The 10 Best Online Master’s of International Affairs Graduate Schools in 2023

Best Online Master's International Affairs - featured image

In 2022, the global community faced new challenges. Whether one is considering International Affairs in health policies, global finance, border crises, the needs of refugees, or potential military conflicts, experts in International Relations will be needed in the future decades, likely, much more than in previous decades. Earning an online Master’s of International Relations provides entry into leadership positions in this rapidly changing field.


Overview:
Are you ready to change the world? International relations are as important now more than ever before. By earning your International Relations degree, you can gain the skills needed for a leadership or management position. International law, international economics, and international business are all areas of concentration to consider in the field of International Affairs.


International Affairs: AKA…

Possible confusion might arise on account of the many names that International Affairs might go under and the degrees that are offered in this discipline. There are actually three main titles for this degree:

  • Master in International Affairs;
  • Master in Global Affairs;
  • Master in International Relations.
online master's of international affairs

Some of the programs listed below are MS, while most are MA. An MA in International Relations or International Affairs will normally be awarded by a Liberal Arts faculty, while an MS is awarded by a science faculty. Science offerings of this degree are becoming more common as International Relations become more deeply rooted in the methods of the empirical sciences.

The development of data and forensic technologies and the growing complexity of the field has spurred some programs to shift the focus of their programs. These online Master’s of International Relations degree programs tend to highlight research methods, courses on statistics and analysis, economics, and cyber education.

Advantages of Pursuing an Online Master’s in International Relations

International Relations, or IR, is a broad field. While schools offer graduate degrees on more specific but relevant topics like diplomacy or regional-based studies, the good thing with an IR degree is that it is similar to what an MBA is for the business field. It takes a little of everything – the fundamental concepts mixed with relevant topics and skills and current case studies – all rolled into one neat master’s program.

This benefits the students greatly as it opens doors for them career-wise across industries (business, finance, public administration, data analysis, research, public office, academe, military) and sectors (private, non-profit, federal, or state work) across countries. Students gain both hard and soft skills that are transferrable to any line of work with the advantage of starting at the middle level because of the conferred master’s degree.

As with any online degree, it allows students greater flexibility to still work, manage another priority like a business, or take care of their families while attending classes on their own time and completing the degree at their own pace. Most online Master’s in IR degrees allow students up to 5 to 6 years to complete the entire program, which is more than enough leeway to juggle other adult-life priorities. 


Methodology

Prospective International Relations or International Affairs professionals wishing to prepare for a rewarding career in academia, research, and professional leadership will find the most comprehensive education and training in an online master’s in International Relations graduate program.

The best online and hybrid programs on our list are considered excellent Master’s in International Relations options because of these features:

  • Facilitated as an online or blended (hybrid) master’s program for the convenient learning of adult learners or working professionals,
  • Delivers rigorous online/hybrid coursework that rivals traditional on-campus programs, featuring up-to-date techniques, processes, concepts, and applications in the field of International Relations,
  • Instills technical and methodical know-how and soft skills for efficiency in research-based practice in International Affairs or International Relations,
  • Features seasoned faculty members that hold terminal degrees in International Relations,
  • Offers financial aid programs, as well as student support and career services,
  • Meets all accreditation and high academic standard requirements, enabling graduates to practice the profession accordingly and efficiently,
  • Recognized by or affiliated with organizations that promote International Relations as a degree program and career track.

Read our Methodology page to discover more about our ranking process.


Best Online Master’s of International Affairs Graduate Schools

Arizona State University – ASU Online

international affairs

: Tempe, AZ 85281
: 844.353.7953

Master of Arts in International Affairs and Leadership
(Online)

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences of Arizona State University is home to the International Affairs and Leadership Master’s degree. Aside from this program, the college’s varied and deep post-graduate catalog of almost 70 programs at the master’s level, more than 60 programs at the doctoral level, and almost 30 certificate programs allow students to learn almost anything from various disciplines to upskill themselves and have a greater impact in the workplace, whether locally, nationally or on an international scale.

  • The MA in International Affairs and Leadership degree is conferred by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Still, the program is facilitated by the highly innovative ASU Online platform, which combines instructional delivery via a Learning Management System (Canvas) and its library of interactive resources. The program is delivered via remote learning only.
  • The program is designed for professionals who seek to augment their knowledge of how countries are interrelated in economics, foreign policies and politics, strategies on counterterrorism and other global issues, and many more. The skillsets they are bound to gain are policymaking, economic analysis, military tactical understanding, security analysis, international business operations, organizational communication, collaboration, integration, and leadership.
  • The program is composed of 10 classes for a total of 30 credit hours. There are four required courses, including the capstone project, which should demonstrate the student’s ability to explain and defend their global strategic action and what impact it would bring on a global scale. The other required courses are on leadership, the US National Security Policy, and case studies on international leadership. Electives include global counterterrorism, human trafficking, human rights, diplomacy, and the global economy.
  • Admission to the program includes the following minimum requirements: 
    • a GPA of at least 3.0 in the undergraduate study level and, if applicable, at the master’s program level as well
    • Transcripts
    • A two-paged and double-spaced personal statement that talks about the applicant’s leadership experiences and realizations
    • A five-paged and double-spaced writing sample that demonstrates 1) in-depth critical thinking and analysis and 2) problem-solving skills on global issues and challenges, which will also serve as a gauge to measure the applicant’s 3) professional writing aptitude 
    • An updated CV
    • GRE scores are not required but can also be submitted upon application
    • A completed application form and the application fee
  • Tuition is at $865 per credit unit, excluding all other fees like the technology fee. The rate per unit is the same regardless of student residency. The tuition fee for the entire program with a minimum of 30 required units is $25,950.

