Master of Arts in International Relations

International Relations Program Curriculum

Norwich’s 33-credit MAIR program is comprised of five, 11-week courses. Instead of a core curriculum, your first courses are focused in the concentration of your choice and then followed by one elective course. Students master one course at a time, to create a strong foundation of knowledge and context for future topics.

Our graduates can:

  • Understand the intricacies of international relations
    Learn to consider events from a wide variety of perspectives, evaluate societal consequences and excel in your area of interest.
  • Develop a worldview with real-world application
    Gain a command of the dominant theories that impact foreign relations, and learn how to leverage qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to build compelling cases based on reliable insights and exercise your influence with high credibility.
  • Graduate with a leadership mindset
    Develop the situational leadership skills to operate across intricate international settings by studying the multidimensional aspects of culture, economics, politics and the distribution of power influencing our modern society.

Which degree is right for you? International relations or diplomacy?

International relations is a broad field. If you career goals center soley on diplomatic processess, explore our online Master of Arts in Diplomacy program.

International Security Concentration

Focus on the protection of nations on an international level through foreign policies and world politics. To pursue studies in international security, you will complete the following courses.

  • World Politics – International Relations • IR510 6 credit hours

    This course lays a foundation for all future studies of international relations and world politics. It explores the dominant theories of international relations, and main trends in world politics. The course addresses seminal changes and developments in modern international politics, especially since the end of the Cold War. It reviews all main theoretical assumptions and world views in the study of international relations. The course also surveys the evolution of the discipline, and its various areas of study.

  • American Foreign Policy • IR520 6 credit hours

    The American Foreign Policy seminar will encompass the period from 1898 to the present and will review the most important cases in the history of the US foreign relations. It will also address the areas of foreign policy decision making, and theories and methods in foreign policy studies.

  • International Security • IR530 6 credit hours

    This course surveys some of the major debates and topics in international security. It is designed to give students an understanding of the most important substantive areas in the field of international security and to connect it with academic research on security‐related issues to policy. The course will examine both traditional understandings of and approaches to international security. New actors and issues considered relevant since the end of the Cold War will be discussed. The tension between the relative importance of traditional approaches to security, interstate relations, and the relevance or impact of less immediate but important influences such as human security and climate change will also be examined.

  • Elective Option for 4th Course • Elective 6 credit hours

    Students in the concentration will choose to take one of the following electives as their fourth course in the international relations program. Courses and course descriptions are cross-listed with the Master of Arts in Diplomacy program.

    • GD540 Conflict Avoidance, Prevention and Containment in the International System
    • GD541 Diplomacy in Practice (available for the International Security concentration)
    • GD550 Conflict Resolution and Post-Conflict Reconstruction in the International System
    • GD560 Military Intervention and Conflict Management in the International System
    • GD561 Human Rights and Conflict in the International System
    • GD562 International Response to Transnational Terrorism
  • IR Field Exam • IR555 0 credit hours

    The International Relations Field Exam is a graduation requirement of the international relations program. The exam is based on material from the first four seminars.

  • Master's Research Paper • IR590 9 credit hours

    Under the direction of a Norwich faculty member, students will complete a master’s research paper (MRP) on a research topic of their choice within the field of international relations.

National Security Concentration

Focus on the protection of nations on a national level through foreign policies and world politics. To pursue studies in national security, you will complete the following courses.

  • World Politics – International Relations • IR510 6 credit hours

    This course lays a foundation for all future studies of international relations and world politics. It explores the dominant theories of international relations, and main trends in world politics. The course addresses seminal changes and developments in modern international politics, especially since the end of the Cold War. It reviews all main theoretical assumptions and world views in the study of international relations. The course also surveys the evolution of the discipline, and its various areas of study.

  • American Foreign Policy • IR520 6 credit hours

    The American Foreign Policy seminar will encompass the period from 1898 to the present and will review the most important cases in the history of the US foreign relations. It will also address the areas of foreign policy decision making, and theories and methods in foreign policy studies.

  • National Security • IR531 6 credit hours

    The survey course in national security will explore main debates and controversies in national security policies from the perspective of American national interests. National interests of U.S. allies will be considered as part of American alliance policies.

  • Intelligence and National Security Policy • IR541 6 credit hours

    Intelligence plays a key role in US national security. This course provides the history, structure, roles, and responsibility of the intelligence community, and the relationship between intelligence agencies and senior policy makers, including Congress and the President. It also explains intelligence as a discipline including collection and analysis as well how oversight and accountability are applied to intelligence activities. This course challenges students to evaluate and analyze the effectiveness of the intelligence community and its products against changing threats to the United States.

  • IR Field Exam • IR555 0 credit hours

    The International Relations Field Exam is a graduation requirement of the international relations program. The exam is based on material from the first four seminars.

  • Master's Research Paper • IR590 9 credit hours

    Under the direction of a Norwich faculty member, students will complete a master’s research paper (MRP) on a research topic of their choice within the field of international relations.

International Development Concentration

Study global economic systems, human rights, globalization, and how each relates to a nation’s development. To pursue studies in international development, you will complete the following courses.

