Master of Arts (MA) in International Relations

The master of arts (MA) in international relations enables students to analyze the complexities and processes involved in world politics and international affairs.

Coursework provides exposure to the key subfields of the discipline and relevant issues such as international security, European Integration, EU-Asia relations, terrorism and energy security. The program can help prepare students to compete for work with a governmental agency, an intergovernmental organization, a nongovernmental organization, or a multinational corporation. This program is also recommended for students planning to pursue a PhD or an academic career at another institution.

IR Graduate Brochure

Program Curriculum

Note: the International Relations curriculum at Webster Vienna, Private University differs in some aspects from other Webster campuses because of Austrian accreditation requirements. Find the general Webster University curriculum here.

Core Courses

The 36 credit hours required for the master of arts (M.A.) degree must include the following courses for a major in international relations:

  • INTL 5000 Introduction to International Relations (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5100 Research Methods and Perspectives (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5900 Advanced Research Methods (3 credit hours)*
  • INTL 6250 Thesis (6 credit hours) [OR optional for students who entered before Fall 1, 2016, INTL 6000 Capstone (3 credit hours)]

    *Effective entry term Fall 1, 2016, all Vienna students need to take INTL 5900 as pre-requisite for the now mandatory thesis. INTL 5900 counts also as cluster requirement and can substitute one course in either the Comparative or the International Politics Cluster. 

Comparative Politics

Students must also take 2 courses from the following Comparative Politics Cluster:

  • INTL 5050 Comparative Politics (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5580 Politics of Development (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5625 Middle East Area Studies (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5645 Asian Area Studies (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5675 Central and Eastern European Area Studies (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5605 Topics in Comparative Politics (3 credit hours)

International Politics

Students must also take 4 courses from the following International Politics Cluster:

  • INTL 5400 International Political Economy (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5510 Theories of International Relations (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5530 International Law (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5540 International Organizations (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5550 War and Diplomacy (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5560 U.S. Foreign Policy (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5570 Comparative Foreign Policy (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5700 Humanitarian Issues in International Politics (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5800 Globalization (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5860 Issues in International Politics (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5890 Terrorism in World Politics (3 credit hours)


Students who choose to take INTL 6000 must also take 3 elective courses, and students who choose to take INTL 6250 must take 2 elective courses, from any of the above international relations course options not used to satisfy the given requirements, or from any of the following business and management courses, or International Relations Elective Courses:

  • MRKT 5000 Marketing (3 credit hours)
  • MNGT 5590 Organizational Behavior (3 credit hours)
  • BUSN 5200 Basic Finance for Managers (3 credit hours)
  • HRMG 5000 Managing Human Resources (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5500 Professional Seminars (1-3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5610 Non-Thesis Readings/Research (3 credit hours)
  • INTL 5300 Field Work** (3-6 credit hours)
  • INTL 6500 Internship** (3 credit hours)

**Needs approval by the Vienna International Relations Department Head. Please note that students need to fulfill several conditions before they start their internships or field work if they want to gain credits.

If the requisite course is waived, the student must choose an elective course from this major.

The required courses and electives listed in this core may be taken as directed studies, subject to the conditions stated in the Directed Studies section under Academic Policies and Procedures.

Course Descriptions

INTL 5000 Introduction to International Relations (Requisite Course)
Students examine the basics of structure and process as these relate to the ongoing operation of international affairs. Course content focuses on the complex dynamics at work within the world community.

INTL 5050 Comparative Politics (Requisite Course)
Students explore how we use comparison to theorize about politics and to identify both what holds across cultures and nations and what is idiosyncratic requiring area studies expertise. Topics may include democratization, state and nation building, stability and decay of institutions, systems of representation, parliamentary versus presidential governance, political development and ideology.

INTL 5100 Research Methods and Perspectives
Students are introduced to skills, methodological issues, and bibliographic resources, which enhance their ability to evaluate critically and to conduct research in the field of international relations.

INTL 5300 Field Work
Students are involved actively with operations of non-academic institutions and engage in various aspects of field research. Policies and procedures as in Directed Studies. Course may be repeated for credit if content differs.

INTL 5400 International Political Economy
Students explore, historically and conceptually, the interplay of economics and politics at the global level. They examine such phenomena as: the clash of the market and state, the north-south conflict, and the worldwide impact of technological change, transnational corporations, and the competition for accumulation.

