MA in International Relations (2 years)

Overview and credit requirements

The program is intended for students who have graduated from a three-year undergraduate program and would like to proceed with their studies more thoroughly, possibly with a view of a preparing themselves for a doctoral degree. The program offers an innovative, dynamic learning environment with relatively small class sizes and an interdisciplinary curriculum. It is accredited in both the US and Austria. 

The two-year MA Program in International Relations combines rigorous theoretical and methodological academic training in international relations with area expertise. Interdisciplinarity is built into the very structure of the program, which is subdivided into three tracks: Global Order and Politics (GOP), International Political Economy and Development (IPE), and Conflict and Security (CONSEC). Students are expected to take courses from all three tracks, while they may specialize in one of them to complete the degree. In addition to exposure to the main areas of teaching in the program, students will also receive thorough preparation in academic writing, and research design and methods. The program complements solid academic education with training in practical and transferable skills to enable our graduates to be competitive on the job market within and outside academia.

The program consists of 60 US (120 ECTS) credits, including the 10 US (20 ECTS) credits thesis. 

This is a full-time MA program, therefore, students are expected to reside at all times in Vienna, during the program. They are expected to continuously remain in contact with campus academic life and respond promptly to any communication from the department.

Optional New York module

This module consists of one mandatory, one elective course and internship offered in the City of New York in cooperation with the Bard Global International Affairs Program. If students choose to take this module, they can do so in the Fall term of the 2nd year of their study. The module will enable students to acquire a more ‘practical’ experience of the field. The centrepiece of this module is internships at various international organizations, think-tanks and NGOs. In the mandatory course, students will learn to relate their experiences with internships to existing academic literature on international organizations. In the elective course, they will have a chance to better understand the practices of international journalism, advocacy or consulting.

Optional specializations

  • Global Order and Politics (GOP)
  • International Political Economy and Development (IPE)
  • Conflict and Security (CONSEC)

Students can specialize in a field of their choice. The conditions for obtaining a specialization are:

  • students earn 16 credits in courses related to a specific track, of which 4 credits are gained from the relevant core track course
  • students must have received a B+ or better grade in each course
  • students write their MA thesis on a topic related to this field of specialization

Optional professional skill development module

  • Internship
  • Additional courses in research methods 
  • Professional skill development courses 

Students can participate in this module, overall substituting up to 6 credits of elective courses.

Tentative Curriculum

First year:


  • Orientation
  • Introduction to all courses
  • Introductory Sessions to International Relations

The purpose of the latter course – offered to incoming MA students – is to serve as an introduction to the main theories, debates, and concepts in international relations. It is a course that aims to provide the foundations needed for students of various disciplinary backgrounds to effectively engage in the classes they will attend during their studies at CEU. 

Fall term requirements

The Fall Term of the first year consists of

  • 2 credits for the mandatory course ‘Research Design:Tools and Techniques'
  • 8 credits of mandatory-elective courses (see the selection of 3 courses below),
  • 4 credits of elective courses,
  • the first part of the mandatory course Academic Writing for International Relations.

To complete the requirements for the mandatory-elective core track courses (8 credits), students must take two out of the following three courses:

  • International Relations Concepts and Theories (Global Order and Politics track), 4 credits, Michael Merlingen
  • Introduction to International Political Economy (International Political Economy and Development track), 4 credits, Dora Piroska
  • Strategy, Security and Contemporary Warfare (Conflict and Security Track), 4 credits, Paul Roe

Winter term requirements

The Winter Term of the first year consists of

  • 2 credits for one of the offered three mandatory-elective courses ‘Research methods for International Relations’,
  • 12 credits of elective courses.

Spring term requirements 

  • Workshop on writing an MA thesis proposal (mandatory)
  • IR department offers several elective courses as well as professional skill development courses (optional)

Sample of elective courses offered during the first year:

  • Foreign policy analysis (GOP, CONSEC), 4 credits, Erin Jenne
  • Worldly Philosophers of Capitalism, Democracy and Development (GOP, IPE), 4 credits, Bela Greskovits
  • International Law in a Turbulent World (GOP), 4 credits, Boldizsar Nagy
  • Politics of the Anthropocene (GOP), 4 credits, Alexander Etkind
  • Border (in)security and social inequalities (GOP, CONSEC), 4 credits, Saskia Stachowitsch 
  • Europe in Crises: Integration under International and Internal Threat (GOP, IPE), 4 credits, Daniel Izsak
  • Global politics of health (GOP, CONSEC), 4 credits, Christian Haddad/Dagmar Vorlicek
  • The Political Economy of the EU (IPE), 4 credits, Laszlo Csaba
  • Geoeconomics (IPE, CONSEC), 2 credits, Thomas Fetzer
  • Orders of Inequality: Race, Class, Gender, Sex, (GOP) 4 credits, Michael Merlingen
  • Nationalism, Populism and Ethnic Conflict Management in Eastern Europe (GOP, CONSEC), 4 credits, Erin Jenne
  • International and European Refugee Policy and Law (GOP) ,4 credits, Boldizsar Nagy
  • Dark Legacies: Politics of the Past and International Relations (GOP,CONSEC), 4 credits, Alexander Etkind and Thomas Fetzer
  • Illiberal Capitalism (IPE), 4 credits, Laszlo Csaba
  • Political Economy of Development (IPE), 4 credits, Valentin Seidler
  • International Political Economy of Digital Everything (IPE), 4 credits, Dora Piroska
  • Global Political Economy of Eastern Europe (IPE), 2 credits, Imre Szabo
  • European Security (CONSEC) 2 credits, Raluca Csernatoni/Katherina Zarembo
  • East Asian Conflicts (CONSEC) 2 credits, Akos Kopper
  • Political Warfare (CONSEC, GOP), 2 credits, Anton Shekhovtsov
  • The Social shaping of World Order (GOP, CONSEC) 4 credits, Mary Kaldor
  • Psychology of Statecraft, (GOP,CONSEC) 4 credits, Christopher LaRoche
  • What is Diplomacy? (GOP) 4 credits, Alexander Astrov

Second year:

Fall term requirements

12 credits of elective courses

Winter term requirements

Mandatory workshop on MA thesis chapter writing  and 8 credits of elective courses (10 credits)

Spring term requirements

Thesis research and writing (10 credits).