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Master the complexities of economic globalization

The MA in International Economic Relations (MAIER) combines international economics and political economy in a uniquely integrated fashion to position you for a professional career in international business and finance, government, or the nonprofit sector. Your core courses will cover international trade and finance, which you’ll supplement with a concentration in development or environmental policy, political economy, further work on trade and finance, or a specialization you design yourself.

MAIER embraces the ongoing, evolving, and ever-present impacts of climate change and digital technology as extensions of the treatment of trade and finance. If you’re interested in emerging-market and developing areas, our faculty will engage with you on relevant subjects including international investment and debt restructuring. Also, all MAIER students develop skills in quantitative methods and econometrics that are particularly useful for policy analysis.

Based in Washington, DC, and housed in the Top-10-ranked School of International Service, the MAIER program allows students to take internships in organizations that can bridge to permanent job opportunities after graduation. Students can pursue the MAIER degree on a full- or part-time basis. Combining these features, MAIER and its companion STEM degree are unique among Washington-area programs.


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Student Cohort

The MA in International Economic Relations (MAIER) degree requires 36 credit hours of graduate coursework, including a capstone, that can be completed in two years (full-time) or up to six years (part-time). Students take four courses in the core curriculum and three courses in quantitative research methods and then diversify by choosing one of four specialty concentrations or designing one of their own. Major themes that MAIER students explore include economic globalization, currency and debt crises, trade and investment agreements, emerging-market country strategies, climate risk confronting corporations and financial institutions, and strategic economic competition among the US, China, and the European Union.

Explore degree flexibility options

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 MAIER 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 degree’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.

The MA in International Economic Relations (MAIER) degree is part of the International Economic Relations Program at the School of International Service. Students pursuing this degree will collaborate with their cohort and will work closely with students pursuing the MA in International Economic Relations: Quantitative Methods, MAIER’s sister degree.

Top Employers: World Bank and Multilateral Development Banks, International Monetary Fund, US government agencies (including Treasury and Commerce Departments), private banks and corporations

WTO Director-General Inaugurates New IER Program

World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala helped to inaugurate the revitalized International Economic Relations program in April 2023 by joining AU President Sylvia M. Burwell in a conversation on "Global Trade, the Global Commons and Geopolitics" in the SIS atrium.  She also recognized Dr. Robert Koopman, who joined SIS in Fall 2022, for his contributions as the WTO Chief Economist. 

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Developing an Expertise in International Trade

Rochelle Osei-Tutu, SIS/MA '16

IER equipped me with knowledge of international trade theory and history.

I think the unique experience that's offered through the IER program is that you can focus on the niche that you want to develop. I realized that I was interested in international trade, so I was able to take courses on the political economy as well as digital trade and trade theory. That helped me form the foundation that I needed for my job at the International Trade Administration.

Learn more about Osei-Tutu’s time in the IER program.

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: January 15
  • Spring semester: October 1

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, trade, and finance: the MA in International Economic Relations (MAIER) and MA in International Economics Relations: Quantitative Methods (MAIER:QM).

MAIER offers a multi-disciplinary understanding of international economic relations. Students who previously majored in international affairs, political science, or other social science, and do not have a background in economics or quantitative methods generally prefer the MAIER degree. MAIER students tend to have wider interests in fields such as global economic governance, international business, international development, environmental policy or national economic security—beyond international trade and finance, narrowly defined. MAIER students choose from among several possible concentrations and can elect courses from different schools on campus to satisfy their career interests.

MAIER:QM (STEM) students follow a more structured course progression focused on Advanced Quantitative Methods. This STEM-designated degree bolsters graduates’ competitiveness for research-oriented positions. The MAIER:QM degree may enable F-1 international students to be eligible for a 24-month extension of the Optional Practical Training (OPT) in the United States. For more information, please consult with International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

Still have questions? Send us an email with program-specific questions at

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