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Master of Science in International Relations

Earn a Master of Science in International RelationsIn an increasingly interdependent world, it is important for professionals to have an understanding of the complex issues that go beyond our own borders. Virginia International University's Master of Science in International Relations is a graduate-level degree that arms students with the tools to not only understand the implications of global issues in today's world, but to work in a dynamic and fast-paced professional environment.

Graduates from VIU's Master of International Relations Program will be able to build careers in a variety of settings including, but not limited to, international organizations such as the World Bank, IMF, or United Nations; non-profit organizations; federal and local government agencies; multi-national corporations; non-governmental organizations; intergovernmental organizations; humanitarian organizations; news outlets; and many more.

The MIR program offers two (2) concentration areas for students to choose from:

  • International Economic Development
  • International Business

Degree at Glance

MIR  Degree at a Glance
  International & Non-Residential Residential & Online
# Credits per Graduate Course 3 3
# Credits Required 36 (12 Courses) 36 (12 Courses)
Cost per Credit (2014/2015 Academic Year) $726.00  
Cost per Course $2,178.00 $1,023
Total Tuition for 2-Year Program $26,136.00  
*Calculations above do not include transfer credits or prerequisite courses

The program consists of seven (7) Core Courses and students have the choice any three (3) Concentration courses as well as two (2) Elective courses. The elective courses provide the opportunity for the students to develop further competencies covered in the core courses, based on their area of interest.

Area # of Courses Credit Hours
Core courses 7 21
Concentration Courses 3 9
Elective courses 2 6
Total 12 36

To view all MIR courses, please click the "Required Courses" tab.

Required Courses


Students in the MIR program will take twelve (12) classes. These include seven (7) core courses, three (3) concentration courses, and two (2) electives. Students may be asked to take up to three (3) prerequisite courses depending on the area of their undergraduate studies. All students in the program take the same seven core courses. Students in different concentrations take different concentration courses. Each graduate class is worth three (3) credits. To complete the program, students should accumulate 36 credits.
  1. Students enrolled in the graduate program must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (B), out of 4.0, and a minimum of grade not less than 2.0 (C), out of 4.0, in all courses to qualify for the MPA degree to remain in good academic standing and to graduate. The maximum time frame permitted for the completion of any graduate program is 54 semester credits.
  2. Only graduate-level courses may be applied toward the degree. A master's student may transfer up to 12 semester hours of graduate credit earned at other accredited institutions.
  3. Beyond the prerequisites, the student must have completed 36 credit hours, of which 21 credit hours of required core courses, and 15 credit hours of elective course must have been earned.
  4. No degree credit is earned by a graduate student for any grade below 2.0 (C), out of 4.0, received in a graduate-level course. However, any grades lower than 2.0 (C), out of 4.0, will be calculated in the grade point average.
Core Courses
Core courses provide students with the skills and knowledge that all professionals need to succeed. Each candidate must complete the following seven (7) core courses.
Course Code Course Name Credit
GOVT 505

(Also offered as: CMP 551, PUAD 505) Prerequisite: None)

This course provides knowledge of research methodologies used in varying disciplines. The course includes experimental design, surveys, case studies, and fieldwork. It introduces students to applied research methodologies. The use of analytical tools, literature searches, and the application of VIU documentation style will result in a formal written proposal that may serve as the basis for each student's special project.

3
GOVT 510

Prerequisite: None

This course provides an overview of the thought and history that has shaped the field of international relations. Students will discover new approaches to understanding and explaining the field of international relations. By surveying major concepts and theories in the field, the course will also assist graduate students in preparing for the further study in the more specialized areas of International Relations. Selected readings will focus on the various types of governance and international relations theory including liberalism, construcivism, socialism, democratic peace theory, and will stem from authors such as Marx, Morgehthau, Mearshimer, and more.

3
GOVT 520

(Also offered as PUAD 520)

This course will enable students to become familiar with important issues in the realm international security. The course provides an overview of the major roadblocks that shape the current discussion of national security and the use of force overseas. The study of security will look at the causes of war, what constitutes a just war, and ways to avoid international conflict, as well as a background on the methods of peacekeeping. Students will be encouraged to think critically about international security and the ways to best maintain a balance of power status quo.

