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Committee on International Relations

This is an archived copy of the 2012-13 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit


  • Mark Phillip Bradley


  • Ralph A. Austen (Emeritus), History
  • John W. Boyer, History
  • Dipesh Chakrabarty, South Asian Languages and Civilizations, History
  • Terry Clark, Sociology
  • Bruce Cumings, History
  • Jean Bethke Elshtain, Divinity School
  • Michael E. Geyer, History
  • Andreas Glaeser, Sociology
  • Susan Gzesh, Law
  • Gary B. Herrigel, Political Science
  • James Hevia, History
  • Charles Lipson, Political Science
  • Joseph P. Masco, Anthropology
  • John J. Mearsheimer, Political Science
  • Robert Pape, Political Science
  • Eric Posner, Law
  • Alberto Simpser, Political Science
  • Dan Slater, Political Science
  • Nathan Tarcov, Political Science, Social Thought
  • Bernard Wasserstein, History
  • Lisa Wedeen, Political Science
  • Dali Yang, Political Science
  • Dingxin Zhao, Sociology
  • Marvin Zonis, Business


  • Anne Holthoefer, International Relations


  • Michael Reese, International Relations

General Information

The Committee on International Relations (CIR) offers a one year program of graduate studies leading to the A.M. (Master of Arts) degree; admitted students may apply for a one-year extension during their first year of study to allow for further specialization. CIR makes the resources of a great university available to students seeking a firm grounding in the theory and practice of international relations. An A.M. from CIR will prepare students for a wide range of careers for which the masters is increasingly the entry level degree, as well as for further academic or professional training in political science, law, and business administration. Students interested in combining a CIR A.M. with an M.B.A. can apply to a joint degree program with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. A dual A.M/M.A. degree with the Harris School of Public Policy or an A.M. /J.D. with the University of Chicago Law School is also available.

CIR provides students with a vibrant intellectual community and core course training in international relations theory. CIR's interdisciplinary faculty and curriculum encourage students to explore a wide range of topics spanning the economic, political, security and social factors shaping international life. Students will learn to craft critical and creative responses to the challenges of the present, including globalization, terrorism, and human rights. Throughout the academic year, each student works closely with an assigned preceptor on all aspects of the program, from selecting courses to designing and writing the master's paper.

CIR offers dedicated counseling and application support to students pursuing further academic study in doctoral or professional school programs. CIR graduates have received and presently pursue doctorates in Political Science as well as degrees in the various professional schools, including law and business administration, at both the University of Chicago and other major research institutions in the U.S. and abroad. An international network of CIR alumni, in concert with the University's office of Career Counseling and Placement Services, assists current students in identifying career possibilities and applying for positions.


Students work closely with one of the preceptors in the CIR. Preceptors guide students in defining their areas of academic specialization as well as in choosing courses. Preceptors also assist students in selecting faculty sponsors for their A.M. papers and take an active role in guiding and evaluating the research and writing of these papers.

Programs and Requirements

Students pursuing the Committee on International Relations' Master of Arts degree are expected to complete nine graduate level courses with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a thirty-five to fifty page master's thesis that must be approved by both a faculty sponsor and a CIR preceptor. In addition, students must successfully complete the introductory seminar Perspectives in International Relations (offered in the Autumn Quarter) and participate in the master's thesis workshop throughout the academic year. Master's workshops are led by CIR preceptors and give students the opportunity to present and discuss their research projects as they develop from proposal to final draft.

Students may apply for a second year of study A.M. with specialization. This second year requires an additional three quarters of residence during which the student takes an additional nine courses. Students apply for the second year with specialization during their first year in residence.

The joint degree program with the Chicago Booth School of Business is administered through the Division of the Social Sciences. Students pursuing a joint degree must fulfill all the requirements of the CIR degree in addition to the requirements of the respective professional degree, though there are some exceptions. Students enrolled in the dual J.D. /A.M. program with the Law School take nine courses in their fourth year of study, three of which are typically law-school courses and the remaining six from the CIR list of approved courses. Students enrolled in the joint M.B.A/A.M. take a reduced course load of 14 courses in the Booth School of Business and the full nine courses in CIR. Students interested in the dual A.M./M.A. degree program should contact the Harris School of Public Policy for more information.


Applicants to the Committee on International Relations are expected to meet the graduate admissions requirements of the division. Submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores is required, except for the joint CIR and Booth School of Business degree program, where the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is accepted. Applicants from non-English speaking countries must provide evidence of English proficiency by submitting scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

CIR is designed to be completed in one academic year (three or four quarters on a full time basis). All financial aid is merit based, and the CIR program offers partial tuition scholarships on a highly competitive basis.

How to Apply

The application process for admission and financial aid for all Social Sciences graduate programs is administered through the divisional Office of the Dean of Students. The Application for Admission and Financial Aid, with instructions, deadlines and department specific information is available online at: .  Most required supplemental material can be uploaded into the application. 

