Magazine

Disclosure: International Relations Careers may be compensated by course providers.

Top 15 Masters in International Affairs

International affairs (sometimes called global affairs, international studies, or international relations) is the study of how sovereign states interact with each other and organizations like IGOs and NGOs. The study field encompasses issues like war, diplomacy, foreign policy, and trade. When people choose to enter this field, they learn about disciplines like political science, political theory, law, world history, and more. Because it covers so many topics, international affairs programs open up career opportunities such as political consulting, translation, analysis, law, and diplomacy. To work in this area, you’ll most likely need a master’s degree. Here are fifteen examples:

Table of Contents

#1. MA in International Affairs (Boston University, Boston, MA, USA)
#2. Master of International Affairs (Hertie School, Berlin, Germany)
#3. MSc in Diplomacy and International Affairs (Euclid University, Washington, USA)
#4. Master in International Affairs and Governance (University St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland)
#5. Master of International Affairs (UC San Diego School of Global Policy & Strategy, San Diego, CA, USA)
#6. Master of Science in International Affairs (Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden)
#7. Master of Global Affairs (Rice University, Houston, TX, USA)
#8. MA in International Relations and Security (University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK)
#9. MA in International Affairs (The American University of Paris, Paris, France)
#10. Master of International Relations and Diplomacy (International University in Geneva/University of Plymouth, UK)
#11. MA in Journalism and International Affairs (University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)
#12. Master of Arts in International Affairs (The George Washington University, Washington D.C., USA)
#13. MA in Diplomacy and International Affairs (University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji)
#14. Master of International Affairs (Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, New York, USA)
#15. MA in International Relations (Mente Argentina, Buenos Aires, Argentina)

#1. MA in International Affairs (Boston University, Boston, MA, USA)

This two-year program prepares students for careers in national governments, IGOs, and NGOs. The core coursework covers international relations fundamentals, such as quantitative research methods, how the global economy works, and the practice of diplomacy and negotiation. Students also choose a specialization from five options: Diplomacy; Global Economic Affairs; Security Studies; International Communication; or Religion and International Affairs.

To apply, students must have a four-year bachelor’s degree at the time of enrollment or equivalent international education. For full-time students (12-18 credits per semester), tuition is $30,526 per semester. Part-time students (less than 12 credits) pay about $2,000 per credit. Tuition will vary from year to year, so always check for updated info.

#2. Master of International Affairs (Hertie School, Berlin, Germany)

The MIA at Hertie School teaches students the tools of international policy-making and skills needed to navigate the global system. Students choose one of three concentrations: International Security, European Governance, or Human Rights & Global Governance. The program is taught in English and takes 2 years.

To apply, you will need a completed bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Applications are assessed based on personal suitability, academic excellence, and motivation. This master’s program costs 17,250 euros per year.

#3. MSc in Diplomacy and International Affairs (Euclid University, Washington, USA)

EUCLID is an international intergovernmental organization with a university mandate. This MSc is the only master’s degree program in diplomacy of its kind. Taught online, students have a lot of flexibility regarding their coursework. Electives include regional diplomatic affairs, small islands issues, e-government, and international and treaty law.

Applicants need a relevant Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution or one listed in the UNESCO-IAU handbook. Those with related backgrounds and sufficient professional experience may be considered government-sponsored applicants. For general students, a master’s program costs around €/$ 6,000 – 7,000.

#4. Master in International Affairs and Governance (University St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland)

This multi-disciplinary MIA uses a three-pillar structure: thematic, methodological, and professional. Students cover topics in business administration, law, political science, and economics. There are specializations to choose from, such as Security and Conflict, Democracy and Governance, and Data Analysis and Methods. The program uses a practice-oriented approach, giving students opportunities like seminars, case-based teaching, labs, and more. Full-time, the program takes 1.5 years.

To apply, students must have either a bachelor’s degree (in economic, social, or legal sciences with at least 30 ECTS credit points in economic, legal, political or administrative sciences, or international affairs) or a consecutive university master’s degree in another discipline. Bachelor’s and master’s must have been completed in the same discipline. For Swiss students, tuition is CHF 1426 per semester. Foreign students pay CHF 3326 per semester.

#5. Master of International Affairs (UC San Diego School of Global Policy & Strategy, San Diego, CA, USA)

This 2-year program focuses on Asia and the Americas. Students are prepared for careers in global business, diplomacy, regional development, and more. Everyone must take eight core courses in their first year and a capstone course in their second. Students must also select one career track and a country/regional specialization, such as China, Southeast Asia, or Latin America. There’s a foreign language requirement, as well.

Applicants must have a four-year bachelor’s degree or equivalent with a minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Students also need to write a personal statement, including professional objectives in international affairs. For California residents, yearly tuition is $27,674. Non-California residents pay $39,919.

#6. Master of Science in International Affairs (Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden)

A two-year program, this MIA prepares students for careers in international organizations, businesses, diplomacy, and more. Instructors focus on topics like international and European affairs, human security, international corruption, sustainable development, and so on. Students have opportunities for short and long-term internships and a final independent study.

Program candidates need a bachelor’s degree (minimum of 90 credits) in the social sciences or economics, as well as a degree project of at least 15 credits. Students also need English 6 or an equivalent. For students outside EU/EES/Switzerland, the total tuition is 220,000 SEK.

#7. Master of Global Affairs (Rice University, Houston, TX, USA)

This 2-year, non-thesis master’s degree consists of core courses and a specialization taken in the program’s second year. Students can choose from international political development, international security, or international political economy. There’s also an internship and capstone requirement.

