Carnegie Mellon University


The M.S. IRP program requirements include 135 units, divided as follows:

0. Prerequisite Courses: (27 units) Must be completed before the end of the fourth year.  Students who have participated in the CMU/WSP may be able to substitute coursework for the prerequisites.

  • 84-104  Decision Processes in American Political Institutions
  • 84-275  Comparative Politics
  • 84-326  Theories of International Relations

I.  Graduate Core Seminars: (60 units)

  • 84-720  International Security Graduate Seminar (12 units)
  • 84-722  Comparative Political Institutions Graduate Seminar (12 units)
  • 84-725  International Organizations and International Law Graduate Seminar (12 units)
  • 84-736  Analytical Social Science and National Security: Emerging Challenges in National Security (6 units)
  • 84-765  Advanced Research Methods (12 units)
  • 84-750  IRP Graduate Policy Forum Seminar  (6 units)

II. IRP Graduate Thesis (84-799): (18 units) Spring of Fifth Year

All students must complete a graduate-level thesis paper.  Students must submit a proposal by November of the fifth year.  Students will work independently with a faculty member in the Institute for Politics and Strategy to complete the IRP Graduate Thesis.  The final paper will be reviewed and approved by the faculty adviser for the thesis and the faculty director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy. IRP/AMP Graduate Thesis Guidelines (.pdf)

III. Concentration Coursework:  (48 units)

Students must complete a minimum of 48 units (approximately four courses).

International Relations
84-611 International Development: Theory and Praxis
84-622 Nonviolent Conflict and Revolution
84-623 War and Peace in the Contemporary Middle East
84-662 Diplomacy and Statecraft
84-669 Decision Science for International Relations
84-610 International Political Economy

International Security
84-605 The Future of Warfare
84-614 International and Subnational Security 
84-670 Global Nuclear Politics
84-672 Space and National Security
84-673 Emerging Technologies and the Law
84-680 Grand Strategy in the United States
84-686 The Privatization of Force
84-687 Technology and Policy of Cyber War
84-688 Concepts of War and Cyber War
84-689 Terrorism and Insurgency
84-690 Social Media, Technology, and Conflict

Comparative Politics
84-608 Political Economy of Latin America
84-615 Contemporary Debates in Human Rights
84-621 Autocrats and Democrats
84-624 The Future of Democracy
84-663 Comparative Legal Systems
84-664 Comparative Presidential Behavior: Leadership, Personality, and Decision Making

American Politics
84-609 Political Behavior
84-619 U.S. Foreign Policy and Interventions in World Affairs
84-625 Contemporary American Foreign Policy
84-602 Judicial Politics and Behavior
84-666 The American Presidency
84-693 Legislative Decision Making: US Congress

IV. Language Requirement:  Students must complete one advanced 300- or 400-level course (9 units) in a modern language other than English.

For students interested in cybersecurity and international conflict, a computer programming course may be substituted in place of the language requirement: 15-110 Principles of Computing or 15-112 Fundamentals of Programming and Computer Science.

For students interested in international political economy, an econometrics course may be substituted in place of the language requirement: 73-274 Econometrics I.

For students interested in political and social science data analysis, one of the following courses may be substituted in place of the language requirement: 36-303 Sampling, Survey, and Society, 80-223 Causality and Probability, 88-300 Programming and Data Analysis for Social Scientists.

Students should consult with the IPS deputy director for advising on this requirement.

Undergraduate courses taken in the Institute for Politics and Strategy (84-xxx) may not also count toward the M.S. IRP course requirements.

A maximum of 36 units of graduate courses out of the 135 units required to complete the accelerated master’s degree will be permitted to count toward an undergraduate degree at Carnegie Mellon.  (This allowance may be restricted further by the double-counting policies of one’s undergraduate major and department.)  In no case can a student satisfy the M.S. IRP requirements with fewer than 99 units that apply only to the master’s degree.

Exceptions are made only with prior approval of the faculty director and deputy director.