The Curriculum

MA in International Relations

The two year International Relations degree track at IUJ, as already noted, has both coursework and thesis components. The program is designed to provide a structured, systematic approach to understanding international political, strategic, economic, social and cultural issues in the Asian Pacific and Islamic worlds, to train students to conduct large scale research projects, to develop sustained, logical lines of argument, to defend their positions orally before highly critical audiences and to cultivate a sympathetic interest in other peoples, other civilizations and other ways of life. The program has been constructed in such a way as to give students the maximum freedom to pursue their own interests, within the limits of the specializations offered by the School. Coursework is exacting and the highest possible standards are expected of theses and research essays. Students are encouraged to read extensively, to think deeply, to discuss their ideas both with members of the academic staff and with their colleagues, and to be constantly aware of the practical policy applications of their work.

1. Coursework (This curriculum is applicable from 2015/2016 enrolees)

Required Courses

 Core Required courses

  1. History of International Relations
  2. International Politics

 Elective Required Courses

  1. Comparative Government and Politics
  2. Foreign Policy Analysis
  3. Human Rights and Global Justice
  4. International Law
  5. International Organizations
  6. International Political Economy
  7. Introduction to Contemporary International Security Issues
The remaining credits necessary for completion of the course work component of the MA degree can be chosen freely from among all courses offered by the GSIR and GSIM.

2. The Thesis

The preparation, writing and defense of an MA thesis constitutes the culmination of a student’s academic life in the IR program.

Students select their supervisors at the end of their second term and begin work on their thesis in the Advanced Seminars, which extend over three terms.

A thesis is expected to be a significant and original contribution to learning. It requires extensive research, sometimes including a period of fieldwork, a heavy commitment in time and intellectual energy, and highly developed presentation skills. Thesis must be defended orally before a committee of two examiners. Those thesis considered eligible for the award of Distinction are then submitted to External Examiners, scholars in Japan or overseas, with established international reputations in their field, for final appraisal.

Many of our students have been highly commended by their Examiners, both internal and external, for the pioneering work undertaken in their thesis.

Japanese students are required to write their thesis in English. Foreign students have the option of writing their thesis either in English or in Japanese. Over the years, several non-native speakers have produced excellent thesis in the Japanese language, some even being awarded “Distinction” grades by Japanese External Examiners of the highest repute.