Frequently Asked Questions


International Relations examines the global interactions between states, non-state actors, and economic and social structures and processes. The IR program enables students to develop an in-depth understanding of IR by combining the insights and perspectives of different disciplines such as Economics, History, and Political Science with the study of languages.

As the IR Major is a broad interdisciplinary program, there are many different options for employment/further studies after graduation. Please visit our “What Can I Do with My Major” page for more information.

IR students may participate in many of UBC’s international programs such as exchange, group study, international service learning and international co-op. For more information please visit our International Experience pages.

IR students are strongly encouraged to become involved in the UBC community. Some examples of involvement opportunities include joining the International Relations Students Association, attending Liu Institute lectures and events, participating in Global Lounge events or getting involved in other student clubs and/or recreation opportunities. For more information on involvement, please visit the Centre for Student Involvement and Careers.


All students who wish to join the IR program must first apply for admission to UBC. Information on the admission process to UBC can be found here.

Students must apply to the IR Major. More information on this process can be found here.

Students who are already enrolled in the Faculty of Arts do not need to apply for the IR minor. They can add it themselves through the SSC.

UBC students who are not in the Faculty of Arts should consult their Faculty advisors about the possibility of adding an IR minor to their record.

Students apply online to the IR Major. More information on this process can be found here.

The online application is available on February 1st of each year.

Students must apply to the IR Major by May 15th to start the program in September of the same year. Transfer students should note that the application deadlines to apply to UBC are much earlier than this. Please visit this site for more information.

You should apply to the IR program by May 15th to start in September of the same year even if you have not yet received your admission decision from UBC by May 15th. We will hold on to your application until you receive your admission decision from UBC or until September 1st, whichever comes first.

Students who apply to the IR program by May 15th must complete the pre-requisites below by September 1st of the same year in order to qualify for admission to the IR major:

  • enrollment in the Faculty of Arts at the University of British Columbia;
  • completion of 54 or more credits;
  • completion of at least one of the lower level requirements below; however, it is strongly recommended that students complete all of the lower level requirements prior to third year:
    • Requirement 1: Economics 101 and Economics 102 – IB credit cannot be used to meet this requirement.
    • Requirement 2: Political Science 260 - 2nd year standing required to take this course.
    • Requirement 3: History 102 or History 103 (only one is required for the major) – Neither Arts One nor IB credit can be used to meet this requirement.
  • It is also advisable for students to have started on their IR language requirement.

Having more of the lower level IR requirements completed does not increase your chances of being accepted to the IR program. Completing all of the lower level requirements prior to 3rd year does, however, give you better insight as to whether or not you will like and will be successful in the key disciplines that make up the IR program. It will also give you a better foundation for being successful in your upper level courses. An early start on the language requirement is also very important for students who do not have a second language from high school.

You should apply to the IR program by May 15th even if you are taking some requirements during the summer term. We will evaluate your application once those requirements are complete.

Admission is solely based on grades.

Supplemental documents are not accepted as part of the application.

The admission average to the program varies by year and is usually between 76% and 80%.

We can drop up to 12 credits of non-IR, non-writing courses when calculating your average.

Students who are not admitted to the IR program in their 3rd year should consult with the IR Program Manager and Advisor to determine whether or not they should apply to the program again the following year.

IR Program Requirements

The program requirements for the IR Major can be found here.

Program requirements for the IR Minor can be found here.

If a required course is full, you should first email the instructor of the course to see if there is a waitlist. Watch the registration system for changes and attend the first few days of class to see if a spot becomes available. If you still cannot get a seat and it is your last class to graduate, you can email for assistance.

Given the demand for IR seminars, students are restricted to taking only one IR seminar.

Students enrolled in the IR minor who have already taken Econ 101, 102, and Poli 260 are still required to take Hist 102 or Hist 103 to complete their lower level requirements.

IR Language Requirement

If you already speak a language other than English, you may be able to take a placement test to exempt you from having to take language classes. More information on this process can be found here

All credits for the IR language requirement must be taken in one language.


Courses must be evaluated through the transfer credit portal. Courses that are evaluated as unassigned upper-level courses may be applied to the IR Major/Minor with the approval of the IR chair. Students interested in getting this approval should email the course descriptions to the IR Chair.

Further Questions?

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