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    Oct 07, 2022  
American University Catalog 2022-2023 
    
American University Catalog 2022-2023

International Relations (MA)


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Offered by the School of International Service , the International Relations (MA) is an online degree designed to provide students with a strong grounding in the field of international relations, professional skills, and expertise in a subfield of international relations.

Admission to the Program


Applicants must hold an earned bachelor’s degree from an institution accredited by one of the six United States regional accreditation agencies or a degree equivalent to a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree from an international institution with a similar level of accreditation or recognition by its home country. Assessment of a foreign degree will be based upon the characteristics of the national system of education, the type of institution attended, its accreditation, and the level of studies completed.

Competitive candidates may demonstrate their potential to excel in diverse ways, including a strong academic record, demonstrated success in relevant coursework and/or professional experience, the presentation of a compelling motivation and objective for graduate work, or a combination of some of these factors.

All applications must be received in full at least 30 days before the intended matriculation date.

A Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is optional. Applicants who have completed the exam are welcome to submit their scores as part of their application. Non-native English speakers are required to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) unless they hold a degree from a U.S.-accredited institution before enrollment at SIS. The minimum TOEFL score for full admissions consideration is 100 on the Internet-based test (iBT) or 600 on the paper-based test. The minimum IELTS score is 7.0. Applicants should plan to take the GRE so that the scores are available at the time of application.

All applicants must submit two letters of reference evaluating previous university-level academic performance and suitability for graduate study in international affairs, at least one of which should be from an academic source. The application should include a résumé and a statement of purpose. Applicants must submit transcripts from all institutions attended. Cultural factors are considered in evaluating transcripts and examination results.

Requests for the transfer of a maximum of 6 graduate credit hours from other accredited institutions to be applied to a master’s degree must be completed in the student’s first semester in the graduate program at American University. A minimum grade of B in each course is required for transfer. Transfer courses must have been completed within five years of admission and must fulfill stated requirements of the degree program and be approved by the School.

Degree Requirements


  • 36-39 credit hours of approved graduate work with a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA
  • Capstone Experience: Demonstration of research and writing skills through completion of one of the following:
    • Practicum: 3 credit hours with grade of B or better
    • Substantial Research Paper: 3 credit hours with grade of B or better
  • Proficiency in a modern foreign language: Research competence in English and another language relevant to the student’s career objectives must be certified

Course Requirements


Methods (3 credit hours)


  • 3 credit hours from approved quantitative methods coursework

Analysis (3 credit hours)


Complete 3 credit hours from the following:

  • 3 credit hours from approved policy analysis coursework
  • 3 credit hours from approved program evaluation coursework

Concentration (9 credit hours)


Complete 9 credit hours of coursework in an approved concentration. Examples of concentrations include:

  • Security and Conflict Resolution
  • Sustainable International Development

Electives (6 credit hours)


  • 6 credit hours of approved elective coursework

Capstone (3 credit hours)


  • Substantial research paper or practicum requirement

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