The Department launched its undergraduate major in International Relations (IR) program in the Monsoon 2018 semester. As of Monsoon 2020, three batches have been admitted and the program is growing in terms of course offerings, areas covered, and student strength. If you are a prospective student, you may find this note on the program useful.
For anybody interested in world politics, IR as a discipline may appear to be a natural choice. At the Department of International Relations and Governance Studies at Shiv Nadar University, however, we do not take this for granted. Through the B.A. (Research) in IR program, we seek to actively nurture curiosities about different facets of world politics. Students can systematically probe enduring questions and acquire an exposure to relevant concepts, theories and practices. Illustrations of enduring questions include an active interest in scrutinizing the causes of war, the evolving nature of power, the pathways to conflict transformation, the changing character of diplomacy, the emergence of new actors and the weight of the residues of the past on the present. Students shall also be exposed to a wide conceptual repertoire – what is a ‘security dilemma’, why are some states termed as ‘failed’ or 'developmental', what is meant by the term ‘good governance’, when is power ‘fungible’ and how do race, class and gender intersect across the international-domestic continuum? At the Department, we also appreciate that theories are best tested in the crucible of actual practice.
Three dimensions contribute further to the uniqueness of the experience of learning IR on this programme. First, the courses we teach dovetail with the research preoccupations of our faculty members. We deeply value passing on research skills early on to our students. The last two semesters (fourth year) of the undergraduate program are devoted exclusively to researching and writing a dissertation. Second, there is considerable thought that has also gone into the philosophy of teaching international relations. We encourage the study of international relations in eclectic sites and are invested in reading visual archives, cinematic footage of world history, and world literature to decipher politics. Finally, inter-disciplinarity is part of our foundational ethos as we encourage students to enter into conversations with scholars from cognate disciplines to enrich their understanding of the world(s) we inhabit. All in all, we believe the study of international relations can be a genuinely creative enterprise – at its best, both engaging and illuminating.