Syracuse University


The Department of Public Administration and International Affairs of the Maxwell School, Syracuse University offers two professionally oriented graduate degrees.

Master of Arts in International Relations

The Master of Arts in International Relations (MA IR) program emphasizes integrative interdisciplinary social science perspectives and practical and collaborative experiences that enable students to deal with global issues of governance and policy. It is a professional degree that combines rigorous, multidisciplinary coursework with practical experience to give graduates and edge in the global job market.

Master of Public Administration

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree is concentrated, intensive, and chiefly focused on the transferable skills of public management and policy analysis, while offering coursework in selected sub-fields. It delivers fundamental skills - suitable for a career in public, nonprofit, and related private sectors; and versatile enough to serve an entire career, whether domestic or international.

The Maxwell Advantage

  • Students will not find a combination of PA and IR degrees so highly regarded elsewhere.

  • With a small entering classes each program maintains an important competitive edge in terms of size and personal attention.

  • Over 50% of incoming students receive some form of financial award. This combined with a modest cost of living in Central New York, give Maxwell a competive edge in regard to financial practicality.

  • The 16 month MA IR program and 12 month MPA program allow students to more effectively earn their degrees and begin or return to their profesional careers in the public and international affairs arenas, better qualified and ready to make a difference!

  • Executive degree options in both IR and PA are available for professions with 7 or more years of professional management level experience. Information on these executive degrees can be found at Executive Education.

  • At the Maxwell School, theory and practice are regarded with equal seriousness. As a professional graduate student, you harness the resources of the Maxwell social science departments and policy research centers, including the Moynihan Institute for Global Affairs,the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC), the South Asia Center, and the Program on Latin America and the Caribbean (PLACA). The Maxwell School has been designated as an EU Center by the Delegation of the European Commission to the United States, and the School also houses a The European Research Centers.

    Global Programs

    MA IR students are encouraged to participate in one of our unique global programs, including summer programs in Washington, Geneva, Ghana, Singapore and Strasbourg. In the fall semester, we offer a seminar and internship program in Washington, Europe, Instanbul, and Latin America. Additional opportunities for study are available at our partner institutions, the International University of Japan, Waseda University in Tokyo, Yonsei University in Seoul, the Hertie School of Governance and the Freie University of Berlin, and Tsinghua University in Beijing.


    Syracuse is located in the center of New York State in the tranquil rolling hills of the Finger Lakes Region, where there are more than 70 wineries. Syracuse is only a couple of hours drive from the unspoiled Adirondacks.

    Syracuse is 75 minutes (flying time) from Washington, DC, with convenient non-stop and connecting flights each day, and only 45 minutes (flying time) from New York. Syracuse is served by four Amtrack trains daily to New York's Penn Station.

    APSIA Membership: Full APSIA Member School

  • Addresses


    The Maxwell School
    200 Eggers Hall
    Syracuse, NY 13244-1090

    • (315) 443-2252
    • (315) 443-3385
    • email


    The Maxwell School
    Director, Admission and Financial Aid
    Syracuse University - Dept of Public Administration and International Affairs
    215 Eggers Hall
    Syracuse, NY 13244-1090

    • (315) 443-4000
    • (315) 443-9721
    • email

    Career Services

    The Maxwell School
    Director, Career Development
    Syracuse University
    202 Maxwell Hall
    Syracuse, NY 13244-1090

    • (315) 443-5864
    • (315) 443-3826
    • email

    Degree Requirements

    MA International Relations (MA IR ) - 16 months

    • 40 credits (13 three-credit courses, 1 one-credit capstone course)

      Five required courses:

    • Principles of Economics;
    • Quantitative Skills for International Relations;
    • International Actors and Issues;
    • Challenges of International Management & Leadership; and
    • Research Design for the IR Practitioner.