Standout Features of ASU Online’s MA in International Affairs and Leadership:

An elective internship or immersion program is open to students who would like to spend a semester in an internationally recognized organization, regardless of location. The student should demonstrate their ability to integrate themselves into the organization through the skills learned in the program. They should also demonstrate leadership, collaboration, and coordination skills and work towards realizing its vision and mission.

Applied Finance Did you know

ASU and its online arm, ASU Online, have also launched ASU Prep Digital in their commitment to innovate education in 2017. It is an accredited K-12 online learning pathway for high schoolers to dip their toes into the college academic experience, albeit remotely.

Middle schoolers can also take high school courses through Prep Digital for high school credits to accelerate their studies. The portal aims to fast-track young learners for the next level and keep them abreast with new topics and areas of learning, something that ASU has always been successful in all levels of the academe.

And since courses are delivered online, students can choose to attend their enrolled classes at their best time of convenience without hampering their current schoolwork.


Northeastern University 

international affairs

: 360 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115
: 617-373-2000

Master of Science in Global Studies and International Relations
(Online)

Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is an R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity Carnegie Classification institution. It has a global footprint consisting of eight campuses in the US, two in Canada, one in London, and its online campus.

The online campus, through the College of Professional Studies, facilitates the delivery of the MS in Global Studies and International Relations program, as well as the other 128 fully online and 72 hybrid post-graduate degrees and certificates.

And the 15 fully online and one hybrid undergraduate offerings, all from the university’s nine colleges that offer experiential and research-based learnings across industries, disciplines, and rising fields.

  • The Online MS in Global Studies and International Relations degree is offered online and on-campus at the Boston, Charlotte, and Seattle campuses of NU. The program can be enrolled on a part-time or full-time basis and can be completed in as little as 12 months up to 18 months. Tuition for the entire program at the time of writing is $37,200, which might be subject to change.
  • There are four concentrations to choose from Global Health and Development, Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, and International Economics and Consulting.  The minimum course requirement is 42 units of study, broken down as follows:
    • The four core courses, which cover topics like Global Politics and Economics, Global Literacy, Culture and Community, Field Research Methods, and Peace and Conflict, make up 12 units.
    • One required course under the Regional Studies course group, which is four units each. Courses are divided by continent.
    • A capstone project could be a case study, a thesis, or an international immersion (the International Field Study Experience or IFSE). Credit units to be earned must be at least one and a maximum of 8 units.
    • One elective course from either the 34-course Global Studies Electives (GSE) course group or the 11 non-GSE electives covers topics like Grant Writing, Interdisciplinary Studies, Negotiation, Analytics, Project Management Statistics, Sustainability, Leadership, etc. Credit hours for these courses range from 2 to 4 units
    • Five courses from the course concentration of choice. That rounds up the total number of courses to 12.
  • The program faculty boasts of two former ambassadors, an esteemed finance and economics consultant who has worked with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, a US senior executive service member, and an E.U.-U.N. policy analyst.
  • Admission is year-round with spring, summer, and fall term admissions. Minimum requirements for admission include:
    • A completed online application
    • A 1000-word personal statement 
    • An updated CV
    • Transcripts
    • Two letters of recommendation.

Standout Features of Northeastern’s MS in Global Studies and International Relations:

In true Northeastern University fashion, experiential learning is part of the program or any program. For students of the College of Professional Studies, this is called the International Field Study Experience (IFSE, as mentioned above). But university-wide, the program is called Cooperative Education, or Co-op.  

The university provides students with access to about 275,000 alumni contacts and more than 3,000 employer partners worldwide. This includes federal and state employer partnerships, like the Commonwealth of Massachusetts office, partnerships with international organizations such as Education First in Switzerland, and tech firms like HubSpot. To date, it has successfully placed its students in close to 150 countries for Co-op opportunities, even in Antarctica.

Students can alternate their semesters between academia and professional work. Depending on the availability, they can opt for paid part-time work, paid or unpaid internship, or project-based and paid full-time work. As long as it immerses students in real-life professional experience(s) with a partner-employer that the advising committee approves and the college, the experiential learning will count towards a degree. 