INTL 5500 Professional Seminars
Students participate in seminars designed to examine contemporary issues in international relations. The professional seminar supplements the core and elective courses in the area of international relations by focusing on issues of current and special interest. Course may be repeated for credit if content differs. This course may not be completed by directed study.

INTL 5510 Theories of International Relations
Students consider the growing literature on international relations theory, classical and modern, including realism, idealism, behavioralism, globalism, and Marxist and imperialist theories, and the people who have elaborated these ideas and the context in which they did so. Students methodologically critique and compare theories, as well as gain an appreciation for the relevance of theory for international relations.

INTL 5530 International Law
This course surveys trends and practices that are part of the process of adjudication across national boundaries. Some historical background is provided. Current cases and procedures are the major focuses of course content. May not be taken for degree credit if student has successfully completed INTL 2030. Course may be repeated for credit if content differs.

INTL 5540 International Organizations
Various approaches to international organizations are explored, and the contribution of these organizations to peace and economic and social progress is examined. Current issues facing the United Nations and its associated agencies are discussed within this context. May not be taken for degree credit if student has successfully completed INTL 2600. Course may be repeated for credit if content differs.

INTL 5550 War and Diplomacy
Students examine the evolution of diplomacy and warfare. The specific approach (conceptual or historical) and time period may vary from term to term. Course may be repeated for credit if content differs.

INTL 5560 U.S. Foreign Policy
Students examine the issues, agents, and models surrounding the American foreign policy decision-making process and the issues facing the United States in contemporary international relations.

INTL 5570 Comparative Foreign Policy
The formulation and implementation of foreign policy by major world powers are studied. Attention is given to East-West relations in the period since World War II, including the roles of such nations as China and Japan. Course may be repeated for credit if content differs.

INTL 5580 Politics of Development
The student examines problems of social, economic, and political development in Third World nations. Course content focuses on problems of nation building in the postcolonial era and the role of the developing nations in world politics. Course may be repeated for credit if content differs.

INTL 5600 Area Studies
The student examines the history, culture, politics, and economic systems of regions and countries that play an important role in world politics. Specific content varies from term to term and includes regions such as Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Eastern and Western Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and North America. The course may be repeated for credit if content differs.

INTL 5605 Topics in Comparative Politics: EU Foreign Policy

The course studies development of EU foreign policy capabilities. It explores the systemic tensions that the EU as a non-state entity in international affairs brings about to the international system built around states as dominant actors.

INTL 5700 Humanitarian Issues in International Politics
This course provides a forum for investigating such transnational issues as: regionalism, the environment, human rights, and refugees. Course may be repeated for credit if content differs.

INTL 5860 Issues in International Politics
The student examines in depth such issues and topics as: nuclear and conventional arms control, negotiation and conflict resolution, peace studies theory, and economic conversion from military to domestic production. Course may be repeated for credit if content differs.

INTL 5890 Terrorism in World Politics

This Graduate Seminar examines terrorism as a form of extreme political violence. Students will study relevant concepts and terminology, debate definitions, and review the history and evolution of this pernicious form of warfare. Students will examine changes in forms, techniques and structures that have led to modern terrorism, the organizations involved, and debate about strategies to combat it. Students will learn to discern between different types of groups, motives and acts and gain a detailed understanding of the phenomenon’s implications for international security.

Graduate Catalogue Course Description: This course examines the causes and political responses to terrorism in world politics. Issues examined may include the origins and goals of major terrorist organizations, tensions that arise between protecting civil liberties and ensuring security when responding to terrorism, and how to distinguish between terrorism and other forms of violence.

INTL 5900  Advanced Research Methods

This course builds upon INTL 5100 by providing additional analytical and theoretical background relating to research methods, data analysis, qualitative techniques, and statistical theory.

This course introduces students into advanced qualitative and quantitative research methods based upon their interests and needs. Students will work in a very small group to intensively discuss their work and research strategies.

INTL 6000 International Relations: Theory and Practice (Integrated Studies)
Various contemporary theories of international relations are examined. The relationship of theory to the practice of international relations is considered. This course presents an overview for students who are completing a major in international relations. Prerequisite: completion of all other required courses in this major.

INTL 6250 Thesis
The student completes a thesis project under the supervision of two faculty members. The thesis option is recommended for those considering graduate study at the doctoral level