International Relations Program

Formed in 1981, the Five College IR Program is a unique collaboration of disciplines and institutions that forms one of the richest interdisciplinary undergraduate international relations learning and teaching environments in the nation.

The Five College IR Program brings together a highly talented group of political scientists, historians and economists from all Five Colleges—Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts–Amherst—to collaborate on research and to offer a diverse range of courses from multiple disciplines and intellectual perspectives.

One of the core features of the Five College IR Program is the Five College International Relations Certificate. With challenges such as globalization, regional and ethnic conflict, environmental degradation, resource scarcity, demographic stress, global climate change and wide disparities in global economic development and global public health among others, the world is increasingly more complex. Now more than ever, students need to be prepared to confront the complexities of these international challenges with interdisciplinary understandings. The Five College IR certificate program is designed for students who want to make connections between their field of study and the global challenges.

Each year, more than 50 students from the Five Colleges earn their certificate. Many have gone into international relations careers in government, non-governmental organizations, business, academia and journalism.

The Five College IR program also hosts the Five College International Relations Faculty Seminar. The seminar is a forum for scholars to collaborate and to share work in progress. Each year, the seminar is host to some of the nation’s leading international relations scholars and graduate students who present and discuss their current research.

The Five College IR program also sponsors and co-sponsors several public events in the Five College community featuring policymakers, journalists, scholars and advocates from around the world.

On This Page


The Five Colleges International Relations Program is governed by a group of faculty from different disciplines. The governing committee consists of a small group which makes decisions about the Certificate Program.

A larger group of faculty participates in the Five College IR Faculty Seminar. This group listed below meets regularly with outside speakers to discuss current research, to exchange scholarly papers, and to collaborate on research and teaching. These faculty often collaborate on scholarly projects, and the program provides an effective forum for such activities. There is currently one such project: Post-Hegemonic Global Governance, a project run by the late Five College Professor of International Relations Jon Western and UMass professors Peter Haas and Kevin Young. The project is analyzing the changing roles and policies of the United States in a world in which the meanings of security are evolving in unanticipated directions.

There is at least one advisor (marked with an asterisk) on each campus for the International Relations Certificate.

Javier Corrales*
Political Science, Amherst College
Latin America, the politics of economic and social policy reform in developing countries

Pavel Machala*
Political Science, Amherst College
Marxist international relations theory, world political systems, world capitalist economy, U.S. diplomacy, domestic sources of U.S. foreign policy

Eleonora Mattiacci*
International Politics, Amherst College
Emphasis on security studies. Various aspects of the technology on international security, ranging from the impact of modern weapons on warfare to the impact of nuclear proliferation in relations among countries.

Ruxandra Paul*
European Studies, Political Science, Amherst College
Political and societal impact of globalization, supranational integration and increasingly porous borders. International migration, cyberpolitics, varieties of citizenship, European politics, the European Union, post-communist politics and societies, democratization, civil society, and transnational rights.

Kerry Ratigan*
Political Science, Amherst College
China, social policy, authoritarianism, and state-society relations. Her research examines how local politics shapes social policy provision in China.

*Certificate Advisor

Frank Holmquist
Critical Social Inquiry, Hampshire College (Emeritus)
Comparative politics, peasant political economy, African and Third World development

April Merleaux*
Critical Social Inquiry, Hampshire College

US Foreign Policy and Empire Studies, environmental and agrarian studies, critical race and ethnicity, drug policy

*Certificate Advisor

Calvin Chen
Politics Department, Mount Holyoke College
Political economy of East Asia, Chinese politics, comparative politics, work and labor politics, rural economic development, public administration

Sohail Hashmi*
International Relations Program, Mount Holyoke
Religion and politics, particularly the role of Islam in domestic and international relations; ethics and international relations, particularly the comparative ethics of war and peace; Middle East politics

Stephen F. Jones
International Relations, Mount Holyoke College (Emeritus)
Russia, the Caucuses, post-Communist transitions, and nationalism

Kavita Khory
International Relations, Mount Holyoke College
South Asian politics and regional security, political violence, nationalism, migration, diaspora politics

