Universities Offering a Masters in International Relations Degree

Students pursuing a post-baccalaureate level degree in international relations may consider a degree in international relations or a related field, such as foreign affairs, foreign service, or global affairs. These programs are widely available at universities throughout the United States.

Degree programs in international relations offer a wide variety of specializations for students. Students selecting a master's degree program in international relations (IR) need to find a program that offers a specialization that reflects their interests.

10 Master's in International Politics Schools

These are ten of the best international politics master's degrees offered by US schools in 2016, with tuition information for each institution from the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years.

University Location Institution Type Tuition
Harvard University Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private $47,068** (2016-2017)
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private $45,729* (2015-2016)
Princeton University Princeton, NJ 4-year, Private $47,220** (2016-2017)
Columbia University New York, NY 4-year, Private $42,280* (2015-2016)
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Public $39,984* (2015-2016)
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public $12,158 for in-state/$22,111 for out-of-state** (2016-2017)
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private $39,936** (2016-2017)
Ohio State University Columbus, OH 4-year, Public $12,785 for in-state/$33,232 for out-of-state** (2016-2017)
Yale University New Haven, CT 4-year, Private $38,700* (2015-2016)
University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI 4-year, Public $10,728 for in-state/$24,054 for out-of-state* (2015-2016)

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics, **School websites

University Selection Criteria

When selecting a program in international relations, students should consider the following:

  • The specializations offered by a program and how they align with a students interests.
  • Extracurriculars available at the university that can expand a students knowledge and improve their ability to work in a team.
  • An emphasis on foreign language instruction for students who are not already proficient.
  • Whether the school offers hands-on work experience or dual degree programs.

Master of Arts or Science in International Relations

Admission requirements typically include a bachelor's degree, graduate exam scores, and some prior coursework in economics and quantitative analysis. Work experience can strengthen applications. A capstone project is usually required, though some IR programs give students other options, such as taking additional elective coursework, completing a thesis, or writing a policy paper. Coursework varies according to the student's concentration, but students can expect to take some core courses in global economy, research methodology, American foreign policy, and IR theory.

Master's Degree in International Public Policy

Master's degree programs in international public policy are designed for mid-career professionals. Some programs are focused exclusively for professionals from the international relations field, while others accept students who have other backgrounds. These programs vary in length, but most require 1-2 years of full-time study. Some schools offer a dual-degree option that allows students to study public policy alongside medicine, law, or business. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, sit for a graduate school exam, and demonstrate substantial professional experience to be accepted.

Many top schools offer master's degrees in international relations or a related discipline, with courses focusing on topics like policy analysis, leadership and economic theory. A thesis or capstone project is typically required.

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