International & Comparative Policy Studies

What is ICPS?

The program at Reed in international and comparative policy studies (ICPS) is designed to meet the academic needs of students interested in pursuing a major involving interdisciplinary work in the areas of globalization, international relations, comparative policy, and development. Course offerings reflect the interests of faculty members working in this general domain. Courses applicable to the ICPS major come from relevant areas within the departments of anthropology, economics, history, political science, and sociology; students are expected to combine their ICPS course of study with work in one of these five departments, providing students with a firm disciplinary basis within the social sciences. ICPS majors are identified respectively as ICPS-anthropology, ICPS–economics, ICPS–history, ICPS–political science, or ICPS–sociology.

To be admitted to the ICPS program, a student must apply to the ICPS Committee for acceptance to upper-division standing prior to declaring their major. The petition process is normally due Monday of the twelfth week of the second semester of the sophomore year. First-semester juniors may apply by Friday of the first week of the first semester of their junior year. Since acceptance into the ICPS program is not automatic, applicants should be prepared to pursue an alternative course of study. 

ICPS is not a department, but an interdisciplinary committee composed of faculty from the Division of History and Social Sciences. Like a department, the Committee monitors your progress in meeting your degree requirements. ICPS is not a substitute for a department; rather, it guides a student through a home department in a particular way.

While you can certainly focus on any country or region of your choice in the course of your study, including the United States, the ICPS program does not require that you do so. What the ICPS Committee primarily requires is that you develop a range of analytical skills to study either international or comparative policy issues that could be applicable to any area of the world. Students must take either an interdisciplinary-international or an interdisciplinary-comparative approach to policy in their subject area.