Being a part of today’s society means being a global citizen.
A degree in international relations allows students to study different governments and cultures and how they interact. International relations majors will become an expert in a specialized area or region of the world and research the history, economics, culture, and language of that region while developing the skills that will set them on a path to professional and personal success.
Upon graduation they will have fine-tuned their knowledge on the subject area but also become capable communicators, writers, and leaders. We encourage our students to pair the international relations major with a language minor or an area that would increase their in-depth knowledge of the field. This level of specialized knowledge makes international relations graduates stand out among other candidates in the job market.
Courses in this Major
International Studies students take courses in political science as well as across many disciplines. Here is a sample of some of the courses a student may take:
POL 221 Comparative Government Systems
This course addresses an introduction to non-traditional and non-Western political systems. Content will vary from year to year and may include topics such as Asian political systems, Latin American systems, the political structures of ancient imperial organizations, pre-colonial African tribal organizations, etc. This course is required of all political science majors. A course requirement includes 12 to 15 pages of academic writing.
POL/HIS 325 Imperialism in the Modern World
This course examines the causes and consequences of imperialism in the modern world. It considers and compares imperial institutions, ideologies, economies, and cultures. It also studies the variety of ways in which people shaped these encounters and evaluates the significance of these experiences for the post-colonial global order.
POL/ECN 334 Political Economy of Latin America
This course begins by examining aspects of the indigenous societies prior to the arrival of Europeans in what has come to be called “Latin America.” Throughout, it considers issues such as colonialism, militarism, race, gender relations, and religion that have shaped the societies, polities, and economies of nations from Mexico and the Caribbean to those of the Southern Cone. The goal of the course is to afford class members the opportunity to better understand Latin America’s history as a basis for comprehending its likely future.
POL 341 Globalization and Decision-Making
This course offers an analysis of the increasing functional obsolescence of the nation state under the pressures of transnational problems such as drugs, AIDS, and the environment. The emergence of regional and international organizations such as the European Union, the Organization of African States, and the Association of South East Asian Nations to meet these challenges are also addressed. The course is required of all political science majors.
Faculty in the Political Science Department host and participate in a number of events throughout the year for our majors and the wider La Salle community. Among these events are the annual Constitution Day Panel, the Lasallian Forum for Politics and Policy, film nights, and election night parties. They are also actively involved in supporting University initiatives like the Diplomat-in-Residence Program (DRP) and Explorer Cafés. Some recent events have included the following:
Michael Boyle, Michael Dillon, Miguel Glatzer, and Lyman Stebbins on “Massacre in Paris: Context and Reaction”
Miguel Glatzer on “Victory of the Left in Greece, Impact on the EU and the U.S.”
Lasallian Forum for Politics and Policy
The Lasallian Forum for Politics and Policy, established in 2010, brings informative speakers from a range of fields—federal, state, and local governments, nonprofits, law firms, court officials, campaign officials, lobbyists, and interest group activists—onto campus to talk about their work and career trajectory. The Forum aims to give La Salle students a firsthand account of each speaker’s field of practice and expose them to the multiple career opportunities. Recent forum speakers and topics include:
Amilcar Moreira, Ph.D., Institute of Social Science, University of Lisbon, Portugal, “The Economic Crisis and European Labor Markets”
Malia K. Du Mont, Director of Strategy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense at The Defense Entrepreneurs Forum, “The Quadrennial Defense Review and National Security Strategy”
Karen Kaiser, Esq., Associate General Counsel for the Associated Press and La Salle alumnus Thomas Curley, former CEO of the Associated Press, “Government Seizing Phone and E-Mail Records.”
Ana M. Guillen, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, University of Oviedo, Spain, “Economic Crisis and Austerity: Impacts on European Union Health Care Systems”
The Political Science Department offers two awards to each graduating class for outstanding academic achievement.