3
GOVT 632

Prerequisite: GOVT 510

This course provides an introduction to the main theories and concepts in comparative politics. This course will enable students to become familiar with literature in comparative politics. Students will read and discuss both classic and contemporary material drawn from a many of the social science disciplines such as political science, economics, history, anthropology and sociology. Students will lean to draw comparisons between both individual and regional institutions and policies.

3
GOVT 618

(Also offered as MBA 618) Prerequisite: MBA 511 or Approval by Program Administrator

The course is designed to provide students with the analytical tools and techniques required to managing financial assets across international borders. Employing modern decision and probability theory and statistical techniques, the students will investigate the concepts governing the economics of international trade, risk management, logistics and international law.

3
GOVT 711

Prerequisite: GOVT 510

Globalization is the spreading of political, economic, and social affairs across international and geographical borders. The course will begin with a discussion on the real definition of the term "globalization", and will lead into the causes, nature, and effects of globalization. Students will focus on the implications globalization has within the context of the evolution movements for and against globalizing.

3
GOVT 790

Prerequisite: GOVT 505, GOVT 510, GOVT 520, GOVT 632, GOVT 618, GOVT 711

This course is designed for students to develop a project that will encompass the key elements of International Relations which have been studied throughout the MIR program, culminating in the submission of a final project paper and an oral presentation.

3

Concentration & Elective Courses

The Master of International Relations at VIU offers two (2) concentration areas for students to choose from. Students must complete a minimum of three (3) concentration courses to be awarded a degree in International Relations.

International Economic Development
Code Course Name Credits
GOVT 530

Prerequisite: None

This course provides an overview of the literature in comparative politics on democratization. Students will be encouraged to address longstanding conceptual questions including definitions of democracy, democratic transitions, and consolidation. The seminar will also tackle debates related to the preconditions for democratization and as well as different accounts for democratic successes and failures. The course will examine a variety of analytic approaches and methodologies scholars employ in the subfield of comparative politics.

3
GOVT 633

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course provides the platform for discussion about the discrepancies in development among various countries. Students will evaluate of the existing schools of thought and the ways in which to address the politics of development. Special attention will be placed on the role of government, use and availability of natural resources, and historical contexts that might shape a nation's development policy and practice.

3
GOVT 650

(Also Offered as MBA 650) Prerequisite: None

Internship / CPT Qualified

This course places the development of policy-making in its international context as it relates to globalization. It considers its impact on enlargement and the evolution of economic policies for implementation. This course also explores how companies must adapt and revise their strategies accordingly. Students will study the economics of European integration and the problems of regulation, redistribution, banking, security, and cooperation.

3
GOVT 651

(Also Offered as MBA 651) Prerequisite: GOVT 618 or MBA 511

This course addresses the interaction of economic and political policy and the lessons to be derived for businesses and international organizations. The course will examine the political factors underlying economic policy in emerging market economies including policies toward banking crises, privatization of state-owned enterprises, macroeconomic problems, reform of the international trade system, and corruption.

3
GOVT 652

(Also Offered as MBA 651) Prerequisite: GOVT 618 or MBA 511

Development is sweeping the globe and the redefinition of boundaries between the public and private sectors has created new and exciting opportunities for business and policy makers. This course will review the international experience with privatization, the current sale of electric utilities, airlines, and telecommunication companies in emerging and developed economies.

3

International Business
Code Course Name Credits
GOVT 612

(Also offered as MBA 612) Prerequisite: GOVT 505, PUAD 513, or MBA 513

Internship / CPT Qualified

This course focuses on the challenges inherent in managing a workforce comprised of employees from more than one country. Particular emphasis is placed on cultural and legal differences as well as the development of programs and processes which select, motivate, train, and evaluate across national borders.

