MAIR/Economics Joint Degree

Earn two MA degrees in two years to prepare for the changing demands of the global marketplace: The Masters Degree in Economics and the Professional MA Degree in International Relations from the Maxwell School.

The interplay between international relations and economic forces dominates our attention today. The daily headlines reveal the extent of global conflict rooted in economics--everything from transatlantic trade wars, to sovereign debt default to environmental devastation. Students of international relations cannot fully appreciate the underpinnings and solutions to modern conflict without a firm grasp of economic principles. Furthermore, in the increasingly competitive job market, IR students with a firm grounding in economic theory and applied quantitative techniques hold a distinct advantage in building quality careers in government, the private sector or with non-government organizations.

The Maxwell School has introduced a Joint Economics and International Relations Option. This rigorous course of study allows you to earn two MA degrees--in International Relations and in Economics--in only two years. You will be expected to complete challenging courses in economic theory as well as econometrics, in addition to core courses in International Relations. We expect our most promising IR students with a strong interest in Economics to take advantage of this unique opportunity to acquire a strong interdisciplinary expertise.

The Department of Economics offers a Masters Degree that emphasizes the simultaneous development of a strong grounding in economic concepts and the rigorous application of theory to applied, policy-oriented settings.  Graduates of Economics lead a wide variety of careers in business and government, including management, consulting, research and policy analysis.

The Department of Public Administration and International Affairs offers the Professional MA in International Relations that prepares students for leadership in public and international affairs.  The Program emphasizes integrative interdisciplinary social science perspectives and practical and collaborative experiences that enable students to deal with global issues of governance and policy. Students have the option of enhancing their professional and theoretical skills with a challenging internship in any of our many amazing global programs or in Washington, D.C.


Students are admitted to both programs separately and must fulfill the core courses, specializations, and exit requirements for both programs. Upon completion of these requirements, students are awarded two degrees, the MA-IR and the MA in Economics.  An overview of the joint degree requirements can be found below: 

MAIR/Economics requirements
International Relations Courses     Economics Courses
CORE (9 credits):    CORE (15 credits): 
International Actors & Issues   Economic Statistics 
Research Design for the IR Practitioner    Econometric Methods 
MGMT CORE (select 1):    Survey of Microeconomics 
Challenges of International Management & Leadership, OR    Survey of Macroeconomics 
Public Organizations & Management   Mathematics for Economists 
(select one, 3 credits):
(select one concentration, 6 credits): 
History of International Relations   Econometrics 
Comparative Foreign Policy   Economic Development 
Economic Dimensions of Global Power   International Economics 
Culture in World Affairs    Health Economics 
Development & Sustainability    Urban & Regional Economics 
    Labor Economics 
    Public Finance 
(select one Career Track, 12 credits)
(select three ECN elective courses, 9 credits) 
International Economics, Finance & Trade    
Democracy, Development & Humanitarian Assistance    
Governance, Diplomacy & International Organization    
Peace Security and Conflict     
(select one IR elective course, 3 credits)
(1 credit)
TOTAL:  28 IR credits / of a total of 58 credits    TOTAL:  30 ECN credits  / of a total of 58 credits 



A minimum of one year of economics principles (and preferably intermediate economics) at the undergraduate level is required.  Students must demonstrate basic competency in differential and integral calculus. 

Application Procedures and Deadlines:

Applications are invited from persons who are committed to careers in the field of international affairs with a specialization in international economics, trade, or development.  Interested persons must apply and be accepted to both programs to be eligible, although only one application is necessary.  When submitting your application online, rather than selecting the individual programs please select the joint program option.  Prospective applicants are welcome to visit our campus, although personal interviews are not required. Further information on application procedures and deadlines can be found under admissions and financial aid. or by calling PAIA at (315) 443-4000, or  

If you have questions about the application, please contact the PAIA Office as soon as possible.

Financial Aid:

The Maxwell School provides financial aid to support graduate study.  For more information on financial aid, please go to the PAIA Financial Aid Website.

Careers in International Affairs:

Students who have earned MA degrees in Economics and International Relations enter careers in global business and international development. For example, recent graduates of the Maxwell School have found positions in multinational corporations, investment banks, and policy consulting firms, as well as the US Government, the World Bank System, the IMF and the United Nations.

More than 8,000 Maxwell graduates hold a variety of influential positions in the United States and around the world.  In the Washington, D.C. area, there are 1,600 Maxwell alumni who work in the executive branch, on Capitol Hill, in NGOs, and in international organizations.

For More Information about the Joint Economics and International Relations Option, please contact the PAIA Office at or you may also connect to Dr. Stuart Brown, Professor of Practice, Public Administration and International Affairs. Dr. Brown specializes in international economics and finance, macroeconomics and the political economy of transitional countries.  He has worked at the IMF and the Bank of America in London.