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Advising & Curriculum Overview


Mentoring and advisement is an essential part of the program. Students meet with faculty and the program director to ensure that educational goals are being met. For a personal consultation about your career plans and how the MA-International Relations can empower you to meet your goals, contact the academic program director, Andrea Wise:

Curriculum Overview

The MA-International Relations 30-credit, 10-course curriculum includes coursework in international political economy, international security, international law, and statistical methods of data analysis for international relations research questions. The curriculum emphasizes developing research and analysis skills based on a solid background in international relations theory and quantitative empirical research. Of the 10 required courses, eight focus on international relations theory, international political economy, international security, and international law and institutions. The remaining two courses focus on applied methods in the quantitative analysis of international relations. 

The ten 3-credit courses are divided into two phases: three foundational graduate courses (9 credits) taken at the beginning of the program, and seven core graduate courses (21 credits) taken to complete the program. Courses are offered in a specific sequence. Students must enroll in the order in which the courses are offered each semester. There are two options of study: 4+1 UMD Undergraduate or the Comprehensive 30-credit option. The Comprehensive 30-credit option is currently unavailable.

4+1 UMD Undergraduate Option

The 4+1 option targets UMD degree-seeking students in GVPT majors as well as qualified majors in other disciplines. In their junior year, UMD undergraduates must first apply and be admitted into the undergraduate portion of the 4+1 option. GVPT majors with coursework in international relations, some quantitative methods, and a 3.0 or higher GPA will be most competitive for admission to the 4+1 UMD Undergraduate option, particularly GVPT majors who are focusing on the IR concentration or the Minor in Development and Conflict Management. Students complete three 3-credit foundational courses (9 credits) in their senior year as part of the undergraduate degree.

During the spring semester of their senior year, students must apply to The Graduate School. Upon formal admission, students complete the master’s degree by enrolling in the remaining seven 3-credit courses (21 credits). The courses taken in the student’s senior year count towards both the undergraduate and master’s degree. UMD undergraduates are charged tuition at their regular undergraduate rate for the three 3-credit courses taken in their senior year and are charged program tuition for the remaining seven 3-credit courses.

Comprehensive 30-Credit Option

In this option, post-baccalaureates apply to The Graduate School for the master’s degree and complete all ten 3-credit courses as listed in the MA-International Relations plan of study. Students are charged program tuition for all courses. Note: this option is currently unavailable.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students should be able to:

  • Articulate the central theoretical approaches to studying international political economy, international security, and international law and institutions as well as debates among researchers regarding the strengths and weaknesses of different theoretical approaches.
  • Identify and apply different IR theoretical approaches that can be drawn upon to study research questions and to assess how useful different theoretical approaches are to studying a given research question.
  • Interpret and explain quantitative empirical findings on international political economy, international security, and international law and institutions as well as debates among researchers regarding the strengths and weaknesses of these empirical studies.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of different statistical models that can be used to test theories and hypotheses on international relations and the advantages and limitations of alternative statistical models.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental principles, theories, and concepts involved with quantitative research designs used to study research questions in international relations.
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