Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the International Relations Certificate?
The International Relations (IR) Certificate is in effect a minor in the field of international relations comprised of relevant courses from many different departments and programs in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (Division II).
- Can students in majors not in Division II earn the IR Certificate?
So long as all requirements are fulfilled, students in any Wesleyan major (including the University Major) can earn the IR Certificate.
- Can introductory courses be taken pass/fail?
Yes, introductory courses can be taken pass/fail.
- Can advanced courses be taken pass/fail?
No, all advanced courses must be taken for graded credit, and a B+ average needs to be maintained over the five advanced courses intended to be used towards the IR Certificate.
- Can AP credit count toward the IR Certificate’s introductory courses?
Departments and programs have different rules, but usually they require that students take a course in their department in order to activate credit for their subject area. If a department or program accepts AP exam credit (usually an AP exam score of 4 or 5 is needed) as a substitute for an introductory course, it can count toward the IR Certificate.
- Can foreign language ability at or above the intermediate level, without having taken any Wesleyan courses, fulfill the language requirement?
Yes, however, a Language Placement Test at the Language Resource Center must be taken.
- Can any credits earned while studying abroad be applied towards the IR Certificate?
Up to two of the five advanced courses may be taken during a semester abroad, and up to three during a year abroad, on a Wesleyan-approved program.
- Can introductory courses taken while studying abroad or at another institution be applied towards the IR Certificate?
Only for transfer students and only if those courses are approved by the relevant Wesleyan department or program for department credit (courses earning Wesleyan graduation credit only will not count). To receive approval transfer students should contact the relevant Wesleyan department or program chair about the courses they plan to use as the IR Certificate introductory courses, and request that the department or program chair e-mail the Associate Director of Study Abroad, Emily Gorlewski (firstname.lastname@example.org) if the courses meet the department’s standards. This single step is usually sufficient to have these courses applied towards the IR Certificate.
- If a Wesleyan-approved study abroad program earns Wesleyan credit, why is special approval needed to earn credits toward the IR Certificate?
Approved study abroad programs offer Wesleyan graduation credit. The IR Certificate, as a kind of minor, requires department or program credit in specific disciplines listed on the IR Certificate website. In most departments and programs at Wesleyan, departmental credit earned abroad must be pre-approved; this is the case for the IR Certificate.
- How can pre-approval for study abroad credits toward the IR Certificate be received?
The abroad course selected for pre-approval with the intention of having it counted towards the IR Certificate must be similar in subject matter and coverage to the advanced courses listed under Certificate Requirements. Pre-approval is first given by the department or program chair of the Wesleyan department or program in which the selected course’s subject falls. If approval is given the department or program chair should send an e-mail the Associate Director of Study Abroad, Emily Gorlewski (email@example.com) with their approval. Only after receiving the approval from the department or program chair is the course eligible for pre-approval for the IR Certificate. The Office of Study Abroad will notify students if there are any issues with the pre-approval for the course.
- Why do department chairs pre-approve credits taken while studying abroad for the IR Certificate?
The International Relations Certificate is in effect a minor comprised of a large number of courses offered in roughly seven different departments and programs. The only way to assure that discipline-specific Wesleyan standards are maintained is to draw on the expertise of the relevant department and program chairs. Thus, for example, a course taken abroad in the subject of anthropology, with the intention of having it counted toward the IR Certificate, requires the approval of Wesleyan’s Anthropology Department to establish that the course in question is roughly equivalent to a Wesleyan anthropology course.
- What is the next step after receiving pre-approval for courses to be taken abroad, which will count towards the IR Certificate?
Retain the syllabi and any papers written for the pre-approved courses, they will be needed for the final approval upon returning to Wesleyan. If the pre-approved course offerings change or new courses are selected the relevant department or program chair and the Office of Study Abroad need to be notified in a timely fashion, ideally as soon as the new enrollment is confirmed.
- How is final approval received for courses taken towards the IR Certificate while studying abroad?
