International Relations Overview

Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2018-2019, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on May 1, 2018. Access the catalog of record at

  • The International Relations (IR) major is an interdisciplinary field of study designed for students who seek a holistic understanding of international affairs. The curriculum is rooted in political science and provides students with a strong background in international relations and comparative government. At the same time, the curriculum reflects the recognition that international political phenomena are best understood from a variety of perspectives and includes courses from disciplines such as history, economics, religious studies, fine arts and literature. In order to complement their academic training with first-hand experience in a foreign country, students are also required to complete 3 units in a study abroad program. Graduates from the IR program are well prepared for careers in government, private industry, law, education and the nonprofit sector, as well as for graduate study in political science and international affairs. Students should note that courses counted toward another major/minor cannot also be counted toward the International Relations major or minor and that the department does not accept on-line transfer credits toward the major/minor.

USD/Washington Center Internship Semester and Intersession Seminar

University of San Diego students have the opportunity to enroll in a semester-long internship program in Washington, D.C. and earn academic credit toward their major. These internships are coordinated through the Political Science and International Relations Department and The Washington Center, a nationally recognized internship program that pioneered the development of full-time internships in the nation’s capital. The internship program combines real-world work experience with academic learning in a unique environment that fosters success and achievement. Students earn 12 semester units for participating in a full-time fall or spring semester program, and 6 to 9 units in the summer. Students may not enroll in more than 6 internship units, and only 3 units may be used toward the major or minor.

Students also have the opportunity to enroll in a 3-unit intersession course in Washington, D.C. (POLS 434). This course provides students with an opportunity to study current political, social, and economic issues while living in Washington, D.C. for two weeks.

USD Internship Program

Students may enroll in POLS 448. An internship provides an opportunity to gain practical, “real world” experience that gives depth and understanding to political issues and concepts discussed in the classroom.  It encourages students to develop the ability to use personal experience to bring new insights and understanding to political processes.  It also provides an opportunity to experience political and administrative activities, which may suggest future career possibilities. Students may not enroll in more than 6 internship units, and only 3 units may be used toward the major or minor.

The Department of Political Science and International Relations offers two majors. For information on the Political Science major, please see the Political Science section of this catalog.