MA in International Relations & International Communication

The College of Communication and the Department of International Relations at the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences have developed a rigorous two-year interdisciplinary program leading to the degree of Master of Arts in International Relations & International Communication. Program graduates will be broadly educated but also well prepared to work in national government or international agencies, international banking, journalism, marketing, or global communications technology policy, depending on which required specialization they choose in each discipline.

The Master of Arts degree is intended as a capstone for students who have achieved high standing as majors in international relations, mass communication or journalism, or another relevant social science, or in a combination of majors (double majors) or majors and minors. Promising students from other majors who have practical experience since graduation or who may not be fully qualified in preparation, may be required to take prerequisite courses at Boston University or elsewhere.

Students apply directly to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Program Requirements

Admission

Students must apply to and be admitted by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (not the College of Communication). Applicants are asked to submit their test scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). In the case of curriculum deficiencies in undergraduate study, additional coursework may be required that does not earn credit for the degree. For application forms write directly to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, 705 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, or call 617-353-2696.

Requirements

Elective course options are limited because candidates are required to master the fundamentals and principles of international relations and of international communication, must satisfy the foreign language requirement, and will have acquired one area of specialty or expertise in international relations and another in international communication. To achieve this, candidates entering the program must successfully complete three international relations and three communication core courses, and three electives in their pre-approved focused specialty categories, five IR electives, and two pre-approved electives of either IR or COM. The objective in requiring pre-approved electives in each discipline is to develop both in-depth knowledge of a country, region, or relevant international relations topic and a specialty in either international journalism, international marketing, global communications technology policy, communications research, or public relations.

A separate master’s paper supervisor will be assigned to ensure the quality and rigor of the candidate’s master’s paper and ability to pass an oral examination on it. The master’s paper will be closely supervised and must focus on the student’s chosen international relations or international communication specialty.

The degree is awarded by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Degree requirements and prerequisites for students accepted to the program are as follows:

  1. Written translation proficiency into English must be demonstrated in one approved foreign language before completion of the program. (For nonnative speakers of English, English fulfills this foreign language requirement.)
  2. An undergraduate course in quantitative methods equivalent to CAS MA 115 Statistics I, or an approved undergraduate research methods course, is required. No graduate credit is given for fulfilling this requirement.
  3. Sixteen approved courses. These must include at least eight (three core and five preapproved electives—country, region, or topic) courses in international relations and eight (three core, two electives, and three focused specialty—international journalism, international marketing, public relations, communications research, or global communications technology policy) in international communication. The elective courses must be taken from the core and elective courses lists that follow. Note: to the extent that designated core and elective courses are offered, sixteen approved courses (64 credit hours) of full-time graduate study in the regular fall and spring terms, Summer Term, or Boston University’s London Program (explained elsewhere in this catalog) will normally take four full semesters. Study may be part time in accordance with GRS rules.
  4. A master’s paper, to be defended in an oral examination before a three-member faculty committee. The master’s paper should focus on either or both of the student’s chosen specialty areas in IR or COM, but under all circumstances should significantly reflect the joint nature of the degree and course of study. Written topic proposals, to include a planned research methodology, must be submitted in writing to the director of graduate studies in the International Relations Department during the second year of study. Deadlines will be posted on the IR calendar.

Questions regarding this program should be directed to the Graduate Programs Administration in the Department of International Relations either by phone at 617-353-9349, or e-mail at ir@bu.edu. Please visit the International Relations website for detailed admissions instructions and general program overview.

Core Courses and Electives

The Department of International Relations has established four core areas within IR. Each student must take one course in three of the four core areas and five pre-approved electives.

The College of Communication has established one set of core courses and has established five focused specializations leading to expertise in international journalism, public relations, international marketing, communications research, or global communications technology policy. Each student must take three core courses and three concentration courses, and usually two COM electives for their communication specialty.

Students take two of their four remaining elective courses from the College of Communication and two from IR electives listed below. Specific courses may vary from year to year. See the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Bulletin for detailed descriptions of IR core courses and electives, and the latest version of the COM course printout for each term.

