Global Horizons Jeyolyn Christi

Program Spotlight: International Relations at the University of Toronto

When you think about post-secondary education, do international studies, political science or government administration cross your mind? The Program Spotlight series of articles will review selected college and university programs geared to those exploring education and career options in international relations and/or government.

Since 1976, University of Toronto (UofT) has offered an interdisciplinary undergraduate program in International Relations (IR), which allows for the exploration of international systems. Students develop an understanding of issues in international relations through the use of analytical tools from political science, economics and history. This program sets students up for success, as they learn how to define and analyze IR from three different angles (political science, economics and history). Students investigate topics such as war, peace, power, and international decision-making, and they are well equipped to conduct interdisciplinary research.

In terms of structure, the IR program is offered in two forms – IR Specialist and IR Major. Students must first complete one year in the Faculty of Arts and Science before entering the IR program (specialist or major). There are required courses that students must complete, and additional courses for those in the specialist stream. Some examples of core courses are as follows:

  • Introduction to Economics
  • International Economic Institutions and Policy
  • Canadian International Relations
  • Twentieth Century Economic History: Institutions, Growth and Inequality
  • Comparative American, British and Canadian Foreign Policy


Additional program information

By offering study abroad options, the University of Toronto’s IR program encourages learning outside the traditional classroom. Students entering their third year of study are able to participate in study abroad programs through the university’s Centre for International Experience (CIE).

In terms of the overall student experience in International Relations, students can join the International Relations Society on campus, which allows them to participate in social and educational activities. The society puts on seminars, discussions, and annual conferences. It also provides other helpful resources such as mentorship. In addition, students have an excellent opportunity to get involved and share knowledge through the Attaché Journal of International Affairs, which has been published for over 15 years.

The IR program puts on special events for the students such as speaker series, and students can also get involved with groups such as:


Final thoughts

What can you do with this degree? According to University of Toronto, students who successfully complete this program can go on to graduate studies in IR or other areas such as Public Administration or Global Affairs. Additionally, graduates can enter the workforce in fields such as the public service, international development, or the private sector. Do you want to learn more? You can follow UofT’s International Relations Society on Twitter or take a look at the program overview for more details.


Photo: University of Toronto (2006), by Jphillips23 via Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Disclaimer: Any views or opinions expressed in articles are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the NATO Association of Canada.

Jeyolyn Christi
Jeyolyn Christi is a registered social service worker and a Master of Public Service graduate who has experience working in non-profit organizations, government, and international development. Her research and professional interests lie in refugee resettlement, community development, government administration, and project management.