MA in International Relations & Environmental Policy (IREP)

The following program listing applies to students admitted before September 1, 2017. 

The Master of Arts in International Relations & Environmental Policy (IREP) program prepares students for careers in environmental management, policy negotiation, and policy analysis. This degree program offers students a dynamic opportunity to explore the intersection of international affairs and environmental issues.

Students divide their coursework between the Pardee School and the Department of Earth & Environment. The joint core class of the program teaches students about international environmental negotiation, while coursework in environment provides students with training in a variety of environmental issues. On the IR side, students choose regional or thematic tracks that complement their environmental studies.

The IR & Environmental Policy MA is a joint offering of the Pardee School of Global Studies and the Department of Earth & Environment.

The MA in International Relations & Environmental Policy requires a total of 12 courses (48 credits) divided among Joint Core (4 credits), IR core (12 credits), IR electives (8 credits), Environment core (12 credits), Environment electives (8 credits), and free elective (4 credits).

IR Core (12 Credits)

The IR Core ensures that students gain exposure to a range of important facets of international affairs. Students complete at least one course in three of the four core areas of study outlined below.

IR Elective (8 credits)

Students choose two elective courses (8 credits), selected from the graduate-level course offerings of the Pardee School. Students may also select their IR electives from any of the courses included in the listings for any of the IR core areas. Courses not included in these lists may be petitioned to count toward the student’s degree.

Environment Core (12 credits)

Students are required to take one course from three of the following four groups:

  • Group A
    • CAS GE 505 Geographic Information Systems
    • CAS GE 516 Multivariate Analysis for Geographers
    • GRS GE 712 Regional Energy Modeling
    • CAS MA 684 Applied Multiple Regression & Multivariable Methods
    • CAS GE 550 Modeling Environmental & Social Systems
  • Group B
    • CAS GE 510 Physical Principles of the Environment
  • Group C
    • CAS GE 519 Energy, Society, & the Environment
  • Group D
    • GRS GE 625 United States Environmental Policy
    • GRS GE 660 Resource Economics & Policy
Environment Electives (8 credits)

Students choose two elective courses (8 credits), selected from the graduate-level course offerings of the Department of Earth & Environment.

Joint Core (4 credits)

CAS IR/GE 594 Global Environmental Negotiation and Policy

Free Electives (4 credits)

Students select one elective course (4 credits).  Any class that could be used as either an IR or Department of Earth and Environment elective may be used.

Foreign Language

Students are required to demonstrate graduate-level reading proficiency in a foreign language prior to completion of the degree. Graduate-level proficiency is the ability to understand newspaper and professional journal articles in the field of foreign relations accurately, using standard reference materials. Language proficiency can be demonstrated either through a language examination or successful completion of one of the non-credit graduate-level foreign language reading courses 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.


Students are required to obtain training in statistical analysis. This requirement can be fulfilled in a variety of ways:

  • 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). This course may be taken either prior to matriculation at BU or while studying at BU.
  • GRS IR 702 Research Methods for IR Practitioners. This class will also count as an IR elective toward the MA degree.
  • GRS MA 614 Statistical Methods.  This class will also count as either an IR or CEES elective toward the MA degree.
  • CAS GE 516 Multivariate Analysis for Geographers; GRS GE 712 Regional Energy Modeling, or CAS MA 684 Applied Multiple Regression & Multivariable Methods.  These classes may also be used either to fulfill Group A of the Environment Core Requirement or as Environment electives.

All statistics classes must be taken for a letter grade (A-F), and any class taken at BU will be reflected in the student’s grade point average. Online and correspondence classes are not accepted.

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.