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 thesis (10 US credits). 

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 have further choice of doing so either in the 1st or in the 2nd year of their study. By taking this module, either in the Winter Term of the 1st year or in the Fall Term of the 2nd year, students will 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)

Optional professional skill development module

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

Tentative Curriculum

First year:

Pre-session

Orientation and introduction to all courses

Fall term requirements

The Fall Term of the first year consists of

  • 2 credits for the mandatory course ‘Research design for International Relations’,
  • 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, Andrew X. Li and 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 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 Anthropecene (GOP), 4 credits, Alexander Etkind
  • Border (in)security and social inequalities (GOP, CONSEC), 4 credits, Saskia Stachowitsch and Julia Sachseder
  • Europe in Crises: Integration under International and Internal Threat (GOP, IPE), 4 credits, Daniel Izsak
  • Global health security (GOP, CONSEC), 4 credits, Christian Haddad
  • The Political Economy of the EU (IPE), 4 credits, Laszlo Csaba
  • Geoeconomics (IPE, CONSEC), 2 credits, Thomas Fetzer
  • Political Economy of International Organizations (GOP, IPE), 2 credits, Andrew X. Li
  • Military and security technology (CONSEC), 2 credits, Raluca Csernatoni
  • What is Diplomacy? 4 credits, Alexander Astrov
  • International Intervention and Statebuilding, 4 credits, Xymena Kurowska
  • Orders of Inequality: Race, Class, Gender, Sex, 4 credits, Michael Merlingen
  • Nationalism, Populism and Ethnic Conflict Management in Eastern Europe, 4 credits, Erin Jenne
  • Comparative Regionalism, 2 credits, Daniel Izsak
  • International and European Refugee Policy and Law, 4 credits, Boldizsar Nagy
  • Dark Legacies: Politics of the Past and International Relations, 4 credits, Alexander Etkind and Thomas Fetzer
  • Illiberal Capitalism, 4 credits, Laszlo Csaba,
  • Political Economy of Development, 4 credits, Valentin Seidler,
  • International Political Economy of Digital Everything, 4 credits, Dora Piroska,
  • Decarbonizing IR: Fossils, Emissions and Security, 4 credits, Alexander Etkind
  • Global Political Economy of Eastern Europe, 2 credits, Dora Piroska,
  • Issues in European Security, 2 credits, Michael Merlingen,
  • Critical Approaches to Strategy and Security, 4 credits, Paul Roe,
  • Gender, Security, and Militarism, 4 credits, Paul Roe.

Second year:

Fall term requirements

12 credits of elective courses

Winter term requirements

One mandatory course and 8 credits of elective courses (10 credits)

Spring term requirements

Thesis research and writing