Eva Paus
Economics, McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives, Mount Holyoke College
Economic development in the context of globalization, the implications of the rise of China for developing countries, policy space for alternatives to the Washington Consensus, globalization of production and possibilities for economic development

Andy Reiter
Politics, Mount Holyoke
Comparative politics, transitional justice, international law, political violence, Latin American politics

Jon Western
Politics, Mount Holyoke College
International security; human rights; American foreign policy

*Certificate Advisor

Mlada Bukovansky*
Government, Smith College
IR theory, evolving norms and institutions, European politics

Brent Durbin
Government, Smith College
American foreign policy, strategic intelligence, military conflict and culture

Gregory White*
Government, Smith College
Political economy of developing countries and their relationships with advanced industrialized countries, the political economy and security implications of international labor migration, the north-south dimension of natural resource exploitation, the prospects of electoral reform

*Certificate Advisor

Audrey L. Altstadt*
History Department, UMass
Soviet History; Soviet nationalities, especially Azerbaijan, Central Asia

Christian G. Appy
History Department, UMass
Modern U.S. History, Vietnam War

Charli Carpenter
Political Science, UMass
National security ethics, the laws of war, transnational advocacy networks, gender and political violence, war crimes, comparative genocide studies, humanitarian affairs, the role of information technology in human security

Eric Einhorn
Political Science, UMass (Emeritus)
Comparative public policy and political economy, European politics, and Scandinavian politics

Joshua S. Goldstein
Political Science, UMass
IR theory, theories of war, gender and war

Peter M. Haas
Political Science, UMass
International relations theory, international political economy, international environmental politics, international institutions, global governance

David Mednicoff
Legal Studies, Public Policy, UMass
Middle East, Arab-Israeli conflict, U.S. foreign policy, international law, human rights, globalization, humanitarian intervention

M.J. Peterson*
Political Science, UMass
World Politics, international institutions, international political economy, technology and technological change

Regine Spector
Political Science, UMass
Comparative politics, political economy, development, Eurasian politics

Kevin A. Young
History Department, UMass
Modern Latin American history, U.S. intervention in Latin America

Kevin L. Young
Economics Department, UMass
Interest groups and business lobbying, International political economy, Elite networks, Financial regulation  

*Certificate Advisor


The Five College International Relations Certificate Program offers an opportunity for students to pursue an interest in international relations as a complement to their majors.

Course requirements for the certificate cover the following areas of study:

  1. A course on introductory world politics
  2. A course on global institutions or problems
  3. A course on the international financial and/or commercial system
  4. A course concerning the historical development of the international system since 1789
  5. A course on contemporary American foreign policy
  6. Proficiency in a contemporary foreign language through the completion of two years of the language at the college level or its equivalent. (For Amherst College students, the requirement is two years of college-level foreign language study.)
  7. Two courses on the politics, economy and/or society of foreign areas, of which one must involve the study of a Third World country or region

Here are a few basic things to consider:

  1. There are seven requirements.
  2. No more than four courses in any one discipline can be counted toward the certificate.
  3. No single course can satisfy more than one requirement.
  4. Candidates must complete the required courses (with the exception of the foreign language courses) with grades of at least B or better (no Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory grades). Non-Hampshire students should request grades for Hampshire courses. The Hampshire advisor will certify that Hampshire students have satisfied the requirement.
  5. Not all of the courses listed are presented every year. Consult your college catalogue and relevant departments in this regard.

If you have questions whether or not a course counts for one of the seven requirements, please contact your campus advisor.

Once you have satisfied the seven requirements, you should fill out a Certificate Completion Form. Then, take the form to your IR certificate advisor, who will complete processing of the form (per instructions on the form).

Typically, none of the certificates are mailed to students' addresses until some time in August. The notation on your transcript, however, appears much more quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Meet with your advisor for the certificate program to review your Certificate Completion Form and an unofficial copy of your transcript. Make sure any courses for which grades are pending are clearly marked on the Certificate Completion Form. Graduating seniors should ensure that their advisor receives the certificate completion documents by the dates noted on the Certificate Completion Form (November 1 for Fall semester graduates and April 1 for Spring semester graduates).