IR Core Areas and Courses

Theory and Policy

  • CAS IR 535 Diplomacy and Statecraft
  • CAS IR 546 Power and Legitimacy: Ideology as a Political Tool
  • CAS IR 573 International Law Problems of World Order
  • CAS IR 576 Essentials of International Management
  • CAS IR 595 Global Governance of International Organizations
  • CAS IR 770 Public International Law
  • CAS IR 772 Classics of International Relations
  • CAS PO 581 National Development and International Politics

Economics

  • CAS IR 590 Political Economy of Latin America
  • CAS IR 592 International Economic Relations
  • CAS IR 765 Japanese Political Economy
  • CAS IR 789 Current Issues in International Economics and Business
  • GRS IR 760 The Political Economy of the European Community
  • GRS SO 720 Development and Underdevelopment
  • GRS PO 842 Comparative Development and Underdevelopment

Security Studies

  • CAS IR 524 War and Statecraft
  • GRS IR 778 Problems of Strategic Intelligence
  • GRS IR 785 U.S. National Security Seminar: Problems of Guerrillas, Despots, and Narcotraffickers

Regional

  • CAS IR 503 U.S. in the Middle East
  • CAS IR 505 Central Asia in the Twentieth Century
  • CAS IR 509 Islam in Middle East Politics
  • CAS IR 514 Major Theories in the Middle East
  • CAS IR 541 Russia’s International Policies I
  • CAS IR 542 Reemergence of Russia
  • CAS IR 543 Changing Face of Eastern Europe
  • CAS IR 550 West European Integration
  • CAS IR 567 Latin American Politics
  • CAS IR 568 Latin American Relations
  • CAS IR 577 Foreign Policy of the People’s Republic of China
  • CAS IR 586 Islam in South Asian Politics
  • CAS IR 706 The Iranian Revolution and Its Impact on the Middle East
  • GRS IR 787 Latin American Policies of the U.S.
  • GRS IR 788 International Relations of Asia-Pacific

COM Core Courses (select three)

  • CAS IR 531 Intercultural Communication (Required)
  • COM CM 710 Communication Theory (Required)
  • COM CM 722 Communication Research
  • COM CM 729 Public Opinion and Public Policy
  • COM CM 831 International Communication (spring only)

Elective Courses

Students choose 10 electives, including a minimum of three from IR and three from COM from the following list. (This minimum of three IR and three COM courses must be “focused” in a specific concentration to develop expertise.)

  • CAS IR 504 Seminar: The Persian Gulf/Arabian Peninsula
  • CAS IR 505 Central Asia in the Twentieth Century
  • CAS IR 509 Islam in Middle East Politics
  • CAS IR 514 Major Themes in the Middle East Peace Process
  • CAS IR 524 War and Statecraft
  • CAS IR 530 Maritime Power and Naval Strategy
  • CAS IR 542 The Reemergence of Russia
  • CAS IR 543 Changing Face of Eastern Europe
  • CAS IR 544 Comparative Political Systems and Foreign Policies
  • CAS IR 545 Central/East European Diplomatic History, 1789–1918
  • CAS IR 546 Power and Legitimacy: Ideology as a Political Tool
  • CAS IR 550 West European Integration
  • CAS IR 567 Latin American Politics
  • CAS IR 568 U.S.–Latin American Relations
  • CAS IR 569 Political Process of the People’s Republic of China
  • CAS IR 570 Politics and Social Change in Postwar Japan
  • CAS IR 571 Central America: Crisis, Conflict, and U.S. Policy
  • CAS IR 572 The Latin American Military
  • CAS IR 573 International Law: Problems of World Order
  • CAS IR 575 Political Economy of Mexico and NAFTA
  • CAS IR 576 Essentials of International Management
  • CAS IR 577 Foreign Policy of the People’s Republic of China
  • CAS IR 578 Foreign Intelligence and Security Systems
  • CAS IR 579 Japan in International Politics
  • CAS IR 581 The Evolution of Strategic Intelligence
  • CAS IR 582 America’s War in Vietnam
  • CAS IR 583 Aspects of Defense Planning and Technology
  • CAS IR 585 Problems and Issues in Post-Mao China
  • CAS IR 586 Islam in South Asian Politics
  • CAS IR 588 Political Economy of Oil
  • CAS IR 592 International Economic Relations
  • CAS IR 710 Proseminar on the Mediterranean
  • CAS IR 711 Civil Society and the State
  • GRS IR 706 The Iranian Revolution and Its Impact on the Middle East
  • GRS IR 712 The International System
  • GRS IR 750 Defense Policies of Nations
  • GRS IR 760 The Political Economy of the European Community
  • GRS IR 765 Japanese Political Economy
  • GRS IR 767 Latin American Comparative Politics
  • GRS IR 770 Public International Law and the Quest for Peace
  • GRS IR 772 Classics of International Relations
  • GRS IR 776 American Foreign Policy
  • GRS IR 778 Problems of Strategic Intelligence
  • GRS IR 785 U.S. National Security Seminar: Guerrillas, Despots, and Narcotraffickers
  • GRS IR 787 The Latin American Policies of the United States
  • GRS IR 788 International Relations of Asia-Pacific
  • GRS IR 802 Russia’s International Policies II
  • CAS PO 551 Comparative Political Development
  • CAS PO 560 Politics and Society in North Africa and the Middle East
  • CAS PO 565 Government and Politics of Contemporary Africa
  • CAS PO 566 Political Systems of Southern Africa
  • CAS PO 581 National Development and International Politics
  • CAS PO 586 Nationalism in Post-Soviet Eurasia
  • CAS PO 663 Soviet/Post-Soviet Government
  • CAS PO 678 Seminar on Aggregate Approaches to International Relations
  • CAS PO 684 Russia and the World
  • GRS PO 741 Public Policy Analysis
  • GRS PO 771 Approaches to the Study of International Relations
  • GRS PO 777 Dynamics of World Politics
  • GRS PO 782 Negotiation in World Affairs
  • GRS SO 709 Theory and Practice of Field Research
  • GRS SO 720 Development and Underdevelopment
  • GRS SO 760 Political Sociology and Political Economy
  • GRS SO 820 Graduate Study in Women and Social Change in the Developing World
  • GRS SO 823 Modernization and Development in Comparative Perspective
  • GRS SO 851 Graduate Study in Revolutions and Revolutionary Societies
  • COM-Focused Specialties

