Mid-Career MA in International Relations

Changes to this program will take effect in the 2018–2019 academic year.

The Mid-Career Master of Arts in International Relations (IREL) is designed as a terminal MA program for mid-career students who wish to complete an advanced degree in order to further their careers in the field of international relations. The program is intended for students who already hold a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations (or a related discipline) and have significant work experience relevant to international affairs, or who already hold a master’s degree in international affairs or a related discipline. It is an abbreviated (one-year) program that assumes that students already have a strong knowledge of the field and hence require less coursework and a less-structured program than students who do not have substantive IR-related work experience. In addition to being an excellent degree for those seeking careers in a civilian role, this program is ideal for US Army officers who are required to complete a master’s program as part of their training in the Foreign Area Officer (FAO) program.

Prospective students with little or no work experience in the field should apply for the two-year MA in International Affairs.

Course Requirements

The Mid-Career MA in International Relations requires a total of 8 courses (32 credits). Listings of courses that satisfy each of the core areas can be found online. In addition to the course requirements listed below, remaining credits should be fulfilled through approved elective courses.

Core Course Requirements

One course in three of the following four core areas of study:

  • Theory & Policy
  • Political Economy
  • Security Studies
  • Regional Studies

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 2 credit (or more) college-level course in statistics, which will not be applied toward the IR MA (with the exception of MA 614, noted below).
  • GRS IR 702 Research Methods for IR Practitioners. This class will also count as an elective toward the MA degree.
  • CAS MA 614 Statistical Methods. This class will also count as an elective toward the MA degree.

Language Requirement

All students pursuing the Mid-Career MA in International Relations 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 Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies (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.