Applied Finance Did you know

Northeastern University lives up to its Carnegie Classification of being an R1 University. In 2019-2020 alone, it received more than $180 million in the form of pledges and gifts to cultivate the research culture in the university further.

Among the latest innovations being developed in the university involves AI in consumer technology and COVID-19 research and testing through NU’s Life Sciences Testing Center in Burlington, MA. The center can examine 7,000 COVID-19 tests a day. 


American Public University

international affairs

: 111 W. Congress Street, Charles Town, WV 25414
: 877-755-2787

Master of Arts (MA) in International Relations and Global Security
(Online)

American Public University is almost synonymous with “Online Education.” What started as a way to “educate those who serve” has now transcended beyond that and now encompasses providing distance education to all those who need it, with the wider goal of educating those who wish to serve and serve even further. This is especially true of APU’s School of Security and Global Studies (SSGS), which offers the MA in International Relations and Global Security degree.

The various programs offered by the SSGS focus on justice, emergency and disaster management, homeland security, cyberterrorism, counterterrorism, public administration and policy, military studies, global diplomacy, intelligence, and many more. 

  • The great thing about this program from APU is that aside from it being fully online, this is a masterclass program from APU as the faculty is composed of highly regarded service members and field experts who have worked or are currently working for various federal agencies like NSA, Homeland Security, National Defense, CIA and the Department of State. Other faculty members have held esteemed positions in international policymaking organizations, foreign service, or ambassadorial positions abroad. 
  • The program requires at least 36 credit units. The program is flexible and allows students to design their course paths. There are four concentrations to choose from: 
    • Comparative Security Issues – with courses tackling regional and religious bases of war and terrorism,
    • Peacekeeping – with courses zoning in on the specifics of the peacekeeping processes and international law,
    • Conflict Resolution – with courses focusing on negotiation, peacekeeping terms, international law, and diplomacy, and,
    • International and Transnational Security Issues – while it may include a course on politics and war, similar to Comparative Security Issues, specifically drills down on the more compelling global security issues such as cybercrime and narcotrafficking,
    • Each concentration is comprised of courses that total 12 units. Each concentration will require students to take up a 3-unit internship course.
  • The core courses, which comprise 18 units, are all mandatory. Courses include conflict analysis, resolution, research methods, international relations, politics and governance, organizations, and global security. Electives may be taken to complete the required number of hours. Any minor courses or completed certificate programs may also be counted as electives and credited towards the degree. The program culminates with either a capstone research project or a seminar. 
  • At a minimum, admission requires a bachelor’s degree in any program, a government-issued ID, and transcripts. Military students are expected to submit their JST transcripts. Transfer students may apply and have a maximum of 15 credits honored towards the degree. Transfer credit evaluation is free, and so is the cost of application. GREs are not mandatory for application. 
  • Tuition costs $370 per credit unit, while those with military grants can enjoy the reduced $250 per unit rate. The technology is $65 per course, but this fee is waived for reservists, National Guard members, and active military duty. 

Standout Features of APU’s MA in International Relations and Global Security:

Classes start monthly, with each class running between 8 to 16 weeks. With the program’s minimum required course load set at 12 courses, students are expected to complete their studies in two years or even less for rigorous and diligent students.

Applied Finance Did you know

In conjunction with the US Military through Army Regulation 621-5, the American Public University system recently decommissioned the GoArmyEd learning portal for soldiers and replaced it with a more intuitive and customizable learning portal to suit every soldier’s learning needs on active duty.

This is ArmyIgnitED, which houses more than 300,000 courses for every learning level from more than 200-course providers. Depending on the availability, the courses can be taken remotely, in-campus (based on the providers’ physical site), or in education centers located globally. From associate’s degrees to master’s degrees, ArmyIgnitEd has it in store.

Professional certificates and special army programs are also available. If the student is also enrolled at APU or AMU, they can avail of tuition assistantships that can be applied towards courses taken at ArmyIgnitED.


The George Washington University – Elliott School of International Affairs

international affairs

: 1957 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052
: 202-994-6240

Master of International Policy and Practice
or Online MIPP

The George Washington University, formerly known in the 1800s as Columbian College, then Columbian University, is a Carnegie Classification R1 institution, which stands for “High Research Activity for a Doctoral University” and is the largest university in DC. The Elliott School of International Affairs (ESIA), housed within the GWU grounds, also holds the same title among its fellow institutions for international relations.

The ESIA, founded in 1898, is proud of its square footage and is hailed as one of the top 50 graduate schools in the world for international affairs studies by the Foreign Policy Association. It is home to 13 master’s degree programs that offer concentrations in regional studies, policies on the economy, science and technology, security, and international studies, and the only program with a fully online option, International Policy, and Practice. 

