Carnegie Mellon University


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

I. Prerequisite Courses: (27 units) Must be completed before the end of the fourth year.  

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

II.  Graduate Core Seminars: (60 units)

  • 84-720  International Security Graduate Seminar (12 units)
  • 84-722  Comparative Political Institutions Graduate Seminar (12 units)
  • 84-725  Globalization, International Organizations, and International Law Graduate Seminar (12 units)
  • 84-736  Analytical Social Science and National Security (6 units)
  • 84-765  Advanced Research Methods (12 units)
  • 84-750  IRP Graduate Policy Forum Seminar – Spring of Fifth Year (6 units)

III. 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)

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

V. Concentration Coursework:  (48 units)

Students will take a minimum of 36 units (3 courses) in the International Security Concentration.  The remaining 12 units (1 course) may be taken from the list of Political Institutions Electives. 

International Security Concentration

  • 84-605 The Future of Warfare: Cyber, Violent Non-State Actors, and Conflict in the Gray Zone
  • 84-609 Political Behavior
  • 84-611 International Development: Theory and Praxis
  • 84-612 Gender and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • 84-614  International and Subnational Security
  • 84-615 Contemporary Debates in Human Rights
  • 84-619  U.S. Foreign Policy and Interventions in World Affairs
  • 84-621  Autocrats and Democrats
  • 84-622  Nonviolent Conflict and Revolution
  • 84-623  War and Peace
  • 84-624  Democracies and War
  • 84-662  Diplomacy and Statecraft
  • 84-669  Decision Science for International Relations
  • 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
  • 88-635  Decision Science and Policy

Political Institutions Electives

  • 84-602   Judicial Politics and Behavior
  • 84-610   International Political Economy and Organizations
  • 84-620   Domestic Politics and International Affairs
  • 84-663   Comparative Legal Systems
  • 84-666   Presidential Politics: So, You Want to Be President of the United States
  • 84-693   Legislative Decision Making: US Congress

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 the associate director of academic affairs.