's and doctoral degree candidates should have completed at least one undergraduate course in statistics or quantitative methods and at least one course in economics before enrolling for graduate study. A course in social or political theory or international history also is highly desirable. The faculty may admit promising students who lack one or more of these courses. Students with this preparation tend to be more successful in the program and more likely to prosper in an academic or research setting afterwards.

Degree Requirements

These degrees are under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. Refer to the Requirements for Graduation  section and The Graduate School  section of this catalogue for general regulations. All courses applied toward the degrees must be courses accepted by the Graduate School.

All graduate students are required to maintain regular contact with the graduate coordinator to assure compliance with departmental regulations.

Foreign Language Requirement

Students in the joint MA/JD must show proficiency in at least one foreign language at the fourth semester level. In special instances a doctoral student's dissertation guidance committee may require a student to show research competence in one or two foreign languages. International students whose native language is not English may satisfy this requirement by submitting proof of their ability to read and understand social science materials in their native language where appropriate, or in another language in which significant social science material is available.

Substantive Paper Requirement

Students in the progressive BA/MA and joint MA/JD, MA/MPl and MA/MPA master's programs must submit a substantive paper or alternative project. This requirement is meant to encourage students to polish articles that may ultimately prove suitable for publication, to develop materials that will display their talents for doctoral and graduate school admission committees or prospective employers, and to begin to develop dissertation proposals early in the graduate education process. A student may submit a revised version of a research paper or a detailed policy memorandum along with a copy of the original paper for which he or she received a grade of B+ or better in one international relations graduate class. Students may also submit a paper or project based on other original work. A two-person faculty examining committee, which must consist of School of International Relations faculty members, will evaluate the substantive paper or project and may, at their discretion, call the student for an oral examination on the project. The student may add a third outside member to the committee. They may also choose to examine the student on his or her course work in international relations.

Master of Arts, Political Science and International Relations

Only students who have a degree objective of obtaining the PhD will be admitted into the Political Science and International Relations program. However, interested students can obtain an MA degree while pursuing the PhD. The degree is awarded upon successful completion of (a) 28 units, including three of the five courses in the program's theory and methodology sequence, a master's thesis and registration in POSC 594a /POSC 594b  or IR 594a /IR 594b ; and (b) the approval of the master's thesis by the thesis committee.

Master of Public Diplomacy and Master of Public Diplomacy (Practitioner and Mid-Career Professional)

These degrees combine the resources of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences' School of International Relations. The Master of Public Diplomacy is designed for students who already have a substantial undergraduate background in social sciences or relevant professional experience in subjects such as communication, film and media studies, journalism, political science, public relations and international relations. The Master of Public Diplomacy (Practitioner and Mid-Career Professional) is designed for students who have at least five years experience working in public diplomacy. See USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism  for degree requirements.

Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science and International Relations

See Political Science and International Relations  for degree requirements.


    Bachelor's DegreeMinorMaster's DegreeDual Degree


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