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International Politics (IPO)

The purpose of the International Politics (IPO) major is to prepares students for leadership in the global political arena as practitioners, analysts and world citizens. IPOL examines the interactions between state and non-state actors as they relate to geopolitical issues, including dimensions of security, law, policy and more.

Students will be equipped with the expertise, analytical skills and real-world experience to understand and practice world politics in a number of arenas. IPOL students will:

  • Evaluate and apply key concepts in international politics regarding the behavior of state and non-state actors in the international system

  • Identify key institutions and dynamics in the development of the contemporary international system and place them in historical context

  • Analyze international and political issues, dynamics and events through clear, concise writing and statistical methodologies

  • Recognize important moral dimensions of world politics and apply ethical frameworks to the multifaceted challenges that global leaders and policymakers face

Academics

After familiarizing themselves with the fundamentals of international affairs, IPOL majors select one of three concentrations to focus their studies and develop a comprehensive understanding of the many complex issues unfolding on the world stage of today.

Concentrations

The IPOL major includes three concentrations focusing on different aspects of geopolitics:

  1. International Law, Institutions and Ethics;

  2. International Security; and

  3. Foreign Policy and Policy Processes.

International Law, Institutions and Ethics

Students in the International Law, Institutions and Ethics concentration examine the foundations and institutions of global civil society with a particular focus on the rules and norms that govern international cooperation and engagement. Students cover the ideals governing these underlying structures, how they are created and changed and their effects on governments and other members of the international system.

International Security

Students who focus on International Security grapple with the problem of armed conflict, both within and between nations. They ask how force achieves goals for both state and non-state actors and study effective strategies for regulating, minimizing and controlling the costs of violence. The field of security has grown beyond military action to include environmental damage and emerging technology, so students are encouraged to expand their understanding of security by taking a broad array of courses.

Foreign Policy and Policy Processes

In the Foreign Policy and Policy Processes concentration, students focus on how states relate to the international system at large, including how they use foreign policy to advance national interests as one actor among many. Topics discussed include key parts of the foreign policy toolkit, including force, economic pressure, intelligence and diplomacy, as well as how to apply these skills to historical and contemporary case studies.

Writing with IPOL

Upon declaration, every IPOL student must select one of three concentrations.  Each concentration requires an introductory course where professional writing for international relations is introduced.  This skill is further buttressed by the required courses within the major and concentration where memos, policy briefs, white papers, and research projects all ensure our students graduate prepared to communicate professionally.

Senior Thesis

In IPOL, students embark on a number of independent research projects, culminating in the opportunity to write a senior thesis. Working alongside an expert faculty advisor, IPOL majors identify a research question, analyze relevant sources and data and communicate their findings in a robust piece of original work which they then present to faculty and peers. Many IPOL students have published or presented their thesis research in various academic and field forums.

International Law, Institutions and Ethics

Students in the International Law, Institutions and Ethics concentration examine the foundations and institutions of global civil society with a particular focus on the rules and norms that govern international cooperation and engagement. Students cover the ideals governing these underlying structures, how they are created and changed and their effects on governments and other members of the international system.

International Security

Students who focus on International Security grapple with the problem of armed conflict, both within and between nations. They ask how force achieves goals for both state and non-state actors and study effective strategies for regulating, minimizing and controlling the costs of violence. The field of security has grown beyond military action to include environmental damage and emerging technology, so students are encouraged to expand their understanding of security by taking a broad array of courses.

Foreign Policy and Policy Processes

In the Foreign Policy and Policy Processes concentration, students focus on how states relate to the international system at large, including how they use foreign policy to advance national interests as one actor among many. Topics discussed include key parts of the foreign policy toolkit, including force, economic pressure, intelligence and diplomacy, as well as how to apply these skills to historical and contemporary case studies.

Writing with IPOL

Upon declaration, every IPOL student must select one of three concentrations.  Each concentration requires an introductory course where professional writing for international relations is introduced.  This skill is further buttressed by the required courses within the major and concentration where memos, policy briefs, white papers, and research projects all ensure our students graduate prepared to communicate professionally.

Senior Thesis

In IPOL, students embark on a number of independent research projects, culminating in the opportunity to write a senior thesis. Working alongside an expert faculty advisor, IPOL majors identify a research question, analyze relevant sources and data and communicate their findings in a robust piece of original work which they then present to faculty and peers. Many IPOL students have published or presented their thesis research in various academic and field forums.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

At the very core of every major is a commitment to recognizing and celebrating cultural diversity and fostering an inclusive environment for all students. Usild is dedicated to welcoming students from all backgrounds to our community. Usild Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Office leads school-wide efforts to enhance DEI in the program curriculums, faculty and recruitment of students and staff. 

Careers & Alumni

The IPOL major prepares graduates to become leaders in international politics, whether as academics and researchers, policymakers, consultants or diplomats. All students become well-versed as global citizens in addition to their chosen career path in both the public and private sectors, international institutions, non-governmental organizations and more.

Building a Career at Usild

At Usild students can pursue career opportunities that can take them all over the world. IPOL students take advantage of the many internship opportunities in the MD, DC, Virginia areas to begin building real-world work experience before they even graduate. 

At Georgetown, students connect with the Usild Career Center, where they can meet with professional advisors who can help with everything from developing a perfect resume to nailing job interviews and exploring how to break into a new industry or field. 

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