Watson Institute at Brown University
International Relations


While the core introduces students to a broad range of issues and approaches in the study of international relations, the tracks promote depth of study. Students choose one of the following two tracks in the concentration and select courses from a focused set of options.

Security and Society (SECS)

Political Economy and Society (PECS)

Both tracks cover macro and micro perspectives, paying significant attention to both the political and economic dynamics of the international state system and questions of culture and identity. Students are required to evenly distribute track courses between macro (state system) and micro (society and culture) approaches and themes. Although tracks undoubtedly provide general background for some types of careers, your choice of a track will not make or break your future career. Your interest in the subject matter and the courses should be the primary factor determining your choice of track. 

Security and Society

The Security and Society track emphasizes issues of war and peace, the use of force, diplomacy, conflict and cooperation, international law, and foreign policy. Topics include war and intervention, ethnic conflict, weapons of mass destruction, energy, environment, human rights, terrorism, international organizations, and global media. 

Political Economy and Society

The Political Economy and Society Track focuses on the global economy, trade, and finance at the macro-level and its effects on society. Issues such as the distribution of income and wealth, the globalization of labor, trade, and finance, the causes and costs of financial crises, and economic development, each connect macro level economic problems to the local and national arenas of political contestation. The PES concentration stresses how the political and the economic reciprocally constitute one another.