How do I become an International Relations (IR) Honors Major at NYU?

Application to the IR Honors Major occurs in the fall of Sophomore year. Criteria for admission includes a strong academic record at NYU (G.P.A. of 3.65 or better); completion of two of the four required core courses (International Politics POL-UA 700 and either Economics I or II), and progress toward or completion of the foreign language requirement. At the time of your application, you must have completed either Economic Principles I OR  Economic Principles II AND POL-UA 700 International Politics.

What is the difference between an IR and a Politics degree at NYU?

IR is an interdisciplinary major.  This means that it is comprised of courses taken from the fields of Politics, Economics, Area Studies and Foreign Language.  While there is some overlap with the Politics major, students of IR are also expected to have a strong grasp of economics, foreign language, and the culture and politics of a particular region of their choice.  In addition, IR is an honors only major. 
You must apply to the major and maintain a 3.65 GPA throughout your time as a major.

What options would be available to me as a graduate of IR?

Graduates of the IR major have gone on to pursue a wide variety of interests including: law school, positions with international finance groups and multinational corporations, work with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), investment banking, federal programs such as Peace Corps and Teach for America, as well as graduate school programs in International Affairs, Politics, Public Policy, Urban Planning, Economics and Development. Graduates have attended law school at a variety of universities including NYU, Harvard University, and Columbia, as well as graduate programs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, University of Rochester, and Princeton University.

If I am an international student can I waive the study abroad requirement?

All IR students must study abroad for a full fall or spring semester. Students must spend a semester at an NYU program abroad or at one of the universities around the world with which NYU has an exchange agreement. For the most up-to-date information on study abroad opportunities, please see
Permission to study at any other site must be petitioned in advance in the Office of the Associate Dean for Students (Silver Center 909, 212-998-8140), after approval by the IR program. Students may study abroad for an entire year, so long as the year abroad will still permit the student to complete the necessary requirements for the major. The student should consult the undergraduate adviser for IR to discuss the possibility of an entire year abroad. Due to the yearlong senior honors sequence, students will not be able to study abroad in their senior year.

If English is my second language can I waive the language requirement?

You still need to take two advanced level language courses. Students may satisfy this requirement by completing two courses beyond the intermediate level. It is recommended that the language be related to the regional specialization and/or the study abroad site (but not, for example, if the site is London), but it is not required.We encourage students who are already fluent in English and another language to study an additional language at the advanced level. If a student considers himself or herself fluent in a foreign language, he or she can 1) complete the requirement with a third language or 2) take two advanced courses taught entirely in the foreign language of the student's fluency (this doesn’t have to be a language course necessarily). In either case, the student would have to take the two courses past the intermediate level.

If I am not admitted to the IR Honors Major, can I pursue an international relations course of study as a different major?

Yes. Since the IR major is interdisciplinary it is made up of courses from the Politics, Economics, Foreign Language and Area Studies Departments.  It is possible to pursue the exact same course of study as a major or double major or minor within any of these departments.  For instance one could simulate an IR course of study by double majoring in Politics and Economics with a minor in Middle Eastern studies.  

How can I learn more about the IR Honors Major?

Every September a Briefing Session is held for NYU students interested in the IR Honors Major.  The Briefing Session gives students a chance to meet some of the IR faculty and learn more about admission and requirements. If you think you might be interested in attending a Briefing Session, please contact Emily Mitchell-Marell ( to be put on the invite list.