3
GOVT 614

(Also offered as MBA 614) Prerequisite: GOVT 505 or MBA 511

This course aims to concentrate on the following two topics: (1) basics of international financial markets including derivatives; and (2) managerial perspectives on international finance. The course includes an analysis of different types of financial instruments, such as currencies, stocks, futures, options, international risk and diversification, and swaps. The course covers the theoretical concepts of international financial markets and the study of valuations, acquisitions, and strategies using various techniques to analyze foreign investments.

3
GOVT 615

(Also offered as MBA 615) Prerequisite: none

Internship / CPT Qualified

This course examines entry strategies to foreign markets for international and multinational firms as well as strategies for managing operations across borders.

3
GOVT 616

(Also offered as MBA 616) Prerequisite: GOVT 510 or MBA 513

Internship / CPT Qualified

This course examines the methods and strategies used by firms in international and multinational marketing efforts. Particular attention is paid to how companies decide whether to go global or remain local and how they engage in multi-level marketing opportunities.

3
GOVT 617

(Also offered as MBA 617) Prerequisite: None

Internship / CPT Qualified

For many organizations, the first step toward multinational operations begins with importing and exporting goods. This course focuses on the strategies and processes of import/export management.

3
GOVT 613

(Also Offered as MBA 613) Prerequisite: GOVT 505 or MBA 512

Logistics involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, and purchasing. All of these areas provide a variety of stimulating jobs for students interested in operations management, marketing, and information systems. Because of the strategic importance of logistical performance, any student interested in senior management will benefit from this course.

3
GOVT 634

(Also offered as MBA 634) Prerequisite: GOVT 618 or MBA 515

This course examines the use of mathematical models in managing the operations of organizations. Techniques examined include queuing, facility planning, distribution network, and transportation models.

3
 
MIR Elective Courses
Students may choose any two (2) of the following elective courses, or any combination of elective courses from the concentration courses listed above, in addition to the three (3) courses required to complete the concentration.
Code Course Name Credits
GOVT 540

Prerequisite: None

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course is intended to show students the importance of international law in relation to international and regional policy-making. Students will be introduced to various international actors including the United Nations, International Court of Justice, and NATO. The class will work together to uncover the many challenges of international law in the current global context. In meeting the objectives, the course will follow relevant current events in the field.

3
GOVT 551

(Also offered as MBA 551, PUAD 551) Prerequisite: none

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course gives students practical experience in resolving workplace disagreements and discourse. Students will learn how to use different models and theories on resolving conflict in the organization. Students will develop skills in negotiations, dispute resolution, communications, reconciliations and mediations.

3
GOVT 625

(Also offered as MBA 625, PUAD 625) Prerequisite: none

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course examines the theory and practice of negotiations, including strategies, legal issues, methods, and approaches.

3
GOVT 631

This course provides an overview to the ways in which culture effects communication. The ability to communicate across culture and geographical boundaries is critical to the ability to function in the field of international relations. A main goal of this course is to not only understand other cultures, but to increase sensitivity to those with different backgrounds as well. Students will also gain a more intimate understanding of their own culture and why they choose to communicate in a certain manner.

3
GOVT 635

Prerequisite: GOVT 510

This course emphasizes the development of intelligence systems and evaluates the ways these systems help or hurt when trying to achieve specific policy objectives. Students will begin to understand what intelligence is, how it works, and the difference that intelligence can make in the international arena.

3
GOVT 713

Prerequisite: GOVT 618

Internship / CPT Qualified

This course examines the conduct of U.S. foreign policy through economic means and the use of economic instruments. A state has many tools at its disposal to promote its own security and influence the behavior of other states. These tools range from a multitude of military options to those in the diplomatic and economic spheres. Economic instruments have been utilized by states throughout history as a means of influencing the actions of others. These instruments take the form of both "carrots" and "sticks" and consist of the granting and withholding of trade benefits, employing unilateral and multilateral sanctions and embargoes, as well as other less visible measures such as influencing behavior through aid, monetary policy and the use of the trade remedy laws.

3
GOVT 745

The purpose of this course is to acquaint students to the major issues affecting the global population and policy-making. Students will become aware current trends and problems within the field of international relations.