If your advisor agrees you have completed the requirements, the advisor signs the Certificate Completion Form and follows the instructions on the Certificate Completion Form. Five College Academic Programs must receive certificate completion documentation by the dates noted on the Certificate Completion Form. Five College staff coordinate with the registrars to verify any pending grades as well as to implement the final steps of adding the certificate award notation to the student's transcript.

To satisfy the language requirement for the Certificate you must take courses that bring you to an intermediate level in that language. The main purpose is to allow you to do primary research in a particular language. Some flexibility exists depending upon the language you choose to study. More difficult languages (Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, etc.) are more flexible regarding what courses you need to complete. Check with your campus adviser to clarify what courses you need to take in order to satisfy the requirement. If you are not a native English language speaker and fluent in that other language, you have satisfied the requirement.

Yes, you can. You should check with your adviser prior to taking the courses to be sure that they can satisfy a certain requirement. Credit is granted once the course work has been completed.

You may count AP credits as long as you received college credit for the work, i.e., the registrar counts them toward your graduation credit requirement. You may NOT use AP credits if they were only granted to allow you access to an upper level course.

There are Five College Certificate advisors on each of the five campuses. Feel free to contact an advisor on your campus if you have further questions.


Note that if you don't see classes from all campuses currently listed, they will appear as the campuses release their course schedules for the semester. The five campuses release their schedules on different dates. Visit this page for specific dates.

Spring 2024 International Relations Courses

Subject Course # Sect # Course Title Instructor(s) Institution Meeting Times
ECON 223 01 Economics of Migration Caroline Theoharides Amherst College M/W | 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM
ENST 260 01 Global Environ. Politics Ashwin Ravikumar Amherst College TU/TH | 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM
ENST 330 01 Environmental Justice Ashwin Ravikumar Amherst College TU/TH | 2:30 PM - 3:50 PM
HIST 105 01 Glob Env Hist 20th Cen Edward Melillo Amherst College TU/TH | 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM
HIST 157 01 US in Wld:1898-Present Vanessa Walker Amherst College M/W | 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM
HIST 157 01F US in Wld:1898-Present Vanessa Walker Amherst College F | 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM
HIST 157 02F US in Wld:1898-Present Vanessa Walker Amherst College F | 12:00 PM - 12:50 PM
HIST 172 01 Modern China George Qiao Amherst College M/W | 8:30 AM - 9:50 AM
HIST 190 01 Prophet Caliph Sultan Monica Ringer Amherst College M/W | 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM
HIST 230 01 French Revolution Ellen Boucher Amherst College M/W | 8:30 AM - 9:50 AM
HIST 283 01 Intro South African Hist Sean Redding Amherst College TU/TH | 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM
HIST 370 01 Japan's Empire in Asia Trent Maxey Amherst College TU/TH | 8:30 AM - 9:50 AM
HIST 459 01 America and Vietnam Vanessa Walker Amherst College M | 2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
POSC 112 01 Pol. of Climate Change Eleonora Mattiacci Amherst College TU/TH | 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM
POSC 215 01 Democratic Backsliding Javier Corrales Amherst College TU/TH | 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM
POSC 235 01 Lens of Border Culture Lorne Falk Amherst College TU/TH | 8:30 AM - 9:50 AM
POSC 252 01 Intro International Rel. Eleonora Mattiacci Amherst College TU/TH | 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM
POSC 264 01 Globalization Nataliia Bychkova Amherst College M/F | 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM
POSC 301 01 Terrorism and Revolution Constantine Pleshakov Amherst College M | 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
POSC 305 01 New Cold Wars Pavel Machala Amherst College M | 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
POSC 438 01 Insurgency & Counterin Scott Smitson Amherst College F | 2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
POSC 486 01 US Lat Amer Relations Javier Corrales Amherst College TU/TH | 2:30 PM - 3:50 PM

Contact Us

Five College Staff Liaison:

Ray Rennard, Director of Academic Programs