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Program International Relations: Politics and History

International Relations: Politics and History

BA undergraduate program


The program International Relations: Politics and History offers an analytical approach to past and current international problems. It introduces students to the evolution of international politics, international economics, and domestic political systems. Students gain knowledge of international law, diplomacy, finance, communication, and intercultural exchange. They acquire a critical understanding of present issues, and learn about the political and social developments that have shaped today’s world over the past two centuries. The Jacobs Political Science program was highly ranked in the recent CHE RANKING 2018.

This is what our Alumna Leonoor Cornelissen says about Jacobs and its internationality.

Program Structure and Content

Structure International Relations: Politics and History
Year 1
Take 3 CHOICE Modules, at least one free selection
Introduction to International Relations
This module presents an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of International Relations. With the help of concepts and theories from political science, students gain insight into the functioning and impact of many of today’s international institutions. In addition, students are offered a comprehensive historical overview of the political, economic and social changes of the international system during the past few centuries. Emphasis is put on the particularly disruptive and violent twentieth century (called the ‘Age of Extremes’ by historian Eric Hobsbawm), out of which today’s international institutions and system emerged.
Year 2
Take 3 CORE Modules, at least 2 from study program
International Politics and Policy
This module offers an introduction to the politics and policy-making of international relations. It does so through discussing some of the most pressing questions of global politics and policy today. These include: what is democracy, should it be spread around the world, and can it be incorporated at the international level? Moreover, is it possible to reduce warfare, terrorism and other forms of transnational violence? Last, what roles can diplomacy and foreign policy play in bringing about a prosperous, equitable and peaceful international system? The module shows that alternative theories in political science provide different answers to these questions, and it helps students critically reflect on these frameworks.
Global Dynamics in Historical Perspective
This module discusses the importance of the historical forces underlying contemporary politics, economies and societies and lays the foundation for thinking about future developments and challenges. The course “Social and Economic History in the Age of Globalization” provides students with a historical perspective on global interconnectedness and teaches them how economic developments interact with political, social and cultural factors. The course “Empires and Nation States” examines the past trajectories of great powers, the emergence of new types of states, and other key forces in world politics. The rise of Asia and the importance of regional differences in a globalizing world are accentuated in the course “Modern Asian History”. Throughout the module, students are invited to pose challenging questions: for instance, how can we balance the need for global thought and action with the appreciation of societal diversity? What might the rise and fall of past empires tell us about future dynamics?
Arenas of Political Life
This module presents an interdisciplinary combination of courses covering the ways in which ideas, structures, and actors shape political life on the domestic, regional, and international levels and how these levels interact. The course “International Political Economy” focuses on the relationship between economics and international relations by examining how domestic policies and politics interact with and are influenced by international economic issues and governance, and vice versa. “Regional Integration” investigates the efforts of different political actors to overcome the boundaries of the nation state and forge new relations, be it for political, cultural, or economic reasons. Finally, “International Law” focuses on the principles governing the international conduct of states and nonstate actors and on the prospects and limits of international law for addressing current and future issues in world politics.
Year 3
Take CAREER Modules, choose between World and Campus Track
1. World Track
5th Semester:
  • Program-specific Internship / study abroad
6th Semester:
  • Program-specific Project / Thesis Module
  • Program-specific Specialization Module
  • Exemplary course offering:
    Women in History and International Politics
    Oppression, Conformity and Resistance under Dictatorships
    China: Politics, Economy, Society
    The Problem of Power: An Introduction to Modern Political Philosophy
    Political Science and Employment
    Development Lab
2. Campus Track
Students who do not enter the World Track follow the Campus Track
5th and 6th Semester:
  • Program-specific Project / Thesis Module
  • Program-specific Specialization Module
  • Additional CORE Module