Message from the Chair

Prof. Andrew J. Bacevich

Andrew J. Bacevich, IR Department Chair

The study of international relations has never been more important, more dynamic, or more interesting than it is today. Revolutions in telecommunications, transportation, and information technologies are reconfiguring the ways in which states and societies interact across nearly every dimension, from business and economics to public health and demographics to warfare and diplomacy. At the same time, the ebb and flow of new and old ideas about identity, religion, and justice create constantly shifting patterns of opportunities for conflict and cooperation.

The Department of International Relations at Boston University is dedicated to supporting students’ efforts to understand the world in its complexity. We offer a unique blend of academic and practical applications in international relations. Our faculty includes both policy-oriented scholars and international relations professionals. Many are deeply involved in current issues of international relations through writing, consulting, and ongoing work with governments, international organizations, and thinktanks. To offer just a few examples: Professor Vivien Schmidt is a leading American expert on the European Union and Europe’s economic crisis; Professor Husain Haqqani is the former Pakistani ambassador to the United States; Professor Joseph Wippl is a recipient of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal; and Professor Adil Najam is a Lead Author for the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Our faculty also includes some of the leading scholars in international relations and regional studies. All of our faculty teach and advise both undergraduate and graduate students and welcome discussions with students outside of class.

We think of international relations education as a toolbox for understanding the many challenges and opportunities of international affairs. Rather than focusing solely on one or two analytical approaches or methods, we encourage our students to choose the most appropriate methods for analyzing specific issues based on the issues themselves rather than the perspective of any single academic discipline. Accordingly, our faculty come from a variety of backgrounds and our curriculum draws on the insights of Political Science, History, Economics, Environmental Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, and Religion. Our approach is not merely multidisciplinary in the sense of taking courses from a variety of departments; rather, both the graduate and undergraduate programs build upon coherent sets of core classes that bring together key analytical approaches and knowledge bases. Students in most programs also follow appropriate regional and functional tracks to develop more specialized knowledge.

Beyond the Department of International Relations, BU boasts a variety of centers and institutes that sponsor talks on important issues of international affairs or that offer opportunities for sponsored research. In addition to the university’s various schools and departments, these include regional institutes like the African Studies Center, the Center for the Study of Asia, the Program on Latin American Studies, the African Presidential Archives and Research Center, and the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations, as well as units that are dedicated to the study of key issues and trends such as the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs, the International History Institute, the Women’s Studies Program, and the Global Health Initiative.

I urge you to explore our website and find out more about International Relations at BU. The website offers course descriptions, faculty bios, and more. You will find a vibrant community of scholars, practitioners, and students, all of whom share your passion and interest in the contemporary world, as well as programs that are rigorous, relevant, and exciting. I think that you will agree that BU is an extraordinary place to learn about international relations and prepare for a career as an international relations professional.

Andrew J. Bacevich
Professor and Chair

Recent News

2014 Alumna Bethany Saul follows her passion to Syrian refugee camps in Jordan

July 9, 2014

Bethany Saul graduated from the Deaprtment of International Relations, now part of...

Prof. Gallagher co-authors policy brief on capital account liberalization in China

July 7, 2014

Prof. Kevin Gallagher of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies...

Pardee School hosts workshop on Human Development and Jobs

June 30, 2014

About 20 leading scholars and practitioners from across New England gathered for...

Prof. Bacevich on Iraq, ISIS, and more

June 28, 2014

Andrew Bacevich, Professor of History and International Relations at the Frederick S.