By JOANNA KASPER
The international relations major will be undergoing a face-lift next fall when it will be divided into two new majors.
“It will divide into international politics, which will be offered through the Political Science Department, and international studies, which will be offered by the Kennedy Center,” said Eric Hyer, director of graduate studies for the David M. Kennedy Center for international studies.
Hyer said they decided to make the changes when they discovered that some students were frustrated with the international relations major. Some students felt that there wasn’t enough emphasis on politics and others wanted to address more humanistic issues such as culture, he said.
“One of the challenges was that the international relations major tried to be all things to all people. When the students graduated, you couldn’t identify a specific focus in their education. It was so global that it was really a smorgasbord of courses,” Hyer said.
The new majors will provide students with a detailed exploration of their area of interest. For students who want to focus on politics, the international politics major, through the Political Science Department, will focus narrowly on international politics.
Hyer said that one advantage for some students is that the international politics major does not require a language.
“I think that the students who have a real interest in politics will now have a stronger major,” said R. Lanier Britsch, director of the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies. “It will be a great benefit to those students with political interests,” said Britsch.
Britsch said that he felt that now the International Studies program would be stronger for most students.
“In the prior configuration there was an assumption that all students wanted to study international politics and government. The new international studies major offers more specialization,” Britsch said.
While students will still have to complete some core classes, an emphasis and a minor in area studies will now be required.
Each emphasis has been divided into third world development, global economy, which focuses on business, and international law and diplomacy, which focuses on international organization.
In addition to students selecting an emphasis for their course work, they must now complete a minor. This will mean an additional 18 credit hours for the major.
As part of the minor requirement, several specific area studies have been added to the existing European, Asian, Latin American and Near Eastern area studies. The additions include studies in Russian, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Canadian.
In the future, Hyer said that the creation of more studies is anticipated. “We would like to see the program expand to include Scandinavian, American, and South East Asian studies as well as others,” he said.
“We want to develop a program that will cater to students who want to go on to law school, international business, or who are going on to other careers in international affairs,” Hyer said.
Students who are already in the international relations major will not be affected by the changes.
However, this will allow many students who are starting out to make a choice and change majors as many of the basic courses they have taken will transfer to the new majors, Hyer said.
In the near future there will be an information meeting for students providing information about the changes in greater detail, Hyer said.