The Master in International Affairs is an intensive two-year programme that offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of global governance by providing students with a sound understanding of the actors, policies and processes that shape international affairs in the 21st century.

The programme combines training in quantitative and qualitative research methods with courses offering perspectives from the Institute’s core disciplines, including Anthropology, Sociology, History, Law, Political Science and Political Economy.

The programme also includes the completion of a Capstone Project, where students work with one of the Graduate Institute’s partner organizations, as well as professional skills workshops, providing students with the professional tools necessary for effective analysis and ethical decision-making.

Find the 2018-2019 course offerings here




To earn a Master in International Affairs, students must complete a total of 120 credits over four semesters.

The curriculum is composed of five elements:

  1.  compulsory courses,
  2.  courses taken under specific specialisation tracks,
  3.  free electives,
  4.  courses aimed at professional skills (workshops, the Capstone project, an internship),
  5.  and finally the Master thesis.

Students are required to take two compulsory courses out of a menu of four: "Applying Organisation Theories to Practice", "Gender and International Affairs", "Global Governance and Regulation: Actors and Processes" and "International Policy Analysis". During the first two semesters, students are further required to take two compulsory courses on methods:  “Statistical Methods in Social Sciences” and “Qualitative Methods”.

Before the second semester, students should choose one major from the three specialisation tracks of the Master in International Affairs (i.e. Global SecurityTrade & International Finance, and Environment, Resources & Sustainability) and one minor, which can be either from one of the three specialisation tracks of the Master in International Affairs or from the specialisation tracks of the Master in Development Studies (i.e. Power, Conflict & DevelopmentMobilities, Spaces & Cities; and Environment, Resources & Sustainability), or the minor offered on Global Health.

In each track there are two compulsory courses from which students should take one. In addition, they should obtain 18 credits of elective courses within the track. If the other compulsory course in the track is taken in addition to the one required, it will count towards the 18 credits of elective courses required within the track. For the minor, students should obtain 12 credits of courses within the minor, be they compulsory or elective. 

Finally, students are required to obtain 18 credits of free electives courses, 12 credits of workshops, 9 credits for a Capstone project, as well as 18 credits for the writing of a Master thesis. Students can also validate an internship for 3 credits. If they choose not to do so, they are required to obtain an additional 3 credits of free elective courses.




The Master in International Affairs is an ambitious study programme composed of a number of courses, seminars, workshops and a thesis. The curriculum consists of the following five elements:



  • Free Electives

    Students are required to choose among a broad range of free electives, which are either specific to one of the subject areas taught in the interdisciplinary Master programmes, or are offered by the five disciplinary departments. Students must achieve a total of 18 credits worth of free electives. 


  • Professional Skills

These courses are aimed at developing students’ professional skills. They consist of workshops, a Capstone project, and an facultative internship. 

The workshops are interactive teaching modules that put students into real-world professional situations, providing them with the competencies to become effective and ethical skilled decision-makers. Each skills workshop accounts for 3 credits. Students are required to take four workshops throughout the course of their studies for a total of 12 credits.  

The Capstone projects are applied research seminars that will enable students to work closely with one of the partner institutions of the Graduate Institute, expose them to real-world governance issues, while enabling them to build networks in the Geneva’s world of international organizations. The duration of the capstone projects extends over the second and third semesters, and they are completed in the fall semester of the second year. They account for 9 credits.

In addition, students may choose to complete an internship, usually in between the second and third semesters, working with an institution or company whose mission and activities are relevant to their curriculum. Students must work at least 100 hours and submit a final report at the end of the internship. The internship will appear on the transcript of results and is worth 3 credits. If students choose not to complete an internship, they are required to obtain an additional 3 credits of free elective courses.


  • Thesis

    The final element of the Master in International Affairs is the thesis, which is a piece of independent and original research carried out under the supervision of a faculty member. For the standard master thesis, worth 18 credits, students are expected to demonstrate command of the literature related to their research question, as well as the relevant theories, concepts, methods and disciplinary fields through which to find creative and intelligent answers to their research question.



Master in

Master in