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Joint International Relations & Modern Languages and Literatures Major


The multidisciplinary Joint IR/MLL Major is offered jointly by the Department of International Relations (IR) and the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures (MLL).  Each student is provided two advisors, one in each department.  The program, which offers a Bachelor of Arts, incorporates courses from both IR and MLL, as well as electives from a broad cross-section of other departments, for a challenging program that requires overseas study, language facility, and an undergraduate capstone research project.

The Joint IR/MLL Major recognizes that Lehigh graduates must be adequately prepared to play an active role in the world of the 21st century. For that, they will need an acute understanding of essential issues of global politics, broad linguistic and cultural skills, significant overseas experience, and both intellectual and cultural sophistication. The Joint IR/MLL Major meets those requirements with courses in economics, international relations, language, and culture. Extended study abroad and undergraduate research in more than one language are also required. The program will help students develop a deeper and richer understanding of cultural, linguistic, and political diversity around the world.

The program requires a total of 16 courses for 60-64 credits. At least one semester of study abroad in an approved Lehigh program is required, as is undergraduate research that uses sources in at least one language other than English. Each student will have two major advisors, one each from IR and MLL.

Joint IR/MLL Major Course Requirements

International Relations Courses (6 courses/24 credits)

  • IR010 Introduction to World Politics (4 credits)
  • Any three of the following courses (12 credits):
    • IR100 Methods and Research Design 
    • IR210 Foreign Policy 
    • IR220 Globalization and World Politics 
    • IR225 International Political Economy 
    • IR234 Great Power Politics 
    • IR235 International Security 
    • IR236 Causes of War 
    • IR237 National Security 
    • IR245 International Organization 
  • Two IR advanced courses numbered 300-387 (except IR 307) or IR 393 (8 credits)

Modern Languages and Literature Courses (6 courses/22-24 credits)

  • 16 credits in one language, either Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, Russian, French (above the level of French 2), German (above the level of German 2), and Spanish (above the level of Spanish 2)
  • Two culture courses from an approved list or in consultation with the MLL advisor (6-8 credits)

Capstone project: IR 389/MLL 389 (4 credits)

A research project on international politics that will include original research in at least one foreign language under the joint supervision of an adviser in IR and one in the relevant language in MLL.

Study Abroad

  • ​​​​1 semester or more in an approved Lehigh program

Electives (3 courses/10-12 credits)

  • Electives may include any MLL course except MLL 300 and any IR course except IR002, IR 019,  IR072, IR074, IR090, IR118/119, IR127, IR 307, IR388, IR 389, and IR391, including additional core courses or advanced courses beyond requirements (note that IR390, IR392, and IR394 are variable credit).
  • Electives may also include courses from the departments of Sociology and Anthropology, Economics, English, History, Political Science, Religion, and/or programs in Africana Studies, Asian Studies, Global Citizenship, Latin American and Latino Studies, Sociology and Social Psychology, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, or other courses as approved by IR/MLL advisor.  (Courses must be chosen from at least two departments or programs.) 

Total Credits 60-64

Complete the major declaration form to declare a Joint IR/MLL major.