M.A. in International Relations and Diplomacy

Program Overview

The M.A. in International Relations and Diplomacy at the American Graduate School in Paris is a two-year program qualifying you for a broad range of careers in international affairs, from local governance to foreign affairs, to international development, human rights advocacy, global communications, international business, and many other areas involving interaction with different countries and cultures.

A US-accredited Program in France

The M.A. in International Relations and Diplomacy at AGS combines the wide recognition of an American degree with the unique experience of a Paris-based program. It is accredited in the US as an affiliated program of Arcadia University (Pennsylvania) and taught at the American Graduate School in Paris, a private nonprofit institution of higher education recognized by the French Ministry of Higher Education.

Classes are taught in the heart of Paris. The French capital – which is also one of Europe’s capitals and an international hub – is an ideal location for the study of international affairs. The program takes full advantage of this through guest speakers, site visits, and networking events. These all represent opportunities to get exposed to the international scene and make connections with the many diplomatic missions, intergovernmental organizations, and NGOs that the city hosts.

The language of instruction is English; no knowledge of French is required to enroll. You have the opportunity to learn French through AGS’s partner institution Alliance Française Paris-Ile de France.

Expertise in International Affairs

The program draws on AGS’s specific expertise in the field of international relations, in which the school has specialized since it was founded in 1994. At the core of this expertise, the faculty of the program is comprised of both accomplished scholars conducting research at the forefront of their discipline, and practitioners sharing their knowledge and professional experience, such as retired Ambassadors or government officials.

See AGS faculty

The curriculum strikes a careful balance between academic thoroughness and practice-oriented approaches to fully prepare you for the professional arena. It examines the interaction between State and non-State actors at an international level through a multi-disciplinary scope covering political as well as cultural, historical, economic, geographical, social, legal, and humanitarian aspects, all updated to include the most current international issues.

Required courses cover the core subjects of international relations theory, economic policy, international public law, foreign policy formulation, and methodology. A broad range of electives is available to explore other areas of international affairs such as NGO management, environment policy, gender issues, geopolitics, conflict resolution, and area studies.

See course catalog

A Multicultural Learning Environment

A unique aspect of the program is the diversity of perspectives infused in the classroom, with students as well as faculty coming from many different national origins. This combined with the American-style interactive teaching methods, makes for an enriching and mind-opening class experience.

Master’s Thesis

The program culminates in the completion and defense of a Master’s thesis. Through the in-depth research and writing involved in the thesis process you will form a specialization in an area of your interest, as well as strengthen your ability to plan and complete a substantial project.

The thesis topic is elaborated in coordination with the Academic Committee and faculty advisors based on your area of interest and professional objectives.

Degree Requirements

In order to obtain the AGS degree of Master of Arts in International Relations & Diplomacy must:

  • Successfully complete 14 courses:
    - Five required courses
    - Seven elective courses
    - Two Master's thesis modules

  • Attain a pre-intermediate level of French language before graduation (1 on the ALTE scale, A2 on the CEF French Language Proficiency Level Scale)

  • Write and successfully defend a 25,000 to 35,000 word M.A. thesis

  • Conform to the academic, administrative, and financial requirements and rules of the school.

M.A. Program Timeline

First Semester: Find a Topic

Students are working on either finding their thesis topic or fine-tuning it with the guidance of their professors.

Second Semester: Request to Proceed

Students are handing in a Request to Proceed (RTP) form which descripts the topic, the theory, and method to be used, and indicates the advisor.

Third Semester: Research & Proposal

Students are working regularly with their advisors during the Research and Proposal Tutorial, having meetings with the methodology advisor and writing their Thesis Proposal which is due this semester.

Fourth Semester: Thesis & Defense

Students are writing their thesis, attending the Thesis Defense Tutorials, and presenting their work.

Students will defend their thesis before the end of this semester before a jury of three examiners. Thesis defenses are generally open to the public.


In the event that revisions are required by the defense jury, these revisions have to be completed and approved. A PDF file and two bound copies of the final version including approved revisions must be submitted to the Academic Coordinator.

The student will receive their diploma only after the correct final copies have been deposited with AGS, and all other criteria for graduation are met.

Program options

A range of options allows you to tailor the program around your particular interests and career objectives.


While in the Master’s program, you have the opportunity to perform an internship in a Paris-based organization: diplomatic/consular mission, intergovernmental organization, NGO, multinational corporation news media outlet or another type of relevant international institution.

Internships are optional and can be pursued either for credit (then counting as an elective course in the curriculum) or not-for-credit. In all cases, you may benefit from AGS’s guidance and support for internship placement. (Note that in all cases, the student is ultimately responsible for finding his/her internship.)

Area concentrations

You may specialize in a particular sector of international affairs and obtain, in addition to your M.A. in International Relations and Diplomacy, a Certificate of Concentration in your area of specialization. The requirements for this option consist of elective courses in the said area, directed readings, comprehensive exams, and an area-focused thesis.

Area Concentrations Available include:

  • African Studies

  • Asian Studies

  • Middle Eastern Studies

  • European Studies

Partnership program options

A number of partnership program options allow you to earn a second degree in a complementary discipline in addition to your US-accredited M.A. in International Relations and Diplomacy:

  • US-accredited M.A. in Peace and Conflict Resolution at Arcadia University (Pennsylvania, USA): more information here

  • US-accredited Master of International Service in the International Studies Track at American University, Washington, D.C., USA: more information here

  • European accredited Master in Diplomacy and Strategic Negotiation at Université Paris-Saclay (Sceaux, France): more information here (please note that following the merger of Université Paris-Sud into Université Paris-Saclay, admission into this program is currently paused)

  • European accredited LL.M. in French and European Union Law and Business Ethics at the Law School of CY Cergy-Paris University (France): more information here

Combined M.A.-Ph.D. program

AGS offers a combined M.A.-Ph.D. program per the American model. After the completion of the M.A. requirements, students enrolled in this combined M.A.-Ph.D. program will only have to take an additional seven elective courses along with the Ph.D. seminar and tutorials. This additional Ph.D. coursework may be completed in one year.

Note that passage from the M.A. to the Ph.D. program is not automatic. It is subject to approval by the Academic Committee.

Graduates of AGS' M.A. program who wish to enroll in the Ph.D. program may also benefit from the transfer of the five required courses.

Timeframe options

Full-time two-year track: the program is designed to be completed in two years on a full-time basis, involving nine to twelve hours of classes per week in addition to readings, assignments, and the research and writing of the thesis.

Accelerated 18-month intensive track: You have the option to complete the program in three semesters instead of four. You would then be required to take twelve to fifteen hours of classes per week.

Part-time track: Students may undertake the program over a longer period of time on a part-time basis. This allows working professionals and other interested candidates to combine the program with other activities. This track must be approved by the Academic Committee. Please note that immigration and financial aid regulations may prohibit this track.


Contact Us

For any questions,
please email us at info@ags.edu
or use the form below.


Omar Shamiya United States
School of International Relations
Class of 2011

quote leftIn addition to the many benefits of studying international relations in a highly specialized program, located in a dynamic city that fosters learning the discipline, my overall experience at AGS has been enhanced by an outstanding administrative staff that is diligent, professional and, above all, friendly. Their tireless efforts are key in making the experience of AGS students positive. I have done my best to thank them with good French desserts and bad American humor!quote right

The M.A. in International Relations program is fully accredited in the U.S.:

by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Arcadia University logotype
as an affiliated program of Arcadia University
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