Courses are cross-listed with the Master of Arts in Diplomacy and the Master of Public Administration program.

  • World Politics – International Relations • IR510 6 credit hours

    This course lays a foundation for all future studies of international relations and world politics. It explores the dominant theories of international relations, and main trends in world politics. The course addresses seminal changes and developments in modern international politics, especially since the end of the Cold War. It reviews all main theoretical assumptions and world views in the study of international relations. The course also surveys the evolution of the discipline, and its various areas of study.

  • Economics and the International System • GD530 6 credit hours

    You will explore the international economic system, examine the impact of modernization within the system, and investigate the controversy over the concept of globalization and the debate of free trade versus protectionism. You will become familiar with the international financial network and its institutions. Special attention will be given to Third World development issues and the concept of economics as a tool of diplomacy and military power.

  • The Political Economy of International Development • IR543 6 credit hours

    This seminar looks at the process of facilitating development as encompassing a complex set of social, economic, political, cultural and institutional transformations. The seminar will introduce students to the wide range of theories about development that inform issues such as the economic effects of different growth strategies, the difficulties of foreign aid as well as the role of markets, states and civil society. Specifically, we will study questions such as:

    • How important are political institutions to economic development and what role do they play?
    • How does economics affect political institutions and government policies?
    • Why do inefficient and/or harmful institutions survive?

    Highlighted will be the interplay of theories and histories of various forms of development to provide a graduate level of introduction to the political economy of development in a theoretical, historical, and comparative perspective.

  • Capital and International Development • IR553 6 credit hours

    The course explores the relationship between capital and institutions of human society. It explains what capital is and how it works, and addresses unequal economic development among global regions, the role of international aid, conditions of global poverty, and debates about better international development policies.

  • IR Field Exam • IR555 0 credit hours

    The International Relations Field Exam is a graduation requirement of the international relations program. The exam is based on material from the first four seminars.

  • Master's Research Paper • IR590 9 credit hours

    Under the direction of a Norwich faculty member, students will complete a master’s research paper (MRP) on a research topic of their choice within the field of international relations.

Cyber Diplomacy Concentration – Policy Track

Learn about international law and cyber warfare, which includes cyber espionage, cyber terrorism, and cyber activism. To pursue studies in the cyber diplomacy policy track, you will take the courses listed below.

The cyber policy coursework will be taught from the curriculum in the Master of Science in Information Security & Assurance program. Courses are cross-listed with the Master of Arts in Diplomacy program.

  • World Politics – International Relations • IR510 6 credit hours

    This course lays a foundation for all future studies of international relations and world politics. It explores the dominant theories of international relations, and main trends in world politics. The course addresses seminal changes and developments in modern international politics, especially since the end of the Cold War. It reviews all main theoretical assumptions and world views in the study of international relations. The course also surveys the evolution of the discipline, and its various areas of study.

  • Law and the International System • GD520 6 credit hours

    You will explore the structure of the international system as defined by its rules and guidelines. The course presents an introduction to international law terminology and its history and theory. Laws surrounding conflict, war, war crimes, and the rising areas of international law, environmental law, and laws concerning humanitarian intervention will be explored. Of special interest will be laws pertaining to human rights.

  • Cyber Policy I • GD547 6 credit hours

    This course deals with vulnerabilities of computer networks and techniques for protecting networks and data, basic elements of symmetric and asymmetric cryptography, secure e-commerce, involving secure transmission, authentication, digital signatures, digital certificates and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), as well as issues in privacy and piracy. The course also addresses basic definitions and nomenclature in the area of security assessment, risk analysis derived from actual cases. Students are expected to use critical thinking skills as they go through the material rather than accepting facts at face value.

  • Cyber Policy II • GD557 6 credit hours

    The course introduces sociological and psychological issues in policy implementation, and as they relate to information security specific policies. It explores the psychology of the attacker, examines the motivation and techniques of cyber criminals and hackers, and stresses the importance of the user in the success of security systems. The course introduces basic perceptual, cognitive, and motivational processes and biases that compromise security and increase vulnerability to attacks. Interaction of humans with machines and technology and its effects on security in organizations is also discussed. The course addresses the entire lifecycle of policy creation and enactment and presents issue specific policies in different domains of security. The structure of the policy is also discussed to assist in design and modification of policies. Several examples from different domains are incorporated to provide context of real life situations. This course also examines the tools and techniques of cyber-attacks that are common to cyber warfare, cyber espionage, cyber terrorism and cyber activism and efforts to control or mitigate the threat of cyber warfare through diplomacy, arms control treaties and confidence building measures, as well it discusses key impediments to cooperation such as policy differences among states over Internet governance, censorship, data protection and privacy.

  • IR Field Exam • IR555 0 credit hours

    The International Relations Field Exam is a graduation requirement of the international relations program. The exam is based on material from the first four seminars.

  • Master's Research Paper • IR590 9 credit hours

    Under the direction of a Norwich faculty member, students will complete a master’s research paper (MRP) on a research topic of their choice within the field of international relations.

