Prepare yourself for a career in our global society by studying international issues through the lenses of politics, economics, history, languages and anthropology.

As an international relations (IR) major, you’ll integrate the study of politics, economics, history and foreign languages to gain the skills you need to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world.

IR students spend at least a semester abroad for a first-hand introduction to a foreign society. A thesis and study in one or two languages are required.

Our IR program gives motivated students core skills in leadership and communication, analyzing issues and problems, and synthesizing different disciplinary approaches—all qualities needed for careers in a global context.

Common career paths include public service, non-governmental organizations, business, law and academia. Pomona is among the top 50 U.S. colleges and universities with career diplomat graduates.

  • Majors at Pomona College: International Relations
    Prof. Pierre Englebert on the flexibility of studying international relations
  • In class with Professor Pierre Englebert
    In class with Professor Pierre Englebert
  • In class with Professor Heather Williams
    In class with Professor Heather Williams

What You'll Study

  • U.S. foreign policy
  • Modern history course focusing on Europe, Asia, Africa or Latin America
  • International economics
  • One or two foreign languages
  • Study abroad for at least one semester
Of IR majors study abroad and are proficient in at least one foreign language.

Learning at Pomona

  • Salamata Bah
    Inter-Korean Relations

    In her International Relations Seminar course, Salamata Bah ’20 explored how the South Korean government’s conception of reunification towards North Korea has changed since President Kim Dae-Jung first initiated inter-Korean relations through the famous Sunshine Policy in 1998.

  • Sam Bither
    Middle Eastern Monetary Policy

    Sam Bither ’21 is planning to conduct research during his semester abroad in Beirut about Middle Eastern monetary policy and how it has affected certain economies in the region.

  • Slideshow Pang
    International Financial Institutions

    Pang Boonbaichaiyapruck ’20 learned about international financial institutions, specifically the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) which served as the foundation for her summer job in asset management in emerging markets.

  • Paige Pepitone '19
    Services for Muslim Women Migrants in Barcelona

    This summer, Paige Pepitone ’19 has been conducting research on how community organizations facilitate the social integration of Muslim female migrants recently arrived in Barcelona.

  • Rena May Childers '20
    Family Planning in Tanzania

    Rena May Childers '20 spent the greater part of spring 2018 researching and writing about the barriers to family planning in Tanzania. Her work with Planned Parenthood, accompanied by an in-depth personal study into Eastern African politics, inspired this research project.

  • Nina Zhou '19
    China’s Soft Power Strategy and the 2022 Winter Olympics

    Nina Zhou '19 is working on a project looking at nationalism and soft power and how the two intersect in the realm of sporting events in East Asia, particularly the Olympics.

  • Niles Brooks
    Researching Education Inequality in Brazil

    Niles Brooks '20 will spend this upcoming summer in Bahia, Brazil studying the inner-workings of the Steve Biko Institute, one of the world’s most successful organizations in combating education inequality.

Nina Zhou '19
Nina Zhou '19

I truly believe that the IR program at Pomona is the epitome of a liberal arts experience. The major is designed to push students to learn and think from different perspectives—politics, history, economics, anthropology—and broaden their view of the world by studying abroad or learning another language.

Faculty & Teaching

Our core faculty’s expertise includes U.S. diplomacy, international trade, development economics, political development, managing international crises, democratic transition, political sociology, peacemaking, political and ethnic violence, global food politics, human rights and non-governmental organizations. 

Professor Pierre Englebert

IR is an ideal multidisciplinary major for a globalized world. It is both rigorous in its requirements and flexible in how they can be met. The two-semester senior thesis requirement is a popular capstone exercise. IR student and faculty form a strong supportive community across the College.