Master of Arts in International Relations

Admission to Program

To receive serious consideration, applicants will have a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) with relevant coursework and a grade point average of at least 3.3 (out of 4.0) in the last 60 units of undergraduate study. Students below the 3.3 GPA threshold may still receive consideration if the other elements of their application portfolio are strong. Applicants who have taken appropriate undergraduate courses in International Relations could be admitted without conditions. Applicants without an appropriate background in International Relations may be admitted conditionally and must meet conditions before taking graduate-level courses. Detailed, current application requirements and procedures are available on our Entering Students webpage.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students should acquire a good understanding of international relations theories and their applications in the world.
  2. Students should be able to examine the role of state and non-state actors on the global stage and critically approach contemporary schools of thought in International relations.
  3. Students should be able to develop skills and experience to engage in a variety of sectors: public, private, academic and nonprofit.
  4. Students should be able to generate research questions and systematically use theory and evidence to address these questions.
  5. Students should be able to conduct research using primary and secondary sources to deepen their understanding of a global issue.
  6. Students should be able to follow the disciplinary conventions of writing and analysis in international relations.
  7. Student writing should show evidence of independent thinking, conceptual analysis and problem-solving abilities.
  8. Students must be well-versed in a program area in international relations such as international security, foreign policy, international migration, international development or regional studies.
  9. Students should develop an advanced understanding of international relations and important issues such as human rights, climate change and international conflict and be able to apply their knowledge to a specific topic.
  10. Student internships and teaching engagements should generate knowledge and experience useful to the career goals of the graduate students.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

The University has a requirement for written English proficiency that is to be assessed at two different points in a student's program.

Level One

Completion of I R 720 with a grade of B or better.

Level Two

Completion of I R 898 or I R 892 with a grade of CR (credit).

Advancement to Candidacy

Students are encouraged to meet with their advisor regularly. During the second semester, or after having completed 9 units, students should prepare in consultation with the graduate coordinator an Advancement to Candidacy (ATC). At this time, all general requirements for advancement to candidacy and all conditions imposed at the time of admission to the program must have been met.


Students in the graduate program must maintain a 3.0 GPA or better. A grade lower than B in I R 720 is sufficient to disqualify a student from the program.

International Relations (M.A.) — Minimum 33 units

Core (18 units)

I R 720Theory and Approaches in International Relations3
I R 725The Analysis of Foreign Policy3
I R 728International Political Economy3
The International System and its Problems:3
a course in the range I R 730 to I R 739
Comparative Foreign Policies:3
a course in the range I R 740 to I R 749
Select one additional class from either of the above series (I R 730 to I R 739, or I R 740 to I R 749)3

Academic Emphasis (15 units)

I R 750Methods and Thesis Selection in International Relations3
I R 751Data Analysis and Evaluation Research in International Relations (or equivalent- any course covering multiple regression such as PSY 772 or SOC 393)3
Select 6 units of Electives in international relations or related disciplines6

Culminating Experience

I R 898Master's Thesis3

Professional Emphasis (15 units)

I R 750Methods and Thesis Selection in International Relations3
Thematic combination of courses (total nine units) in international relations or related fields of inquiry and training such as: public administration; international business, management, or finance; international environmental studies, or other fields related to international careers. Approval of graduate advisor required for courses in other departments.9

Culminating Experience

I R 892Sponsored Graduate Internship in International Relations3