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Overview of International Relations

Student Symposium:  Student Symposium will take place on Thursday, April 18. The Student Symposium schedule is available online.

The international relations major strives to foster independence of thought and a multifaceted understanding of alternative outlooks on international affairs. At the same time, it prepares students for graduate or professional schools and for careers in the world of academia, government, international business, and international administration and management.

The Major

We approach the study of global politics from an intellectually rigorous interdisciplinary perspective. The core of the concentration in international relations consists of economics, language, and political science courses as well as a senior seminar. This core is supplemented by a variety of discretionary courses with an international dimension drawn from the social sciences, humanities, and physical sciences. The international relations major is designed to facilitate second majors, such as economics, and languages.

Beyond conventional course work, students of international relations enjoy different modes of learning. The department offers qualified students the opportunity to conduct mentored individual research and to self design courses. An important part of Beloit's heritage is its number of international students, who bring a variety of cultures and backgrounds to the campus. Lectures, dinners, and other multi-cultural events are sponsored by Beloit's International Club to build student awareness of our global society.

Professional Exploration

We recommend and encourage international relations majors to take advantage of Beloit College's study abroad opportunities. The vast majority of international relations majors spend at least one term at a college or university in another country. In recent years students have studied in China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, and Zimbabwe, to name a few. For more information on Beloit's Study Abroad Programs, follow this link to the Office of International Education.


As one of the "International 50," Beloit College is recognized as one of the leading colleges in preparing American students for international service, diplomacy, and scholarship. What do our students do with the international relations major? Our graduates have had many opportunities to practice what they have learned. In the past five years, Beloit students have gone on to graduate programs at Johns Hopkins, George Washington University, Tufts University, the University of Maryland, Oxford, and the University of Iowa Law School. Many have earned doctorate degrees and are in the academic profession.

Others have moved into the business world and are executives in corporations both in the U.S. and overseas. A significant number are in government agencies. We have had at least two alumni serve as ambassadors and many more in high level State Department positions and other government executive departments. Some have become journalists, among them is a woman who directs the PBS News Hour. One alumnus is an international consultant specializing in developmental and environmental issues in East Africa. Another alumnus is a successful jewelry designer and manufacturer. He believes his education in international relations prepared him beautifully for life.