  • ESIA’s Master of International Policy and Practice degree is an accelerated program with a minimum of 27 credit units plus the opportunity for international immersion. The program is centered on three major concepts, which form the three core courses for nine credit hours:
    • Strategy,
    • Economic tools for policymaking with data analysis in the forefront,
    • and Leadership. The leadership course will be both in the form of a course study and a capstone project which culminates the program.
  • Students are free to design their course concentrations through the allowed six elective courses. There are eight electives from which students can choose, and the choices include Cybersecurity, Civil-Military Relations, and several topic niches on Security, Terrorism, and Conflict Resolution.
  • Unlike other ESIA graduate programs, there is no foreign language requirement for the MIPP program. However, since this is an accelerated program, applicants must have at least seven years of full-time work (cumulative) or have been conferred a post-graduate degree in any program.
  • Documentary requirements for admission include transcripts, an updated CV, two letters of recommendation, and two sets of a statement of purpose. Each statement of purpose has a choice of two topics:
    • The first set should explain one’s reasons for applying to the ESIA graduate school or discuss an international issue that the applicant aims to address professionally.
    • The second set should demonstrate how an MIPP degree can help resolve a leadership challenge that the applicant has personally experienced or how globalization and its upshots have impacted the applicant’s professional career in terms of the organization or she is working for.
  • Fees: The application fee is $80. This can be waived though if the applicant satisfies one of the many requirements for a fee waiver. The requirements can be found here, under the section “Application Fee.” The tuition fee per credit unit for the MIPP program is $1,800.

Standout Features of GWU-ESIA’s MIPP Program:

ESIA offers its students the opportunity to pursue dual or joint degrees under any of its master’s program offerings, including MIPP. It can be fused with an MBA degree from the GWU School of Business, a JD degree from the GW Law School, or a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the Milken School of Public Health. Students have to be admitted to both colleges and schools.

The average completion time for those pursuing a dual MBA degree or MPH degree is three years, while those combining their ESIA master’s degree with a JD normally complete their requirements in four years.

Applied Finance Did you know

ESIA is also home to the Institute for International Economic Policy (IIEP), an internationally renowned think tank and research hub focused on global economic analysis and policymaking.

Because of its strategic location at the Capitol, it has developed close research relationships with the World Bank, the IMF, and even the center of it all, the White House, to name a few. Its research focuses not only on international economics, trade, and financial policies but also on poverty metrics, development (or lack thereof), and socioeconomic disparity.


Norwich University Online

international affairs

: 158 Harmon Drive, Northfield, VT 05663
: (866) 684-7237

Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR)
(Online)

Norwich University in Vermont is a pioneer of experiential learning in higher education. It is a military college established in 1819, and this environment of disciplined and practical training and a deeper and more globalized perspective is what the university brings to its program offerings.

  • One does not need to have any military aspirations to apply to the university, but students who aspire to gain knowledge and immediate practical application in the fields of:
    • military science,
    • intelligence and forensics,
    • national and global security,
    • cybersecurity and information security,
    • international relations,
    • and liberal arts, Norwich, being one of NSA’s Center of Excellence in Information Security Education, is the best place to be.
  • The Master of Arts (MA) in International Relations from Norwich Online provides students with a unique take on international affairs, diplomacy, and conflict resolution, as it looks at these topics from a military, tactical, defense, and cyber technology perspective without veering away from the theoretical foundations of the discipline like history, foreign policy, and law. 
  • The course is delivered 100% online but will require a one-week on-campus residency and 33 units for completion. Students can design their course paths as soon as they start the program. No core courses are required. 
  • There are four-course concentrations to choose from:
    • International Security – which focuses on world politics and foreign policies
    • National Security – as it relates to IR and foreign policies
    • International Development – which focuses on global economic development as it relates to IR Regions of the World allows students to choose one particular region from the list and analyze its current political and socio-economical issues related to historical qualitative and quantitative data, thus using methodological research and analytical skills. Below are the eight world regions from which students can choose:
      • Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, Middle East, North America, South Asia
    • Cyber Diplomacy – highlights the different facets of international cyber relations, from diplomacy to security, activism, warfare and terrorism, and even espionage. Similar to the previous four concentrations, one elective is also required for completion. Courses include incident response, forensic investigation, information assurance technology, managing risk, analytics, cyber law, cybercrime, and many more.

**for the first three concentrations, one elective is required to complete the required hours. The choices of electives include topics on Military Intervention, Conflict Avoidance, Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Human Rights, and International Response to Transnational Terrorism. 

  • Admissions requirements include a bachelor’s degree in any program from an accredited university, a GPA 2.75 on a 4.0 scale, the completed application form, three letters of recommendation, transcripts, a  letter of intent, and an essay. GRE scores are not required. Transfer students can apply with a maximum of 12 units to be credited towards the degree. Applications open four times a year. 
  • The tuition fee is $767 per credit hour, translating to $4,602 per term or $27,711 for the entire program. The technology fee is $300 per term. In-house scholarships are available. For example, the Achievement Scholarship is awarded by Norwich to new enrollees in honor of their previous scholastic and career achievements. The amount granted is $4,200, which is good enough almost to cover the cost of one term. The Norwich Alumni Scholarship, which amounts to $425 per term, is also available to partners and children of graduates of the university. While reservists, members of the National Guard, and active servicemen and women enrolled in any of Norwich’s Online master’s programs can avail of the Active Duty Military Scholarship worth $250 per term. 

