International Relations Certificate

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Certificate in International Relations?
    • The 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 Certificate?
    • So long as all requirements are fulfilled, students in any Wesleyan major (including University majors) can earn the Certificate.
  • Can introductory courses be taken pass/fail?
    • Yes.
  • Can advanced courses be taken pass/fail?
    • No. All advanced courses must be taken for graded credit, and you need to maintain a B+ average over the five advanced courses that you wish to count toward the Certificate.
  • Can AP credit count toward the 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 subject AP exams (and only if they do well on the exam, scoring a 4 or 5). If a department or program accepts AP exam credit as a substitute for an introductory course, it can count toward the Certificate.
  • I have foreign language ability at or above the intermediate level, but I’ve never taken any courses in that language. How can I get the language requirement fulfilled without coursework?
    • You should contact the chair of the language department covering your language or language area on campus to request a meeting to determine your level. The chair needs to be able to vouch for your skills in that language to the intermediate level, and once that's established, he or she should send the Committee Members an e-mail certifying this.  Committee members are Professor Gil Skillman, Professor Giulio Gallarotti and Professor Cecilia Miller.
  • How many credits can I take on study abroad toward the 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 I take any of the introductory courses on Study Abroad or at another institution?
    • Only if you are a transfer student and only if those courses were approved by the relevant Wesleyan department or program for department credit. Courses earning Wesleyan graduation credit only will not count. Please contact the relevant Wesleyan department or program chair for courses you wish to count as Certificate introductory courses, and have her or him send the Committee Members of the PAC an e-mail that the courses meet the department’s standards. That’s usually sufficient to have these courses counted.  The Committee Members are Professor Gil Skillman, Professor Giulio Gallarotti and Professor Cecilia Miller.
  • If a Wesleyan-approved study abroad program earns Wesleyan credit, why do I need special approval to earn credits toward the Certificate?
    • Approved study abroad programs offer Wesleyan graduation credit. The Certificate, as a kind of minor, requires department or program credit in specific disciplines listed on the Certificate website. In most departments and programs at Wesleyan, departmental credit earned abroad must be pre-approved. That’s the case for the Certificate.
  • How do you get pre-approval for study abroad credits toward the Certificate?
    • Be sure that your chosen courses are similar in subject matter and coverage to the advanced courses listed on the page listing the Certificate Requirements.  Pre-approval must first be given by the department chair of the Wesleyan department or program within which your chosen course’s subject falls. Only after that is it eligible for pre-approval by the Committee of the PAC. Simply ask the department chair to e-mail pre-approval to the Committee. If there are any problems with such courses, the Committee will notify you.
  • Why do individual department chairs approve credits taken on study abroad to count toward the Certificate?
    • The Certificate in IR is in effect a minor comprised of a large number of courses offered in roughly seven different departments and programs. It relies on the chairs of the specific Wesleyan departments and programs under which the subjects of courses taken abroad fall to approve them. 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 a course taken abroad in the subject of anthropology, with the intention of having it counted toward the Certificate, requires the approval of Wesleyan’s Anthropology Department to establish that the course in question is roughly equivalent to a Wesleyan anthropology course. That's the standard that has to be met in order for it to count toward the Certificate.
  • I’ve received departmental and PAC preapproval for courses that I intend to take abroad to count toward the Certificate. What do I do now?
    • Take the preapproved courses and be sure to keep syllabi and papers written for them, as you will need them for final approval when you return. If the course offerings on your program change or you decide to enroll in different courses, be sure to notify the relevant department or program chair and the PAC Committee in a timely way, ideally as soon as your new enrollment is confirmed.
  • How do you get final approval for courses taken on a study abroad program toward the Certificate?
    • Please see the chair of the relevant Wesleyan department or program under which the subject of the course falls and be prepared to show him or her your syllabi and other written work proving that the courses were equivalent to courses in that department in terms of reading and workload. The Committee of the PAC will then normally approve such credit for the Certificate as a matter of course, provided they 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 Certificate?
    • Yes, but only if they are offered through a department or program for a full Wesleyan course credit.
  • I’m a transfer student. Can course credits earned at another university count toward the Certificate?
    • Yes. Some credits may cover introductory and language courses, but only one such credit can count toward the Certificate’s advanced course requirements. Any course taken at another US institution to be counted toward the Certificate’s advanced courses must be certified in writing by the appropriate Wesleyan department or program chair as having been granted Wesleyan departmental credit; once this is done, the Committee of the PAC will normally count it as credit toward the Certificate as long as its subject matter falls within the parameters of the Certificate’s advanced courses in either Global Systems or Area Studies.
  • I’d like to take courses at another US University over the summer. Can this credit count toward the 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 elsewhere, so students must seek departmental or program preapproval before they can take a course at another institution for Certificate credit. The department or program chair must notify the Committee of the PAC that such preapproval 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 Committee of the PAC that the course was approved, the Committeer will normally approve such credit for the 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 Certificate?
    • Yes, but only as one course credit. Courses earning more than one credit cannot earn more than one credit toward the Certificate because you must take a minimum of five advanced courses (at least two in subjects listed under "Global Systems" and two in "Area Studies") in at least three different disciplines.
  • Can credits earned at another university in a gap year (when not enrolled at Wesleyan) count toward the Certificate?
    • No. Only credits earned abroad while on a Wesleyan-approved study abroad program or at a US institution 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.
  • The Certificate website says that five advanced courses must be taken in at least three different disciplines. What does “disciplines” mean?
    • By “disciplines” is meant different department or program course offerings. Seven different departments or programs currently offer courses listed under Advanced Courses. You need only take your five courses in three different departments or programs.
  • I’m unsure if I’ve fulfilled all the requirements for the Certificate. What do I do?
    • Please first compare your academic record with the requirements outlined on the Certificate website by filling out a Certificate application form. If you still have questions, please come see the Committee Members of the PAC during his or her office hours.  Committee members are Professor Gil Skillman, Professor Giulio Gallarotti and Professor Cecilia Miller.  Seniors are advised to see the Committee Members in the fall to certify that they are on track to receive the Certificate and should bring along a completed application form with courses still to be taken penciled in.
  • I’m a graduating senior and would like to apply for the Certificate. What will I need and when should it be submitted?
    • You will need a completed application form  signed by your advisor. This must be accompanied by a copy of your academic record downloaded from your Student Portfolio. These materials must be submitted to the Linda Cummings in the Sociology Department (PAC 122) by Friday, 4:00 pm of the second week of May of your graduating year. If you’re unsure about having met the requirements, please see the Director well before this deadline for advice.