MA in International Relations & Environmental Policy

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

The year-and-a-half Master of Arts in International Relations & Environmental Policy (IREP) program prepares students for careers in environmental management, policy negotiation, and policy analysis while working for national or local governments, IGOs, or NGOs. The management of natural resources and the resolution of environmental conflicts are increasingly important factors in determining the course of international relations. This degree program offers students a dynamic opportunity to explore that 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 Earth & Environment provides students with training in a variety of environmental issues. On the IR side, students can choose to develop regional or thematic expertise that complements their environmental studies. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in international relations, political science, a discipline such as history or economics that is closely related to international relations, environmental science, biology, or a discipline closely related to environmental science.

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

Course Requirements

The MA in International Relations & Environmental Policy requires a total of 12 courses (48 credits). In addition to the course requirements listed below, remaining credits should be fulfilled through approved elective courses. Course requirements are as follows:

  • CAS IR/GE 594 Global Environmental Negotiation and Policy
  • At least one course in three of the following four core areas of study.
    • Theory and Policy
    • Political Economy
    • Security Studies
    • Regional Studies

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

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

Listings of courses that satisfy each of the core areas, and listings of approved elective courses, can be found online.

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 degree (with the exception of MA 614, noted below).
  • GRS IR 702 Research Methods for International Relations Practitioners. This class will also count as an IR elective toward the MA degree.
  • CAS MA 614 Statistical Methods. This class will also count as either an IR or Environment 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.

Language Requirement

All students pursuing an MA in International Relations & Environmental Policy are required to demonstrate graduate-level reading proficiency in a foreign language prior to completion of the degree. Language proficiency can be demonstrated either through 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 Pardee School (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.