There are six major components of the GVPT IR major: gateway courses, a theory requirement, a methods requirements, GVPT courses of choice, skills requirements, and the supporting sequence. All major requirements must be taken under the regular grading method and must be completed with a grade of C- or higher (unless otherwise noted).

Every student must also complete their CORE or General Education requirements as well as 120 total credits to graduate with a degree in GVPT. Please reference the following major cards:

Students Matriculating to the University of Maryland Fall 2012 or Later: General Education GVPT-IR Major Card

Students Who Matriculated to the University of Maryland Prior to Fall 2012: CORE GVPT- IR Major Card


Gateway Requirements

  • Detailed information about gateway requirements can be found here.
  • Directly admitted freshman must complete gateway courses within 45 credits at the university (excluding IB/AP credits).
  • Internal transfer students must complete gateway requirements prior to applying


GVPT Theory Requirement

  • All students are required to complete GVPT241 The Study of Political Philosophy: Ancient and Modern.
  • Students who have AP/IB credit for GVPT170 must complete GVPT241 as a gateway requirement and receive a grade of B- or higher.


GVPT Methods Requirement

  • All students are required to complete GVPT201 (formerly 100) Scope and Methods for Political Science Research.


GVPT Courses of Choice

Students pursuing the International Relations Concentration are required to take nine courses as outlined below:

  1. GVPT200 International Political Relations
  2. GVPT280 Comparative Politics OR GVPT282 Politics and the Developing World
  3. GVPT Course of Choice
  4. GVPT Course of Choice 300/400 Level
  5. IR or Comparative Course of Choice 300/400 Level
  6. IR or Comparative Course of Choice 300/400 Level
  7. IR or Comparative Course of Choice 300/400 Level
  8. IR or Comparative Course of Choice 300/400 Level
  9. IR or Comparative Course of Choice 300/400 Level
  • All courses of choice must be fulfilled by 3-credit courses (i.e. 27 GVPT credits, at least 18 of which are upper-level)
  • No more than 42 GVPT credits can be applied toward the 120 credits that are required for graduation. GVPT201 (formerly GVPT100), GVPT 170 and GVPT 241 are included in the 42 credit limit.
  • No more than 6 experiential/non-traditional GVPT credits may apply towards the GVPT major requirements. Experiential/non-traditional courses include internship seminars, Mock Trial, and Independent Study. No course that is taken pass/fail may apply towards the GVPT major requirements
  • At least 12 upper-level GVPT credits (4 upper-level courses of choice) must be completed at UMD.
  • Please click here to find a sample list of courses by subfield.


Skills Requirement

The skills category has four components:

  1. ECON 200 Microeconomics
  2. Entire level of elementary foreign language
  3. Quantitative skills course
  4. Intermediate foreign language

Students may not apply courses used to fulfill the skills category toward the supporting sequence or the math gateway requirement. Click here for a complete list of approved skills requirement courses.

1. Microeconomics: All students must complete ECON 200 Microeconomics.

2. Elementary Foreign Language: 

Students must complete a foreign language through the entire elementary level. The entire elementary level of a language can be 4-12 credits, depending on the language. Students may be exempt from the elementary foreign language requirement if they have satisfied one of the following options:

a. High School Proficiency

Students who are proficient through the entire elementary level of a foreign language because of study in high school may be exempted from this requirement. To be exempt, students must have completed up to level 3 of a foreign language (e.g. Spanish 3, French 3) with a “C-” or higher. To process this exemption, students can request that an official sealed copy of their high school transcript be mailed to the GVPT Advising office; or, students who have submitted their high school transcript to UMD can e-mail ESO-Help [at] with their name and UID and request that their high school transcript be e-mailed to GVPTAdvising [at]

 *Note- Exemption from elementary foreign language from GVPT does not necessarily guarantee your placement into intermediate or advanced level of the language. Students who wish to complete a language while at UMD should take the Foreign Language Placement Test through the College of Arts and Humanities. Please contact the respective language departments for clarification on intermediate placement.

b. Proficiency through testing

If a student can demonstrate proficiency through the elementary level of a foreign language, the student can identify a testing center or submit official documents as evidence. Please contact an advisor for further information regarding this option.

3. Quantitative Skills Requirement

Students may choose a quantitative course from an approved list. Click here for a complete list of accepted skills requirement courses. This course cannot be the same course that was used to satisfy the math gateway requirement.

4. Intermediate Foreign Language

Students must complete the first course in an intermediate foreign language. Placement levels are determined by the foreign language placement test and may require the completion of the necessary prerequisite introductory foreign language course(s). Click here for a list of approved intermediate level foreign language courses.


Supporting Sequence

  • The Supporting Sequence must contain five courses (15 total credits) from a single department outside GVPT or have courses from multiple departments approved by a GVPT advisor.
  • At least two of the five courses (6 total credits) must be at the upper level.
  • Courses used for the skills requirement cannot also be applied to the supporting sequence. 
  • Experiential learning courses (e.g., internship, practicum/field work, teaching/research assistantship) may not be used in the Supporting Sequence.