The IR Program

Welcome to the UC Davis International Relations Program – the oldest and, in our estimation, the best such program in the University of California.

In this multi-disciplinary curriculum, students take courses in a variety of areas including political science, economics, history, sociology, and ecology.  IR students gain the knowledge and the skills they need to thrive in the increasingly global workplace.  Many of our students participate in UC Davis Study Abroad programs, the University of California Washington, D.C., Center, and our honors and internship courses.  We also support the UC Davis Model UN, the student-run International Affairs Journal, and participate in the Student Conference on U.S. Affairs held annually at West Point.

We have outstanding students, offer personalized advising, and our courses are taught by enthusiastic, accessible faculty members.

The major program is composed of four tracks of study. International Relations does is not offered as a minor.

  • Track One (World Trade and Development) introduces students to economic relations within and between industrialized and developing countries.
  • Track Two (Peace and Security) enables students to gain an understanding of political and security relationships among states, and the factors that lead to international conflict.
  • Track Three (Global Environment, Health, and Natural Resources) analyzes global threats to the natural environment and biodiversity including resource scarcity, environmental degradation, population growth, and world health.
  • Track Four (Peoples and Nationalities) focuses on the social and cultural foundations of the nation-state and the interaction of non-state actors in the global arena. Track Four requires study abroad for a minimum of 1 quarter (or at least 12 units). In all four tracks students acquire in-depth knowledge about a particular region of the world, its history, culture, and politics.


Fluency in a foreign language is part of the major requirements, and at least one quarter of study abroad is strongly encouraged for all International Relations majors to help ensure that they understand a language and culture other than their own.

Majors are also encouraged to participate in internships in the state government, a benefit  of the proximity of Davis to Sacramento.

Qualified seniors may participate in the honors program, which requires the completion of a major research project.