Political Science Department Academic Award
This departmental award is given each year to the graduating student with the highest cumulative grade point average (GPA). The award is given during Commencement Weekend at a special awards luncheon for all department winners and their families.
Joseph V. Brogan Senior Research Seminar Award
Inaugurated in 2011, the Joseph V. Brogan Award, named in honor of Dr. Joseph Brogan, ’72, who taught political theory in the Department from 1987 to 2009, is given each year to a graduating senior to honor excellence in undergraduate student research. The award is given to the best paper produced in the senior seminar classes. The award winner is presented with a plaque after Commencement and his/her name is engraved on a larger plaque maintained in the Department.
"There was always an underlying theme of dignity – dignity of ideas and people – but mostly the dignity of people, and being present to them in our life’s work."
— Paul Burgoyne, ’71, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Deputy Chief Disciplinary Counsel
Blaze Your Own Path
As an international relations major you’ll be trained to be the liaison between nations. Part of La Salle’s Political Science Department, international relations is an interdisciplinary major designed to prepare students for careers in global politics. This major is particularly for students who want to work in organizations like the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, the United Nations, and a range of non-governmental organizations. It includes a language requirement chosen by the student (including, for example, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Italian). As a multilingual candidate with an interdisciplinary background, graduates of La Salle’s international relations program will have a competitive hiring advantage over students from other universities. Some careers in international relations include:
In order for students to enroll in international relations internships, students must have a junior level standing and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Participating students will receive three hours of academic credit and spend approximately 10 hours a week at their internship placement (which can be with an elected official, a candidate for office, a legal office, a nonprofit, or an administrative agency). The following are placement sites for recent La Salle interns:
Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia
National Constitution Center
Organizing for America, a Partnership with the Democratic National Party
United States Department of Homeland Security
United States Environmental Protection Agency Region III
Each international relations student prepares a senior research project on a subject of his/her own interest. It must showcase an in-depth knowledge of an area of study, include persuasive writing, and showcase an interdisciplinary perspective. This project has been used by students in applying for research grants, graduate and law school, and when applying for positions in their field. Some of our students have continued their research after graduation to develop it more fully and continue to work toward a change.
Some past student research topics include:
Rise of ISIS and al Qaeda
Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan
Diaspora Mobilization among Caribbean populations in the U.S.
Ludmille Glaude is a shining example of a student who used the opportunities La Salle provided to blaze her own path. Upon coming to La Salle, she immediately carved a spot for herself as an Explorer by getting involved on campus. She’s was the women’s club rugby team, former president of the African American Student […]
Ludmille Glaude is a shining example of a student who used the opportunities La Salle provided to blaze her own path. Upon coming to La Salle, she immediately carved a spot for herself as an Explorer by getting involved on campus. She’s was the women’s club rugby team, former president of the African American Student League, and tirelessly addresses issues of social injustice in the world, using her voice to help others find their own. She used that same voice to introduce former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama when she spoke on campus in 2016. “Meeting her was definitely a highlight of my time at La Salle,” she says. “It was an amazing opportunity that I will never forget.” Majoring in political science, international relations, and Spanish with a religion minor, Ludmille plans to continue using her voice and education to make a difference in the world. “I want to be an ambassador,” she says. “Having lived in Haiti as a child, I always saw myself as a global citizen, so if I can help people with policy change and travel the world, that’s the dream.” Ludmille recognizes Philadelphia is the perfect city to explore her passions and to help fulfill her dreams. With so many internship opportunities available in a city as large as Philadelphia, she’s already had several internships which have helped her build an impressive resume. But, she says the friendly community has been her favorite part of La Salle. “I feel very blessed because every single person I’ve encountered has helped me in some way,” she says.
Beyond the Classroom
83% of faculty hold a Ph.D. or the highest degree in their field.
Ranked in Forbes 2017 Top U.S. Colleges.
Listed by the New York Times in the Top 6% for median income of graduates at age 34.
Ranked 34th in the North Region on U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 list of Best Colleges.