MAIR Capstone

Before graduation, MAIR students must enroll in the capstone seminar (POLS595), in which they will write an in-depth paper focused on a topic of their choice, and present their finding at a final public symposium.

General Information

The purpose of the MA in International Relations capstone seminar is to help students use the knowledge gained during the program to deepen their understanding of a particular issue of interest in the discipline of international relations, and sharpen their research, writing and oral presentation skills for application in their professional careers.


Because the MA in International Relations capstone seminar builds on what students have learned in the program, students cannot take the capstone seminar unless they have completed at least 21 units, including all required courses (POLS535, POLS550 and POLS570).

In addition, because the capstone seminar requires a substantial amount of work, students are advised to register for no more than a total of 7.5 units during the semester in which they plan to take the capstone seminar, especially if they have demanding outside commitments (e.g., full-time job, family, etc.).

For the capstone seminar, students are required to complete the following assignments over the course of the semester:

  • short professional biography
  • intellectual autobiography
  • first draft of capstone paper
  • public presentation
  • revised draft of capstone paper

The public capstone symposium typically takes place the last or second-to-last week of each semester, and revisions to the capstone paper are typically due within one or two weeks after the capstone.