International Journalism

  • COM CM 745 Comparative Political Systems (Summer London Program only)
  • COM CM 831 International Communication (Required)
  • COM JO 502 Reporting National Security Affairs
  • COM JO 516 Foreign Reporting (1st sem. only)
  • COM JO 523 The Presidency and the Media
  • COM JO 526 Covering International Terrorism
  • COM JO 534 Broadcast News for Non-Majors (spring only)
  • COM JO 545 Reporting Military Affairs 
(2nd sem. only)
  • COM JO 577 Diplomatic Reporting
  • COM JO 721 Journalism Principles and Techniques (fall only)
  • COM JO 737 London Journalism Internship (Summer and Fall only)
  • COM JO 739 Reporting on Britain (Summer and Fall only)
  • COM JO 744 International Mass Media (Summer London Program only)

International Marketing

  • CAS IR 531 Intercultural Communication (Summer London Program only)
  • COM CM 708 Principles and Practices of Advertising (Fall only)
  • COM CM 716 New & Traditional Media Strategies
  • COM CM 519 Interactive Marketing
  • COM CM 722 Communication Research
  • COM CM 728 International Public Relations
  • COM CM 730 Marketing Communication
  • COM CM 744 International Mass Media (Summer London Program only)
  • COM CM 745 Comparative Political Systems (Summer London Program only)
  • COM JO 804 International Business and Economics Reporting

Global Communications Technology Policy

  • COM CM 514 New Communications Technologies (Required)
  • COM CM 523 Design and Interactive Experience (CM 510)
  • COM CM 704 Contemporary Mass Communication
  • COM CM 510 Computers in Communication
  • COM CM 519 Interactive Marketing (CM 708 or CM 701)
  • COM JO 540 Multimedia Publishing

Public Relations

  • COM CM 514 New Communication Technologies
  • COM CM 534 Communication Strategies in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
  • COM CM 535 Political Campaigning
  • COM CM 701 Contemporary Public Relations
  • COM CM 510 Computers in Communication
  • COM CM 728 International Public Relations
  • COM CM 734 Governmental Public Relations (CM 701)
  • COM CM 742 Media Relations (CM 701, CM 707)
  • COM CM 744 International Mass Media (Summer London Program only)
  • COM CM 745 Comparative Political Systems (Summer London Program only)
  • COM CM 831 International Communication

Other COM Electives

  • COM CM 518 Creating Video Campaigns (CM 708, CM 717)
  • COM CM 534 Communication Strategies in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
  • COM CM 701 Contemporary Public Relations
  • COM CM 704 Contemporary Mass Communication
  • COM CM 705 Writing for International Students
  • COM CM 707 Writing for Media Professionals
  • COM CM 723 Advanced Communication Research (CM 722) (spring only)
  • COM CM 729 Public Policy and Public Opinion
  • COM CM 734 Governmental Public Affairs (CM 701) (spring only)
  • COM CM 742 Media Relations (CM 701, CM 707)
  • COM CM 744 International Mass Media (Summer London Program only)
  • COM CM 745 Comparative Political Systems (Summer London Program only)
  • COM JO 516 Foreign Reporting
  • COM JO 526 Covering International Terrorism
  • COM JO 545 Reporting on Military Affairs
  • COM JO 577 Diplomatic Reporting