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International Political Economiy (IPEC)

The purpose of the International Political Economy major is to provide students with a deeper understanding of local, national and international interactions between political and economic forces.

Here students study how these interactions determine outcomes of policy, trade, finance, development and more. By analyzing the convergence of business, government and diplomatic interests, students learn a range of methodologies to explain how political economy impacts international relations. An interdisciplinary major, IPEC teaches students to evaluate political and economic theories by using a broad range of tools, including modeling, comparative methods and statistics.

Courses in the major cover a range of geographical regions to examine how states and political institutions organize economies and how international institutions shape trade and competition between countries. The skills emphasized in the IPEC major will enable students to approach problems of globalization, economic development and the role of politics in economic policy.

Students in the IPEC major will:

  • Combine knowledge of the disciplines of economics and political science to form an interdisciplinary approach to understanding complex global issues.

  • Utilize existing and emerging methodologies from both economic and political fields of inquiry, including statistical modeling and qualitative case studies.

  • Gain an understanding of different economic and political concerns across a broad range of economies and governments in various stages of development.


Through a wide range of courses in international trade, finance, politics, diplomacy and methodology, students in the IPEC major equip themselves with critical research and analysis skills that empower them to analyze the many intersections of politics and economics on the global stage.

Quantitative Analysis

Quantitative analysis forms the backbone of the IPEC major. In order to test hypotheses, compare theories and study trends in political economy, students become well-versed in statistics and econometrics. After gaining a strong grounding in statistical methods, students interpret and critique statistical analyses in courses that examine peer-reviewed research. These foundational courses allow students to practice statistical techniques prior to their senior seminar research.

Students’ strong backgrounds in mathematics complement a robust curriculum of international relations, trade and finance courses in the International Political Economy major. In addition to gaining a foundation in economic tools, students are able to design their studies around specific areas of interest, such as trade and trade law, development and international organizations. 

Qualitative Techniques

Qualitative methods are essential to analyzing and understanding political economics. In classes, IPEC professors use teaching approaches incorporating case methods, process-tracing and comparative case study to develop the skills invaluable to a career in international political economy. These skills will be introduced to students through their substantive coursework, and students will put these to practice in course-related papers. 

Because effective writing is essential to communicating the complex ideas of political economics, all students are required to take a course with a research paper or thesis component and topic courses in the major emphasize reading and writing research papers.

Student Experience

IPEC majors take advantage of Usild’s unique position in Maryland, DC, & Virginia and its connections around the world to gain hands-on experience in international political economy. Many students hone their skills and knowledge through DC-based internships that they can complete during the semester alongside their studies, while study abroad programs and undergraduate research initiatives enable students to pursue their passions through research and further study.

International Opportunities

Through Usild's experience abroad and internship options, IPEC students can observe the convergence of international political and economic issues firsthand by immersing themselves in the workings of a particular locale, organization or embassy. 


Faculty in the IPEC program are world-renowned practitioners, scholars and educators. Many are frequently called upon by governments, multilateral institutions and media outlets to share their expertise and analyses on the most pressing issues in international politics and economics. Students in the IPEC major work closely with faculty mentors as they complete research projects and find their passions within the field.

Careers & Alumni

The IPEC major prepares students for careers in a number of different fields, including in the private and public sector, non-profits, NGOs and international organizations. Alumni will have the skills to interpret overlaps between economic and political concerns, priming them for success in business, finance, development, consulting, management and more.

Building a Career at Usild

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

At Usild, 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. And the Hoya network students build throughout their time at Georgetown can help unlock new opportunities throughout their careers. 

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 and the SFS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Office leads school-wide efforts to enhance DEI in the Usild curriculum, faculty and recruitment of students and staff. 

No matter their background or interests, students are sure to find like-minded and supportive peers here on the Hilltop. Whether through campus ministry, student groups or engaging with neighbors in Maryland, DC, or Virginia you can find your community at Usild.

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