New International Relations BA Degree at Adelphi University

Adelphi University
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By Kate Sitarz
Last updated on August 9, 2023

Launched in October 2020, Adelphi’s new international relations degree program takes advantage of nearby New York City’s NGOs and institutes to prepare students for global careers.

Adelphi University

A row of international flags fly against a black background

For years, Adelphi University has offered an international studies major. But as Katie Verlin Laatikainen, PhD, explains, it is very language intensive, with students minoring in French, Italian, or Spanish. Laatikainen, professor of political science and academic director of the Levermore Global Scholars Program, is also the coordinator of the new international relations program and a driving force behind its creation. 

As she explains, international students already study languages other than their first, so the international relations degree eliminates the extra language requirement, while still providing a pathway to global and international process-focused careers. 

The program, which went live in October 2020, already has numerous students who have chosen it as their major. If you are interested in studying international relations, read on to see all that Adelphi’s new program has to offer!

Why Study International Relations at Adelphi?

One of the best reasons to study international relations at Adelphi is its location just outside New York City. 

“We have a really strong relationship with the United Nations,” explains Laatikainen, noting that Adelphi has non-governmental organization (NGO) status at the UN, which allows students to frequently attend conferences. The Long Island campus is a short train ride from UN headquarters and downtown Manhattan, a major center of world affairs and the global economy.

“Adelphi is also small enough that we can really give personalized attention,” Laatikainen adds. She notes that faculty are always looking to match students with internships and other opportunities that fit their career goals. “We also make sure they take the appropriate courses to get where they want to go.”

A Degree Based in Political Science 

Like many international relations programs in the US, Adelphi’s program combines interdisciplinary coursework from the social sciences and humanities. But Adelphi’s program emphasizes development of students’ empirical research and analytical skills to enhance their professional possibilities.

“At Adelphi, the program is based in the political science department and largely focused on social sciences, giving students social science research skills, as well as skills needed to influence global public policies,” Laatikainen says. 

She also notes that while many international relations programs have an area studies track, students at Adelphi take one course in a regional area and are encouraged to take an area studies minor. Many students also decide to take elective courses in languages like Mandarin or Arabic.

Additionally, each student chooses one of three different interdisciplinary tracks: global economy, global politics, and global development. The tracks are designed to align with the various careers a student may want to pursue. 

Global Economy

Who Should Enroll

Students who want to launch careers in international business or government affairs

Track Focus

Government and private sector relations across borders; global economic interactions

Global Politics

Who Should Enroll

Students interested in international law, diplomacy, or foreign service

Track Focus

Conflict and cooperation

Global Development

Who Should Enroll

Students looking to work in NGOs or pursue global advocacy careers

Track Focus

Global development and social justice challenges

Students learn from world-renowned professors within the program, but the interdisciplinary nature of the tracks gives students access to expert faculty across departments, from philosophy to sociology and beyond. 

Only at Adelphi: Immersive International Relations Experiences 

International students may waive the international immersion requirement for the major, given that they are technically already studying abroad. But to get even more out of their study abroad experience, Laatikainen encourages them to take advantage of internationally focused internship opportunities with organizations such as The Washington Center, or as part of delegations to the UN

Simulations also help Adelphi international students prepare for careers on the global stage. Laatikainen teaches one of the core courses on the theories and practices of international relations where students spend the second half of the course practicing a mock scenario of US foreign policy. Students identify current conflicts, research the issue, and come up with a proposal for the US approach.

Similarly, the National Model United Nations course prepares students to participate in the National Model UN conference. Taking place partially at the UN, the four-day event brings together more than 5,000 students from all over the world to negotiate current global issues. 

These types of experiential projects challenge students “to go beyond traditional ways of thinking and gain a different analytical perspective,” says Laatikainen.

Adelphi also recently finalized a partnership with the University of Tampere in Finland, allowing students to spend a semester in Europe and gain additional perspectives.

Finally, perhaps the best reason to study international relations at Adelphi is the fact that the program is designed to prepare students to navigate the future.

“The world is changing. The 21st century does not look like the 20th century,” says Laatikainen. “Being a global citizen is really having a grasp on how things are connected and how they connect with the rest of the world. It is incredibly important for students to understand how to pursue collective goals, even in a world where you live in distinct polities.”

At Adelphi, students will gain the skills to do just that.

Study international relations at Adelphi >>