MA in International Relations & International Communication

The Master of Arts in International Relations & International Communication (IRIC) program prepares students for careers in an international setting working in journalism, mass communication, advertising, marketing, public relations, and other fields. Coursework is split evenly between the Pardee School and the College of Communication (COM). Classes in communication provide students with concrete career skills in their chosen field (journalism, public relations, marketing, global technology policy, or communication research). IR coursework complements this by enabling students to develop regional or thematic expertise, providing them with the knowledge about and understanding of the international realm that is needed to practice effective international communication. The program includes the opportunity for students to spend a summer studying and interning in London or, for journalism students, a Fall Semester studying and interning in either London or Washington, DC. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in international relations, political science, a discipline such as history or economics that is closely related to international relations, or in communication or a sub-field thereof (e.g., journalism).

The IR & International Communication MA is a joint offering of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies and the College of Communication.

Course Requirements

The MA in International Relations & International Communication requires a total of 16 courses (64 credits). In addition to the course requirements listed below, remaining credits should be fulfilled through approved elective courses.

Core Course Requirements (24 credits)

Listings of courses that satisfy each of the core areas can be found online.

  • One course in three of the following four core areas of study:
    • Theory & Policy
    • Political Economy
    • Security Studies
    • Regional Studies
  • CAS IR 531: Intercultural Communication
  • COM CM 710: Communication Theory
  • One of the following three courses:
    • COM CM 722: Communication Research
    • COM CM 729: Public Opinion and Public Policy
    • COM CM 831: International Communication

Track Requirements (24 credits)

Students choose an international relations track (three courses, 12 credits) and a communication track (three courses, 12 credits). Courses for the two tracks must be non-overlapping, both with one another and with the core coursework.

IR Tracks

Full track course listings can be found online.

  • Theory and Policy
  • Political Economy
  • Security Studies
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East & Africa
  • Muslim World

Communication Tracks

All COM tracks include one or two required courses, indicated in the following list. Full track course listings can be found online.

  • International Journalism
    • COM JO 721: Journalism Principles and Techniques
    • COM JO 722: Advanced Journalism Seminar
  • International Marketing
    • COM CM 708: Principles and Practices of Advertising
  • Public Relations
    • COM CM 701: Contemporary Public Relations
  • Global Communication Technology Policy
    • COM CM 514: New Communication Technologies
  • Communication Research
    • COM CM 722: Communication Research

Statistics Requirement

Students in IR programs are required to obtain training in statistical analysis. Any class taken to fulfill the statistics requirement must be taken for a letter grade (not Pass/Fail). The requirement can be fulfilled in a variety of ways:

  • Successful completion of a two credit (or more) college level course in statistics, which will not be applied toward the IR MA degree (with the exception of MA 614, noted below).
  • GRS IR 702: Research Methods for IR Practitioners. This class will also count as an IR elective toward the MA degree.
  • CAS MA 614: Statistical Methods. This class will also count as an IR elective toward the MA degree.
  • COM CM 722: Communication Research. This class will also count as either a COM core class, a COM elective, or (for students choosing the communication research track), a COM track class.

Language Requirement

All students pursuing an MA in International Relations & International Communication are required to demonstrate graduate-level reading proficiency in a foreign language prior to completion of the degree. Language proficiency can be demonstrated either through a language examination or successful completion of a noncredit graduate-level foreign language reading course offered by Boston University.In the case of non-native English speakers who were required to submit a TOEFL score report as part of their application for admission, knowledge of English fulfills this requirement.

Master’s Paper

Students write a Master’s Paper (commonly referred to as an MA Paper) as the capstone component of their degree. The paper may take one of two forms: either a traditional research paper or a policy paper. Students are given broad latitude in selecting topics and approaches, in consultation with their advisors.

All MA Papers must be defended orally in front of a panel of three professors, chosen by the Pardee School (one of the three professors will be the student’s advisor). The purpose of the oral examination is to test the student’s knowledge in the area of research related to the MA Paper as well as the student’s ability to discuss that knowledge at length in a clear and compelling manner.

Refer to the Pardee School’s General Guidelines for the MA Paper for detailed information on the MA Paper and the Oral Defense thereof.