      Select one of five signature courses:

    • Comparative Foreign Policy;
    • Culture in World Affairs;
    • Economic Dimensions of Global Power;
    • History of International Relations; or
    • Development & Sustainability

    • Select from one of five different Career Tracks (12 credits)
    • Capstone seminar (one-credit)
    • One Free Elective (3 credits)
    • Required global internship
    • Second language requirement

    Master of Public Administration (MPA) - 12 months: July - June

    • Maxwell's unique 40- credit MPA program is completed in 12 months of full time study. Twenty five (25) credits of core coursework cover essential, generalist skill areas of public management, policy analysis and understanding the context of the public sector. Students then select fifteen (15) credits of coursework along one or more of seven available Areas of Study.

      Core courses include:

    • Public Affairs Colloquium
    • Managerial Economics for Public Administration
    • A two course sequence in Statistical Analysis
    • Public Budgeting
    • Public Organizations & Management
    • Public Administration and Democracy
    • MPA Workshop
    • Executive Leadership and Policy

    Public Diplomacy (MAIR/MSPR) - 58 credits - two years of full time study

    • This unique dual degree program combines skill sets in Communications with the study of International Relations for a specific focus on Public Diplomacy. Students earn both the Maxwell School's MA International Relations and S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications' MS Public Relations degrees. Students begin in July with a gateway seminar on Public Diplomacy and Communications.

      The structure of this two year degree allows for students to participate in the IR Summer Global Programs AND complete a professional internship related to the field of Public Diplomacy in Washington, DC over the spring term of their second year.

      Course include:

    • Introduction to Public Diplomacy
    • Visual Communications Theory and Practice
    • Organizational Public Relations
    • Public Relations Writing
    • Advanced Public Diplomacy
    • Media Law
    • Public Relations Research
    • Public Relations Campaigns
    • Public Relations Management
    • Quantitative Analysis for the IR Practitioner
    • International Actors and Issues
    • Principles of Economics
    • Challenges of International Management and Leadership
    • IR Career Track (3 courses)
    • IR Signature Course (1 course)
    • Public Diplomacy Practicum(in Washington, DC)
    • Summer IR Global Internship Program
    • Issues in Public Diplomacy
    • Issues in Public Communications

    Fields of Specialization

    IR Career Tracks:

  • International Economics, Finance and Trade
  • Democracy, Development and Humanitarian Assistance
  • Governance, Diplomacy and International Organizations
  • Peace, Security and Conflict
  • Regional Concentration (Europe, Asia, and Latin America, Africa and the Middle East).

    MPA Areas of Study:

  • Social Policy
  • International & Development Administration
  • Public Finance
  • International & National Security Policy
  • Enviornmental Policy and Administration
  • Public & Nonprofit Management (including NGO management)
  • Technology & Information Management and Policy

    The Maxwell School also offers the following Certificates of Advanced Study programs:

  • Security Studies;
  • Conflict Resolution;
  • Post-Conflict Reconstruction;
  • Civil Society Organizations; Information, Technology, Policy, and Management;
  • South Asian Studies;
  • Latin American and Caribbean Studies; and
  • Middle Eastern Affairs.

    Joint Degrees

  • A two year joint MA in International Relations / Master of Public Administration (MPA) is available capitalizing on the strengths of both programs, while still allowing for extended internship options.

  • MA in International Relations / MA in Economics with Maxwell's Economics Department

  • MA in International Relations / MS in Public Relations for a unique dual degree in Public Diplomacy (see above).

  • A two year Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree in International Security and Development Policy for US and EU Citizens. This program allows for a student to complete the MPA or MA IR at Maxwell in combination with the MDS or MPP program from the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and the Institute of Social Studies (ISS)at Erasmus University. Six EU and six US students are selected for this program each year with funding available through the US Department of Education (for the US students studying in Europe) and from the EU Commission for the EU students when they study in the US.

  • It is also possible to design a joint program with another Syracuse University program (including SU's College of Law) or an outside institution.
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