2020-2021 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 25, 2024  
2020-2021 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

International Relations, MA

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs


Michael Williams, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director
215 Eggers Hall * 315-443-4000 * mwilli08@syr.edu
Christine Omolino, Director, Admission and Financial Aid
215 Eggers Hall * 315-443-4000 * comolino@syr.edu
General Inquiries; paia@maxwell.syr.edu


The interdisciplinary Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR) degree combines the Maxwell School’s long-standing engagement on contemporary world problems with scholarly and practical approaches to addressing them.

The degree incorporates academic study and professional field training to prepare students for from positions in the public, non-profit, and private sectors. Over a 16-month period of study, students complete 40 credits of course work offered by the Maxwell School’s social science departments.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply international relations theories to explain the emergence of international events and develop policy choices to address international problems
  2. Demonstrate the ability to effectively use international relations research through recognizing proper social science research methods; applying statistical analysis to identify policy changes and assess responses; and evaluating policies based on international affairs research
  3. Apply core macro- and micro-economic principles to analyze international economic policy
  4. Demonstrate professional management and leadership skills relevant to actors in the international arena
  5. Analyze international relations challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective

MAIR Degree Overview

    Featuring a global student body, the MAIR degree provides rigorous academic and professional training for positions in the public, non-profit, and private sectors.

    The degree incorporates coursework drawn from across the social science departments of the Maxwell School.

    This interdisciplinary curriculum builds on the research conducted in its internationally-focused research centers, such as the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration, the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, and the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs and its seven regionally focused centers.

    Students may also take courses in other colleges at the University, particularly the College of Law, the Whitman School of Management, the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and the School of Information Studies, as well as the State University of New York’s New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF).

    The MAIR degree requires 40 credits of coursework. All students complete a core curriculum of five courses, to ensure proficiency in international relations theory, economics, management, program and research evaluation, and statistics. By the end of their studies, students will also show significant cultural and linguistic competencies by demonstrating proficiency in a second, modern foreign language

    Students choose one interdisciplinary signature course, serving as the foundation for a career track specialization in an international relations sub-field. These career tracks consist of 12 credits of coursework in one of the following areas: peace, security, and conflict, development and humanitarian assistance, governance and diplomacy, and international political economy, as well as a wide variety of area studies of Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East.

    Elective courses offer an understanding of the pressing challenges present in the international system. These course options include the Maxwell School’s internationally-focused social science electives or other internationally-focused graduate-level coursework at Syracuse University.

    Students pair academic study with practice in the discipline through a required professional internship experience. This internship experience is conducted in Washington, D.C. or overseas through a multitude of Global Program offerings hosted by the Maxwell School or other Syracuse University international partnerships.

Core Requirements (15 Credits)


MAIR students are trained to lead staff and manage programs in the international system. The following courses allow them to develop these skills in the non-governmental, government, and international organization sectors.

Students choose one of the following courses. Note that PRL 725: Public Relations Management is only open to students pursuing the dual MAIR and Master of Science in Public Relations Degree.

Statistics (3 Credits)

MAIR students are trained in applying statistical analysis to identify policy changes and assess responses, through the choice of one of the following courses.

Economics (3 Credits)

MAIR students are trained in the application of macro- and microeconomic principles for the analysis of international economic policy, through the choice of one of the following courses.

International Relations (3 Credits)

MAIR students apply international relations theories to explain the emergence of events and to develop policies to address international problems.

Research Methodology (3 Credits)

MAIR students are equipped to effectively use international relations research through the use of appropriate social science research methods to evaluate policies from a data-driven perspective. Students choose which one of the following courses is a best fit for their career preparation.

Signature Class

As international relations is an interdisciplinary field, MAIR students develop the ability to analyze policy and programmatic challenges from a variety of social science perspectives through the choice of the following courses.

Professional Skills

MAIR students develop their professional skills through a for-credit internship, the international relations capstone seminar, and demonstration of second-language proficiency.

Professional Internship

The internship requirement for the international relations degree requires 250 hours of service time over a minimum of twelve weeks during the fall and spring semesters or 250 hours of service time over a minimum of seven weeks during the summer semester. The internship will count for three credits towards the MAIR degree and be applied as either a career track or elective course.

Internships can be conducted in the United States and around the world.

International Relations Capstone Seminar

Second-language proficiency

MAIR candidates must demonstrate proficiency in a second modern spoken language.

The completion of four semesters of formal, university-level language study within the last five years will be considered as demonstrating this proficiency.

Career Tracks

Each MAIR student must complete 12 credits of coursework in one of the following five career tracks.

  • Development and Humanitarian Assistance
  • Governance, Diplomacy, and International Organizations
  • International Political Economy
  • Peace, Security, and Conflict
  • Regional Concentration (by permission)

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs