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Flexibility for your degree

Whether you’re interested in pursuing a career in the public, nonprofit, or private sector, the International Economic Relations program offers you the flexibility to design a degree that matches your unique thematic interests, research-methods needs, and professional career goals. The program encourages students to take courses not just throughout the School of International Service, but also in American University’s Economics Department, Kogod School of Business, and Washington College of Law. Students can also build on their curriculum with intensive Skills Institutes and a career-oriented Practicum.

Degree Options

In addition to the standard master's degree, you can earn a dual degree through our partnership at AU.

The International Affairs: International Economic Relations (IER) degree provides a broad view of the economic and financial issues relevant to today’s international environment, as well as the market and policy solutions that address those issues. The IER program is ideal for students with wider interests in fields like international economic governance, international business, international development, and national economic security. Students can supplement their study of conventional international economics with the unique opportunity to take courses and seminars in the School of International Service, Kogod School of Business, and Washington College of Law.

The School of International Service (SIS) offers a dual master's degree program with Kogod School of Business, giving students the opportunity to acquire expertise in both international economics and business. This combination of skills is particularly valuable to international organizations trying to increase productivity through better business practices and to businesses adjusting to the global market. Graduates will receive an MA through SIS and an MBA through Kogod.

Generally, dual degree students will spend their first year taking core curriculum courses at Kogod, then spend their second and third years taking courses at both SIS and Kogod. Students must complete 31 credit hours at Kogod and 39-42 credit hours at SIS, with the option to count up to 9 credit hours from Kogod degree requirements towards SIS degree requirements.

Prospective MA/MBA students must separately apply to and be accepted by each school. The admissions committees from each school do not collaborate on the decision-making process.

View Kogod School of Business dual degree admissions requirements and MBA coursework.


IER students choose from one of the five concentration options below or may design their own concentration in a related field with approval of their academic advisor. Below are samples of the courses you can take by concentration area.

  • PUAD 631 Financing Government Services
  • SIS 632 Microfinance: Concepts and Tools  
  • ECON 634 Development Finance and Banking
  • SIS 637 International Development
  • ECON 661 Survey of Economic Development
  • ECON 663 Development Macroeconomics
  • ECON 665 Project Evaluation in Developing Countries
  • PUAD 671 Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • SIS 696 Impact Investing
  • FIN 614 Financial Management
  • SIS 619 Economics of Transnational Crime
  • SIS 619 Political Risk Analysis
  • FIN 630 Financial Analysis: Concepts and Applications
  • IBUS 700 International Finance 
  • IBUS 745 Global Supply-Chain Management
  • IBUS 748 Management in Emerging Markets
  • FIN 614 Financial Management 
  • SIS 619 Economics of Transnational Crime
  • SIS 627 International Finance and the Emerging Markets
  • FIN 630 Financial Analysis: Concepts and Applications
  • PUAD 633 Budgeting and Financial Management
  • ECON 639 Policy Issues in Financial Economics
  • FIN 660 Financial Modeling
  • FIN 672 Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management
  • FIN 674 Derivatives and Risk Management
  • FIN 700 International Finance
  • SIS 753 Global Financial Governance
  • SIS 619 Political Economy of Oil and Energy
  • SIS 629 European Political Economy
  • SIS 676 Political Economy of Africa
  • SIS 676 Political Economy of Latin America
  • SIS 676 Political Economy of the Middle East and Northern Africa
  • SIS 619 Political Risk Analysis 
  • SIS 630 Economic Policies in the European Union 
  • SIS 658 Financial Issues in Latin America 
  • SIS 676 Political Economy of Africa
  • SIS 676 Political Economy of Latin America
  • SIS 676 Political Economy of the Middle East and Northern Africa
  • SIS 676 Southeast Asia, United States, and Regional Powers


All International Economic Relations students complete a student research requirement for their capstone. Students can choose from three different options to fulfill their capstone.

The Practicum is a one-semester, pre-professional experience which serves as a capstone for the MA program. Student teams complete projects for external client organizations, producing deliverables that address challenges identified by clients in a statement of work. Students work under a site supervisor and a faculty advisor. Each practicum offers real-world experience with project management, client relations, oral presentations, and writing skills. Practicum options change every year, and students can apply to one that best suits their academic and career interests.

The Master's Thesis is an original research project appropriate for students looking to complete a longer and more academically rigorous research paper. It is similar to the Substantial Research Paper, but will completed over the course of one year.

The Substantial Research Paper (SRP) is an independent research project intended to integrate and apply knowledge from the field to a final scholarly project. The SRP culminates in a 50- to 60-page report that defines a question, applies one or more specific research methods to the question, develops findings, and discusses their implications and significance. Completed during your final semester in the program, the SRP is conducted under the supervision of a IER faculty member.

Application            At a Glance

View a detailed admission and degree requirements listing for your degree of interest.

Entrance Semester
Fall and Spring
Application Deadline
January 15 for the fall semester
October 1 for the spring semester (September 15 for international applicants)
Additional Requirements
Undergraduate degree
Two letters of recommendation
Statement of Purpose
TOEFL/IELTS score if non-native English speaker
Completion of online application