International Affairs Major

International Affairs Major

International Affairs


Students majoring in international affairs study issues of conflict and cooperation in the international system by examining domestic influences on state behavior, the foreign relations of states, and characteristics of the international system. Majors can choose from one of two tracks.

Offered by the Department of Social Sciences.

Students majoring in International Affairs study issues of conflict and cooperation in the international system. This involves examination of domestic influences on state behavior, the foreign relations of states, characteristics of the international system, characteristics of states, and the role of non-state actors. 

Central concerns in International Affairs include power, strategy, war, international cooperation, governance, political institutions and structure, human security, civil society, trade, economic development, ideology, and culture. International Affairs majors think critically about complex political issues, they will learn how to test hypotheses using reliable methods and evidence, evaluate the moral dimension of issues in international relations and comparative politics, appreciate the problem of uncertainty and its significance, and see important events and issues from multiple perspectives. 

As a social science, International Affairs is organized around alternative theoretical schools of thought that seek to explain international phenomena. The ability to understand, anticipate and shape the complex dynamics of the international environment (between and within states) is of direct relevance to U.S. Army officers, whose careers will be defined by the problems and opportunities that merge within the international system. 

Majors can choose from one of two tracks and have the opportunity to pursue academic minors in Grand Strategy or Terrorism Studies.

This major offers an honors track. 

Have more questions about this major?

Listen to our podcast: West Point cadets on why they chose to major in Social Sciences

Watch our video on YouTube: West Point's International Affairs Program

To learn more about the program, contact the IA Department Academic Counselor!

The IA program offers a 14-course major, tailored to your unique interests. Each IA major will take the Advanced Introduction to International Relations course and  3 "toolbox" courses, followed by a choice of 10 courses from a range of tracks and electives.

Cadets in this track must take SS395 - International Security and SS483 – the National Security Seminar.

Toolbox Courses:  


Thematic and Regional Electives

American Politics (AP) Electives: Mass Media and American Politics; The American Presidency; Politics of Race, Gender, Sexuality; The American State and the Soldier; and more!

Complimentary Support Courses:  Foreign Language; Regional Studies; Law; Strategic Studies; Unites States Foreign Policy; Culture and Philosophy; Research Methods; Economics and Finance.

Capstone Experience:

This major offers an honors track. 

View the full International Affairs: Foreign Policy and Security Studies Major Curriculum.

View the full International Affairs: Institutions, Governance, and Development Major Curriculum.

Meet the International Affairs Faculty.

Majors can apply to participate in a summer Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD) program, a USMA-run academic enrichment experience, in places focused on providing cross-cultural experiences and human security issues. Past internship locations include: Vietnam, Mongolia, Morocco, Israel, Madagascar, Greece, and Nepal. Majors will also have the opportunity to participate, travel, and compete as a member of numerous clubs within the Department of Social Sciences, including: 

  • Domestic Affairs Forum 
  • Debate Club 
  • International Affairs Forum 
  • Model United Nations 
  • Student Conference on United States Affairs

Honor Societies:
Golden Key - International Honour Society
Phi Kappa Phi - Oldest and Largest Collegiate Honor Society

To learn more about enrichment for this area of study, visit the Department of Social Sciences or the center associated with this department/area of study.