MBA+MA in International Relations

The Master of Business Administration + MA in International Relations (IR/MBA) dual degree program meets the needs of students seeking careers in administrative management, international affairs, consulting, international banking, or finance. Students learn all essential skills of business management through coursework at Questrom School of Business and, through coursework in international relations, couple that with an understanding of international politics, economics, and security issues. The entire degree program may be completed in five semesters if pursued full time.

The IR/MBA is a joint offering of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies and Questrom School of Business.


Applicants should ideally have a bachelor’s degree in international relations, political science, or a related discipline such as history or economics. Applicants whose undergraduate coursework has been in fields not closely related to international relations will also be considered if they can demonstrate a commitment to and knowledge of international affairs through their career or extracurricular experiences. Additionally, Questrom strongly prefers candidates to have several years of work experience prior to applying for the MBA program.

Applicants to the IR/MBA program must apply to both the Pardee School and Questrom School of Business. Within each application, candidates should express their interest in this particular dual degree program. Candidates will then receive separate decisions from each school regarding admission to that portion of the dual degree. Please note that candidates may be admitted to one but not both of the schools in which the dual degrees are housed and may choose to pursue that individual degree. That said, they must be accepted by both schools in order to be eligible to complete the dual degree.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will possess a comprehensive understanding of contemporary international relations from an interdisciplinary perspective.
  • Students will demonstrate proficiency in key skills, including quantitative and economic analysis, negotiation, and oral and written communication.
  • Students will be able to ethically deliberate the varied impacts of policy decisions on diverse regions, populations, and stakeholders.
  • Students will demonstrate an ethical perspective.
  • Students will demonstrate an in-depth synthesis of, reflection on, and personalization of ethical theories, concepts, and/or strategies.
  • Students will possess core business knowledge and skills:
    • Apply critical and analytical thinking to management situations/challenges.
    • Write in a clear, concise, and well-organized manner.
    • Deliver focused, polished, business-appropriate presentations.
    • Use business application software proficiently.
    • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of accounting, economics and business, marketing, operations and technology management, finance, organizational behavior, and quantitative analysis.
    • Develop a specific, personal career plan.
    • Participate effectively and efficiently in collaborative activities with diverse team composition.
    • Leadership.
    • Assume leadership responsibility.
    • Give and receive constructive feedback to enhance performance.
    • A management-systems perspective.
    • Consider cross-functional issues when developing solutions to business problems or challenges.
    • A global perspective.
    • Understand global business, social, cultural, and political issues relevant to the problems that they are working to solve.
    • An innovative approach.
    • In teams, use an iterative process, incorporating feedback from student peers, faculty mentors, and executives from the business sponsoring the challenge, to develop and deliver an innovative solution.

Course Requirements

For students enrolled in the Full-Time MBA Program, the Master of Business Administration + MA in International Relations requires a total of 80 credits, including 32 IR credits, 40 Questrom credits, and 8 credits taken in either IR, Questrom, or, by permission, elsewhere in the University. For those students who are in the Professional Evening MBA Program, the degree requires 71 credits, consisting of 32 IR credits, 31 Questrom credits, and 8 credits taken in either IR, Questrom, or, by permission, elsewhere in the University. In addition to the course requirements listed below, remaining credits should be fulfilled through approved elective courses.

Core Course Requirements

  • Listings of courses that satisfy each of the IR core areas can be found online. IR requirements include one course in three of the following four IR core areas of study:
    • Theory & Policy
    • Political Economy
    • Security Studies
    • Regional Studies
  • Full-time students complete the standard 34-credit MBA core curriculum through study in Questrom plus 6 credits of MBA electives. Part-time students complete a similar, but distinct, 32-credit MBA core curriculum, and they are not required to complete electives to meet their minimum Questrom enrollment for this dual degree.

Language Requirement

All students pursuing an MA in International Relations are required to demonstrate graduate-level reading proficiency in a foreign language prior to completion of the degree. Language proficiency must be demonstrated through a language examination. 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 MA in International Relations 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.