Master of Arts in International Relations

Combining scholarship and skills to serve global careers.

The Maxwell School’s Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR) offers a flexible 40-credit, 16-month curriculum. Ranked among the top professional degree programs in international affairs in the world, our MAIR program combines rigorous interdisciplinary coursework with real-world experiences.

We provide students with a solid foundation in international management, research design, and analysis combined with an in-depth and interdisciplinary understanding of the complexities of international affairs.

The knowledge and skills acquired through coursework and real-world experience prepare our students to be successful for meaningful careers making a difference serving the public good across all sectors—government agencies, nonprofit organizations, NGOs, and private corporations.

James Steinberg, an internationally recognized expert in public affairs and foreign policy, teaches the core gateway course for all MAIR students—International Issues and Actors—bringing his extensive real-world policy experience to the classroom.

James Steinberg

~ James Steinberg

University Professor, Social Science, International Affairs, and Law
Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State

Skill and experience based curriculum

The inherent flexibility of the MAIR program allows students to shape the curriculum for an educational experience that best supports your career goals. Students complete two semesters of coursework on campus and one or two semesters off campus for their internship experience.

Coursework consists of five Core Courses, one Signature Course that aligns with your career track, and the Capstone Course, which prepares students for the internship experience.

Career Tracks

Students choose one of five career tracks, which provide a more profound understanding in the following:

Development and Humanitarian Assistance
Governance, Diplomacy and International Organizations
International Political Economy: Finance, Trade and Migration
Peace, Security, and Conflict
Regional Concentration

Internship Experience

Students gain significant professional work experience through internship work completed over the summer or final fall semester. Maxwell offers Global Internship Programs in more than 20 countries, as well as options in Washington, DC, through our Maxwell in Washington program located at the Center for Strategic & International Studies.

Language Proficiency

Competence in a second language is a foundation for a successful international relations career. Proficiency in a second language is a graduation requirement (recommended prior to enrollment, but may be enhanced through our global programs).

Expert faculty and quality teaching

Our renowned international relations faculty are experts in their fields and conduct groundbreaking research, supported by interdisciplinary research centers and institutes sponsored by Maxwell, that help shape policy debates at local, national, and international levels. Nearly all Maxwell professors are full-time tenure track appointees who are regularly on campus and easily accessible.

>> See the list of Maxwell faculty teaching courses for the MAIR program to learn more about these prominent educators and researchers.

Career success after graduation

The majority of our students secure employment before graduating. Ninety-six percent of our recent graduates secured employment within 6 months of graduation in U.S. federal, state and local government (24%); private sector (37%); domestic nonprofit (17%); international government and NGOs (21%); or enter a PhD program. Our alumni become leaders in their fields with successful careers international development and relations, community and economic development, and security and intelligence, spanning both the public and private sectors. As a Maxwell student, you benefit from the support of these same alumni, as well as the Palmer Career Center, during your job search.

Visit our Employment Statistics page for more information on where our students work after graduation.

It’s all the degree you need.

Flexible study options that fit your career goals

Our Executive Master in IR provides a flexible program for midcareer professionals looking to advance or change their careers. Students have the option to earn their EMIR through either our program in Syracuse or in DC.

We also offer a range of dual degree programs, such as MPA/MAIR, MPA/Economics, MPA/JD, that allow students to customize their educational experience to meet their future goals.

Our elite Atlantis Program involves post-graduate work at two universities, the Maxwell School in the United States and the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Germany.

Undergraduate Students

For information about Maxwell’s undergraduate studies in international relations, please visit our International Relations Undergraduate Program.

How to apply

Visit our Admissions section for information about application requirements and deadlines, cost to attend, and financial aid.