Academic Programs

International Relations

J.D./M.A. in Law and International Relations

Recognizing the expanding role of international law, and the increasing interrelationship between law and international affairs, the School of Law and the Boston University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GRS), Pardee School of Global Studies, offer a dual degree program in law and international relations. A study of international relations and law provides an essential background for those assuming international positions in national governments or international agencies, and gives the international lawyer an essential perspective on the international environment in which he or she will operate. Students can complete the program in three-and-a-half years. To learn more about the Pardee School, read their latest brochure.


Program Requirements

Students may apply to the J.D. degree up to 12 credits of graduate-level work taken in GRS.
NOTE: Due to ABA accreditation requirements, the number of credits for a GRS course that may be applied to the J.D. degree may vary from what the GRS grants for that course. Please check with the Law Registrar's Office to determine how many LAW credits will apply to a GRS course.

The requirements for the M.A. include courses dealing with core areas of theory and policy, economics, security studies, and regional studies. The required School of Law courses provide professional background and preparation for law. Specific requirements:

  • A statistics requirement that may be satisfied by presentation of documentation of having passed an undergraduate course in statistics, or by passing GRS IR 702 (Research Methods for International Relations Practitioners), GRS MA 614, CAS MA 113 or CAS MA 115 at Boston University. (The Pardee School strongly prefers that students take IR 702).
  • A foreign language requirement, satisfied by: 1) taking a written exam involving translation from a foreign language into English, which is administered and evaluated by the Pardee School; OR 2) by taking and passing any of five Graduate Reading Knowledge courses offered at BU. These are zero credit courses taken P/F and focus on reading knowledge only. They are: LF 621 (French); LG 621 (German); LI 621 (Italian); LP 621 (Portuguese); and LS 621 (Spanish).
  • Three core courses in the Pardee School.
  • Three electives in the Pardee School.
  • The School of Law's course, Introduction to International Law
    Two courses from among approved School of Law offerings in international law and one seminar from among approved School of Law offerings in international law,
    One course from among approved School of Law offerings in international law and two seminars from among approved School of Law offerings in international law.
  • A master's research or policy paper prepared with a Pardee faculty advisor or, with prior approval by the Graduate Programs Administrator at Pardee, a School of Law faculty advisor, to be defended at an oral exam organized the Pardee School. All other requirements of the degree must be met prior to oral defense of the MA Paper. Exception: Students may be in their last semester of coursework at the time of the defense.
  • A sufficient number of law courses to satisfy the Juris Doctor degree requirements.


Admissions Requirements

Students must complete the required School of Law application and after accepted, request in writing that the School of Law to forward a copy of the application materials to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Pardee School of Global Studies . It is in students' best interest to explain in the personal statement or in a separate statement their reasons for pursuing a dual degree. Once students are accepted to BU Law, their application materials will be reviewed by the Pardee School for admission into the Master of Arts program. Please note-- admissions decisions for the J.D. and M.A. programs are made separately.

First-year J.D. students also can apply to the master's program during the first year of law school. If you apply first year, the application deadline is April 15. Students must give the Law Registrar's office written permission to send the following to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, which should be instructed to send the materials on to the Pardee School for further review:

  • Law school application and LSDAS report indicating LSAT score (which is accepted in lieu of the GRE)
  • Transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended
  • Two letters of recommendation and a Dean's clearance from the undergraduate school granting the applicant the B.A. or B.S. degree
  • Personal statement (but should do a new statement indicating specific interest in the dual program and in international relations)

Non-English speaking applicants must have demonstrated proficiency in English (TOEFL score). Applicants must identify a foreign language in which they are competent.

For more information on the M.A. program in International Relations, contact: Michael A. Williams at at the Boston University Pardee School of Global Studies, 617.353.9349.