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 fast-track master’s program, that transfers advanced students into doctoral research after three semesters.

The master’s program prepares students for doctoral studies, research activities, and public or private careers dealing with different aspects in the field of international relations which require strong analytical and research skills. An overview of master's student placement after graduation, can be accessed here.

Students are equipped with the analytical tools and substantive background to understand a wide range of political topics. Engaging with multiple approaches and methods, students have the opportunity to take courses from a number of subfields, including:

  • comparative politics,
  • conflict studies,
  • political economy,
  • international governance,
  • methodology.

The master's program is 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 fast-track 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 department as well as visiting professors.  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.

Admissions are decided on the basis of the quality of the overall application file with priority given to academic achievement, recommendations and the motivation letter. There are no minimum requirements for grade point average, but the selection process is highly competitive. Each year, approximately 30-35 students are admitted to the master’s program. Many students benefit from the Graduate Institute’s financial support. Students who find financial support useful are encouraged to apply.