MA in International Relations & Juris Doctor

Picture of a Gavel

The Master of Arts in International Relations & Juris Doctor (IRJD) dual degree program requires three and one half years of study (seven semesters) divided between the School of Law and the IR Department. A study of international relations and law prepares students for careers in national governments or international agencies, international negotiation, and human rights organizations.

Admission into this dual degree program requires separate admission decisions by IR and the School of Law. These decisions are based on one complete application to the School of Law. Only students who are admitted to the School of Law will be considered for admission by IR.

Requirements of the Program

Students complete all of the requirements for the Juris Doctor through the School of Law. As a component of their JD program, students take four or more courses in international law. In addition, students take a total of six IR classes (three core classes and three electives) and fulfill all IR Core Requirements.

JD Component

During the first year of the program, dual-degree candidates take the prescribed first-year Law curriculum, the same as any other JD student. During the second and third years of the program, students take at least four Law School courses in the areas of international, foreign, and comparative law.

Students are required to take either JD 840, International Law: Origins and Development, or JD 927, Introduction to International Law. In addition, students take at least three other international law classes (minimum of 12 credits), consisting of either two courses and one seminar or one course and two seminars. Class offerings in international law vary from year to year and are determined by the Law School. Information on current international law offerings can be found on the Law School website here.

During the second and third years, students also complete a sufficient number of Law courses to satisfy the regular residency requirements of the Law School. Four of the six courses taken toward the IR MA will also count as electives toward the JD (explained in greater depth below). Students must also satisfy all other requirements for the JD as set by the Law School. Students should contact the Law School with any questions they may have on requirements of the Juris Doctor.

IR Component

For the MA portion of the degree program, students fulfill the IR Core Requirements, including the General Core Course, Foreign Language, Statistics, and MA Paper requirements. IRJD students are required to take three IR Electives; added to the three Core courses, this makes for a total of six IR classes. To see a progress report for IRJD students, go to the forms page.

As indicated above, students spend their first year in the program completing the prescribed first-year Law curriculum and do not take any IR classes that year. Normally, students take one IR course each semester of their second and third years, for a total of four. The fifth and sixth IR classes are taken during a final, seventh semester. Students also research and write their MA Paper during their final semester. IRJD students may not use their Law Degree Certification paper as their MA Paper. A similar paper, using some of the same research, may be used, but the student must write two distinct papers.

A portion of the IR courses taken toward the MA in International Relations are used to satisfy course requirements toward the Juris Doctor. The Law School permits up to 12 credit hours of electives to be fulfilled with IR courses. Within the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, IR courses are normally worth four credit hours; however, due to Law School restrictions, a four credit IR course will count as only three credits toward the Juris Doctor. Therefore, a student’s first four IR courses will translate into 12 elective credits at the Law School.

It is possible, though challenging, to complete the program in six semesters. Most students find that the seven semester schedule outlined on this page works best for them. Admitted students interested in the possibility of completing the program in six semesters should contact Dean Marx at the Law School to inquire as to how this can be done.

Registration for IR Classes

As indicated above, IRJD students normally take one IR course each semester during their second and third years in the IRJD program. Students should meet with the IR Graduate Programs Administrator during the advising period (as announced via email to all IR students) in order to register for their IR class(es).

Students need to complete an Add/Drop form for any IR classes that they plan to take and count toward the JD portion of their degree. This Add/Drop form, with appropriate signatures, is then taken by the student to the Law School Registrar’s Office, who will register the student for the class(es). Students should not simply register for IR classes through the Studentlink. Registering in that fashion may cause the IR class(es) not to be counted toward the student’s Juris Doctor.

Recent News

Prof. Menchik returns from Japan: Militarization of the South and East China Sea Disputes is a Lose-Lose-Lose Situation

July 22, 2014

Professor Jeremy Menchik of the Fredrick S Pardee School of Global Studies...

Prof. Schilde’s research asks: “Who are the Europeans?”

July 22, 2014

A new research paper published by Prof. Kaija E. Schilde of the...

Prof. Woldemariam publishes research on lessons from Eritrean War

July 20, 2014

New research published by Assistant Professor Michael Woldemariam, of the Frederick S.

BRICS summit: Prof. Gallagher sees global economic governance shifting

July 19, 2014

Leaders of the five BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China, South...