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Master the complexities of economic globalization

The MA in International Affairs: International Economic Relations (IER) provides students an in-depth understanding of the market, political, and other forces that drive the economic globalization process, as well as of the private and public actors and institutions that shape international trade and financial developments and policies. IER’s distinguishing features are its multi-disciplinary focus on international trade, finance, investment, development, and governance issues and its application of analytical tools from economics, business, and political science. Our students apply their knowledge of institutions, policies, and market dynamics to issues in international financial markets, global economic governance, economic security, economic development, and international business.

The International Economic Relations (IER) program requires 39-42 credit hours of graduate coursework, including a capstone, that can be completed in two years (full-time) or up to six years (part-time). IER's multi-disciplinary curriculum means students can select courses in economics, business, and international relations that best fit their career interests. Major themes that IER students explore include international commercial and financial policies, the globalization of commodity and financial markets, the politics of the global economy, currency and debt crises, international trade and financial transactions, and the political considerations behind international economic policy.

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Full degree and admission requirements

As top scholars and practitioners in their fields, International Economic Relations professors regularly publish books and articles, appear in national and international media, and interact with students both inside and outside the classroom. Our distinguished international faculty include economists, political scientists, and international relations experts.

Meet the IER faculty

With residents and visitors drawn from all over the world, Washington, DC, is a vast campus that extends far beyond the SIS classroom. The International Economic Relations program’s academic content is complemented by internship, research, mentoring, and policy-oriented opportunities available to students in DC. These opportunities make American University the ideal place to study international economic relations and to jump-start a career after graduation.

Top employers: US Commerce Department, Inter-American Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, US State Department, US Treasury, World Bank

Helping Investors Navigate Economic Systems

The IER program helped me explore fields within international economics.

As an analyst with the Sovereign Ratings Group at DBRS Morningstar, I conduct quantitative research to assess the creditworthiness of the countries we cover and assist my team in conveying our view to investors. The IER program gave me the foundation to evaluate the economic, financial, and political factors that impact sovereign ratings, particularly in this dynamic environment. The IER curriculum and the on-the-job training I received from DC-area internships have been critical in my career.

Frequently Asked Questions

When you should apply to the program depends on what semester you want to start taking classes in and whether you are a domestic or international student.

Application deadlines for an MA in International Economic Relations are as follows:

  • Fall semester (all applicants): January 15
  • Spring semester (domestic applicants): October 1
  • Spring semester (international applicants): September 15

View required application materials

Missed a deadline but still interested in applying? Email the SIS Graduate Admissions office.

The International Economic Relations program prepares graduates for careers in US and foreign government agencies, regional and multilateral organizations, financial and other multinational corporations, trade associations, regulatory authorities, think-tanks, and international consulting firms.

Our graduates have found rewarding careers in governmental organizations that include the US Commerce Department, European Central Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, US State Department, US Treasury Department , and the World Bank and private-sector firms such as AIG, Booz Allen Hamilton, Chemonics, Credit Suisse, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, IBM, S&P Global, Summit Consulting, and Wells Fargo Bank.

Looking for more information or help? SIS has a dedicated career development center to assist current students and alumni.

The School of International Service offers merit-based aid in the form of scholarships and fellowships at the time of admission. SIS also has partnerships with a number of organizations like the Peace Corps and Pickering Fellowship that provide qualified individuals with funding.

Financial aid information for prospective students

Need-based aid is available through AU Central Office and generally takes the form of a federal low-interest loan package.

Federal loan and work study information for graduate students

The School of International Service offers two different degrees focusing on international economics and finance: the MA in International Affairs: International Economic Relations (IER) and MA in International Economics (INEC).

IER offers a broader, multi-disciplinary understanding of international economics. Students who previously majored in international affairs, political science, or other social sciences and do not have a background in economics or quantitative methods are generally more suited for the IER program. IER students tend to have wider interests in fields like international economic governance, international business, international development, or national economic security—not just international trade and finance narrowly defined. IER students choose from a number of possible concentrations and take multiple electives at different schools on campus to satisfy their career interests.

INEC offers a focused view of international economics and follows a more rigid course progression with only two electives. This program is intended for students who previously majored or minored in economics and wish to pursue a career in international economics at multilateral organizations, government agencies, multinational corporations, public-advocacy firms, industry associations, or research institutes. Applicants must complete calculus, statistics, introductory and intermediate microeconomics, and introductory and intermediate macroeconomics prior to enrollment in the INEC program.

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