Our master programme

The Graduate Institute’s International Relations/Political Science Department offers graduate students two degrees: a two-year MA in International Relations/Political Science,  and a four-year PhD in International Relations/Political Science. The master’s programme prepares students for doctoral studies, research activities, and public and private careers dealing with different aspects of international relations requiring strong analytical and research skills. The PhD programme is designed to prepare students for a career in international relations involving research, whether as a producer or consumer.

As of the 2010-2011 academic year, students who enter at the master's level can complete both a master’s and PhD degree within five years, through the fast-track master’s/doctoral programme. This programme has been tailored to transition advanced students into doctoral research after only three semesters. Students with a bachelor’s degree interested in a PhD are encouraged to apply to the fast-track master’s programme, as a way to be transferred to doctoral research. Currently, there are approximately 80 students in the International Relations/Political Science department.

 

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 programmes – a stand-alone two-year master’s programme, designed for students wishing to develop expertise in international relations; and a fast-track master’s programme, which transfers advanced students into doctoral research after three semesters.

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

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 sub-fields, including:

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

The master's programme is made up of a standard sequence of core courses, as well as several sub-field 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 programme, 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 organisations in Geneva, and the broad geographical and cultural range of students in the programme, 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 programme. Many students benefit from the Graduate Institute’s financial support. Students who find financial support useful are encouraged to apply.

Master in International Relations/Political Science

Course requirements

Master in International Relations/Political Science

Guidelines for the Master's Thesis (general)

Master in International Relations/Political Science

Guidelines for the Master's Thesis (IR/SP)