International Relations

Major: International Relations
Related Majors and Minors: History, Political Science
Program Director: Barbara Donovan Professor of Political Science
Academic Catalogue

The international relations major is intended to reflect that we live in an ever more interrelated and interdependent world. As such, it is a course of study that combines the disciplines of history, political science, economics, and foreign language study. Often it is done in conjunction with a study abroad experience. Students majoring in this field study the historical, political, cultural, and economic processes that shape the international system today, as well as the roles of the main actors, such as states, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, multinational corporations, ideologies, and individuals.

Students who pursue a major in international relations develop the critical and analytical skills requisite for understanding the problems posed by the rapidly changing world; the fundamental data essential for interpreting that world; and the ability to express concepts concisely and forcefully, through both written and oral communication.

Sample courses include HIS 323 2oth Century Genocide, HIS 340 Europe in the 20th Century, POL 328 United States Foreign Policy, POL 342 International Organizations, POL 335 The Politics of the Developing World, and ECO 302 International Trade. For information about specific courses offered, please see our Academic Catalogue.

Special Opportunities
The international relations faculty encourages their students to participate in extracurricular experiences that enhance understanding of the international system. The College has a Model United Nations chapter and teams of our students regularly participate in the annual Southern Regional Model UN and the Harvard Model United Nations Conference. In 2008, the Wesleyan College Model United Nations (WCMUN) team represented the nations of Namibia and Sierra Leone at the prestigious Harvard National Model United Nations conference held in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Students in the campus chapter of Amnesty International have organized symposia on current human rights issues, such as the genocide in the Sudan. The program debate team regularly debates contemporary topics, such as the significance of Wikepedia and the role of China in the world. Further, through the  Public Leadership Education Network, a consortium of women’s colleges, students participate in public leadership seminars in Washington, D.C. on topics such as ‘Women in Congress’ and ‘International Public Policy and Women.’ Many students also take part in study abroad experiences and in recent years have traveled to Great Britain, Germany, Japan, and Guatemala, to name just a few destinations.


The international relations major is intended for those students seeking careers in government, non-profit organization, international business, law, journalism, and related fields. Most international relations majors go on to graduate study in related fields and have attended such prestigious institutions as Harvard, Georgia Tech, Pepperdine, American University, and the London School of Economics. Many grads immediately embark on exciting and successful careers for example, in government and non-profit management.


Barbara DonovanBarbara Donovan Professor of Political Science. B.A. (International Relations) Tufts University 1985; M.A. (Area Studies) University of London 1987; Ph.D (Political Science) Georgetown University 1997.  Tate 131.

Sara Lynn DesmetSarah Jacqueline Harrell DeSmet Associate Professor of French and Spanish. B.A. (French and Spanish) Vanderbilt University 1990; M.A. (French Literature) Indiana University 1993; Ph.D. (Romance Languages) University of Georgia 2001. Tate 209.

Tom EllingtonThomas C. Ellington Associate Professor of Political Science. B.A. (Political Science, Journalism) University of Alabama 1994; M.A. (Political Science) University of Alabama 1996; M.A. (Government and Politics) University of Maryland 1998; Ph.D. (Government and Politics) University of Maryland 2004. Tate 134.


Karen HuberKaren Huber Associate Professor of History. B.A (History, French) University of Dayton 1998; M.A. (History) Ohio State University 2002; Ph.D. (History) Ohio State University 2007. Tate 135.

Teresa SmothermanTeresa Parrish Smotherman Professor of Modern Languages. B.A. (Spanish) Valdosta State College, 1973; M.A. (Spanish) University of Georgia 1983; Ph.D. (Romance Languages) University of Georgia 1996.. Tate 211.


Phillip TaylorPhilip Davis Taylor Clara Carter Acree Chair of Social Sciences, Professor of Economics, Director of Graduate Business Programs. B.A. (Economics) University of North Carolina 1971; M.B.A. (Finance) University of North Carolina 1973; M.A., Ph.D. (Economics) Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 1989.  Taylor 217.