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School of International Service

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MA in International Relations

International Relations Online is the innovative, online Master of Arts in International Relations degree that offers students a strong foundation in the field of international relations as well as the chance to gain specialized expertise through concentrations in Sustainable International Development and Global Security and Conflict Resolution. A multidisciplinary approach exposes students to a rigorous curriculum taught by an outstanding faculty. Through state-of-the-art technology, International Relations Online classes are delivered on an engaging online learning platform to students located around the globe, and combines highly-produced, self-paced content designed by AU faculty with live virtual class sessions. No other highly-ranked program offers a comparable online master's degree in international relations with AU's level of interaction among faculty and students. Learn more at ironline.american.edu.

Offered by the School of International Service, the Master of Arts in International Relations is an online degree designed to provide students with a strong grounding in the field of international relations, professional skills, and expertise in a subfield of international relations.

Admission to the Program

Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor's degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least a B+ (3.30 or higher on a 4.00 scale) and should have at least 24 credit hours of social science coursework, including foundational work in economic principles, relevant to international studies. Students who do not meet these minimum requirements, if otherwise admissible, may be assigned additional coursework in excess of degree requirements specified at the time of admission.

All applications must be received in full at least 30 days before the intended matriculation date.

All applicants whose native language is English or those whose degrees are from an accredited institution where the language of instruction is English are required to submit results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Non-native English speakers are required to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) unless they hold a degree from a U.S.-accredited institution before enrollment at SIS. The minimum TOEFL score for full admissions consideration is 100 on the Internet-based test (iBT) or 600 on the paper-based test. The minimum IELTS score is 7.0. Applicants should plan to take the GRE so that the scores are available at the time of application.

All applicants must submit two letters of reference evaluating previous university-level academic performance and suitability for graduate study in international affairs, at least one of which should be from an academic source. The application should include a résumé and a statement of purpose. Applicants must submit transcripts from all institutions attended. Cultural factors are considered in evaluating transcripts and examination results.

Requests for the transfer of a maximum of 6 graduate credit hours from other accredited institutions to be applied to a master's degree must be completed in the student's first semester in the graduate program at American University. A minimum grade of B in each course is required for transfer. Transfer courses must have been completed within five years of admission and must fulfill stated requirements of the degree program and be approved by the School.

Degree Requirements

  • 36 credit hours of approved graduate coursework with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00, including 12 credit hours of core courses, 6 credit hours in methods and analysis, 9 credit hours in a concentration, 6 credit hours of electives, and 3 credit hours in a capstone experience.
  • Capstone experience: demonstration of research and writing skills through a course that includes writing a substantial research paper requirement or undertaking a research practicum. All courses taken to fulfill this requirement must be passed with a grade of B or better.
  • Proficiency in a modern foreign language:
    • Research competence in English and another language relevant to the student's career objectives must be certified.

Course Requirements

Core (12 credit hours)

Methods and Analysis (6 credit hours)

  • 3 credit hours in approved quantitative methods coursework  
  • 3 credit hours in approved policy analysis courseworkor
  • 3 credit hours in approved program evaluation coursework

Concentration (9 credit hours)

  • 9 credit hours of coursework in an approved concentration. Examples of concentrations includes:

Sustainable International Development Security and Conflict Resolution

Electives (6 credit hours)

  • 6 credit hours of approved elective coursework

Capstone Experience (3 credit hours)

  • Substantial research paper or practicum requirement