Why Study IR: A Message from the Director

Imagine yourself in ten years’ time. Your team is negotiating an international agreement. How do you understand what your counterparts are saying? How do you know what they’re really asking for, and what that really means?

The International Relations Program gives its graduates the foundations of this understanding by educating empathy. The program, established in 1976, combines the study of economics, history and political science to equip students with the analytical tools they need to understand the issues of international relations: the origins of war and the maintenance of peace; the nature and exercise of power within the international system; and the changing character of the state and non-state actors who participate in international decision-making.

Whether you pursue further study or a career in international relations, it is essential to know the language that international actors are speaking. Studying how three disciplines approach, define and analyze international relations gives our students a superb grounding for graduate study. It provides students with essential skills to conduct interdisciplinary research and collaboration. The Program’s interdisciplinary approach also gives students the tools to understand what’s really at stake even when it is unstated. International Relations Program graduates can dig below the language of economics to perceive the historical and political concerns that are really at stake – or the reverse.

The International Relations Program encourages students to take advantage of our location at the heart of a great university in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities.

Library resources on the University of Toronto campus are superb. Both the John W. Graham Library and Robarts Library house extensive specialized collections.

In addition, the International Relations Program supports students as they complement their structured core courses with a wide range of options.  The University of Toronto makes it possible to develop additional language skills, concentrate on one or more regions, take in a wide range of co-curricular special events and opportunities, even study abroad to challenge yourself and gain a broader perspective. Keep in touch with Program activities and events with notices sent to all students by the program administrator. 

Start your life-long study of international relations by checking out our admission requirements and entrance procedure.  Still have questions? Consult our Frequently Asked Questions  page or contact the program administrator.