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Compare online master’s programs in international relations

Help advocate for positive transformation globally.

Explore international relations graduate programs

Why earn an international relations master’s online?

Launch a career in international relations

Learn to advocate for peace by understanding global dynamics, policymaking, and socially responsible business practices.

Contribute to the creation of global solutions

Gain advanced, graduate knowledge through a blend of live online classes, asynchronous coursework, and practical training and put it into practice.

Become a global leader

Advance your international career thanks to a university that aligns with your educational goals and career objectives.

Browse master’s in international relations online programs

What is an online master’s in international relations? 

Online international relations programs offer you the opportunity to obtain a graduate-level education in international relations from anywhere in the world. These programs enable professionals to develop specialized expertise in international matters, gain in-depth policy knowledge, and enhance their statistical, economic, and communication skills. As such, they can empower you to make a significant impact on a local, national, or international level.

Admission requirements for an online MA in international relations

Admission requirements to online master’s degrees in international relations depend on the institutions that offer them. Some universities will have no GRE or GMAT requirements but will have a minimum undergraduate GPA requirement. All schools will be looking for candidates who are passionate about gaining knowledge so as to help solve global problems. Consequently, most university admissions to a master’s in international relations require the following of their applicants:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, with a GPA of at least 3.0 out of 4.0

  • Some professional experience or adequate familiarity with international relations

  • An online application

  • A statement of purpose

  • A professional résumé

  • Transcripts

  • Letters of recommendation

In addition to exploring different online master’s degrees in international relations, you can explore online bachelor’s degrees, see our full offering of online master's programs, or if you need a specialization, find an executive education international relations program that’s right for you.

How to apply

Before you begin the application process for an online master’s degree in international relations at the institutions of your choice, make sure to research application deadlines, tuition information, and scholarship opportunities, and prepare your materials for each university individually as their admission requirements may differ.

What you’ll learn

Course offerings and curricula can differ significantly across universities when it comes to their online master's in international relations programs. This diversity of choices can be a great opportunity for learners who want to make sure that their education suits their needs, and who would like to customize their studies in line with their personal interests and professional aspirations. Generally, you can expect such programs to be comprised of:

  • Core courses that cover foundational concepts, research methodologies, and global politics.

  • Regional studies that concentrate on a geographical area of your interest.

  • Electives that can include humanitarian affairs, environmental politics, diplomacy, conflict resolution, and negotiation. 

  • Language requirement/s that will be tied to your geographical area of interest.

  • A thesis or capstone project, tied to your specific area of study or interest, and that requires that you demonstrate significant research and knowledge. 

In addition, many programs provide nuanced options for learners to tailor their area of study, as well as opportunities for pursuing dual degrees or concentrations such as security studies, diplomacy, or international business. Learning international relations can seem like a vast undertaking and it’s important to consider one’s passion and talents ahead of time; students who wish to pursue a career in this space could also explore global studies, look into specialized fields such as foreign policy, or apply their learning more broadly by pursuing world history.

International relations master’s online specializations 

Most graduate programs in international relations require  a specialization. The field is divided into several key areas:

  • International economics and development: Study global economic systems, trade policies, and development strategies.

  • Conflict resolution: Study in depth conflict theories, negotiation techniques, and peacebuilding strategies. 

  • Global studies: Explore global interconnectedness, and examine cultural, political, economic, and social aspects of international issues. 

  • International security: Analyze global security threats, defense strategies, and conflict resolution methods.

What can you do with a master’s in international relations? 

Depending on their area of specialization, learners who graduate with a master’s in international relations can pursue a number of different roles within the public and private sector, including international organizations, government agencies, and NGOs. 

Graduates can work to address developments and challenges worldwide in any of these roles:

  • Government administration consultant: Helps enhance overall governance and service delivery by advising on operational efficiency, policies, and administrative processes.

  • Defense and national security research manager: Provides critical insights and recommendations to inform defense and security decision making through research initiatives, analysis, and military technologies expertise.

  • Translator: Serving as a multilingual bridge between cultures and nations, a translator facilitates communication by translating documents, speeches, and conversations.

  • Intelligence officer: Collects, analyzes, and disseminates classified information to support national security and foreign policy objectives by assessing potential threats and having a deep understanding of foreign governments and organizations.

  • Consultant: Provides expert advice and strategic guidance to governments, international organizations, or businesses on diplomatic, geopolitical, or global policy matters.

  • Ambassador: Serves as a representative of their home nation to a foreign one, forging diplomatic relationships and advocating for their national interests and policies.

  • Foreign news correspondent: Provides essential on the ground news reporting of significant foreign developments and issues to the media outlet’s home audience.  

Master’s in international relations salary and job outlook

Those who earn a master's degree in international relations can work across a diverse number of sectors, including international business, journalism, education, defense, international security, and government. As such, there isn’t a single source for salary and job outlook numbers. To get an idea, however, browse through available data for economistsFootnote 1 and political scientists.Footnote 2 Between 2022 and 2033, these are projected to grow at either above the average or at the average rate of job growth.

Frequently asked questions

Although both of these programs share certain features, international relations tends to prioritize global dynamics, diplomacy, and international policy, while political science delves into more comprehensive political theories and internal political procedures. A master's in international relations typically concentrates on worldwide matters and global systems, and scrutinizes interactions between countries and international bodies, and how each affects global concerns. Conversely, a master's in political science has a more extensive range, encompassing the exploration of political theory, governmental frameworks, and domestic politics, frequently with a regional or single-country emphasis.

Tuition costs for an online master’s in international relations are likely to vary substantially among different institutions. Tuition will depend on a particular university's ranking, the length of the program, and the number of credit hours required. The cost will also depend on whether the school charges in-state or out-of-state tuition or has a flat fee for its online program.

Earning your master's in international relations online can vary in difficulty depending on factors like your prior academic background and your time management skills, as well as the program's requirements. Online programs offer flexibility and self-pacing but require a lot of self-discipline. Coursework can be demanding and challenging as it will cover global politics, economics, and diplomacy. Meaning, while its subject matter may be intellectually challenging, a master’s in international relations is attainable for those students willing to put in the work.

Learners enrolled full time in an online master's in international relations program will typically need around two years to complete it. Although credit requirements vary between programs, they generally fall within 30 to 36 credit hours.

If you’re aiming to pursue or advance a career in diplomacy, international organizations, or global business, earning your online master's in international relations can prove to be very valuable. The online structure of these programs accommodates working professionals and those with personal and other commitments. While this program can help you develop your expertise, competencies, and professional prospects, the overall worth of investing in one such program hinges on your individual objectives, the program you choose, and what you make of it. It’s important to assess your career goals and aspirations before making the commitment.

Cost, length, financial aid, scholarships, faculty, networking opportunities, specializations, immersions, plus your own vision for your career should all influence your decision of where to pursue a master’s in international relations. Assess how the program is delivered, how flexible the course format is, and what the technology requirements are. Additionally, seek input from current students and from alumni to gain insights into program quality and outcomes. Ultimately, the best program for you should align with your career goals, offer relevant coursework, and provide a supportive learning environment.

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