**for the first four concentrations, one elective is required to complete the required hours. The choices of electives include topics on Military Intervention, Conflict Avoidance, Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Human Rights, and International Response to Transnational Terrorism. 

Standout Features of Norwich’s MAIR Program:

The university is home to numerous research institutes and centers that focus on military and defense technologies, global sustainability, international diplomacy, and intellectual exchange. Among these is the Norwich University Applied Research Institutes (NUARI) which houses five research centers focusing on cyber relations and security, defense technologies, and sustainability efforts, the Sullivan Museum and History Center, the Military Writers’ Symposium, the Center for Cybersecurity and Forensics Education and Research (CyFER), and the Center for Global Resilience and Security (CGRS).

Applied Finance Did you know

In 2017, Norwich University was named by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. The honor will run through 2022. In line with this, the Department of Defense certified the university as a National Center for Digital Forensic Academic Excellence.

These recognitions illustrate the quality of education Norwich imparts to its students, particularly in the field of cyber defense and forensics. Not only is it state-of-the-art and modern, but also nationally recognized and certified. 


Harvard Extension School

international affairs

: Harvard University, Massachusetts Hall, Cambridge, MA 02138
: (617) 495-4024

Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies – International Relations
(Online)

Harvard Extension School (HES), founded in 1910, has always had its sights on non-traditional learners, offering professional course certificates mostly in the liberal arts. Over time, it has evolved to include more formal program offerings at the undergraduate and graduate levels and has gone beyond the traditional liberal arts offerings to include biomedical sciences, information science, biotechnology, and bioengineering. 

  • HES’ Master in International Relations helps students understand the interrelation of global economies, trade and foreign policies, armed and non-armed conflicts, the role of information security and management in international relations, and issues on sustainability and environmental preservation. Unlike other Master of IR programs, Harvard’s program offering ties all these concepts (and more) together to present students with the bigger picture, that each issue is either a cause or effect of the other. 
  • Students need at least 48 credits or 12 courses to graduate. While the program is fully delivered online, three required courses (any three) require campus residency. For the culminating activity, students can choose to do either a thesis or a capstone project.
  • Students can pick their courses under the following structure: students need to take five courses on IR, one seminar on IR, one elective on IR, one course on research methods, and a proseminar. Additional courses are based on the choice of culminating activity. There are more than 40 courses for the proseminar and international relations tracks and more than ten seminar courses to choose from. Overall, more than 500 courses are available either as core courses or electives for the IR program. 
  • Admission requirements are rigorous. Aside from the usual documentary requirements and the $100 application fee, in typical HES fashion, students also need to take and excel (no grade lower than B) in the following pre-admission courses before lodging their applications: 
    • The Proseminar course Introduction to Graduate Studies and Scholarly Writing in the Social Sciences–Government and History (SSCI 100B)
    • Two courses on International Relations
      • Before registering for the abovementioned courses, applicants first need to take the Online Test of Critical Reading and Writing Skills or EXPO 42b (Writing in the Social Sciences). These are prerequisites for the three pre-admission courses mentioned above. Applicants need to pass the online test or earn a grade of no lower than B in EXPO 42b. Only then can they take the three pre-admission courses.
  • The tuition fee is on a per-course basis and is set at $2,980 per course. For a 12-course program like the Master’s in IR, this translates to $35,760 in tuition, excluding other fees like technology fees, student fees, etc. Financial aids are available to students upon admission.

Standout Features of Harvard Extension’s ALM in International Relations:

Since students have the flexibility to design their curricula, if their schedule (and finances) permit, they can also take advantage of HES’ Stackable Certificates or take on additional elective courses that lead to a graduate certificate, and therefore, a second degree. There are three programs available:

  • International Security,
  • Nuclear Deterrence,
  • and Social Justice.

The beauty of these programs is that each program only requires four courses for completion, with at least one elective that can coincide with the choice of electives in the IR program. For the Social Justice certificate program, three electives are permitted, while for the International Security certificate program, students are free to choose all four courses they would want to take, so long as it is under the International Security course group, which could also be under the IR course group.

Applied Finance Did you know

As part of the Harvard Division of Continuing Education’s (DCE, under which HES belongs) efforts to transform online learning for adult and non-traditional learners, turning it into a more interactive and intuitive experience, rather than a dragging responsibility or chore, DCE created HELIX (Harvard Extension Live Interactive eXperience) in 2015, its spin on the popular HyFlex Learning Model, wherein classes are presented as either:

  • live (physical and in-campus, real-time),
  • live-streamed,
  • or asynchronous (video-on-demand).

It’s as if a show, or in this case, a class – a real class in a physical classroom with real students physically attending and seated on rows – is being taped live-streamed online or uploaded after being accessed by students asynchronously. Through multiple camera angles, it gives students who are taking the classes remotely a simulated classroom experience, especially if the class is watched or attended live online because they could also participate in recitations in real-time, thanks to web conferencing apps like Zoom.

