Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy

Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy
Schiller International University’s Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy offer students the opportunity to become agents of change in international relations. This rigorous master’s program, hosted at our Heidelberg, Paris, Tampa Bay, and Distance Learning Campuses, challenges students to develop an in-depth understanding of international affairs and international diplomacy. Graduates can move on to careers in government, business, journalism, and more.

Applicants to this program must have foreign language skills to at least an intermediate level, along with considerable prior coursework in international relations and politics. See the course catalog for complete admissions requirements.

The curriculum of our MA in International Relations and Diplomacy covers subject areas such as:

  • Peace, conflict, and negotiations
  • International economics
  • International law
  • Human rights
  • Trade, resources, and international business

Students analyze current issues in the field within their historical and cultural contexts, producing research-based writing, participating in debates, and gaining practical training in negotiation and mediation of conflicts. The program’s various locations, in the heart of international activity, offers students ample opportunity for enrichment.

Offered at the following campuses:
Heidelberg, Paris, Tampa Bay, and Online


Click here to access the degree program brochure.

The Master of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy is an academic program that prepares students not only for careers in the foreign service, in intergovernmental organizations, or international businesses, but also in such fields as journalism, non-governmental watchdogs or NGOs, foreign policy think tanks and academic research. The program combines problem solving, structural analysis, project development and management with a comprehensive theoretical and critical examination of the political, cultural, legal, and socioeconomic practices that make up our increasingly interdependent and complex world.

Because the political and economic problems central to foreign relations today invariably transcend national boundaries, the international agenda encompasses technological, religious, ethno-linguistic, and humanitarian concerns, as well as the more traditional area of diplomatic activity. Drawing from multiple fields including finance, law, history, philosophy, and theology, this program is decidedly interdisciplinary.


Entry to the program requires a Bachelor of Arts degree, or its equivalent, with a major concentration in either political science or international relations and diplomacy, and with one year of undergraduate economics and at least the intermediate level of one foreign language. Students lacking economics, international relations or political science courses will be required to complete these courses at SIU. Students who do not have the requisite proficiency in a foreign language must complete this requirement before graduation from the MA program.

Graduation Requirements

In addition to the graduation requirements for all graduate students, candidates for the Master of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy must complete a minimum of 36 semester credits (12 courses) at the graduate level composed of the courses listed as follows, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Graduate students must also successfully complete a comprehensive master’s thesis.

Graduates of the MA in International Relations and Diplomacy program will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate working knowledge of several subfields of the discipline.
  2. Utilize strong research skills.
  3. Critically analyze international events and issues.
  4. Apply theories of international relations to the practice of international affairs.
  5. Demonstrate effective written, oral and online communication skills.
  6. Develop the requisite skills to seek employment relevant to the field.

Required Core Courses Credits: 36

BA 589
Methods of Research and Analysis

Business research is a systemic inquiry that provides information to guide managerial decisions. It is a process of planning, acquiring, analyzing, and disseminating relevant data, information and insights to decision makers. This course is designed to give students experience in a wide range of methodological and fieldwork activities involved in an actual piece of research. The main stages in historical, social science and business research are addressed. This course prepares a student for various research projects using empirical research methods including formulation of a research problem statement, literature and theoretic review, research design, data collection and fieldwork and construction of and development of a solid research project. Ethics is also addressed.

IR 501
Diplomacy Workshop: Practical and Historical

This course concentrates on practical aspects of diplomacy, including policy formulation, representation, reporting, analysis, and persuasion, as well as consular functions, public and political affairs. Accordingly, students will examine the fundamental international treatises that lay the ground and provide a framework for diplomatic relations in the modern “interstate” system. The course will also focus on other aspects of diplomacy in practice, e.g., diplomacy in the cyber age, the release of privileged diplomatic communications and the demand for transparency; violence against diplomats and diplomatic establishments; diplomatic asylum; and diplomacy as a basic, traditional tool of commerce.

IR 505
Relations and Diplomacy Workshop

This course is designed to address special topics in the field of international relations ranging from Global Health or other such transnational issues as Climate Change to Area Studies or Regional Development. The focus and topics will change from semester to semester. Flexibly conceived, the course aims to address issues of particular interest to students as they work toward identifying or developing dissertation topics. Using a workshop format, students are expected to collaborate in developing course activities and requirements to meet established learning outcomes.

IR 511
Current Issues in IR: Theories

This course focuses on the application of international relations theory to current issues in the field. Accordingly, topics covered will vary. In addition to revisiting principal paradigms in IR theory, students will be given the opportunity to apply these theories to their particular areas of interest. The course will be conducted as a seminar, and students will be expected to actively engage their colleagues in their research.

