Master in International Relations


The International Relations programme provides you with insight into fundamental questions about war and peace, the global economy, but also about justice and identity throughout the world. It analyses interactions between states, international organisations, citizens and other non-state actors at local, national, and supranational levels.

Why study International Relations in Amsterdam?

The University of Amsterdam, a major research university, offers a Master’s programme taught by one of the highest ranking departments in continental Europe. The Graduate School of Social Sciences (GSSS) of Amsterdam provides a vibrant and international academic community. The GSSS values diversity in both research and academic content, academic staff and the student population.

The Master’s in International Relations:

      is research-oriented: you learn about your teachers’ research projects and you develop and

         apply your theoretical and methodological skills in the framework of research projects

      provides students with both academic and professional skills

      offers a highly ranked programme in a diverse and international setting

Programme outline

      Duration: one year of full-time study.

      Each year is composed of two semesters, each covering 20 weeks of courses and worth 60


      The first semester runs from the beginning of September until the end of January. The second

         semester ends at the end of June.

      Study load per week: approximately 40 hours.

First semester

In the first semester, students have to take one core course in the field of International Relations and the course Transnational Politics. This course presents a distinctive story about the development of politics in the 21st century. Students also choose two relevant electives from a list of approximately 20 electives (topics change every academic year).

Second semester

In the second semester, students select a research project (30 ECTS credits) on a topic relevant to the field of International Relations. In Part I (Thesis Seminars) students focus on core theory and common substantive literature and on research design within a programme that exposes them to a range of research methods.

In Part II students concentrate on writing their thesis.


The final Master's thesis is a report on primary or secondary research carried out by the student as part of the research project. The thesis should be between 20,000 and 25,000 words long.


The entire programme will be taught in English, although Dutch students have the right to do their exams in Dutch since this programme has a Dutch accreditation.

Degree requirements

A Master of Science in Political Science is awarded upon completion of both the course requirements and a written Master's thesis (60 ECTS credits in total). Fulfilling the requirements should take one year of full-time study.

Career prospects

An education in the social sciences will impart a broad range of skills that easily translate into a multitude of careers. International Relations exposes students to a broad palette of theoretical and empirical work, and trains students to develop their own original, useful, and empirically sophisticated research relevant to scholarship and policy.  Graduates find careers spanning the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Specific examples from alumni of the International Relations programme in the last 5 years are:

        Account officer at the Ministry of Security and Justice, the Netherlands

        Academic coordinator at HafenCity Universität Hamburg, Germany

        Project officer at Himilo Relief and Development Association

        Political staff member of the Dutch parliament

        Junior Analyst of Research Products at Sustainalytics

        Lieutenant Logistics, Royal Dutch Navy

        Communications Officer, Volunteering Matters, United Kingdom

Entry requirements

Bachelor's degree

Students with a Bachelor's degree in political science and international relations or in another closely related discipline (such as other social sciences, history, law and economics) are invited to apply, provided they meet all other entry requirements. International degrees are evaluated on the basis of advice from professional diploma evaluators. The minimum level of the degree should be equivalent to three years of Dutch university education.

For more information visit the university's official website.

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