MA in International Relations & Master of Business Administration (IR/MBA)

The Master of Arts in International Relations & Master of Business Administration (IR/MBA) dual-degree program meets the needs of students seeking careers in administrative management (corporate or nonprofit), consulting, international banking, or finance. Students learn all the essential skills of business management through coursework in the Questrom School of Business and couple that with an understanding of international politics, economics, and security issues learned through coursework in the Pardee School. Students typically receive both degrees in two and a half years.

The IR MA & Master of Business Administration is a joint offering of the Pardee School of Global Studies and the Questrom School of Business.

The MA in International Relations & Master of Business Administration requires a total of 80 credits divided among Pardee School IR core (12 credits), Pardee School IR electives (20 credits), Questrom School core (34 credits plus several 0 credit workshops), Questrom School electives (6 credits), and free electives (8 credits).

IR Core Courses (12 Credits)

The Pardee School 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 Electives (20 credits)

Students choose five elective courses (20 credits), selected from the graduate-level course offerings of the Pardee School. Students may also select their Pardee School electives from any of the courses included in the listings for any of the Pardee School core areas. Courses not included in these lists may be petitioned to count toward the student’s degree.

Up to 8 credits of Pardee School electives may be fulfilled with courses from the following limited list of Questrom School electives (3 credits each).

  • QST FE 827 International Financial Management
  • QST IM 836 Competing in High-Growth Economies
  • QST IM 859 International Strategic Alliance
  • QST MK 853 Global Strategic Marketing
  • QST PL 834 Macroeconomics in the Global Environment
  • QST PL 864 Managing Political, Economic, Social & Technology & Country Risk
  • QST PL 870 Government, Society, and Sustainable Development
  • QST SI 856 International Entrepreneurship
  • QST SI 870 Strategies for Sustainable Development

Students are encouraged to develop an informal regional or functional concentration with three to four of their electives. Doing so is not a requirement of the degree and a concentration will not appear on university transcripts, but choosing a concentration does help to give greater focus and definition to a student’s program of study.

MBA Core (34 credits)

Students fulfill the MBA core curriculum as defined by the Questrom School of Business. This curriculum consists of 34 credits plus several non-credit courses. Part-time students complete a slightly different MBA core, worth 40 credits.

Questrom School Electives (6 credits)

Students select 6 credits worth of coursework from the elective offerings of the Questrom School of Business.  Students undertaking the program through QSM’s part-time MBA program do not take Questrom electives.

Free Electives (8 credits)

Students take sufficient elective coursework to bring their total credit count for the program up to at least 80 credits, typically 8 credits.  Any courses that can be used to fulfill either Pardee or Questrom elective coursework can be used as free electives.

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 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.