Upon returning to Wesleyan the syllabi, papers, or other graded works from the pre-approved courses should be taken to the relevant Wesleyan department or program chair under which the subject of the course falls, these items are used as evidence that the courses were equivalent to courses in that department in terms of reading and workload. The Center for Global Studies will typically then approve such credit for the IR Certificate as a matter of course, provided the courses are within the topical range of the advanced courses in either Global Systems or Area Studies.
- Can internships in foreign policy fields (with international organizations, government agencies, multinational corporations, or nonprofit organizations) count as credit toward the IR Certificate?
Yes, but the internship must be pre-approved and offered through a department or program for a full Wesleyan course credit. Be aware that some departments do not approve internships for a full credit.
- Can a transfer student’s course credits earned at another university count toward the IR Certificate?
Yes, some credits earned at another university by a transfer student may cover introductory and language courses, but only one such credit can count toward the IR Certificate’s advanced course requirements. A course taken at another U.S. institution intended to be counted towards one of the IR Certificate’s advanced courses must be approved for departmental credit. Once approved the department or program chair should e-mail their approval to the Associate Director of Study Abroad, Emily Gorlewski (firstname.lastname@example.org). Barring any issues once the approval has been received, the Center for Global Studies will count it as credit toward the IR Certificate as long as its subject matter falls within the parameters of the RI Certificate’s advanced courses in either Global Systems or Area Studies.
- Can courses taken at another U.S. university over the summer count as credit towards the IR Certificate?
Yes, but only one such credit can count, and only toward the advanced courses. Note that most departments require prior approval for courses taken outside of Wesleyan, so students must seek departmental or program pre-approval before they can take a course at another institution for IR Certificate credit. The department or program chair must notify the Center of Global Studies, via an e-mail to Associate Director of Study Abroad, Emily Gorlewski (email@example.com) that pre-approval was granted. On completing the course, be prepared to show the Wesleyan department or program chair the syllabus and other written work proving that the course was equivalent to a similar course in that department. Once the department or program chair notifies the Center for Global Studies, again via an e-mail to Associate Director of Study Abroad, Emily Gorlewski (firstname.lastname@example.org), that the course was approved, the Center, barring any issues, will approve such credit for the IR Certificate so long as it is within the topical range of the advanced courses in either Global Systems or Area Studies.
- Can multiple-credit courses count toward the IR Certificate?
Yes, but only for one course credit. Multi-credit courses cannot earn more than one credit toward the IR Certificate because a minimum of five advanced courses (minimum two under "Global Systems" and two in "Area Studies") in at least three different disciplines is required.
- Can credits earned at another university in a gap year (when not enrolled at Wesleyan) count toward the IR Certificate?
No, only credits earned abroad while on a Wesleyan-approved study abroad program or at a U.S. institution over the summer while registered as a Wesleyan student are eligible, and only with prior approval from the relevant Wesleyan department or program under which the course subject falls.
- What does “disciplines” refer to under the Advance Courses requirements for the IR Certificate?
“Disciplines” refers to departments and programs, currently seven different departments and programs offer courses listed under Advanced Courses. Students are only required to take at least one of the five advance courses in three different departments or programs.
- How can students be sure they have fulfilled all the requirements for the IR Certificate?
Students should compare their academic record with the Certificate Requirements outlined on Center for Global Studies website, which they can do by filling out an International Relations Certificate Worksheet. For further questions contact the Associate Director of Study Abroad, Emily Gorlewski (email@example.com).
- When and how should graduating senior apply for the IR Certificate?
To receive the certification, submit a finalized version of the International Relations Certificate Worksheet and a copy of your academic record to Jennifer Collingwood (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Center for Global Studies (Fisk 215). All materials due prior to the last day of class your senior year.
- Can a course not listed in WesMaps as counting toward the IR certificate be counted?
In some cases, such courses may count toward the IR certificate. Submit an e-mail request to Emily Gorlewski (link to my e-mail), Associate Director of Study Abroad, stating for which requirement you would like the course to count, a link to the WesMaps listing of the course, and your rationale for why you believe the course should count toward that requirement.