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International Relations


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Lonya Humphrey
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center
University of Pennsylvania Libraries
(215) 898-3491

Area Studies Research Guides

Area studies are interdisciplinary fields of research related to specific geographical, national/federal, or cultural regions. The following links are to area studies research guides that will be of help if you have a particular geographic research need.


International relations (IR) is defined as the study of the relationships between and among nation-states and the international system in general. Scholars of IR seek to understand the behavior, actions and struggle for power among international actors from different perspectives (i.e. idealist or realist) and at different levels of analysis (systemic, foreign, domestic, and individual). This guide is designed to support international relations coursework in the following Penn programs.


Homepage of the University of Pennsylvania Political Science Department

University of Pennsylvania Department of Political Science

The University of Pennsylvania's Political Science Department course offerings span the discipline of political science, from American political institutions to the politics of world regions, the emergence of a new international order, and recent and ancient political ideas. 


Homepage of the The Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics

The Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics

The Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics Center was established at the University of Pennsylvania in 1997 in order to promote interdisciplinary research and teaching across the University community on issues of international relations, international security, and international political economy.  

Homepage of the The International Relations Program at Penn

The International Relations Program at Penn

The International Relations Program at Penn is consistently ranked in the top five programs nationally and is widely respected for its selectivity and commitment to excellence. Our interdisciplinary training across history, politics, economics, and regions is highly valued by the commercial and public sectors for its rigorous but practical content and adaptable skills. 

Homepage of the The Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business

The Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business

The Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business is Penn’s unique undergraduate four-year jointly administered coordinated dual degree program in language, the liberal arts, and business. The Huntsman Program supports the development of globally-minded scholars who become engaged citizens, creative innovators, and ethical leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in the United States and across the globe.  

Homepage of the The Lauder Institute of Management & International Studies

The Lauder Institute of Management & International Studies

A pioneering program for aspiring global business leaders. Lauder students earn two degrees in two years: a Wharton School MBA plus an International Studies MA from the University of Pennsylvania.* Our innovative curriculum integrates comprehensive professional training with interdisciplinary coursework in international politics, economics, history, culture, and language at an Ivy League institution.  

"Getting Started" Research Tips

Academic, scholarly, and peer-reviewed books, journals, and articles are considered appropriate sources for college-level research and writing assignments. Here are a few tips when searching for books, journals, and articles:

  • Use Franklin to find books, journal articles, databases, CDs and DVDs, and anything else in the Penn Libraries collections.
  • If you already have information about a particular article (title, author, journal, etc.)  search using Articles+ or use the PennText Article Finder citation tool.
  • If you need to find articles on a topic, start your search in a general database such as ProQuest or EBSCO MegaFile.
  • For political science-specific articles use a subject database such as Worldwide Political Science Abstracts.
  • If your assignment requires the use of scholarly, academic, or peer-reviewed journal articles, use a scholarly database such as JSTOR.
  • Looking for a specific book or article but can't find it in Franklin? Request it through the Borrowdirect/EZBorrow & Interlibrary Loan.

Databases to Start Your Research

Two major commercial database vendors—EBSCO and ProQuest—are widely used to provide e-books, political science journals, and peer-reviewed articles. Universities will usually provide access to databases from one or both vendors. Important things to know about EBSCO and ProQuest.

  • Both provide access to dozens of individual subject databases that use a single search interface.
  • Both provide a varied mix of scholarly journals, trade publications, general magazines, and newspaper resources.
  • Both are multidisciplinary, which means they cover many subject areas, including political science.

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