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Master of Science in International Relations

In 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 have necessary skills to pursue careers as Diplomats, Political Analyst, Intelligence Specialist, Public Affairs Consultants, etc. in non-profit organizations, federal and local government agencies, private sector, as well as international organizations such as the World Bank, IMF, or United Nations and many more.

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

  • International Economic Development
  • International Business

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.

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 Research Methods 3
GOVT 510 Theories of International Relations 3
GOVT 520 International Security 3
GOVT 632 Comparative Politics 3
GOVT 618 International Economics & Trade 3
GOVT 711 Globalization 3
GOVT 790 Advanced Research Project 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

Course Code Course Name Credit
GOVT 530 Democratization 3
GOVT 633 Politics of Development Aid 3
GOVT 650 Policy Making in a Global Context 3
GOVT 651 International Economics & Politics 3
GOVT 652 International Industrial Development Strategies 3


International Business

Course Code Course Name Credit
GOVT 612 International Management 3
GOVT 614 International Finance 3
GOVT 615 International Strategy 3
GOVT 616 International Marketing 3
GOVT 617 Import/Export Management 3
GOVT 613 Enterprise Resource Planning 3
GOVT 634 Operations Management 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.

Course Code Course Name Credit
GOVT 540 International Law 3
GOVT 551 Conflict Resolution 3
GOVT 625 Effective Negotiation 3
GOVT 631 Intercultural Communication 3
GOVT 635 Intelligence & Foreign Policy 3
GOVT 713 Fundamentals of US Economic Policy 3
GOVT 745 Topics in International Relations 3
CAR 600 Career Planning & Development 3
GOVT 665 Graduate Internship I 3
GOVT 666 Graduate Internship II 3

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 Comparative Government 3
STAT 200 Introduction to Statistics 3
Academic Writing Skills (one of the following courses)
ENGL 113 English Composition and Rhetoric 3
ENGL 120 Academic Writing 3

The following is a sample schedule of the possible sequencing of courses in the MIR program:

Course Code Course Name Credit
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.

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

Students graduating from the MIR Program will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the main concepts, empirical findings and theories in the field of International Relations.
  • Use empirical cases and models to apply theoretical concepts, draw new conclusions and applications.
  • Communicate effectively on issues in the areas of international affairs, business and development.
  • Develop original research to analyze complex problems and ideas, and offer solutions and policy prescriptions.
  • Engage with the wider professional community and follow the latest developments in the field of International Relations.
  • Understand global and regional trends and be able to design and apply innovative and creative solutions to developmental problems.
  • Pursue a career with public and private agencies in the areas of International Economic Development or International Business.

Possible careers for MIR graduates include:

  • Diplomat
  • Political Analyst
  • Intelligence Specialist
  • Research Officer
  • Public Affairs Consultant
  • International Marketing Manager
  • International Logistics Manager
  • Development Project Manager
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Immigration Specialist

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.