International Relations

International Relations (IR) seeks to explain the causes, dynamics, and consequences of interactions among governments as well as the effect of international institutions and non-state actors on global governance. Pitt’s IR faculty members study a broad variety of topics, including international economy, global governance, as well as political violence, and national security.

International Relations: the Undergraduate Level

We provide a broad range of courses that examine topics of fundamental importance, such as how states cooperate, why states go to war with each other, the role of international organizations (like the U.N.) for democratization and human rights, the politics of climate change, the dynamics of trade and financial crises, and the consequences of globalization.

International Relations: the Graduate Level

Pitt’s IR faculty provides expertise in three substantive areas: international political economy, international organization, international security and political violence. We have more than ten faculty members specializing in IR at Pitt, split between the Department of Political Science department and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA). The department also benefits from the Global Studies Center and the Ford Institute for Human Security.

International Security and Political Violence: IR faculty with a focus on conflict and security (Profs. Colaresi, CondraGrauer, SavunSpaniel) study causes and consequences of inter-state conflict and civil wars, terrorism, coups, nuclear proliferation, intelligence and national security, conflict resolution. Two research centers housed at GSPIA, Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies and the Ford Institute for Human Security, provide valuable opportunities and resources for faculty and students focusing on international and human security.

International Political Economy (IPE): IPE faculty (Profs. Hays, and Owen) study trade and labor politics, the politics of international financial crises and global financial regulation, and the political backlash against economic globalization. 

International Organization: The IR faculty with expertise in international organizations (Profs. Colaresi and Spaniel) study the role of international institutions on democratization, financial crises, trade agreements, and human rights.

While we provide a broad array of substantive expertise in global political phenomena, the IR faculty are deeply committed to rigorous research using the latest tools available, ranging from statistical analyses, game theory, experimental work to computational modeling. Among the IR group, the areas of methodological expertise are Bayesian analysis, machine learning, text analysis, spatial econometrics, time series analysis, and game theory. The international relations methodology faculty include Profs. Colaresi, Hays, and Spaniel.