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International Relations

Two international relations majors stand proudly in front of banners that say “welcome” in many languages.

International relations is organized around international security and conflict resolution, international political economy, global governance, foreign policy of the United States and other countries, and comparative, regional and cultural studies. 

The international relations curriculum encourages students to think creatively about a variety of issues: What constitutes “national security”? What are the social consequences of modernization? How does the United States arrive at foreign policy decisions? How is that different from how foreign policies are made in other countries and which is better? What is the impact of protectionist foreign trade policies? What is the impact of the United Nations and other international organizations? What effects do weapons and communications technologies have on world politics? 

International relations is housed in James Madison College, MSU’s residential college for international and public affairs, which is a limited-enrollment program. 


Graduates in international relations pursue careers in a range of industries, excelling in jobs that demand deep knowledge of global studies, sociology, culture and communication. 

Alumni work at: 

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Government agencies
  • Cultural organizations
  • Media companies
  • Law firms

Alumni work as: 

  • Administrators
  • Communications specialists
  • Health care professionals
  • Corporate liaisons

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