Master in International Relations/Political Science

Programme Description

The International Relations/Political Science department offers students the possibility of completing a master’s degree through two programs – a stand-alone two-year master’s program, designed for students wishing to develop expertise in international relations; and a newly designed accelerated master’s program, tailored to speedily transition advanced students into doctoral research after three semesters.

The new, fast-track master’s program allows students to complete a master’s and PhD degree within five years (10 semesters). In effect, students choosing the fast-track option will be able to go seamlessly from their bachelor's degree straight through to the PhD

The master’s program prepares students for doctoral studies, research activities, and careers dealing with different aspects of international relations which require strong analytical and research skills, whether in the public or private sector.

Students are equipped with the analytical tools and substantive background to understand a wide range of political topics, both in the present and in various likely futures. Engaging with multiple approaches and methods, students have the opportunity to take courses from a number of subfields, including regional and international relations and politics, comparative politics, political theory, conflict studies and more. Students also receive training in research design and statistics, and other methods courses are optional.

Both masters’ programs are made up of a standard sequence of core courses, as well as several subfield survey courses; in addition, there are numerous electives that can be taken. During the second year of studies, each student writes a master's thesis or, if he/she is enrolled in the accelerated program, transitions into the coursework that prepares him/her for writing a dissertation prospectus for doctoral research.

Teaching takes place in small classes where students are encouraged to foster a sense of inquiry, critique and argument. Students have extensive access to political science faculty, both regular professors in the unit and recurring or one-time visitors. Students writing their master’s thesis meet frequently with faculty members to go over their work. This, as well as the analytical strengths of the curriculum, the proximity to various international governmental and nongovernmental organizations in Geneva, and the broad geographical and cultural range of students in the program, make for a solid and rewarding grounding in the field.

Each year, approximately 18 students are admitted to the master’s program, and we encourage students to use this program as a way-station to doctoral research. Many students benefit from the Graduate Institute’s financial support. Students who might find financial support useful are encouraged to apply.