Masters Degree in International Relations: Program Overviews

International relations programs focus on issues related to transnational politics, economics, and human rights around the world. Students in this program perform research and take courses in interdisciplinary topics involving global politics.

Essential Information

Master of Arts degrees in international relations generally take two years to complete. Depending on the school, students may pursue concentrations in international economics, global theory, non-governmental organizations or regional specializations, such as African or Middle East studies. A final capstone project or thesis is usually required. Graduates of these programs can pursue a variety of careers that involve diplomacy, international regulations and relationships between countries.

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Master's Degree in International Relations

The minimum educational prerequisite for this graduate program is a bachelor's degree and GRE scores. Many universities have no firm requirements as to the subject area studied, although subjects such as political science or journalism are examples of possible undergraduate majors.

The curriculum of a Master of Arts in International Relations program typically introduces aspects of foreign policy, methods of negotiation, diplomacy and economics, at times specifically related to a particular geographic area. Some classes focus on the importance of international relations to certain professions. Possible courses include:

  • International public law
  • International trade
  • Comparative politics
  • Economic development theory
  • Conflict resolution and negotiation
  • Globalized terrorism

Possible Career Options

A Master of Arts in International Relations opens up opportunities in negotiation and foreign policy. However, many students already have established careers and plan to use their knowledge of international relations to better understand a geographic region that is central to their work. Some possible career outcomes for individuals holding this degree include:

  • Public service
  • Congressional staff
  • International business
  • Postsecondary professor
  • International lawyer

Continuing Education Information

Students who wish to continue their studies in international relations can enroll in a Ph.D. degree program. A doctoral degree in this field prepares students for careers in research and teaching and focuses on a particular aspect of international relations, such as conflict resolution, international peace, environmental policy or U.S. foreign policy.

Given that international relations draws from a wide array of different fields, a masters degree in the field can open the door to many different types of careers domestically and abroad. Students who graduate with an advanced degree in international relations can pursue careers in government, business, law, diplomacy and education.

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