3
CAR 600

Prerequisite: None

In-depth exploration and assessment of career values, occupational interests, skills, personality style, work environment preferences; concentration and career exploration; exposure to career and occupational information resources. Students learn and practice job search strategies and tools, including resumes and interviewing skills; decision-making, goal-setting and action planning; and self-marketing techniques for effective career management.

3
GOVT 665

Prerequisite: Dean’s Approval
The objective of the course is to provide hands-on and practical work experience in their business concentration that will give students a competitive advantage when they graduate. Students will have a chance to gain work experience in areas of their interest and gain exposure to the industry practices and key contacts for future employment opportunities. This three (3) credit hour internship is for students who are expected to work a minimum of 135 hours during the semester. Students are required to attend two meetings/seminars with the faculty advisor to determine learning objectives and assess how well learning objectives are being accomplished.
3
GOVT 666

Prerequisite: Dean’s Approval
The objective of the course is to provide hands-on and practical work experience in their business concentration that will give students a competitive advantage when they graduate. Students will have a chance to gain work experience in areas of their interest and gain exposure to the industry practices and key contacts for future employment opportunities. This three (3) credit hour internship is for students who are expected to work a minimum of 135 hours during the semester. Students are required to attend two meetings/seminars with their faculty advisor to determine learning objectives and assess how well learning objectives are being accomplished.
3

Prerequisites


There are three (3) prerequisite courses for the MIR program. Students who have no previous political science or international affairs background and whose bachelor's degrees did not include the following courses are required to complete these prerequisites:  GEC 114, STAT 200, and ENGL 110 or ENGL 120. If students have taken similar courses in their undergraduate studies they may transfer their credits for those courses.
Course Code Course Name Credit
GEC 114

This course compares political processes and governing structures in European nations, the former Soviet Union, China, and the United States.
3
STAT 200

This course provides an introduction to data analysis, least-squares regression, data collection, sampling distributions and strategies, probability, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing.
3
Academic Writing Skills (one of the following courses)
ENGL 113

This course is designed expose students to the conventions of academic writing and critical thinking so that they may successfully produce prose that is clear and direct with appropriate structure and support. Students are introduced to the basic rhetorical modes of narration, classification, exposition, argumentation, description, comparison and contrast, cause and effect, definition, and process in the context of English rhetorical structure. This course provides students with the opportunity to experience writing as a process that requires refinement and experience. Students will learn to write for specific audiences and to understand how to approach writing for different disciplines.
3
ENGL 120

Academic Writing focuses on reviewing the fundamentals of standard written English for academic purposes. Students will practice writing common forms of academic documents and demonstrate the ability to successfully use APA formatting. This interactive class provides students with an opportunity to improve their academic writing skills necessary for success in college and beyond.
3

Sample Schedule


The following is a sample schedule of the possible sequencing of courses in the MIR program:
Code Course Name Credits
First Semester
GOVT 505 Research Methods 3
GOVT 510 Theories of International Relations 3
GOVT 520 International Security 3
Second Semester
GOVT 618 International Economics & Trade 3
GOVT 625 Effective Negotiation 3
GOVT 711 Globalization 3
Third Semester
GOVT XXX Concentration Course 3
GOVT XXX Concentration Course 3
GOVT XXX Program Elective 3
Fourth Semester
GOVT 790 Advanced Research Project 3
GOVT XXX Concentration Course 3
GOVT XXX Program Elective 3
Additional prerequisite courses may be required in order to register for some MIR electives.

Objectives


The program objectives of the Master International Relations are designed to enable graduates to be successful in the multitude of employment positions that an MIR degree will garner including, government, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and many more. Upon completion of the program, the graduates will be able to:
  1. Exhibit global awareness & sensitivity to other cultures
  2. Develop the knowledge of the theory and practice of international relations in the current, global arena
  3. Exhibit ethical conduct while maintaining awareness of the large responsibilities of serving the global community
  4. Analyze and understand the latest developments in the fields of international politics, economics, culture, and law that will lend itself to the field of international relations and public affairs


The School of Public & International Affairs at VIU also offers the
Master of Public Administration (MPA) graduate degree program. Both the MIR and MPA can be completed partially or fully online .