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Maxwell School
Maxwell / International Relations Program

Foreign Language Requirement

To develop adequate understanding of cultures and peoples in the geographic region of concentration, to gain access to primary sources, and to prepare for study abroad and future careers in international affairs, students majoring in International Relations must demonstrate proficiency in a contemporary spoken language other than English. 

We strongly recommend that this language be spoken in the region of the world in which you wish to specialize for your geographic region concentration.  Language training provides a foundation of cultural and historical understanding for working in a globalizing world and an increasingly common requirement for living or working abroad.  Additionally, language study enhances students' oral and written skills, boosts professional skills in a fast-paced and fiercely competitive environment, and strengthens the capacity to live and work abroad.

International Relations majors may fulfill this requirement by completing coursework through the 202 (Course IV) level OR by demonstrating proficiency equivalent to that level through either a placement exam or a proficiency exam administered by Syracuse University’s Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics.  The Language Department offers on-line placement exams for French and Spanish at http://lang.syr.edu and in-person placement exams during First Year Student Orientation.  Proficiency exams may be administered at other times by request to the appropriate division of the Language Department.  Students are responsible to provide documentation of that proficiency to the International Relations Program office for their official record.  A language course taken at a higher level of study (300, 400) also fulfills this requirement.  Exemptions for native speakers are made only if the student’s place of residence is in a country where the language of instruction is other than English and the student is enrolled in ENL courses (ENL 201-203, 207, 211, 213).