Master of Arts in International Relations


Program Overview

The IAU Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR) is a one-year, 36-credit Master’s degree leveraging IAU’s strategic location in Southern France. The program is conducted in English and builds on IAU’s academic tradition as one of the first American institutions abroad to prepare students for careers as diplomats in the Foreign Service or in international business. French was the language of diplomacy at the founding of IAU in the late 1950’s when the Cold War was at the forefront of the international political landscape. The founders of IAU had this in mind when they constructed a curriculum based in Political Science and International Relations. The Humanities and Social Sciences have always played an important role at IAU and will naturally serve as the intellectual backbone of the MAIR.

As a founding member of the Association of American International Colleges and Universities (AAICU), IAU is part of a network of prestigious American institutions of higher learning dedicated to promoting American-style education abroad. Thanks to these connections, IAU shares resources and expertise with premiere academic institutions such as American University of Beirut, American University of Cairo and Central European University.

Candidates for the MAIR can choose to specialize in one of the following tracks:

  • Mediterranean Studies
  • European Studies
  • Environmental Policy
  • Conflict Analysis and Resolution
  • Diplomacy

Field Studies & Research

A defining characteristic of IAU programs is the synthesis of academic and experiential learning. MAIR candidates will have the chance to conduct field study and short-term research in Brussels, Strasbourg, Geneva, Paris, Madrid, Rabat and Istanbul. With IAU’s network of international scholars, intellectuals and politicians, students will observe international organizations such as the European Commission, the European Parliament, the World Trade Organization, NATO and various consulates and embassies in North Africa and Turkey.

As a founding member of the Association of American International Colleges and Universities (AAICU), IAU also shares resources and expertise with premiere academic institutions such as American University of Beirut, American University of Cairo and Central European University.


At the end of the Spring semester, students will be placed in internships in various government and non-government organizations or international businesses in the immediate region. The IAU network includes places such as the US Consulate, City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, l’Office du Tourisme, Maritime Organizations in Marseille, the International Red Cross, crisis relief agencies for immigrants and many others. Students will receive four credits for their internship submitting regular reports to their advisors with a final report in July.

Language and Culture

All students admitted into the program should have at minimum an upper-intermediate level of French and will be required to take French language and culture in Fall and Spring semesters of the program. If admitted students are Francophone speakers with high proficiency they will fulfill language requirement in either Arabic or Spanish.

Degree Requirements

The MAIR is a thirty six credit-hour, one year program consisting of required three-credit core courses (15 units), several different electives according to students' chosen tracks (9 units), an intersession traveling seminar (4 units), an internship during the second semester (4 units), and finally a Master’s Thesis (4 units) submitted at the completion of the program. A Master’s Thesis prospective will be submitted in the second semester for approval by student’s committee. Students will continue to work on this proposal with advisor and submit no later than July 1 for successful completion of the program. The advisor will help determine the student’s particular track of study depending on the thesis’ area of focus.


During this year-long program (two semesters plus January Term and summer work), students will choose from courses in subject matter relating to Geopolitics, International Relations, Intercultural Management, and French as a Second Language.

Semester 1 (12 credits): All students take four 500-level courses: three core courses (below) and one language that they will study during the year to fulfill the language proficiency requirement.

  • IR 504 Theories of International Relations
  • POL 510 Comparative Politics
  • IR 512 Ethics in International Relations
  • Language Requirement

January Term (4 credits): MAIR students will take advantage of IAU’s plethora of January term/Intersession programs which are multi-country traveling seminars, many of which explore the politics, economies, histories, and cultures of the countries visited. All students will participate in a January Term Seminar chosen from the list below. The choice is based on the student’s track.

  • Europe and the Islamic World (France • Morocco • Gibraltar • Spain)
  • American Diplomacy (Marseille • Aix-en-Provence • Casablanca • Rabat • Paris • Istanbul)
  • Mediterranean Basin (France • Italy • Greece)
  • Religion, Art & Architecture (Morocco • Gibraltar • Spain • Turkey • Israel)

Semester 2 (12 credits): All students will elect three 500-level courses (9 credits) from IR courses related to their chosen track and continue with one language course (3 credits) to fulfill the language proficiency requirement.

Sample Elective IR courses:

  • The European Union: Integration, Enlargement, Unity 
  • Geopolitics in The Mediterranean Basin
  • US Foreign Policy
  • The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict
  • Media and Conflict
  • International Economics and The European Union
  • Ecology of Mediterranean
  • Global Environmental Politics
  • Muslim Presence in Europe
  • Ethics of War and Peace
  • North Africa and Colonial History

Summer (8 credits): students will participate in one internship (four credits) and will complete their Master's Thesis (4 credits).

Internship: May-July (4 credits) Students will submit regular reports to their advisors with a final report in July.

Master’s Thesis (4 credits): Students will work closely with their chosen track advisor on a Master’s Thesis to be submitted no later than July 1st after the completion of their coursework. Students will attend graduation ceremony but will only receive their diploma upon the submission and successful completion of their Master’s Thesis.

Total = 36 credits


IAU faculty is comprised of experts in the field of international relations, diplomacy, conflict analysis and resolution, environmental policy, and Mediterranean and European Studies. Both academics and professionals in their field, IAU faculty provide the MAIR the academic depth and the real-life experience necessary for a well-rounded international relations education. 

Admissions Requirements

Students admitted to the MAIR must have completed a bachelors’ degree or its equivalent (120 units of academic credit) with some proficiency in at least one language other than English. International experience and/or knowledge of other cultures is highly recommended for admission into the program. For international applicants who completed their course of study in any language other than English, a minimum TOEFL score of 79 is required. Apply Now!

For questions regarding the program or admissions, please contact IAU's U.S. Office of Admissions at or call 1-800-221-2051.