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Department of International Relations Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Boston University

  • Boston, MA
  • Private
  • Urban
  • 78%22%
    student ratio
  • 50
    total students
  • $42,400 | $42,400
    in-state tuition | out-of-state tuition
  • April 15
    fall application deadline
  • 65%
    acceptance rate
  • 11 Degrees
    degrees offered


The Department of International Relations at Boston University

The Department of International Relations (IR) at Boston University (BU) offers a singular blend of academic and practical applications in international affairs. It provides a multidisciplinary curriculum that encompasses not only the traditional study of international politics, but also draws on history, economics, environmental studies, sociology and anthropology in order to advance students' understanding of global issues.

The department has one of the largest programs in international relations in the United States, as well as one of the largest graduate programs within the College of Arts and Sciences at BU. It offers more courses on intelligence than any other civilian school in the nation. Other strengths include regional studies of the Middle East, East Asia, Latin America, Russia and Eastern Europe, and Western Europe.

Each program is designed to educate and train students for a variety of international relations careers, including positions related to diplomacy, environmental policy, foreign policy analysis, intelligence, media, sustainable development, and the corporate sector.

Nine Master of Arts Programs

The IR department offers nine interdisciplinary Master of Arts (MA) programs. These programs provide students with dynamic opportunities to learn about IR through coursework not only in the IR Department but also in related departments at BU, enabling students to tailor the degree to fit their individual career goals and interests.

By providing a wide-ranging and comprehensive set of analytical tools, the department's multidisciplinary approach gives students the skills they need to analyze diverse real-world situations.

In addition to the flagship two-year MA in International Affairs, the BU IR Department offers a range of specialized joint and dual degree programs, including degrees in IR & Religion, Global Development Policy, IR & Environmental Policy, IR & International Communication, IR & Business Administration, and IR & Juris Doctor, among others. An abbreviated mid-career IR program is available for professionals with seven or more years of prior experience. Students can also choose to complete the Graduate Certificate in African Studies or the Graduate Certificate in Asian Studies in conjunction with their degrees.

Center for International Relations and Other Related Programs

The IR Department houses the Center for International Relations, which complements and enhances the BU educational experience by sponsoring a range of conferences and seminars, bringing dynamic, prominent guest speakers to the department.

BU's various schools and departments offer numerous opportunities to attend sponsored talks and participate in research related to a variety of international affairs issues. Related institutes outside the IR Department include the African Studies Center, the Center for the Study of Asia, the Center for the Study of Europe, the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies, the Pardee Center for the Study of the Global Future, and the Center for Global Health and Development.

A Dedicated Faculty with a Wide Range of Experience

Faculty members of BU have been recipients of a wide range of awards and honors, including the Nobel Prize, Presidential Citizens Medal, Pulitzer Prize, and Guggenheim Fellowships, as well as recognition from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Letters, and National Academy of Sciences.

The faculty of the IR Department includes policy-oriented scholars and professionals who remain deeply involved in current international issues. Among the practitioners are former ambassadors, an international lawyer, and long-time employees of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Notable faculty include: Andrew Bacevich, a prominent analyst of U.S. foreign and security policy who has appeared regularly in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and other top media outlets; Susan Eckstein, a leading expert on Latin American development and migration, as well as past president of the Latin American Studies Association; Kevin Gallagher, a noted development economist who writes regular columns for The Guardian and the Financial Times; Husain Haqqani, a distinguished diplomat who served as an adviser to three Pakistani prime ministers and currently serves as the Pakistani ambassador to the United States; Adil Najam, a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), work for which the IPCC received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize; and Joseph Wippl, a former senior station and division chief in the National Clandestine Service of the CIA.

Financing Your Graduate Education

Boston University provides $26.2 million in financial aid annually through its comprehensive financial aid services. Within the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, students have access to a number of graduate scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Fellowship for students committed to community involvement and social justice, the Whitney M. Young Jr. Fellowship for students studying race relations and urban problems, and IR Department Graduate Research Assistantships.

In 2010-2011, 25 students received merit-based financial support from the IR Department. Federal Work-Study and other funds are also available. Financial award application deadline: 1/15; financial award applicants are required to submit FAFSA.

Boston University -- Offering a Dynamic, Global Education

With a foundation dating back to 1839, Boston University remains one of the most dynamic universities in the world. Today, this private urban research university looks to its celebrated thinkers, small class sizes, and groundbreaking interdisciplinary research to offer students truly global educations in more than 250 areas of study. Nearly one in seven students is classified as an international student, with students hailing from more than 139 nations.

Boston University has satellite campuses and exchange programs in more than 30 cities on six continents. The university has been highly ranked by such publications as "Times Higher Education," and "The Economist," and has been featured by the "Princeton Review." The city of Boston has also been named among the top 20 best college towns in the nation.

Location & Contact

Department of International Relations

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Boston University

Boston, MA 02215
United States

Andrew Bacevich


Phone: 617-353-9279
Fax: 617-353-9290

Michael Williams

Graduate Program Administrator

Phone: 617-353-9349
Fax: 617-353-9290

Contact school now

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Master of Business Administration/Master of Arts (MBA/MA)
      Juris Doctor/Master of Arts (JD/MA)
    • Global Development Policy Master of Arts (MA)
    • Mid-Career International Relations Master of Arts (MA)
    • African Studies Certificate
    • Latin American Studies Master of Arts (MA)
    • International Relations And Communication Master of Arts (MA)
    • Asian Studies Certificate
    • International Affairs Master of Arts (MA)
    • International Relations And Environmental Policy Master of Arts (MA)
    • International Relations And Religion Master of Arts (MA)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 27
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? No
    • Evening/weekend programs available? No
    • Distance learning programs available? No
    • Terminal master's degree available? Not reported
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees 1 and capstone
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


65% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 446
    • Accepted 290
    • Acceptance Rate 65
    • Enrolled 41
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $80
    • Application Fee - International $80
    • Electronic applications accepted? Yes
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Not Reported
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline April 15th April 15th Not Reported
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline October 15th October 15th Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesGRE General Test, 3 letters of recommendation, and transcript of all prior college coursework, statement of purpose
    • Doctoral's DegreesNot Reported
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL required, 600 paper based, TOEFL iBT

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees
    • In-state tuition *$42,400
    • Out-of-state tuition *$42,400
    • International student tuitionNot Reported
    • *Typical tuition for this insitution for full-time graduate students per academic year
  • Fees
    • Per-academic year feesNot Reported
    • Per-term feesNot Reported
    • One-time feeNot Reported
    • *Typical fees for this insitution for full-time graduate students per academic year
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitFAFSA
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsDecember 15
    • Types of financial support availableFederal Work-Study, Scholarship and/or loans, Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students50
    • Female Percentage78%
    • Male Percentage22%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students50
    • Part-time Percentage20%
    • Full-time Percentage80%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino3%
    • Black / African American3%
    • White / Caucasian67%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian8%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander3%
    • Two or more races11%
    • Unknown5%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total FacultyNot Reported
    • Full-time PercentageNot Reported
    • Part-time PercentageNot Reported
    • Female Percentage-2147483548%
    • Male Percentage-2147483648%




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