This section is designed to offer information for current students enrolled in a masters degree program at the Pardee School. For any additional information, students should contact their academic advisor.
Advising and Mentoring
What is the difference between my academic advisor and my faculty mentor?
Your professional academic advisor is the non-faculty staff member who helps to guide you through your program at BU. This advisor is there to help you pick your classes each semester during registration and to help you understand the requirements of your degree program. Your academic advisor will answer questions you have regarding transfer credits, course petitions, degree requirements and policies, studying abroad, and much more. Your advisor is also a good general resource for anything you need help with including the transition to graduate school, academic support, health services, or other personal concerns. Advisors know Boston University well and can help you connect with the people and offices who will be able to assist you with any number of questions or concerns.
Faculty mentors are there to advise students on their future as global affairs professionals. Incoming students will be assigned a faculty mentor early in their first semester at Pardee. For students completing an MA paper, their faculty mentor will change in their second year of the program to the professor they choose to be their MA Paper advisor.
Faculty mentors can provide general career counseling, recommendations for classes or study abroad options, and opportunities for research. Most importantly, they can also share their wealth of experience gained through years or decades in the field of global affairs.
Who is my academic advisor?
For students in the MAIR program, your academic advisor is Holly Emery, Graduate Admissions Administrator. For students in all other programs, your academic advisor is Sam Gammons, Graduate Student Affairs Administrator. Students in one of our dual-degree programs (IRJD and IR/MBA) may also have an academic advisor in the relevant partner school.
How do I make an appointment?
You can make an appointment with your Academic Advisor on Handshake.
Where is the Pardee School Graduate Programs Office?
The Pardee School Graduate Programs Office is located on the second floor of 156 Bay State Road.
Where can I find graduate program forms related to my MA paper, courses, and registration?
To access these forms, visit our Graduate Student Services page.
Studying at Pardee
What is the minimum grade requirement?
Students must achieve a grade of B- or higher in a class in order to receive degree credit towards any of our graduate programs. Additionally, students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above. Students who receive more than two grades below a B-, or who do not maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above, may be terminated from the program for failure to make satisfactory academic progress.
Can I take courses in other schools and colleges at BU?
Yes, students can take classes from outside of Pardee, but they need to request approval from the Associate Dean for Studies in order to do so, unless these courses are already part of the student’s degree program. To request approval, students should submit a Petition for Credit form to their Academic Advisor.
Can I transfer credits from another university?
Yes, but students should make sure to receive approval from the Pardee School Associate Dean of Studies prior to registering for such courses.
Courses already used toward a different degree program (at BU or elsewhere), courses taken prior to the senior year of students’ undergraduate degree, online or correspondence courses, courses taken at extension schools, and pass/fail courses may not be transferred for credit. Only classes taken at the graduate level will be accepted for transfer credit. Students should speak with their Academic Advisor to discuss transferring credits.
Can I take a Leave of Absence?
Students are permitted up to two semesters of leave of absence. Students should speak with their Academic Advisor if they are considering taking a leave of absence. For more information, please click here.
How long do I have to complete my MA degree?
Every MA program is different; you can find information on how long your particular MA program usually lasts on each program’s page. With the exception of the IRJD and IR/MBA programs, Pardee MA programs typically require two to four semesters of study.
Students in Pardee School programs must complete all courses and examinations within three years of matriculation into the Graduate School at Boston University (exceptions may be made on a case by case basis for part-time students). Time spent on a leave of absence does count toward the time to degree limit. Students in the IRJD and IR/MBA programs follow the time to degree limit policies of the Law School and Questrom School of Business, respectively.
After I finish all my coursework, do I still need to register?
Students who have completed all necessary coursework but have not fulfilled other requirements of their degree program, such as the MA Paper or Language Exam, must register each regular academic term for ‘continuing student’ status until all requirements have been met. ‘Continuing student’ status incurs a cost equivalent to the tuition of a two credit class, plus a modest registration fee.
Can I study abroad?
The Pardee School offers a range of quality abroad options that provide our MA students opportunities to study and intern in some of the most interesting and important places on the planet. All programs are conducted in English. Unless otherwise noted, programs are open to all Pardee students.
As a non-degree seeking student, is there a cap on how many classes I can take?
We encourage non-degree-seeking students to consider which of Pardee’s Graduate programs might closely align with their career goals should they apply for admission in the future. No more than two courses for a degree program of eight-semester courses, or four courses for a degree program of 16-semester courses, may be credited toward the degree, and only if the grades received are B or higher. In other words, a maximum of two 4-credit courses can be applied towards the LASMA or MAIR degree, three 4-credit courses can be applied to the MGP program, and four 4-credit courses can be applied to the MAIA program.
What is an MA paper?
All MA students, except those in the MGP and MAIR degree programs, are required to write an MA Paper. The MA Paper is a substantive research or policy paper on a topic of relevance for contemporary global affairs. Although shorter than a typical classic Master’s Thesis, the MA Paper is nonetheless expected to be a model of careful research, rigorous investigation and terse, incisive writing. Leading scholarly journals such as World Politics, Political Science Quarterly and International Security provide excellent models for writing in this area.
Students should think of the MA Paper as an opportunity to develop expertise in a topic of their choosing, as well as a chance to build their research techniques and skills.
Complete information on the MA Paper, including guidance on how to get started, can be found in the MA Paper Handbook.
How do I get an MA Paper advisor?
Students choose their own MA Paper advisor. The first step is to decide on a general topic for the MA Paper. Students can then select an advisor with appropriate expertise from among the faculty with an appointment as professor in the Pardee School (students in dual-degree programs may choose an advisor from among the professors in the relevant partner school). Students are encouraged to think about their choice of MA Paper topic and advisor early in their time at Pardee. Students are welcome to talk to their advisor in the Graduate Office to identify a good advisor for their MA Paper.
When can I defend my MA Paper?
The Pardee School holds oral defenses three times per year: in September, in December, and in April/May. These defense periods are tied to BU’s three graduation dates (September, January, and May). Students are expected to defend their MA paper at the end of their final semester in the degree program.
What is an Oral Defense?
The oral defense is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge and the quality of their thinking. Defenses consist of a 10 – 15 minute presentation by the student plus a question and answer exchange (typically about 45 minutes in length) with the oral defense panel.
Oral defense panels include three professors, each with expertise relevant to the paper topic. One of the professors – the chairperson of the panel – will be the student’s adviser. The other two professors are chosen by the Director of Graduate Studies. At the conclusion of the defense, the panel will discuss the MA Paper and defense thereof to determine whether or not the student passes, and will then inform the student of that decision.
Oral Defenses are open to the public, so there may be other people in the room as well. Students are welcome to invite friends and family to come to their defense.