photo of books and a world map on a desktop

International &
Policy Studies

Students who major in international and comparative policy studies (ICPS) at Reed pursue interdisciplinary work in the areas of globalization, international relations, comparative policy, and development. Current ICPS students conduct studies across the social sciences and ultimately select a home department in anthropology, economics, history, political science, or sociology.

ICPS helps students develop strong analytical skills applicable to either international or comparative policy issues that focus on a country or region of their choice. They take an interdisciplinary-international or an interdisciplinary-comparative approach to policy in their subject area.

During their junior year, ICPS students write a proposal to undertake a significant interdisciplinary research project, applying relevant approaches to an important policy question and compiling and assessing a bibliography of secondary works, primary resources, or both to support their work.

With guidance from an interdisciplinary faculty committee and incorporating lessons learned from their junior-year proposal, ICPS seniors write an original interdisciplinary thesis that integrates perspectives, techniques, and methods across different disciplines.

“International and comparative policy studies allowed me to explore how different social sciences approach global problems. The wide breadth of disciplines and classes I took as an ICPS major gave me incredible perspective on the multifaceted human experience.”DEIRDRE BAKER ’21

Professor profile

Professor Alex Montgomery

Political Organizations, Social Networks, and Weapons of Mass Disruption and Destruction
photo of Alex Montgomery

Associate Professor of Political Science Alex Montgomery has a remarkably varied background. With degrees in physics, energy and resources, sociology, and political science, he brings an approach unconstrained by disciplinary boundaries to both his teaching and research. He has examined the proliferation of nuclear weapons through many lenses, including science and technology studies and social network analysis. Alex fondly quotes Weber: “I’m not a donkey; I don’t have a field.”

Alex currently chairs the International and Comparative Policy Studies committee. He teaches courses on international relations, networks and social structure, and global risk politics, among others. Alex moderated the Reed Union in 2020 on community responsibility in a time of climate crisis and helped create the environmental studies and comparative race and ethnicity studies majors at Reed.

Download International & Comparative Policy Studies Flyer as a PDF

Interdisciplinary Coursework

ICPS’s interdisciplinary approach provides students with a firm basis in the social sciences. ICPS majors include ICPS-anthropology, ICPS-economics, ICPS-history, ICPS-political science, and ICPS-sociology.

ICPS Committee

Students are guided through the ICPS program by an interdisciplinary committee composed of faculty from the Division of History and Social Sciences. While majors also eventually select a home department, the committee monitors students’ progress in meeting their degree requirements and provides meaningful support.

Opportunities to Study Around the World

Reed students have many opportunities to study at other domestic and international institutions, many of which offer coursework that complements the ICPS curriculum.

Notable Theses

“A statistical analysis of WTO disputes: who initiates, who joins, and why?”
Giselle Herzfeld ’20, ICPS-political science

“Ballot Integrity or Voter Suppression?: Minority Threat Theory Applied to the Case of Voter Identification Laws in the United States”
Melissa Molloy ’19, ICPS-sociology

“Strait to Hell, Boys: Obstacles to Cooperation in Combating Maritime Piracy in Indonesian Waters, 1945–2009”
Audrey Augenbraum ’14, ICPS-history

“The destruction of the African Renaissance: AIDS in South Africa and American foreign policy”
Gina Nicole Vorderstrasse ’10, ICPS-political science

“Determinants of Corruption Levels in Former Soviet States”
Angelina Porter Clarke ’04, ICPS-political science

What Do Alumni Do?

Master’s Student
Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs
Seamus Boyle ’22

Chief of Staff
Department of Information Technology, City of Seattle
Kimberly Loving ’11

Senior Humanitarian Advisor
USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance
Gina Nicole Vorderstrasse ’10

Operations Director, Brazil
Assured Labor
Angelina Porter Clarke ’04

Senior Counsel
Demand Justice
Jacob Kimbal Faleschini ’04

Research Programme Manager
United Nations
John (Sylvon) Jeremy Maughan ’03