Master in International Relations - Study Plan

Lead the transition for a better tomorrow
Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development
  • Overview
  • Study Plan
  • BRUSSELS and Exchange
  • Careers
  • Faculty
  • Admissions & fees
    • APPLY


Three types of student profiles can undertake a this Master:


That have just finished their undergraduate education and would like to pursue a master’s degree in order to complement or further strengthen their undergraduate education.



With a couple years of experience that want to steer their careers in the desired path. They might be looking to add an international dimension to their current function, or qualify for new opportunities.



Professionals that have worked for several years but want to explore new options. They are now looking for a change in sector, industry, function, geographic location or a combination of those.


A unique program

The Master's degree gives influential leaders the tools to transform situations and make a meaningful difference in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

The core courses are divided into four areas: geopolitics and international affairs, international business and economics, regional studies, and management and decision-making. Master students also complete a final project, either a Master’s thesis or a Capstone Consulting Project. The program is complemented by a week-long fieldwork visit to Brussels and an optional international exchange semester at one of our prestigious partner universities.

Courses in International Affairs and Conflict Resolution train students to address pressing problems in global politics, with an aim at understanding the complex interactions between international conflict and global governance. Courses on History, Theory, and Strategy are combined with applied content on foreign policy-making and the workings of our international governance system. Labs in Security Studies and Sustainable Governance provide project-driven, hands-on training to students seeking to specialize in issues of conflict resolution, international cooperation, and climate change.

History of International Relations

This course will consider key developments in international relations over the past 250 years, with a focus on themes like the emergence of the nation state, the emergence of the international system, colonialism and post-colonialism, the causes of great wars, and the creation of international governance organizations.

International Relations Theory and Strategy

In this course, students are introduced to the theoretical paradigms which guide research in international relations. Students will learn how to develop hypotheses, investigate them with qualitative and quantitative data, and to apply theoretical reasoning to the analysis key contemporary global dynamics.

Diplomacy, Sanctions, and War

This course will take a practical, case-oriented approach to studying the range of tools that governments and diplomats have at their disposal when making foreign policy. We emphasize both the ‘sticks’ and ‘carrots’ of foreign policy, and take a critical approach to how these tools have been deployed in specific geopolitical contexts.

International Law and International Organizations

The course examines how international institutions—such as the UN, WTO, IMF and NATO— operate in today’s world, and their role in addressing global challenges such as economic governance, transnational security, social inclusion, and climate change.

Security Studies Lab

This elective course is for students who want to take a deeper dive into issues of Geopolitics, Civil War, Conflict Resolution, Humanitarian Interventions, and Peace Building. It will give students the opportunity to develop individual projects and specializations, and provide them professional training and experience in the fields of security, peace, conflict resolution, and humanitarian intervention.

Global Governance and Sustainability Lab

This elective course is for students who want to take a deeper dive into issues of International Cooperation, the European Union, Environmental Politics, Energy Politics, and Public-Private Partnerships. It will give students the opportunity to develop individual projects and specializations, and provide them professional training and experience in the fields of global governance, sustainability, and international cooperation.

Courses in International Business and Economics provide students the core tools of economic analysis, as well as an integrated understanding of how the international economy functions. Applied courses on economic and statistical analysis are complemented with a study of how international flows in finance, trade, migration, and skills determine prosperity and social equality. The Lab in International Political Economy provide hands-on training to students seeking to specialize in issues of trade, investment, business, and economic development.

Economic Policy and Analysis

The course covers the most important economic theories, concepts, and policies for international relations, and provides students the analytic tools necessary to understand and evaluate everything from to consumer demand, to market dynamics, to macro-economic policy (fiscal, monetary, regulatory, etc.).

International Political Economy

This course introduces students to the complex interface between politics and economics in the international system, with a focus on globalization in the realms of trade, finance, migration, health (pandemics), and climate.

Intro to Econometrics

This course examines quantitative methods for causal inference in international relations. By the end of the course, students will be able to identify strengths and weaknesses of empirical research, and to design their own high-quality analyses of important questions in IR.

International Political Economy Lab

This elective course is for students who want to take a deeper dive into issues of International Finance, International Trade, Value Chains, International Investment, and Economic Development. It will give students the opportunity to develop individual projects and specializations, and provide them professional training and experience in the fields of international trade, business, management, and economic development.

The regional studies course basket first provides students systematic training in the comparative analysis of countries and regions; and then allows students to apply this training with an immersive dive into the politics, culture, society, and economies of two key global regions. The ability to choose two from among five (see above) regions allows students to gain expertise and research experience on the areas of the world which are most important to them, whether for personal, professional, or intellectual reasons.

Comparative Politics

This course teaches students to analyze countries’ political systems, governance processes, and policy profiles; and to understand how these dynamics are grounded in specific historical and cultural ideas and experiences. It provides students the comparative tool kit necessary for effective and rigorous regional analysis.

Regional Studies Track in China and East Asia

This course offers a rigorous immersion into the political and economic relations between China, its region, and the rest of the world.

Regional Studies Track in Sub-Saharan Africa

This course will provide students a general introduction to the study of political-economy and economic development in sub-Saharan Africa.

Regional Track in the Middle East and North Africa

This course offers a multidisciplinary approach to the study of the contemporary Middle East and North Africa (MENA), focusing on its politics, economies and international relations.

Regional Studies Track in Europe and North America

This course will provide students training in the history, institutions, processes, policies and key challenges faced by Europe and North America.

Regional Studies Track in Latin America and the Caribbean

This course examines key political, social, and economic developments in modern Latin America, with an eye towards future challenges and opportunities.

Data Analytics and Decision Making

This course will improve students’ ability to manage and utilize the vast amount of quantitative data produced by modern societies. With a tool-based, hands-on approach, we take students through the process of gathering, cleaning, and data, and teach them how to communicate statistical findings so as to maximize their professional, social, and policy impact.

Project Management and Impact Assessment

The provides students the basic results-based management tools including theory of change, the log frame approach, and methodologies for impact assessment, which will allow them to contribute to the design and management of international programs and projects.

For their final project, students can choose between an individual, research-oriented Master's Thesis or a practical team-based Capstone Consulting Project. For Capstone Partners, please see below.

Master’s Thesis

The master’s thesis presents an opportunity for students to gain true expertise in a certain aspect of international development. Each student is allocated an academic tutor, who supervises them and guides them through the challenges of multidisciplinary research. This gives them the chance to put the critical thinking skills they’ve learned over the course of the program to the test.

Capstone Consulting Project

Students who take on the capstone consulting project are placed with an international organization for the final two terms of the program. Each student is supervised by a coordinator from the host company, who regularly monitors them as they carry out risk assessment and impact reports, putting their theoretical knowledge into practice.

Introduction to Career Services

How to improve your CV and Cover Letter

How to use LinkedIn

Personal Branding

Interview Preparation and Salary Negotiation

Job Hunting Workshop


For their final project, students of both the Bachelor and the Master in International Relations can choose between an individual, research-oriented thesis or a practical team-based Capstone Consulting Project. Underneath you can find this year´s capstone partners for the Master in International Relations.
  • Google logo
  • IDB

Learn from IE Professors on today’s current topics

IE Explains

Start gaining knowledge on the topics you’ll see in the classroom by watching these short videos.

Explore videos