Common FAQ Questions: Admissions to the MA in IR Program
- What are the requirements and guidelines to apply?
- When is the application deadline?
- Do you have a minimum GPA requirement?
- Is the GRE required?
- Can the TOEFL/IELTS be waived for international students?
- Can my TOEFL/IELTS scores arrive after the application deadline?
- If I am unable to submit some of my application materials online, where should I send them?
- Do I need to have a Bachelor's degree be in Political Science in order to apply?
- How important are letters of recommendation?
- Must all my letters of recommendation be written by professors?
- What must I include in my statement of purpose?
- Do you require a Writing Sample?
- What if I don't have a suitable writing sample?
- What is the typical amount of time it takes to complete the MA degree?
- Can the Master's program be done on a part-time basis?
- How can the language requirement be satisfied?
- Are applicants expected to have taken coursework in mathematics and statistics?
- What is the cost of attendance?
- What kind of financial aid is available to Master's students?
- Are student teaching assistantships or research positions available with the Program?
- May I sit in on a class?
- I would like to apply as a non-degree student. Is this possible?
- May I defer my admission to the program?
- Can I transfer credits from another institution?
- What careers are open to students who graduate from the MAIR Program?
Common FAQ Questions: Concentrations
Note: Applying to the MA in IR Program and electing a concentration still requires the same admissions process and application materials as applying for the MA in IR degree with no concentration.
Common FAQ Questions: GSAS Admissions
Please see the GSAS Application Resource Center for general and additional FAQs and information.
1. What are the requirements and guidelines to apply?
To apply for admission to the MA program, you should hold a Bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent). All applicants must submit the GSAS application, three academic letters of recommendation, academic transcripts, a statement of purpose, a writing sample, and, for non-native speakers of English, results from the TOEFL/IELTS. The Graduate School requests that all materials be submitted via the online application system.
There is a second language requirement (besides English) that is required in order to complete the MA in International Relations degree. Students who do not enter the program already having met this requirement should see the related FAQ below on how the language requirement may be fulfilled.
Please Note: Failure to meet these requirements does not preclude admission to the program, however, given the very competitive nature of the IR program these are suggested minimum targets for applicants. Guidelines for TOEFL/IELTS can be found here.
||US Undergraduate GPA (4 point scale)
||UK Degree Classification
||France Licence (from 2009 on)
||South Africa BA (Hons)
||2(a), 2(i), 2(b), 2(ii)
2. When is the application deadline?
Applications to the joint MA program in International Relations and Journalism are accepted for the Fall semester only. Applications to the MA program in International Relations are accepted for the Fall and Spring semesters. All application materials must be received by 5 p.m. eastern time on the deadline date. If an application deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal U.S. holiday, then the next business day will be the deadline date. Please find the application deadlines here and the GSAS Application Resource Center here.
3. Do you have a minimum GPA requirement?
No. Many schools do not calculate GPAs and when they do, various methods are used. Although we expect students to have a 3.5 GPA, we do not impose it as a set minimum. However, our applicant pool is academically strong and very competitive.
4. Is the GRE required?
No, submission of the GRE is optional. Applicants who do not submit GRE scores will not be disadvantaged in any way.
5. Can the TOEFL/IELTS be waived for international students?
The Graduate School requires applicants who are not native English speakers to submit official TOEFL/IELTS score reports. The requirement is waived if your baccalaureate or Master’s degree was (or will be) completed at an institution where the language of instruction is English. More FAQs regarding the TOEFL/IELTS can be found here.
6. Can my TOEFL/IELTS scores arrive after the application deadline?
All scores should be submitted by the application deadline. The MA Admissions Committee may choose not to review incomplete applications.
7. If I am unable to submit some of my application materials online, where should I send them?
All materials should be submitted online. You do not need to mail paper copies of any materials that you submitted online.
8. Do I need to have a Bachelor's degree be in Political Science in order to apply?
No, though applicants are expected to have had sufficient exposure to the field for them to develop a clear statement of purpose for attending our MA program.
9. How important are letters of recommendation?
Letters of recommendation are very important to us. You should choose individuals who are best able to evaluate your past performance, your abilities, and skills to undertake this course of study. Choose references that are in the best position to give the admissions committee relevant information.
10. Must all my letters of recommendation be written by professors?
The Graduate School requires that at least one letter be from an academic. Usually, but not always, the best people to get these letters from are academics. However, if you have been out of school for a number of years, you may want letters from non-academics, but please remember that they are not always in a good position to tell the MA Admissions Committee what we need to know.
11. What must I include in my statement of purpose?
The program is interested in training individuals who wish to make a difference in international affairs either through continued academic study or via the actual practice of international affairs in government, the non-governmental or private sector. Please explain in a brief and concise manner how your past studies and work experience relate to a course of study at the graduate level in international relations at NYU. You should include how your educational objectives will help you to achieve your future career goals, and should briefly outline where you see yourself 10 years after graduating from NYU. Please also explain why you chose to apply to study in the IR Program at NYU and how NYU specifically will help you to advance your personal and professional objectives.
12. Do you require a Writing Sample?
Yes, a writing sample is required. It can be a paper for an undergraduate class or a publication. It should demonstrate your ability to analyze a topic insightfully and must be written in English. The writing sample should be double-spaced and between 2000 to 3000 words, not including footnotes/endnotes or bibliography. Please do not exceed 3000 words. A good paper will improve the chances of admission, while those that lack insight or that are poorly written can be quite damaging.
