International Relations Degree

Gain critical insight into today’s pressing global issues and a deep understanding of the factors influencing relationships between nation-states and supranational organizations.

Key learning outcomes

Through the master’s degree field in international relations you:

  • Gain an understanding of the perspectives and implications of global issues, such as poverty, genocide, armed conflict, terrorism, human rights, and the environment.
  • Develop critical insights and analysis of the precursors, processes, and outcomes of international interactions between governments, organizations, businesses, groups, and individuals.
  • Build knowledge of the evolution, operations, and complexity of regional and global governmental and nongovernmental institutions dealing with trade, economies, and international law.

Program Overview

The degree includes 12 courses, with at least three taken on campus.

  • Get started. You begin by completing three stipulated degree courses as outlined on the degree requirements page. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your commitment and ability to perform well as a Harvard student
  • Apply to the program. While you are completing your third degree course, you submit your application. We have application cycles in the fall, spring, and summer.
  • Continue your studies, online and on campus. As you progress through the program, you choose from courses offered on campus or online, in the fall, spring, or summer. To fully experience Harvard, you take at least three courses on campus.
  • If you choose the thesis option. You'll work with a thesis director to conduct in-depth research on a topic relevant to your work experience or academic interests, producing publishable quality results. You’ll emerge with a solid understanding of how research is executed and communicated.

  • If you choose the capstone option. You have two choices: policy analysis capstone or national security analysis capstone. For either, you select a concrete policy problem, produce autonomous research to analyze it, provide a set of actionable recommendations to solve it, and defend it to a panel of experts.
  • Graduate with your Harvard degree. You participate in the annual Harvard Commencement, receiving your Harvard University degree: Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in extension studies, field: international relations.

Explore Courses & Requirements

Learn about admission, courses & on-campus study

Degree Course Listings

Once you've explored the degree requirements, you can search for course offerings that count toward the degree. See the degree courses

Cost

Affordability is core to our mission. Our 2017–18 graduate tuition is $2,700 per course; the total tuition cost of earning the graduate degree is approximately $32,400.

There are a number of financial aid options available once you’re admitted to the program.