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International Relations and Conflict Resolution

Master of Arts

The Master of Arts in International Relations and Conflict Resolution offers students the opportunity to develop broad, integrated knowledge in the core of the discipline, including a comparative study of complex international systems. This master’s degree helps to prepare you for a career as a diplomat, journalist, administrator, political analyst, or similar career fields within the government, military, and business environments. Additionally, this master’s program enables you to acquire transferable business skills including written and oral communication, working with a team, and problem solving.

Program Courses

The curriculum for this program follows industry trends to help ensure relevancy to today's marketplace. View all courses.

Program Objectives

In addition to the institutional and degree level learning objectives, graduates of this program are expected to achieve program specific learning outcomes and be able to:

  • Analyze classical and alternative theories of international relations, the heritage and development of the discipline, and the major debates concerning world order, diplomacy, and international law underlying its inherent nature as an interdisciplinary study within the field of political science.
  • Evaluate the changing role of the state in the context of globalization, regionalism, and security, including the impact of non-state actors, competing interests, and emerging norms within international systems.
  • Assess the nature and distribution of economic, political, and military resources in the context of interdependence and delimited by cultural, social, and historical issues.
  • Distinguish the interactions of state, non-state, and supra-national actors through a dynamic appreciation of contemporary issues and differing levels of analysis.
  • Examine the major theories of conflict and change within the context of globalization and the role of traditional and emerging norms and institutions in the pacific settlement of disputes, human rights, and environmental issues.
  • Communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing; organize information clearly and coherently; and use communication and information technology for the retrieval and presentation of information.
  • Produce written documents and undertake online research.
  • Define and review the work of others; work cooperatively on group tasks; understand how groups function; collaborate with others and contribute effectively to the achievement of common goals.
  • Develop autonomy in learning, and be expected to work independently.
  • Demonstrate initiative and self organization.
  • Enhance your research skills toward presenting a clear statement of the purposes and expected results of the research, and develop appropriate means of estimating and monitoring resources and use of time.
  • Identify and define problems and help you to explore alternative solutions.

Degree at a Glance


Concentrations are designed to help you group courses together so you can further specialize in your field and pursue a more focused path to degree completion. You will be asked to select a concentration when you enroll in this program.

Explore the concentrations available for this program.


Comparative and Security Issues

Explores regional issues and actors to determine the significant political, economic, security, diplomatic, and social challenges facing a selected region. Topics include peace through coercive power, nonviolence, world order, personal, and community transformation in a specific geographic region, as well as comparative analysis of different political regimes.

Sample Courses

  • IRLS501 - Comparative Political Systems
  • IRLS507 - Selected Topics in International Relations
  • IRLS600 - Strategic Geography and Geopolitics
  • IRLS603 - Politics and War
  • IRLS631 - Government and Security in Korea
  • IRLS655 - Latin American Security Issues
  • IRLS660 - Seminar in Middle East Politics and Security
  • RELS533 - Islam

Conflict Resolution

Analyzes the principles and foundations of peace, conflict theory, conflict analysis and resolution, and negotiation strategies and concepts. Looks at the factors necessary to build a lasting peace. Topics include the complexity and limitations of negotiating across cultures and historical divides, and the value of multiparty mediation.

Sample Courses

  • LSTD507 - International Law
  • IRLS613 - International Negotiation
  • IRLS615 - Peacekeeping: Structure and Process
  • NSEC612 - National Security and Diplomacy
  • MILH565 - History of Peacekeeping: 1988 - Present

International and Transnational Security Issues

Upon successful completion of this concentration the student will be able to:

  • Construct a theory about the distinct nature of conflict in the post-Cold War era.
  • Assess the norms and purposes of international structures and regimes.
  • Critique the various manifestations of globalization and the impact on various political, economic and social systems.
  • Sample Courses

    • LSTD507 - International Law
    • IRLS507 - Selected Topics in International Relations
    • IRLS603 - Politics and War
    • IRLS655 - Latin American Security Issues
    • NSEC504 - International Security
    • NSEC608 - Regional Security Cooperation
    • NSEC610 - National Security and Globalization
    • NSEC614 - Political Psychology of Terror Groups
    • INTL646 - Transnational Crime and Narcotics


    Evaluates the principles and foundations of peace operations within the context of international and regional mechanisms. Addresses the evolving theory and practices of United Nations, along with specific peace-building, peacemaking, and peacekeeping operations in conflict areas.

    Sample Courses

    • LSTD507 - International Law
    • IRLS603 - Politics and War
    • IRLS615 - Peacekeeping: Structure and Process
    • IRLS661 - Politics and Security in the Persian Gulf
    • MILH565 - History of Peacekeeping: 1988 - Present

    Admission Requirements

    Please be prepared to submit a legible copy of your valid government-issued photo ID (civilian students) or government issued JST or CCAF transcript (military students) upon request.

    An APU admissions representative will contact you with further details about how to submit the required documentation after you complete the enrollment application.

    Need help?

    Selecting the right program to meet your educational goals is a key step in ensuring a successful outcome. If you are unsure of which program to choose, or need more information, please contact an APU admissions representative at 877-755-2787 or

    Graduate Tuition Rates 

    Per credit hour: $350 | $325 with military grant*

    View Tuition and Fees Details  

    *To help minimize out-of-pocket costs, APU offers a tuition grant for U.S. active-duty servicemembers, Guard, Reserve, military spouses and dependents, and veterans. See all military-affiliated student benefits.

    Paying for School

    Because our university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), (the same as the Ohio State University, Univ. of Chicago, and U.S. Air Force Academy, to name a few), we can accept the following forms of financial aid and payments:

    Ways to Save

    Transfer Credits 

    Accelerate your degree completion by taking full advantage of our transfer credit options, including credit for your previous college courses, military service schools, American Council on Education (ACE) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, and prior learning experiences.  

    Employer Contributions

    APU has educational partnerships with many employers and associations. Be sure to accurately enter your employer information when you complete our admissions application. Your employer might also offer a tuition reimbursement plan as one of your benefits.