13. What if I don't have a suitable writing sample?
If you do not have a suitable writing sample, then we ask that you provide a 3,000-word academic essay on the topic below. Your essay must include citations for sources as well as a bibliography. Students can choose between any citation/referencing style they like (MLA, Chicago 16th) but referencing should be consistent in the document.
"Will the spread of democracy solve the problem of war?"
A brief backgrounder to get you started with research: This argument revolves around the idea of "Democratic Peace Theory" which has its roots in Immanuel Kant's "Perpetual Peace". In contemporary international affairs western states, in particular, the United States, have pursued policies of democracy promotion as a solution to the problem of war. The idea of the Democratic Peace also relies upon the idea of liberal economic policies (free trade) to support democracy promotion. You may want to consider these texts in your research, but you should cite a wider array of sources. This list is just a starting point.
- M. W. Doyle, "Kant, Liberal Legacies and Foreign Affairs" Philosophy and Foreign Affairs 12 (1983).
- Christopher Layne, "Kant or Cant: The Myth of Democratic Peace" International Security 19: 2 (1994).
- Thomas Risse-Kappen, "Democratic Pace - Warlike Democracies? A Social Constructivist Interpretation of the Liberal Argument" European Journal of International Relations 1: 4 (1995).
- Helen Milner and Keiko Kubota, "Why the Move to Free Trade? Democracy and Trade Policy in Developing Countries" International Organization 59:1 (2005).
14. What is the typical amount of time it takes to complete the MA degree?
The program is structured so that most students finish in two years (four fall and spring semesters). It is possible to finish in three semesters, but this is a very intensive route. Per GSAS policy, students must complete the degree in five years from the semester of first enrollment.
15. Can the Master's program be done on a part-time basis?
The International Relations MA in GSAS is designed as a full-time degree program with the vast majority of our courses taught during the day. Students can transfer into part-time study based on personal circumstances but must have the flexibility to take required courses and workshops that are scheduled during the day. International students must enroll full-time per their student visa requirements. If you are looking to study international relations whilst working a full-time professional job we recommend that you visit our colleagues at the Center for Global Affairs in the School of Professional Studies. The Center for Global Affairs has an array of flexible study options and a diverse assortment of degree offerings. You can learn more about CGA on their website here.
16. How can the language requirement be satisfied?
There is a second language requirement (besides English) that is required in order to complete the MA in International Relations degree. Students who do not enter the program already having met this requirement have the following options: take additional undergraduate course credits to the level required (can be done via audit but with a grade of B or better); pass the GSAS Foreign Language Proficiency Exam, offered every year in March, August, and November during their course of study in the program; or complete an approved program of study outside of NYU (such as summer language camp, or via an accredited language institutions such as Goethe Institute or Instituto Cervantes to name two), or by receiving a grade of B or better in an upper intermediate-level language course taken at the university level. The language requirement varies depending on the MA concentration elected. Please refer to the program requirements for more information. Additional questions may be directed to email@example.com.
17. Are applicants expected to have taken coursework in mathematics and statistics?
No, applicants are not required to have taken courses in quantitative methods. The program offers introductory courses in quantitative methods for first-year students with little or prior experience. Students may also pursue advanced courses in quantitative methods offered by the program as well as by the Department of Economics and the Stern School of Business.
18. What is the cost of attendance?
For current tuition rates and fees please visit the New York University Bursar's Office webpage, available here.
19. What kind of financial aid is available to Master's students?
The program is not able to provide financial aid to Master’s students, but many students obtain funding from external sources. For more information, visit the GSAS Financial Aid page. Students receiving external funding may be eligible for the Graduate School of Arts and Science’s Tuition Incentive Program (TIP). For a list of some third-party scholarships and fellowships, visit our Scholarship and Fellowship Opportunities page.
20. Are student teaching assistantships or research positions available with the Program?
Within the IR program, we do not have set assistantship positions. MA students may find TA/RA or language tutor/grader positions at other departments within NYU, or student worker positions in offices on campus. Available positions are typically listed at the NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development database. It is a competitive process.
21. May I sit in on a class?
To arrange a visit to one of our MA program classes, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
22. I would like to apply as a non-degree student. Is this possible?
Yes. Applicants may apply as non-degree students, but they still must meet all the admissions requirements and deadlines set for applicants pursuing a degree. If you have additional questions about applying as a non-degree student, please contact email@example.com.
23. May I defer my admission to the program?
Deferrals are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by the MA Program Director and the Graduate School of Arts and Science. Deferrals will not be granted for longer than one academic year. See instructions here.
24. Can I transfer credits from another institution?
For updated information about transfer credits, please reference the MA Student Handbook. Eligible courses must have received a grade of "B" or better and must be relevant to International Relations. Only courses for which a degree has not already been awarded may be applied to the MA in International Relations.
25. What careers are open to students who graduate from the MAIR Program?
Prospective students often ask what sort of careers are open to people who study international relations – well, there is no one career track who study international affairs. Students of the program at NYU are taught critical thinking, writing, and subject matter knowledge that make them relevant to a wide array of career tracks in the public sector. NYU graduates have gone on to be diplomats, intelligence analysts, journalists, communication experts, investment bankers and military attachés to name but a few. Please click here to view principal career tracks for students completing an MA in International Relations. Please view our Professional Development page for more information and resources regarding job and internship opportunities.