To apply, the university recommends a B.S. or B.A. degree from an accredited four-year institution, as well as demonstrated critical thinking, communication, and leadership skills. GRE scores are recommended, but not required. For 2022-2023, tuition was $39,000.

#8. MA in International Relations and Security (University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK)

This flexible, 12-month MA program covers topics like international relations, academic methods, modern security debates, and much more. Students can focus on specific areas of interest, such as conflict resolution and political communication. Required modules include International Relations Theory, Research Methods, and International Security.

To apply, you’ll need a 2:1 Bachelor’s degree in Political studies or a related area. In certain cases, the school will consider students with degrees outside social sciences. Home postgraduates owe £9,900 while international students pay £20,350.

#9. MA in International Affairs (The American University of Paris, Paris, France)

Students completing this master’s degree take courses and have opportunities for internships, fieldwork for thesis research, and case study methods. By the end, they’ll have expert knowledge in topics like humanitarian aid, diplomacy, NGO management, and more. Coursework is a mix of required core classes, electives, student-directed projects, and collaboration.

Applicants need a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. The MA in International Affairs has a few specific program admission requirements, too. The GRE is required, as well as a thesis proposal. For the 2022-2023 year, the university recommends a course timeline of 16 credits in the fall, 16 credits for spring, and 6 credits for the last fall. For those following the full-time enrollment timeline, the total tuition and fees are €33,642. Tuition varies from year to year.

#10. Master of International Relations and Diplomacy (International University in Geneva/University of Plymouth, UK)

This unique program allows students to pursue two international degrees in International Relations and Diplomacy from the IUG and the University of Plymouth. Based in Geneva, the program provides students with the knowledge and skills needed for analysis, policy-making, and navigating a complex global system. The 1-year program consists of 14 courses. To get an award from the University of Plymouth, students must extend their studies and complete an individual research dissertation. They can move to the dissertation stage after taking 12 of the 14 courses.

Applicants need a completed undergrad degree (GPA minimum of 2.7 on a 0-4 scale is recommended) and proficiency in English. The total tuition for the two-degree program is CHF 36,400 with an additional fee of £5,000.

#11. MA in Journalism and International Affairs (University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)

Offered by the CNN Academy UCD Clinton Institute, this one-year program is the first English-language Masters’ program co-designed by CNN and a university partner. Students will receive practical training in video, audio, digital, and social storytelling and learn how to report on critical global issues like human rights and climate change. At the end of the first trimester, students will produce a podcast episode and at the end of the second, they’ll produce a video story.

To apply, students need an honours undergrad degree (NFQ Level 8) in a relevant subject area (minimum upper second class honours UCD GPA of 3.08) or an international equivalent. Those with extensive work experience instead of degree qualifications will be considered. For EU and non-EU students, the full-time fee is €25,000.

#12. Master of Arts in International Affairs (The George Washington University, Washington D.C., USA)

During this program, students take core courses and choose one of 17 regional or thematic specializations, such as Africa, Asia, conflict and conflict resolution, global health, nuclear policy, and more. The program offers full-time and part-time study, as well as evening classes. Students complete a capstone project. For those considering a future Ph.D. program or research-focused career, there’s an optional thesis.

Academic coursework in a foreign language and course background in economics is required. Tuition varies from year to year, but the tuition for Summer 2022, Fall 2022, and Spring 2023 are listed as $1,995 per credit.

#13. MA in Diplomacy and International Affairs (University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji)

This MA program offers advanced research and writing skills, as well as an opportunity to focus on Law, Environment, Economics, or Development Studies. The program requires students to take five core courses (including Regional Diplomacy in the Pacific Islands and World Politics and International Relations), as well as three elective courses. On a full-time basis, the program takes two years. The university recommends students take two courses per semester. Classes are held once a week in the evening.

To apply, you will need the postgraduate diploma in Diplomacy and International Affairs (with a cumulative GPA of 3 or above) or equivalent. A breakdown of the fee schedule can be found here.

#14. Master of International Affairs (Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, New York, USA)

During this 21-month program, students develop expertise, practical skills, and real-world experience in international affairs. The curriculum is flexible, allowing students to choose courses in international politics, the political economy, international security policy, human rights and humanitarian policy, and more. The program is best for young professionals who’ve already worked in the field for 3-5 years or have significant internship experience.

To apply, students will need a bachelor’s degree. In 2022, the GRE/GMAT was optional, so it’s likely that will continue to be the case. Tuition and fees are subject to change, for Fall/Spring 2022-2023, the total estimated cost (which includes direct and indirect costs) was $96,055.

#15. MA in International Relations (Mente Argentina, Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Based in Argentina, this international relations program takes 15 months. Students must take a required curriculum, as well as elective courses and a section on research and methodology, which includes two thesis workshops and a research workshop for thesis preparation. By graduation, students will have deeper understandings of international politics, the global economy, and international security with an emphasis on Latin America.

To apply, students need a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, as well as a statement of purpose. Full tuition fees total about $5,000 in US dollars. Classes are taught in Spanish, so if you aren’t at an advanced level, you have the option of attending 1-2 months of intensive Spanish courses.

Study International Relations at Top Universities

Contemporary Issues in World Politics

Free to audit

Paid certificate

Global Diplomacy: the United Nations in the World

Free to audit

Paid certificate

Business, International Relations and the Political Economy

Paid

International Relations: China, Russia, the US and the Future of Geopolitics

Paid

About the author

Emmaline Soken-Huberty

Emmaline Soken-Huberty is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon. She started to become interested in human rights while attending college, eventually getting a concentration in human rights and humanitarianism. LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and climate change are of special concern to her. In her spare time, she can be found reading or enjoying Oregon’s natural beauty with her husband and dog.