MA in International Relations & MBA

The MA in International Relations & Master of Business Administration (IR MA & MBA) dual degree program meets the needs of students seeking careers in administrative management, international affairs, consulting, international banking, or finance. Students learn all the essential skills of business management through coursework in the Graduate School of Management (GSM) and couple that with an understanding of international politics, economics, and security issues learned through coursework in international relations.

Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in international relations, political science, or a related discipline such as history or economics. Additionally, GSM strongly prefers candidates to have several years of work experience prior to applying for the MBA program.

The IR MA & MBA is a joint offering of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies and the Graduate School of Management.

Applications for the IR MA/MBA program are submitted through the Graduate School of Management.

Course Requirements

The MA in International Relations & Master of Business Administration requires a total of 80 credits, including 32 IR credits, 40 GSM credits, and 8 credits of free electives. In addition to the course requirements listed below, remaining credits should be fulfilled through approved elective courses.

Core Course Requirements

Listings of courses that satisfy each of the IR core areas can be found online. Part-time IR MA/MBA students complete a similar, but distinct, course list for their MBA classes.

  • At least one course in three of the following four IR core areas of study:
    • Theory & Policy
    • Political Economy
    • Security Studies
    • Regional Studies
  • GSM AC 710: Financial Reporting and Analysis
  • GSM ES 700: Executive Presentation
  • GSM ES 701: Executive Written Communication
  • GSM ES 707: Managing Career Growth
  • GSM ES 740: Career Management
  • GSM ES 741/742/743: Career Community I / II / III
  • GSM FE 721: Finance I
  • GSM FE 727: Economics & Management Decisions
  • GSM IS 710: IT Strategies for a Networked Economy
  • GSM MK 723: Marketing Management
  • GSM OB 713: Managing Organizations & People
  • GSM OM 725: Creating Value Through Operations and Technology
  • GSM PL 700: Introduction to Business Law
  • GSM QM 716: Business Analytics: Data Analysis and Risk
  • GSM SI 750: Competition, Innovation, and Strategy

Language Requirement

All students pursuing an MA in International Relations & MBA are required to demonstrate graduate-level reading proficiency in a foreign language prior to completion of the degree. Language proficiency can be demonstrated through either a language examination or successful completion of a non-credit 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 adviser). 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.