Cyber Diplomacy Concentration – Technical Track

Learn about international law and cyber warfare, which includes cyber espionage, cyber terrorism, and cyber activism. To pursue studies in the cyber diplomacy technical track, you will take the courses listed below.

The cyber systems coursework will be taught from the curriculum in the Master of Science in Information Security & Assurance program. Courses are cross-listed with the Master of Arts in Diplomacy program.

  • World Politics – International Relations • IR510 6 credit hours

    This course lays a foundation for all future studies of international relations and world politics. It explores the dominant theories of international relations, and main trends in world politics. The course addresses seminal changes and developments in modern international politics, especially since the end of the Cold War. It reviews all main theoretical assumptions and world views in the study of international relations. The course also surveys the evolution of the discipline, and its various areas of study.

  • Law and the International System • GD520 6 credit hours

    You will explore the structure of the international system as defined by its rules and guidelines. The course presents an introduction to international law terminology and its history and theory. Laws surrounding conflict, war, war crimes, and the rising areas of international law, environmental law, and laws concerning humanitarian intervention will be explored. Of special interest will be laws pertaining to human rights.

  • Studies in Cyber Systems I • GD548 6 credit hours

    This course addresses computer forensics investigation as prescribed by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). It introduces computer forensics concepts, as well as techniques for identifying, collecting, preserving and triaging digital evidence consistent with industry standards and best practices, as well as, assorted hardware and software utilized by computer forensic practitioners. The course will also examine operational considerations of cyber warfare and a battlefield perspective with real incident data sets to illustrate different incident analysis techniques. Also discussed are management of computer security incidents, including detailing different types of incidents, identification, preparation, and analysis of incidents, gathering of evidence, recovery and follow-up. It teaches how to implement security in networks, how to harden their information security environment and set up secure infrastructure. The course covers both wired and wireless network security, database security, and general computer security practices.

  • Studies in Cyber Systems II • GD558 6 credit hours

    The course navigates sections of classical mathematics and computer science used to construct mathematical models of information security. It discusses the need for mathematical models in different security paradigms along with the essential definitions, concepts and results for developing the models, their strengths and weaknesses, and, consequently, its application to practical problems. The course also addresses statistical methods for forensic accounting and assurance, internal controls and financial information systems, and auditing of modern complex accounting information systems.

  • IR Field Exam • IR555 0 credit hours

    The International Relations Field Exam is a graduation requirement of the international relations program. The exam is based on material from the first four seminars.

  • Master's Research Paper • IR590 9 credit hours

    Under the direction of a Norwich faculty member, students will complete a master’s research paper (MRP) on a research topic of their choice within the field of international relations.

Regions of the World Concentration

Specialize your understanding of the issues, debates, and events pertinent to a specific world region; choose from eight world regions. To pursue studies of a region of the world, you will complete the following courses.

  • World Politics – International Relations • IR510 6 credit hours

    This course lays a foundation for all future studies of international relations and world politics. It explores the dominant theories of international relations, and main trends in world politics. The course addresses seminal changes and developments in modern international politics, especially since the end of the Cold War. It reviews all main theoretical assumptions and world views in the study of international relations. The course also surveys the evolution of the discipline, and its various areas of study.

  • American Foreign Policy • IR520 6 credit hours

    The American Foreign Policy seminar will encompass the period from 1898 to the present and will review the most important cases in the history of the US foreign relations. It will also address the areas of foreign policy decision making, and theories and methods in foreign policy studies.

  • Elective Option for 3rd Course • Elective 6 credit hours

    Students in the concentration will choose to take one of the following electives as their fourth course in the international relations program.

    • IR530 International Security
    • GD530 Economics in the International System
    • GD520 International Law
  • Regions of the World • Elective 6 credit hours

    For the fourth course, students will choose a region of the world from the list below to evaluate various political, economic, and/or social issues; correlate historical, political and/or economic origins of an international phenomenon; and employ theories and methodological skills to clarify complex issues in international relations.

    • IR549 Regions of the World - Africa
    • IR549 Regions of the World - Asia-Pacific
    • IR549 Regions of the World - Europe
    • IR549 Regions of the World - Eurasia
    • IR549 Regions of the World - Latin America
    • IR549 Regions of the World - Middle East
    • IR549 Regions of the World - North America
    • IR549 Regions of the World - South Asia
  • IR Field Exam • IR555 0 credit hours

    The International Relations Field Exam is a graduation requirement of the international relations program. The exam is based on material from the first four seminars.

  • Master's Research Paper • IR590 9 credit hours

    Under the direction of a Norwich faculty member, students will complete a master’s research paper (MRP) on a research topic of their choice within the field of international relations.

Residency

The final academic requirement for the international relations program is a residency at the beautiful and historic Norwich University campus in Vermont. Students have the opportunity to meet with fellow students, faculty, and program staff in both formal classroom and informal settings. Academic recognition ceremonies and commencement cap off the week, and family and friends are encouraged to attend.

Norwich covers the cost of all meals and accommodation on campus.