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.

Faculty

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 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
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

Jillian Schwedler
Political Science, UMass
Globalization, Neoliberalism, transnational religious networks, public spheres,
Middle East politics

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

Kevin Young
Political Science, UMass
International political economy, financial regulation, private sector lobbying

*Certificate Advisor

Certificate

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.

A hard copy of the certificate is normally mailed to the student from Five Colleges, Inc. in July following the student’s date of graduation.

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.

Courses

Fall 2021 Courses

01
4.00

Manuela Picq

TTH 01:00PM-02:20PM

Amherst College
POSC-160-01-2122F

CHAP 203

mpicq@amherst.edu
POSC-160-01,SWAG-160-01

(Offered as POSC 160 and SWAG 160) From abortion to gay rights, sexuality is deeply entangled in world politics. As LGBT rights become human rights principles, they not only enter the rights structure of the European Union and the United Nations but are also considered a barometer of political modernity. If some Latin American nations have depicted their recognition of gay rights as symbolic of their progressive character, certain North African nations have depicted their repression of homosexuality symbolic of their opposition to western imperialism. The results of sexual politics are often contradictory, with some countries enabling same-sex marriage but criminalizing abortion and others cutting aid in the name of human rights. This course explores the influence of sexual politics on international relations. We analyze how women and gay rights take shape in the international system, from the UN to security agendas, and evaluate how sexuality shapes the modus operandi of contemporary politics.

This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.

Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Karl Loewenstein Fellow and Visiting Associate Professor Picq.

Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during all registration periods.

01
4.00

Ruxandra Paul

W 01:30PM-04:00PM

Amherst College
POSC-370-01-2122F

SCCE C101

rpaul@amherst.edu

This seminar examines how the digital age (the third industrial revolution) has transformed politics around the world, in democratic and non-democratic contexts. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) change how people, states, and non-state actors interact. Technology creates new access points and vulnerabilities, new windows of opportunity and new politically salient actors, new political behaviors and types of participation. The course includes four modules: e-democracy (online social capital, digital citizenship, hashtag movements, online electoral campaigns, election hacking and "fake news," participation, information/disinformation strategies - e.g. the use of troll farms and bot armies to undermine democratic processes and trust in open societies); cyber security (cyberwar, cyberattacks, defense, terrorism, surveillance, privacy); online revolutions and authoritarian resilience (regime change, democracy promotion, censorship, ); and beyond borders (social movements and hacktivism, crypto currencies, global markets and tech giants, etc.).

The course asks four big questions:

1.     How does digital technology transform democracy and democratic politics?

2.     How does the Digital Age influence national and international security?

3.     Do ICTs undermine or strengthen nondemocratic regimes?

4.     What political, economic and social changes occur at the subnational and supranational level as a result of new technologies?

We use current issues and cases (e.g. disinformation campaigns/fake news ops, #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo/#NiUnaMenos, the Arab Spring, online radicalization, the Snowden revelations, net neutrality, Internet centralization & decentralization, Anonymous ops, Internet censorship and surveillance in China, Stuxnet, ransomware cyberattacks, Amazon as a business model, AI, virtual reality etc.) to analyze how cyberspace reshapes politics, societies, markets, communities, as well as political science as a discipline. You will gain a rigorous and sophisticated understanding of the relationship between technology and politics, and its various facets. The course will teach you how to develop expertise and design a research project on a topic of your choice: you will learn how to turn a general interest into a research question; how to read, summarize, and engage with relevant scholarship on the subject; and how to move from reading what others have to say about your topic of interest towards producing new knowledge of the kind that forms the basis for an original research paper or honors thesis. For students potentially interested in working towards a senior thesis, this seminar provides a much-needed analytical and methodological foundation. 

Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Assistant Professor Paul.

Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Manuela Picq

W 01:30PM-04:15PM

Amherst College
POSC-432-01-2122F

CLAR 100

mpicq@amherst.edu

(Offered as POSC 432 and LLAS 332) This class proposes Amazonia as a site to think about world politics. The Amazon, imagined as a place of nature rather than modernity, is invisible in the study of International Relations (IR). Yet, its experiences are deeply interconnected with international dynamics. The modern world has long been influencing Amazonia, and Amazonia has in turn contributed much to forging what we now refer to as the global North. This class identifies international dynamics at play in Amazonia through different historical moments, from shaping western sovereignty in the sixteenth century to the rubber boom of the twentieth century and drug trafficking today. We show how Amazonian peripheries have contributed to forging the political economy of what we refer to as the core of world politics. This class engages with empirical approaches to Amazonia as well as theoretical debates about IR, disrupting the global division of labor in knowledge production and opening fertile grounds to think critically about IR.

Requisite: At least one POSC course (200 or above). Limited to 18 students. Not open to first-year students. Fall semester. Karl Loewenstein Fellow and Visiting Associate Professor Picq.

Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Manuela Picq

TTH 01:00PM-02:20PM

Amherst College
SWAG-160-01-2122F

CHAP 203

mpicq@amherst.edu
POSC-160-01,SWAG-160-01

(Offered as POSC 160 and SWAG 160) From abortion to gay rights, sexuality is deeply entangled in world politics. As LGBT rights become human rights principles, they not only enter the rights structure of the European Union and the United Nations but are also considered a barometer of political modernity. If some Latin American nations have depicted their recognition of gay rights as symbolic of their progressive character, certain North African nations have depicted their repression of homosexuality symbolic of their opposition to western imperialism. The results of sexual politics are often contradictory, with some countries enabling same-sex marriage but criminalizing abortion and others cutting aid in the name of human rights. This course explores the influence of sexual politics on international relations. We analyze how women and gay rights take shape in the international system, from the UN to security agendas, and evaluate how sexuality shapes the modus operandi of contemporary politics.

This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.

Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Karl Loewenstein Fellow and Visiting Associate Professor Picq.

Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Jon Western

TTH 10:00AM-11:15AM

Mount Holyoke College
115628

Shattuck Hall 203

jwestern@mtholyoke.edu
What are human rights? Can you list them -- and, is there a list somewhere? Does it matter? Do some people in the world have more access to human rights than others? Why? This seminar examines the origins, evolution, and practices of human rights ideas, norms, and institutions in global politics. We will explore the wide range of debate and controversy regarding human rights: are human rights universal (i.e. rights inherent in all human beings) or do they originate and obtain only in specific cultural contexts. Are human rights individual or collective? Should we prioritize various types of rights over others (i.e., civil and political rights vs. social, cultural, and economic)? We will examine how concepts like state sovereignty and power affect our consideration of these questions, as well as how well states and international organizations adhere to human rights norms and institutions. We will review how non-governmental advocacy organizations mobilize around human rights and the conditions under which they are (and are not) successful. Finally, we will examine how human rights have evolved and changed over time and whose voices are, and are not, reflected in national and international debates.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

02
4.00

Jon Western

TTH 11:30AM-12:45PM

Mount Holyoke College
115788

Shattuck Hall 217

jwestern@mtholyoke.edu
What are human rights? Can you list them -- and, is there a list somewhere? Does it matter? Do some people in the world have more access to human rights than others? Why? This seminar examines the origins, evolution, and practices of human rights ideas, norms, and institutions in global politics. We will explore the wide range of debate and controversy regarding human rights: are human rights universal (i.e. rights inherent in all human beings) or do they originate and obtain only in specific cultural contexts. Are human rights individual or collective? Should we prioritize various types of rights over others (i.e., civil and political rights vs. social, cultural, and economic)? We will examine how concepts like state sovereignty and power affect our consideration of these questions, as well as how well states and international organizations adhere to human rights norms and institutions. We will review how non-governmental advocacy organizations mobilize around human rights and the conditions under which they are (and are not) successful. Finally, we will examine how human rights have evolved and changed over time and whose voices are, and are not, reflected in national and international debates.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Kavita Khory

TH 01:30PM-04:20PM

Mount Holyoke College
115469

Skinner Hall 210

kkhory@mtholyoke.edu
This course examines voluntary and forced migrations from local, regional and global perspectives. It focuses on contemporary population movements and their historical antecedents, paying particular attention to colonial legacies and the immigration policies of European states and the U.S. We will debate the costs and benefits of migration, the ethical and normative implications of asylum policies and the treatment of refugees, and rights and obligations of citizenship. The course concludes with an analysis of the global compact for migration and the institutional and legal frameworks for protecting migrant rights and refugees.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Brent M. Durbin

M W 10:50 AM - 12:05 PM

Smith College
GOV-244-01-202201

Seelye 308

bdurbin@smith.edu
In this course we ask and answer the following questions: Just what is “United States foreign policy”? By what processes does the United States define its interests in the global arena? What instruments does the U.S. possess to further those interests? Finally, what specific foreign policy questions are generating debate today? Prerequisite: GOV 241 or permission of the instructor.
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

01
4.00

Laura Reed

TU TH 11:30AM 12:45PM

UMass Amherst
15973

Elm Room 224

lreed@polsci.umass.edu
This two-semester, 8-credit interdisciplinary Thesis Seminar examines the complex problem of making weapons out of biological organisms. This includes understanding the history of research and development into creating biological weapons, as well as describing the extent and categories of actual use, including consideration of accidental and/or unintentional use, as in the historical exposure of indigenous cultures to European diseases. We will also examine perceptions of the distinctions between types of conflict in which biological weapons may be used, including exploration of the difference between war and terrorism. We will focus on two specific diseases--anthrax and smallpox--and in both we will explore the organism, the disease it causes, the history of weaponization efforts, and international efforts at control. We will end the first semester with a critical analysis of the several societal, political and international issues that must be resolved, including addressing whether it is ethical to use biological weapons; whether we should regulate scientific inquiry in the field of microbiology; whether scientists are responsible for the applications of their research; differentiating between what is termed "defensive" and "offensive" research; and a critical examination of how effective international controls have been. (499-Seminar)
Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during all registration periods.

Contact Us

Five College Staff Liaison:

Ray Rennard, Director of Academic Programs