Courses & Degree Requirements

The MA in International Relations prepares students to face a wide range of global policy problems through a flexible, interdisciplinary program. Our program specializes in helping students bring academic rigor and theoretical insight to pressing policy challenges.

Thirty-six graduate credits over a two-year period are required to complete the International Relations, MA curriculum.

Click here for IR Course Requirement Worksheet to see what a typical course progression looks like. 

Learn more about our accelerated bachelor's to master's (4+1) program in international relations for eligible UMass Boston undergrads.  

Credit Requirements

For course descriptions please click on the course

6 Core Courses (3 credits each - 18 credits total)

Visit the course catalog for a detailed description of each course. 

INTREL 611: Theories of International Relations 3 credits
INTREL 612: Issues in World Politics 3 credits
INTREL 613: International Relations Research Methods 3 credits
INTREL 614: International Political Economy 3 credits
INTREL 621: International Development 3 credits
INTREL/ConRes 638L - Global Governance 3 credits

4 Elective Courses (3 credits each) 

Students may choose graduate-level courses offered by any UMass Boston department related to their area of interest; prior approval of Graduate Program Director required.

12 credits

INTREL 691: Capstone in International Relations or INTREL 699: Master’s Thesis Students must defend a thesis proposal prior to registering for thesis credit.  Theses and thesis proposal rules can be found here and The University’s thesis rules, including deadlines, can be found here. Capstone projects do not require proposals prior to registering for the course.

6 credits


36 credits

Core courses have a distinct focus aimed at providing a solid foundation in major aspects of international relations. Click on the course to see the course description.

Elective Courses

Electives are available in a variety of fields and are meant to encourage study in an area of special interest. Typically electives should fulfill a regional or functional sub-specialization.

Students must consult with and obtain prior permission of the Graduate Program Director or the Associate Director to enroll in elective courses outside of the department, to assure that the course content complements the programmatic needs of the student.

Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Degree in International Relations

For highly-qualified UMass Boston undergraduates in the College of Liberal Arts and Honors College, this unique program allows you to finish your master’s degree in approximately half the time and at half the cost of a traditional two-year master’s program.

You will replace undergraduate electives with graduate coursework before matriculating as a graduate student to complete your master’s degree. 

Learn more about the accelerated degree program in international relations.

Take a Class

Get to know our international relations program by taking a single course. This will let you assess if the content and structure of the program meets your goals and fits with your other commitments. These are 3-credit graduate level courses and the credits can transfer to one of our programs (restrictions apply). You must have a bachelor's degree to enroll. 

Learn more about taking an international relations class as a non-degree student.