Those who would watch the class asynchronously could still experience the simulated classroom experience without live and remote classroom interaction. Though this is still far better than watching a professor hold a class virtually, seeing only their head and shoulders atop a simulated background.


Troy University

international affairs

: Troy, Alabama 36082
: 800.414.5756

Master of Science in International Relations (MSIR)
(Online)

In 1887, Troy University was established with the sole purpose of educating aspiring teachers in Alabama. It has gradually evolved since then. Post-World War II and into the 1950s, the school experienced a steady increase in enrollees, many of whom were war veterans enjoying the benefits of the GI Bill.

The growth in admissions has prompted the addition of new degree programs in other areas of learning. As years and decades went by, other programs like medical technology, engineering, nursing, environmental science, and sports medicine were also offered alongside education, liberal arts, and business programs. 

  • Troy University’s MSIR program has two degree options: the non-thesis track and the thesis track. Only the non-thesis track is offered online. There are three non-thesis concentrations to choose from Global Studies Concentration, National Security Affairs, and Regional Affairs.
  • The program requires 36 credit hours (or about 12 courses) for graduation. Of the 36 required hours, 21 hours are electives from the chosen concentration (only applies to the Global Studies Concentration), while the 15 hours are core courses. The five core courses cover Introduction to IR, research methods, international economy, theory and ideology, and the capstone project instead of a thesis.
  • As for the required 21 hours of electives, below are the specific guidelines for each chosen concentration:
    • Global Studies Concentration – students must take seven courses for a total of 21 hours.
    • National Security Affairs – students may only take three courses, or 9 hours, from the NSA course list. The remaining 12 hours should be spent on courses from the GSC course list.
    • Regional Affairs – the course list is divided according to four regions – the Middle East and North Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Students must choose one region and choose four electives for 12 credit hours from its corresponding course list. The remaining hours should be spent on courses from the GSC course list.
  • Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, preferably under a program relevant to the MSIR curriculum. Unconditional admission is granted to applicants provided:
    • They have been conferred with a master’s degree or higher from an accredited institution, or
    • They are bachelor’s degree holders with a GPA of 2.5 or higher, with an exemplary GRE 294 score. GRE results can be waived if the applicant is a Troy University graduate or a military officer or senior NCO, in which case, both must hold a GPA of at least 2.5 from their undergraduate studies.
  • Fees: The application fee is $50. Graduate-level tuition is $494 per credit hour, excluding the online course fee of $50 per credit hour.

Standout Features of Troy University’s MSIR Program:

Aside from online delivery, the program is also offered on the various physical campuses of Troy University in Alabama and at Fort Benning, GA. The course is also offered to members of the military stationed on bases in Japan and Korea.

Applied Finance Did you know

Troy University has had a long-standing relationship with the US Military since post-World War II when former service members transitioned from active duty to collegiate studies.

The Troy for Troops program is the university’s initiative to continue serving members of the military and their dependents by providing them with undergraduate or graduate-level programs that are specifically designed with their backgrounds, passions, and plans for post-active duty in mind.


Webster University

international affairs

: 470 East Lockwood Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri 63119
: (800) 981-9801

Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR)
(Online)

Webster University in Missouri has a very storied century-long history of providing equal opportunity education for all. The Catholic Sisters of the Loretto Community founded it in 1915. Not long after that, it admitted international students to its student roster, a first for the university.

Two decades after, it conferred a bachelor’s degree to the first ever visually disabled graduate. Post-World War II saw an influx of ex-military students, which prompted the university to launch new programs.


Another first for the university happened in 1950 when the first American-African college student graduated from Webster. And just right before the new millennium had struck, Webster University was one of the first schools to offer formal degrees online.

  • Webster’s Master of Arts in International Relations program aims to produce graduates who know the ins and outs of international relations and conduct intensive research by putting IR theories into Practice, performing data analysis, and effectively putting their findings into writing.

    Simply put, graduates of the MAIR program at the very least must be able to integrate themselves into the discipline of international relations, whether through a global think tank organization or policymaking group, and contribute to the global initiative of shedding light on problems grappling the world like poverty, hunger, security and crime, and others.
  • The program requires 36 credit hours, 27 of which should come from the required courses, while the remaining 9 hours can be spent on electives. Of the 27 required hours, 9 hours should come from the required courses of Intro to IR, Research Methods, and the capstone project.

    A thesis option is also available. The remaining 18 hours should be split into two courses from the Comparative Politics course list and four courses from the International Politics course list. Elective courses include fieldwork, seminars, advanced research, or an internship.
  • An option for either a dual degree with the MAIR degree coupled with an MBA can be pursued or a dual major where, on top of the MA degree major in International Relations, a second major in National Security Studies is also awarded. 
  • To be admitted, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in any area of learning from an accredited institution, a GPA of 2.5, and transcripts submission. The application fee is $50.
  • The tuition fee for graduate programs offered online, including the MAIR program, is $780 per credit hour. Active members of the military can enjoy a heftily reduced rate of $380 per credit hour. 

Standout Features of Webster’s MAIR Program:

A variation of the MAIR program is also available for students seeking a more experiential learning experience through international immersion with a cohort. The Global Master of Arts in International Relations program is offered by Webster’s College of Arts and Sciences.

It will have students engage in almost a year-long travel and immersion to gain first-hand knowledge of global issues and first-hand experience with international organizations on planning for actions through actual research and thorough analysis of real-time data. Graduates receive not only a master’s degree but a graduate certificate as well.

The program is available at all Webster University locations abroad and the main US campus in St. Louis, MO. The cost for the entire program, including all expenditures (except travel expenses, but board, lodging and insurance are included), is $46,600.

Applied Finance Did you know

Webster University has a global footprint that spans five regions outside the US. Its European campuses are in Greece, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Austria, while it has three campuses in China – Shanghai, Beijing, and Chengdu.

It also has a campus in Ghana, Africa, two campuses in Thailand, and two campuses in the Central Asian region – Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. In the US alone, Webster has campuses spread in almost 20 states, including its main and pioneer campus in St. Louis, MO.


Regent University

international affairs

: 1000 Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23464 
: 800.373.5504 / 757.352.4127

Master of Arts (MA) in Government – International Relations
(Online)

Regent University is a top-ranked university not only in Virginia but in the entire US as well. Its online programs are among the highly ranked programs in the country as certified by various school ranking sites and authorities.

This Christian university was founded in 1978 and has since then seen a steady rise in its enrollments. To date, there are more than 11,000 students enrolled in the university at various levels of learning, and its course offerings have been certified and accredited by the corresponding professional governing bodies, including the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security.

  • The MA in Government – International Relations degree is a 33-credit hour program that explores and correlates facets of US history and governance with the world’s issues. It provides a macroscopic view of US policies from an international telescopic view.
  • With its specific focus on the US – International relations, graduates of the program can carve out careers in political advisement, strategy, diplomacy, ambassadorship, foreign service, and even state or federal work, whether locally or overseas.
  • The curriculum features courses on cyber politics, security and policy, human trafficking, politics of the Middle Eastern and Asian regions, US foreign policy, armed conflicts, the role of religion in armed conflicts, and many others.
  • Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree in any program, transcripts, the completed application fee, government-issued ID, and the $50 application fee. GRE or LSAT scores and a resume are both optional.
  • Tuition is set at $675 per credit hour. The university service fee for online students is $650 per semester. Full-time and part-time learners pay the same tuition rate. There is also no change in writing between AY 2020-2021 and AY 2021-2022.

Standout Features of Regent University’s MA in Government – International Relations program:

Aside from International Relations, there are four other concentrations that students under the MA in Government program can choose from: Healthcare Policy and Ethics, American Government, Law & Public Policy, and National Security Studies.

Applied Finance Did you know

Regent University is among a handful of universities to have received the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security’s stamp of approval as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE).

This demonstrates Regent’s commitment to its students, especially those enrolled in its cybersecurity and related programs, that they not only receive a world-class education in this field but one that is endorsed by the agencies that birthed it.


The University of Oklahoma – Extended Campus

international affairs

: 1700 Asp Avenue, Norman, Oklahoma 73072
: (405) 325-4414

Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR)
(Hybrid)

The University of Oklahoma (OU) is a Carnegie Classification R1 University, signifying high research activity for a doctoral-granting university. Established in 1890, it has experienced several notable changes in its square footage and academic growth.

Decades later, OU launched its Extended Campus, which offers distance education as early as 1961. Since its launch, its online programs have been consistently top-ranked by reputable school ranking systems and websites, particularly OU’s online bachelor programs and the online Criminal Justice program.

  • OU’s MA in International Relations is a program conferred by the College of International Studies under the Professional and Continuing Studies (PACS) department. It is delivered in a blended format. For courses that need to be taken on-campus, students can attend classes at any of OU’s Extended Campuses located in Europe and North America.
  • The 33-credit hour requirement must be completed through the following sequence: three core courses on government, politics, and security; four courses from any of the following concentrations (students must choose 2 of the three concentrations and then choose two courses from each of the chosen concentrations):
    • Regions,
    • Nations and History / Identity,
    • Culture and Communication / Economics,
    • Environment,
    • and Geography;
    • a course on Research Methods,
    • and two electives on any of the courses in the electives list which includes an internship option.
      The program culminates with a capstone project demonstrating the student’s learnings and the plan for application.
  • Minimum admission requirements are a bachelor’s degree, an acceptable GPA, transcripts, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, the completed application form, and the $50 application fee.
  • The tuition fee for the program is $408.15 per credit unit and is the same regardless of residency. This rate is exclusive of all other fees like the technology fee, the student fees, workbooks (if necessary), immersions (if any), etc.
  • Graduates of the program can have careers in foreign service, organizational work as a researcher, strategist, policy contributor, communications or public relations officer, analyst, or state or federal work that includes military service either on the ground as base personnel or intelligence officer.

