There are five major components of the GVPT major with an International Relations concentration: gateway courses, a theory requirement, a methods requirements, GVPT Courses of Choice, and the skills requirements. 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
Sample GVPT Graduation Plan- with International Relations Concentration 

GVPT Gateway Requirements - GVPT170 and Math
  • Detailed information about gateway requirements can be found here
    • GVPT gateway: GVPT170 with a “B-” or higher.  Students with AP/IB credit for GVPT170 (U.S./American Government) must complete one of the following: GVPT241, GVPT 200, GVPT280 (AP/IB credit not allowed) or GVPT282 with a “B-” or higher in its place for the gateway requirements.
    • Math gateway: MATH107 or STAT100 with a grade of C- or higher (a calculus class - MATH120/130/140 - may be substituted)
  • Directly admitted freshmen must complete gateway courses within 45 attempted credits at the university (excluding AP/IB credits).
  • Internal transfer students must successfully complete the gateway requirements prior to applying to the major.

GVPT Theory Requirement - GVPT241
  • All students are required to complete GVPT241 The Study of Political Philosophy: Ancient and Modern.

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

GVPT Courses of Choice - GVPT200, GVPT280/282, and 7 additional GVPT courses (6 upper-level) as outlined below

To satisfy this requirement for the International Relations concentration, students must take 9 additional three-credit GVPT courses (27 total credits) with at least 6 of the 9 courses (18 total credits) taken at the upper-level (300/400), as outlined below:

  • GVPT200 International Political Relations
  • GVPT280 Comparative Politics OR GVPT282 Politics and the Developing World
  • 1 any-level (100/200/300/400) GVPT course 
  • 1 upper-level (300/400) GVPT course from any topic
  • 5 upper-level (300/400) GVPT courses from an International Relations or Comparative Politics topic
    • GVPT courses that satisfy an International Relations/Comparative Politics topic may be found here under the "International Relations" or "Comparative Politics" subheading. Please note this is not a comprehensive list of every course offered each semester. In addition, any GVPT course listed on the Schedule of Classes with a title that includes Seminar in/Topics In Comparative Politics or Seminar in/Topics in International Relations and World Politics may satisfy an IR/Comparative Course of Choice. If you have a question about a specific course and whether it will count as IR/Comparative, please e-mail GVPTAdvising [at]

GVPT Courses of Choice Policies:

  • No more than 42 GVPT credits can be applied toward the 120 credits that are required for graduation. GVPT 170, GVPT 241, and GVPT201 (formerly GVPT100) 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 in-residence at UMD.
  • All GVPT Courses of Choice must be satisfied by 3-credit courses. The 1-credit career-focused GVPT courses (GVPT319C/D/E) may not be used within the major requirements.

GVPT Skills Requirements

The skills category for IR has four components:

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

Students may not apply courses used to fulfill the skills category toward the supporting sequence or the math gateway requirement. 

  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 total credits, depending on the language. If the entire elementary level of the language is comprised of multiple courses (e.g. Arabic, Chinese, Russian, etc) students must complete all courses in the elementary sequence to satisfy this requirement, not just the first.
    • Click here for a list of foreign language courses offered at UMD that satisfy the entire elementary level of the language.
    • It is possible for students who have completed level 3 of a language in high school or who are proficient through the elementary level of a language to exempt from this requirement. Please see “Foreign Language Exemption” at the bottom of the page for more information.
  3. Quantitative Skills Requirement
    • Students must choose a quantitative methods course from the approved list found here.
    • This course cannot be the same course that was used to satisfy the math gateway requirement.
    • When selecting a course please refer to the course description on the Schedule of Classes to ensure any prerequisites/restrictions have been met and the course is not a duplicate of something previously completed. 
  4. Intermediate Foreign Language
    • Students must complete an intermediate level foreign language course. If the intermediate level of the language is comprised of multiple courses, students only need to complete the first course in the sequence to satisfy this requirement (although we strongly encourage students to complete both).
    • Click here for a list of approved intermediate level foreign language courses offered at UMD.
    • Completion of an intermediate foreign language course may require students to first complete an elementary level course, depending on proficiency with the language. Language placement is determined by the Foreign Language Placement Exam
    • It is possible for students proficient through the intermediate level of a foreign language to exempt from this requirement. Please see "Foreign Language Exemption” at the bottom of the page for more information.


Foreign Language Exemption:

Students proficient in a foreign language may exempt from the elementary and/or intermediate foreign language requirement(s) via the options below. Please contact a GVPT Advisor with questions.

a. High School Proficiency - Elementary only

Students who have completed the full level 3 of a foreign language in high school (e.g. Spanish 3, French 3) with a “C-” or higher may be exempted from the Elementary Foreign Language skills requirement. To process this exemption, 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] If UMD does not have a high school transcript on file, students can bring an official sealed copy of their transcript to the GVPT Advising office, or request their high school mail an official copy to: ATTN GVPT Advising, 3140 Tydings Hall, 7343 Preinkert Drive, College Park, MD 20742

*Note: Exemption from the Elementary Foreign Language requirement does not guarantee placement into the 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 and will need to complete whichever course they place into before moving onto more advanced language classes.

b. Completion of an intermediate level course (or higher)

Students who complete or bring in transfer credit for an intermediate language course will be waived from the Elementary Foreign Language requirement. Example: if a student receives credit for AP Spanish in the form of SPAN203, or places directly into and completes SPAN203, that course will be applied to the Intermediate Foreign Language/Additional Skills requirement and Elementary Foreign Language will be waived.

Students who complete or bring in transfer credit for a language course higher than the intermediate level will be waived from the Elementary Foreign Language and Intermediate Foreign Language/Additional Skills requirements. Example: if a student places directly into and completes SPAN204 or higher, both Elementary and Intermediate Foreign Language/Additional Skills requirements will be waived as SPAN204 is a level higher than Intermediate Spanish.

Equivalencies for prior learning credit, such as AP and IB credit, can be reviewed here.

c. Demonstrating Proficiency

Students proficient through the elementary or intermediate level of a foreign language may seek an exemption from one or both requirements by identifying a testing center or submitting official documents as evidence. If UMD offers the language, one such option is to take the proctored in-person Foreign Language Placement exam. Students who place into the intermediate level will be waived from the Elementary requirement. Students who place higher than the 1st intermediate level will be waived from the Elementary and Intermediate/Additional Skills requirements.

If UMD does not offer the language, an option for native/heritage speakers to exempt from the Elementary and Intermediate requirements is an oral interview through ACTFL; please see the following document for specific instructions (there is a fee for this service).

For questions, or to discuss other options for demonstrating proficiency, please speak with a GVPT advisor.