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Global International Relations (BA)

Offered by the School of International Service, the BA in Global International Relations, awarded jointly by American University and Ritsumeikan University, Japan, reflects the cultural and geographic reach, as well as the expertise and strengths of both universities in offering the first truly global degree in international relations. Students gain a deep understanding of global and regional challenges, especially as they relate to East Asia and the United States. They are uniquely prepared to pursue careers that draw upon their ability to critically examine international relations from multiple theoretical, historical, cultural, national, and disciplinary perspectives and standpoints. Students fulfill degree requirements for both institutions and spend two full academic years at each university. The joint BA prepares students for internationally-focused careers in government, non-profits, and the private sectors. The curriculum is firmly rooted in the liberal arts and sciences, inherently interdisciplinary, and aimed at helping students to think critically and clearly about the most pressing global challenges. It also affords an opportunity for students to find their truest vocations, to discover their passions, and to become active and engaged citizens in a complex global world that defies simple explanations or solutions.

Admission to the Program

Candidates for admission to the joint BA in Global International Relations must present evidence of excellent personal and academic qualifications. The admission process is administered jointly between American University and Ritsumeikan University. To be considered for freshman admission, an applicant should have earned at least a B average in secondary school. All applicants (including US citizens) whose first language is not English are required to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Pearson Test of English (PTE). Other factors taken into account are leadership qualities, character, and personal interest.

  • 120 credit hours with a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better
  • Completion of college writing requirement
  • Completion of university mathematics requirement

General Education Requirements

  • A total of ten courses, consisting of two courses from each of the five foundational areas
  • At least one course from Area Five: The Natural and Mathematical Sciences must include a laboratory science component
  • No more than two courses may be taken in the same discipline

Major Requirements

  • 124 total credit hours with a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better
  • 62 credit hours of major coursework with grades of C or better, including 5 credit hours in Japanese coursework at the intermediate II level or higher and at least 18 credit hours at or above the 300-level
    • Up to 3 credit hours from an approved internship may be applied toward the major

Course Requirements

Note: Course requirements are also fulfilled with approved equivalent courses offered by Ritsumeikan University

Foundation (18 credit hours)

Foreign Language (5 credit hours)

  • 5 credit hours in Japanese at or above the Intermediate II level

Research Methodology (6 credit hours)

Thematic Areas (18 credit hours)

Complete the following:

Peace, Global Security, and Conflict Resolution (P)

Identity, Race, Gender, and Culture (I)

Thematic Area

Global and Comparative Governance (G)

Regional Focus (9 credit hours)

Complete 9 credit hours, with at least 3 credit hours at or above the 300-level, in one of the following regional areas: Africa (Sub-Sahara), East Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, Middle East and North Africa, South and Central Asia, or Western Hemisphere.

Africa (Sub-Sahara)

East Asia and the Pacific

Europe and Eurasia

Middle East and North Africa

South and Central Asia

Western Hemisphere

Senior Capstone (3 credit hours)

Elective (3 credit hours)

  • 3 credit hours from approved coursework

Concurrent Certificate

Students in the BA in Global International Relations program have the opportunity to coordinate their coursework on a particular topic or area of the world, linking coursework in Thematic Areas (and in some cases, Regional Focus courses) with the Senior Capstone, to complete a concurrent certificate program. Students must be officially enrolled to earn a certificate, and completed certificates are noted on the student transcript. For more information, consult an academic advisor and the relevant joint degree program directors.

Combined Bachelor's and Master's Degrees

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its combined bachelor's/master's programs. See Combined Bachelor's and Master's Degrees for more information.