Graduate Schools for International Relations with Program Info

Graduate international relations (IR) degree programs are offered at the master's and doctoral degree levels. Students enrolled in a graduate IR program learn how international organizations, governments and multinational corporations interact with each other and the way in which international policy is carried out. Graduates often find work as diplomats, foreign policy analysts, educators and policy makers. This article will discuss to options available two students seeking advanced degrees.

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Graduate programs in international relations are available at 4-year colleges and universities. Programs may be offered through schools and departments of government, public policy or international studies.

10 Schools with International Relations Degrees

The following schools offer graduate programs in International Relations, many of which are private institutions:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered* Tuition (2015-2016)*
Georgetown University Washington, District of Columbia 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, J.D. $44,712 Fees $424
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, doctorate, graduate certificate $48,710 Fees $1,800
Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, J.D./doctorate. $41,832 Fees $1,042
Princeton University Princeton, New Jersey 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, doctorate $43,450 Fees $1,900
American University Washington, District of Columbia 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, doctorate $27,468 Fees $430
University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $51,624 Fees $1,089
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan 4-year, Public Masters, doctorate In-state 20,638 Out-of-state $41,688 Fees $328
George Washington University Washington, District of Columbia 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, J.D., certificate $27,810 Fees $41
University of California--Berkeley Berkeley, California 4-year, Public Master's, doctorate In state: $11,220 Out-of-state $26,322 Fees $2,211
Columbia University New York, New York 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, doctorate $42,280 Fees $1,896

*Source: School websites, National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

With so many options for learning available, deciding on which school best fits the needs and budget of the student can be daunting. However, there are three very important factors to consider:

  • Program options: students can earn a masters or doctorate degree in international relations, which might also be called public policy, international and public affairs or regional studies.
  • Field experience opportunities: internships can offer students the opportunity to gain practical experience, as well as the chance to meet professionals and leaders in the field.
  • Foreign language proficiency: most graduate IR programs require applicants to have graduate-level proficiency in at least one language other than English.

Master's Degree in International Relations

Master's degree programs typically take two years to complete, but some shorter programs exist for mid-career professionals. Students often choose an area of concentration and complete at least one internship. Common concentration areas include human rights, energy and the environment, national security, diplomacy and economic development.

Some programs require either a series of advanced coursework in a particular subject, a written report, an oral exam or a master's thesis to complete the program. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in a related field and submit GRE scores. Mid-career programs require at least two, and in some cases 10-20, years of experience.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in International Relations

Applicants to Ph.D. programs are expected to have strong qualitative skills and to have completed coursework in college-level mathematics, statistics and economics. Admission requirements generally include GRE scores, college transcripts and evidence of the ability to do research.

Ph.D. programs take 4-6 years to complete. Coursework in methodology is augmented with at least one area of specialization, such as international law, comparative politics or international security. Students also serve as teaching assistants. A dissertation and passing of exams are required to complete the degree.

In a graduate international relations program, students will have concentration options and possibly internship opportunities. Students should be advised that proficiency in a language other than English may be necessary for admission.

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