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core courses develop knowledge in the pillars of global public affairs

global internships build experience and connections to drive career success


career tracks help focus student options around their professional goals

Core Requirements and Signature Courses

M.A. in international relations students select one course (3 credits) from each of the following areas. Please visit the Course Catalogue for complete requirements and download the M.A (IR) handbook for a complete list of current courses.

Management (3 credits)

Prepare to lead staff and manage programs in the international system. These courses are designed to help you develop the fundamental skills for success in the non-governmental, government and international sectors. Choose one:

  • Challenges of International Management and Leadership (PAI) 
  • NGO Management in Developing and Transitioning Countries (PAI)

Statistics (3 credits)


Learn to apply economic and statistical analysis to identify policy changes and to assess responses. Choose one:

  • Economic Statistics (ECN) 
  • Quantitative Skills in International Relations (PAI)
  • Introduction to Statistics (PAI)
  • Introduction to Quantitative Political Analysis (PSC)
  • Linear Statistical Models I: Regression Models (MAS)

Economics (3 credits)

Apply international relations theories to explain the emergence of events and to develop policies to address international problems. Choose one:

  • Survey Microeconomic Theory (ECN)
  • Economic Principles for International Affairs (PAI)
  • Economics for Public Decisions (PAI)

International Relations (3 credits)

This course will provide you with an introduction to critical actors and issues in the international arena, including how social science theories help explain developments and inform policy choices.

  • International Actors and Issues (PAI)

Research Methodology (3 credits)

Learn to use appropriate social science research methods to evaluate policies from a data-driven perspective. Choose one:

  • Ethnographic Techniques (ANT)
  • Research Design for IR Practitioners (PAI)
  • Quantitative Analysis (PAI)
  • Public Relations Research (PRL)

Professional Skills Development

As an M.A. in international relations student, you will develop your professional skills through a required for-credit internship (or two!), the international relations capstone seminar and demonstration of second-language proficiency.

Capstone Seminar

The capstone seminar is a 1-credit course offered during the Maymester and provides professional training to students before they embark on their internships. During the seminar, students engage in a policy simulation exercise, confronting an alternative future policy problem or crisis.

Students can then apply what they learned during the seminar to their internship experience. We see the capstone as the culminating experience of your first year of studies at Maxwell and as a bridge between the academic and professional aspects of your education.

Global Internship

Practical training is an integral part of the M.A. in international relations degree program. As such, all students are required to complete an internship, consisting of 250 hours of service, during either the fall, spring or summer semesters. Students may choose to complete the internship not-for-credit or for credit to be applied towards the M.A. (IR) degree. The M.A. (IR) program offers students multiple global program opportunities in the United States and abroad. Intern for international organizations like the World Bank while taking courses at our Washington, D.C., headquarters at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; or study in Brussels, where the headquarters of the European Union, NATO and a number of UN agencies are based, or within intergovernmental institutions such as the European Parliament or the Council of Europe, international NGOs, media organizations or think tanks. With connections and courses in dozens of locations around the world, Maxwell’s international programs help you build experiences and connections to drive a lifetime of career success.

Language Competency

All M.A. in international relations students must demonstrate competency in a second modern, spoken foreign language, ideally one that relates to your career track. Prior to completing the program, students must demonstrate the ability to speak a second language at the advanced intermediate level, equivalent to the Common European Language Framework’s B2 proficiency. If you do not have this proficiency at the time of application, you can take language courses while attending Syracuse University.

Please see the M.A. (IR) admission requirements for more details.

Public Administration and International Affairs Department
215 Eggers Hall