Questions pertaining to admissions and aid should be directed to or (773) 702-8415. All correspondence and material that cannot be uploaded into the application should be mailed to:

The University of Chicago
Division of the Social Sciences
Admissions Office, Foster 105
1130 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

Applicants interested in the dual J.D./A.M. program must apply separately to both the Law School (1111 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637) and the Committee on International Relations. Applicants interested in the joint M.B.A./A.M. program must submit their application to The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, which then refers the application to CIR. Please contact the Harris School of Public Policy regarding the application procedure for the dual A.M./M.A. degree.

Further Information

Additional program information may be found at the Committee's website, . You can contact the CIR preceptors at (773) 702-8073, and E.G. Enbar, Student Affairs Administrator, at (773) 702-8312 or .

International Relations Courses

INRE 30800. Political Economy for Public Policy. 100 Units.

This course is designed to serve three interrelated goals. It is an introduction to core concepts in the study of political economy. These concepts include collective action, coordination, and commitment problems; externalities and other forms of market failure; principal-agent relationships; problems of preference aggregation; and agenda setting and voting. The course also introduces basic concepts in game theory, including Nash equilibrium, subgame Perfection, and repeated games. It is not, however, a suitable substitute for a game theory course for doctoral students in the social sciences. Finally, the course provides an overview of some of the key insights from the field of political economy on how institutions shape and constrain the making of public policy, with special attention to various ways in which governments can and cannot be held accountable to their citizens.

Instructor(s): E. Bueno de Mesquita     Terms Offered: Fall
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 30800,PLSC 30200

INRE 31600. Human Rights I: Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. 100 Units.

Human rights are claims of justice that hold merely in virtue of our shared humanity. In this course we will explore philosophical theories of this elementary and crucial form of justice. Among topics to be considered are the role that dignity and humanity play in grounding such rights, their relation to political and economic institutions, and the distinction between duties of justice and claims of charity or humanitarian aid. Finally we will consider the application of such theories to concrete, problematic and pressing problems, such as global poverty, torture and genocide.

Instructor(s): B. Laurence     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 30100,PHIL 21700,PHIL 31600,HIST 29301,HIST 39301,LAWS 41200,MAPH 40000,LLSO 25100,HMRT 20100

INRE 31700. Human Rights II: History and Theory. 100 Units.

This course is concerned with the theory and the historical evolution of the modern human rights regime. It discusses the emergence of a modern “human rights” culture as a product of the formation and expansion of the system of nation-states and the concurrent rise of value-driven social mobilizations. It proceeds to discuss human rights in two prevailing modalities. First, it explores rights as protection of the body and personhood and the modern, Western notion of individualism. Second, it inquires into rights as they affect groups (e.g., ethnicities and, potentially, transnational corporations) or states.

Instructor(s): J. Sparrow     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 20200,HMRT 30200,CRES 29302,HIST 29302,HIST 39302,JWSC 26602,LAWS 41301,LLSO 27100

INRE 31800. Human Rights III: Contemporary Issues in Human Rights. 100 Units.

For U.S. students, the study of international human rights is becoming increasingly important, as interest grows regarding questions of justice around the globe. This interdisciplinary course presents a practitioner’s overview of several major contemporary human rights problems as a means to explore the utility of human rights norms and mechanisms, as well as the advocacy roles of civil society organizations, legal and medical professionals, traditional and new media, and social movements. The course may be co-taught by faculty from the Pritzker School of Medicine. Topics may include the prohibition against torture, problems of universalism versus cultural relativism, and the human right to health.

Instructor(s): S. Gzesh     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 20300,HMRT 30300,HIST 29303,HIST 39303,LAWS 78201,LLSO 27200

INRE 36000. History of Israeli-Arab Conflict. 100 Units.

This lecture course traces the development of the Arab-Israeli conflict from its nineteenth-century origins to the present day. It examines the social and ideological roots of Zionism and Palestinan Arab nationalism, the growth of Arab-Jewish hostility in Palestine during the late Ottoman and British mandate periods, the involvement of the Arab state and the great powers, the series of Arab-Israeli wars, the two intifadas, and the effects towards negotiated agreements between Israel and the Arab states and between Israel and the Palestinians.

Instructor(s): B. Wasserstein     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 25902,HIST 35902,INST 25902,JWSG 25902,JWSG 35902,NEHC 20996,NEHC 30996

INRE 44801. Advanced Topics in International Political Economy. 100 Units.

This course studies many topics in international political economy in detail.  The topics include for example the politics of international trade, intro to the new institutional economics, variety of capitalism and welfare state, and China's political economy.  The goal of this course is to acquaint students with more advanced political economy topics and the tools of research, as well as to help students work on their research papers.

Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 34801

INRE 44901. Advanced Topics in International Security. 100 Units.

This course will concentrate on an in-depth review of recent scholarship in the area of International Security. Specifically, we will consider recent works on the issues surrounding Unipolarity, Terrorism, Asymmetric Conflict, Civil War, Ethnic Conflict, and modern Alliance Politics among others. The goal behind this seminar will be to provide students with the tools to understand, and potentially contribute to, contemporary scholarly discussions on the nature of international conflict and cooperation.

Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 39810