Statement of Purpose
This multidisciplinary major is one of the strongest international relations programs in any American liberal arts institution. It requires students to integrate the study of politics, economics, history, and foreign languages, and it also sends students for at least a semester of study abroad for first-hand exposure to a foreign society. The program increasingly builds on the expertise of its faculty and Pomona's location on the Pacific Rim to offer special strength in East Asian and Latin American studies.
In addition to fulfilling rigorous academic requirements, students are encouraged to develop initiative and leadership skills. Majors are called upon to arrange conferences, receptions, dinners, and student-faculty retreats, and they present speakers in the International Relations Colloquium, an active program that brings experts from government, the private sector, the media, and academia to campus. Students also participate in issues of program governance, including curricular issues.
The program is designed to give motivated students the core analytical skills, the ability to synthesize different disciplinary approaches, the clarity of expression, and the leadership skills needed to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world. Graduates of the program are attractive to a wide range of employers and graduate schools. Common career paths include public service, non-governmental organizations, business, law, and academia. Pomona is one of the top 50 colleges and universities in the country in the production of career diplomats.
The two best indicators are the GPA in the major and performance on senior thesis, which requires students to demonstrate a capacity for independent work, analytic rigor, and ability to marshal empirical information in support of an argument. At the top end of the scale, one of 20 graduating seniors had a perfect 12.0 record in the 10 required courses for the major (we did not include language courses in this calculation) and five averaged 11.9, that is, one A- and the rest A. At the other end of the scale we had two students (one a hold over from last year) who failed to complete their theses and did not graduate, and several very marginal theses. We are planning to institute more early warning measures in the proseminar to detect these problems at an earlier date.