Carnegie Mellon University

Master of Science in International Relations and Politics

The Institute for Politics and Strategy (IPS) seeks to train the next generation of political scientists who can examine and understand domestic and international government institutions and processes in the twenty-first century’s continuously changing global political structure. War has been a constant in our students’ lives, and that unfortunately does not look like it will change soon. But what is changing is the political landscape of war – from wars between nations to non-state actors like ISIS and Boko Haram. Coupled with an increasingly global society, international relations and politics are extremely important for preparing students to analyze and manage uncertainty and transformation in many pursuits and places.

The Master of Science in International Relations and Politics (MS IRP) serves four academic goals.

The first is to allow students to specialize in one of four conventional areas of political science: international security, international relations, American politics, and comparative politics. 

IPS also offers a unique subset of courses focused on international security. IPS has robust course offerings in cybersecurity and international conflict. Students who select the international security concentration will analyze the role of cyber warfare and cybersecurity in international politics – past, present, and future. The coursework tackles the social-scientific dimensions of cybersecurity with a focus on the implications of the cyber age for modern statecraft, warfare, elections, and politics, more generally.

A second goal is to equip students with strong methodological skills. Students pursuing the MS IRP will master the diverse skills needed to conduct advanced quantitative and qualitative research. This will be a significant advantage for our graduates in both the policy world and when applying for PhD or JD programs.

Students are required to take Regression Analysis for Political Science I and II. Regression Analysis for Political Science (RAPS) I will teach students to conduct bivariate and multivariate linear regression models. Students will learn about analysis of variance, parameter estimation, hypothesis testing, interpretation of estimates, model fit, models with dummy variables, model predictions, model diagnostics, and basic data visualizations. 

A third goal is to guide students in the production of a significant thesis. A mini semester course, Thesis Proposal Tutorial, is devoted to improving intentionality in formulating a thesis proposal. This course will familiarize students with the structure of a thesis, the roles of its different elements, and its connection to the broader research literature. As part of the mini course, faculty members will illustrate these processes as manifested in their own research. Students will have the opportunity to submit their work for publication in the Carnegie Mellon University Journal of Politics and Strategy.
The fourth goal is to prepare students to enter the policy world (should they choose to do so) with a deserved sense of self-efficacy, accompanied by professional skills. Students are required to complete a summer internship in a related field between the first and second year of the program. The internship will allow students to synthesize the program’s studies in the context of practical and hands-on experiential learning opportunities. IPS has dedicated staff to support students in all aspects of the internship process.