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International Relations

Scholarships and Awards

IR distinction program students
Students in graduation ceremony

International Relations Distinction Program


The distinction program enables qualified students to engage in an enhanced research and mentoring experience. Distinction candidates produce an ambitious research project that is superior in quality and length to the capstone project required of all majors. Guided by a faculty mentor, this research is based on the student's unique areas of interest and is a great segue into a graduate degree program or future careers.

Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society


Established in 1995 by Ambassador Goodwin Cooke, the Syracuse University chapter is one of Sigma Iota Rho's longest running. Students who meet the eligibility requirements are invited to take part in activities throughout the year, including mentoring new students in the International Relations Learning Community, meeting with distinguished guests and participating in the annual awards and induction ceremony. Eligible students must be a junior in good standing with a demonstrated commitment to academic integrity; have an overall GPA of 3.4 and a GPA of 3.5 in courses that apply to the major; demonstrate intermediate-level proficiency in a foreign language through completion of a 201 level course or a proficiency test; and complete at least seven courses in the major including all required  introductory courses.

Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society

Undergraduate International Relations Awards

IR Program faculty and staff identify several students per year to receive special awards named after career-inspiring international relations faculty. These awards recognize contributions to the IR undergraduate program. Current students are encouraged to check the IR Answers page for a full list of awards and eligibility requirements.

Goodwin Cooke Leadership Award


This award honors students with leadership qualities that resemble those of Ambassador and Professor-of-Practice Goodwin Cooke, who served for nearly two decades in the IR department, following a distinguished career as a U.S. foreign service officer.

Julian R. Friedman Internationalism Award


Awarded to students consistent in their outstanding academic achievement, community involvement and a commitment to internationalism—qualities Professor Friedman’s life represented. Professor Friedman taught at the Maxwell School and was active with human rights organizations, including the ACLU.

Harlan Cleveland Policy Award


Harlan Cleveland served as dean of the Maxwell School, U.S. assistant secretary of state and U.S. ambassador to NATO. This named honor is given to a student who demonstrates academic achievement and involvement in international policy.

G. Matthew Bonham Scholar of the Year Award


Awarded for academic excellence and curriculum difficulty, the award is named in honor of Professor G. Matthew Bonham, a long-serving department chair for the International Relations Program.

Matthew Ross Wanetik Memorial Scholarship


This scholarship honors the life of Matthew Wanetik, an undergraduate student who died unexpectedly in 2006, and is awarded to a junior IR or political science major who is actively engaged in the campus community and exemplifies Matt's kindness, curiosity and charm.

Syracuse Among Top Fulbright Award Producing Universities in 2020-21


Syracuse University students and graduates are top candidates for prestigious awards, domestically and internationally, including the Rhodes Scholarship, Truman Scholarship and Fulbright Fellowships. In 2020-21, the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Program, Syracuse University was included in the list of top Fulbright Award producing institutions.

Students are encouraged to visit the Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising (CFSA) for more information.

Fullbright Program
Student David Barbier pictured with AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan
The award includes a $10,000 stipend and a summer internship, working closely with an industry leader. A double major in international relations and television, radio and film (Newhouse), Barbier spent the summer shadowing AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan.
Ashtha Singh
Downey Scholars are high-achieving students, interested in learning more about the diversity and importance of the work being done in the Intelligence Community.
Maxwell Celebration of Undergraduate Research

Undergraduates across degrees showcase their research at the annual Maxwell Celebration of Undergraduate Research.

International Relations Undergraduate Program
225 Eggers Hall