Master of Arts in International Relations

The MAIR program’s 30 unit academic curriculum offers students a strong core of required survey courses (POLS535, POLS550, POLS570), a wide range of subject focused courses, and a final capstone course (POLS595) to bring together the skills and knowledge they have acquired in our program. Course offerings vary from semester to semester, depending on instructor availability, though required courses are offered at least once per academic year. Full course descriptions for MAIR courses offerings are listed below along with the course calendar for the present academic year.

Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2019-2020, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on April 1, 2019. Access the catalog of record at

M.A. in International Relations Degree Requirements

  • Approval of courses by graduate director for all 30 units.
  • 11.5 units of core courses in political science and international relations at the 500-level, including each of the following options:
    POLS 535Research Design1.5
    POLS 550Comparative Politics3
    POLS 570Theories in International Relations3
    POLS 593International Relations International Travel Course 11
    POLS 595MAIR Capstone Seminar3
    Total Units11.5
  • 18.5 or more units of elective courses, including the following options: 

o   Program electives: Political science and international relations coursework at the 500-level.

o   Non-program electives: Up to 6 units of the following coursework taken outside the Master's in International Relations program with the approval of the graduate director:

o USD Graduate Courses: USD graduate-level coursework on topics related to international relations.

USD Undergraduate Courses: 300- and 400-level USD undergraduate courses in international relations.

Transfer Courses: Graduate-level coursework on topics related to international relations. Grades received from other institutions count toward the degree, but not toward the student’s grade point average (GPA) in the graduate program.   

  • No courses with a grade of "C-/C/C+," “D,” or “F” will count toward the degree (although all grades for USD courses are calculated in the GPA.).
  • No online courses may count toward the graduate degree. 

Combined Degree Program (BA/MA)

Through the Combined Degree Program, undergraduates who are completing a degree in Political Science or International Relations at the University of San Diego may apply for admission to the Master of Arts in International Relations degree program while completing the requirements for their Bachelor’s degree.

With graduate director approval, undergraduate students admitted to the combined degree program are permitted take up to 12 units of 500-level coursework to count towards the requirements for both degrees, with 500-level courses counting as undergraduate electives. USD undergraduate students are eligible to apply to the Master’s program during their junior or senior year, provided that they have a 3.5 GPA within the major, have completed at least two 300- or 400-level political science or international relations courses (including POLS 350, POLS 370, or POLS 380), and will have completed all courses in preparation for the undergraduate major before enrollment in the combined degree program. 

Students admitted to the Combined Degree Program will have undergraduate status until they complete their BA degree requirements, and will become graduate students in the semester after graduation from the undergraduate program. Combined degree students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 at both the undergraduate and graduate level, or be subject academic probation and/or expulsion from the graduate program. Combined degree students must complete a minimum of 18 units while they have graduate student status in order to satisfy the combined degree program requirements.