Standout Features of OU Extension Campus’ MAIR Program:

OU has long been catering to the education needs of civilians and military students, both veterans and those on active duty. This is one of the reasons why the MAIR program is also offered everywhere else in the world. It is to make the program available to interested professionals wherever they are, but most especially, to reach active military members wherever they are stationed.

For military members stationed in the US, the program can be attended to in Hawaii, Florida, D.C., and Oklahoma, while for those stationed in Europe, the program can be attended to in Italy, Germany, Belgium, and the UK.

Applied Finance Did you know

The University of Oklahoma plays host to select skills training and seminars held regularly at the university. Attendees of the event receive certifications as proof of their attendance and gained expertise. Some programs lined up to be held at OU include the WellSHARP Drilling Supervisor training from OU’s Blowout Prevention School, the 68th annual Corrosion Control Course, and the 65th annual short course on Gas Compressors


Frequently Asked Questions

Is an online Master’s Degree in International Affairs or Relations offered in most schools?

Yes, but for the sake of keeping the list streamlined, only ten schools that offer this program 100% online or in a hybrid format were chosen. But there are many universities and colleges around the country that offer the degree as well, and it may come in many names –

  • International Relations,
  • International Affairs,
  • International Diplomacy,
  • International Governance,
  • and the like.

Even more, schools offer this program in a brick-and-mortar format alone, but many of these schools have started to roll out the program remotely in response to these times. Some of these schools appear on this list.

What courses are usually required to be taken under the degree?

Under the International Relations degree or major, most of the courses will focus on:

  • global politics,
  • global economy,
  • regional history,
  • American foreign policy,
  • theories and ideologies of diplomacy and international relations,
  • languages,
  • organizational communication,
  • international law and ethics,
  • and many other broad topics that might encompass other disciplines such as:
    • jurisprudence,
    • economics,
    • communications,
    • journalism,
    • and even information systems.

A new addition to the program offered by many universities (many of those appear in this list) are courses on cyber education, particularly cyber politics, cyber diplomacy, cybersecurity, cyber warfare, cybercrime, and even cyber espionage.

In addition, most programs offer students the option to culminate their curricula with either a thesis option, should they want to further their studies at the doctoral level, or a capstone project which could be a presentation or an immersion activity with a reflection paper for experiential learning.

Are electives allowed? Are there concentrations to choose from?

Yes, electives are allowed. Some program offerings offer concentrations in international regions, defense and intelligence gathering, policymaking, development, conflict resolution, diplomacy, comparative issues, and many more.

TIP: Look for elective courses (or programs that offer these courses as part of the required core) that tackle relevant and controversial global issues such as:

  • terrorism,
  • cybersecurity and cyber terrorism,
  • human trafficking,
  • the business and technology of war,
  • or the regional, religious, and cultural bases of conflicts, armed and non-armed conflicts, diplomacy, and many more.

These courses are a good measure of the program’s relevancy and resonance to current times and issues. This was also one of the criteria for compiling this list. 

What are the possible career options in International Relations?

Since a Master’s degree in International Relations is a broad one, as mentioned in the preceding question, it opens the doors to many career opportunities locally, abroad, in private or government entities or organizations.

Some of the roles graduates can apply to areas as an advisor (political, economic, financial, communication, diplomatic), strategist, researcher, analyst, consultant, ambassador, foreign service officer, intelligence officer, lobbyist, public administrator, professor, public speaker, public relations officer, author, business operations officer, operations officer of any organization, translator, non-uniformed military personnel or officer, politicians or chief of staff of politicians (especially those in higher office), a foreign news correspondent and many others.

Graduates can apply to state or federal offices, legislative offices locally and abroad, embassies, corporate organizations, think tanks, PR firms, research centers, communications firms, consulting firms, international organizations, international media outlets, even in military bases or offices, and universities among many other industries and sectors.

What is the estimated salary outlook for graduates of the International Relations program?

The job outlook is positive for graduates, which means a return on investment on the cost of their higher education is on the horizon. From 2018 onwards, many think tanks, researchers, and job portals have observed and projected the upward annual salary trend starting with at least $92,000 going up for the average median salary for Master’s of IR graduates. 


Key Takeaways

  • An International Relations degree provides many lucrative opportunities for working professionals.
  • An International Relations program at the master’s level is great for those who want to focus on international economics, international business, international law, international trade, international security, foreign policy, and much more.
  • Graduates from an online International Relations degree program learn valuable skills, such as solving international conflicts, international development, business administration, international relations theory, oral communication skills, and more.
  • Your higher education experience, specifically earning an online international relations degree, is a great way to obtain that career advancement position you’ve hoped for! Get started today!

Before you go, check out this additional info:

Dr. Jared Goff
Chief Editor