IR 550 Economic Influences on International Relations

Globalization means that cross-border businesses proliferate. Private actors increasingly assume the governance tasks of states, local governments, and supranational organizations. In light of these developments and traditional political economic theories, students will examine how non-state economic actors exert influence in international politics. It also explores the role of such intergovernmental institutions as the WTO and other state-centric, or intergovernmental, bodies designed to foster global economic cooperation.

IR 538
Media Communication Strategies

This course reviews aspects of media power and media’s role in politics, in particular: the relationship between the audience, the media and governments, the political decision making process in the digital age, virtual democracy, medialization, principles of media freedom and freedom of expression, as well as media ethics and media justice. The course will also evaluate contemporary journalistic practices, media objectivity, media ownership and new forms of journalism.

IR 542
International Organizations

This course will critically examine key theoretical and practical dimensions of international or, more specifically, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) (their origins, development, structure), and the role they play in interstate politics. Arbiters of international cooperation in times of peace and conflict – assuming such myriad responsibilities as the management of economic relations, the promotion of human rights, the prosecution of international crimes and, increasingly, the development of environmental standards – the ways in which such IGOs seek to “institutionalize” cooperation at the interstate or international level will be a main focus of the course. Students will not only analyze the mandates of such organization as the United Nations, NATO, the International Criminal Court, the World Trade Organization as well as such regional bodies as the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the African Union, among others. They will also learn to evaluate the implementation mechanisms such organizations put in place to measure their own successes and failures (viz. the UN Millennium Development Goals). This course will also critically explore the growing importance of global private and civil society actors: non-governmental organizations, international corporations as well as independent (philanthropic) foundations.

IR 544
Conflict and Peace Strategies

This course explores sources of conflict and examines conflict-resolution mechanisms and preventative diplomacytoolssuchasnegotiation,mediation,andpeacebuilding. Whilehistoricaleffortsatfosteringa culture of conflict resolution will be addressed, the course will focus on peace strategies in the Post-World War II era. War- the use of force- is illegal under international law except in cases of self-defense, or action authorized by the UN Security Council. The UN Charter and subsequent treaty law, “universally” condemn offensive military action, or acts of aggression. Accordingly, the course will examine international acts of violence – if not above all the growing number of intra-state conflicts and their international spill-over effects — against the backdrop of international law: whether these acts are unilateral, multilateral (coalition- based), defined as “policing” or humanitarian interventions, or acts perpetrated by non-state actors.

IR 545
International Economic Problems

This course is to provide an analytical framework linked to events in the world economy. This course is designed to stress concepts and their application in an international environment. In this framework students study classical theories of trade; new trade theory; globalization; finance and currency regimes; and models of economic growth. Exchange rates and open-economy macroeconomics and international macroeconomic policy are also addressed.

IR 546
International Law

This course gives students from many cultures and traditions a good look at the overall structure of the global “legal environment” in which business operates today. The course provides an overview of the concepts of international law, the sources of international law and the force and effectiveness of international law. The course focuses on a limited number of problems, which illustrate the role of international law in contemporary international society.

IR 581 Selected Advanced Topics in International Relations

Selected Advanced Topics in International Relations is designed to allow a thorough evaluation and analysis on a specific institution or an issue of political interest selected by the instructor. Instruction will focus in depth on the specific issue of current importance, such as the analysis of a relevant institution, political issue or conflict relevant at the time of teaching.

IR 571
Human Rights

The “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (1948) begins with the assertion that the “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”. “Human rights”, a relatively new juridico-political paradigm, constitute the cornerstone of interstate, cross-cultural, international, regimes of rule of law. If there is rule of law that transcends national frontiers – ethno-political, linguistic, religious or otherwise – it is arguably on the basis of “the inherent dignity…of all members of the human family”. The proposition that “humans” have rights irrespective of their diverse cultural, political, and religious heritage forms the basis of international law as articulated in the United Nations Charter of 1945. This course will critically examine and analyze this proposition of a jus cogens, or “peremptory norms”, from which no derogation is permitted. It will critically explore and interrogate the basic presuppositions on which such doctrines are based, even as it consults and confronts rival positions. The United Nations (UN) asserts that human rights are not only “universal and inalienable” but also “interdependent and indivisible”. The UN does not recognize a hierarchy of rights – from the basic negative “civil and political” rights, the positive “socio-economic, and cultural” rights to “group” rights and the rights of “future generations”. Rights are equal and interdependent. They are duty based. In that regional human rights regimes assert such rights variously, this course will also critically explore these various approaches to the universalist proposition.
Total Credits:36

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