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Committee on International Relations


  • 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
  • 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
  • Jennifer Pitts, Political Science
  • Eric Posner, Law
  • Dan Slater, Political Science
  • Paul Staniland, Political Science
  • Nathan Tarcov, Political Science, Social Thought
  • Lisa Wedeen, Political Science
  • Dali Yang, Political Science
  • Dingxin Zhao, Sociology
  • Marvin Zonis, Business


  • Matthias Staisch, International Relations

Senior Lecturer

  • 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 107
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 30000. Perspectives on International Relations. 000 Units.

This required, non-credit course is designed to introduce students to the craft of research in International Relations. For the first half of Autumn quarter, the full cohort will meet for lectures on two central themes: (i) the fundamental aspects of conducting research in the social sciences, and, specifically, in International Relations; and (ii) preparation of the MA thesis proposal. Then, the three preceptor student groups will meet for workshops over the latter half of the quarter. The purpose of the workshops is to give each student the opportunity to present his or her proposal draft.

Instructor(s): Mark Bradley     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Open only to CIR students.

INRE 43000. Core Seminar: International Order and Security. 100 Units.

This seminar is a graduate-level survey of international order and security, covering two general areas of scholarship: (1) theories of international order and instability and (2) strategic interaction approaches to international security. The first half of the seminar is devoted to several current approaches to the problem of international (dis)order. Students will be introduced to the dominant theoretical perspectives -- realism, liberalism, and constructivism -- and their competing approaches to international order at various levels of analysis. The second half of the seminar explores theories of strategic interaction regarding the likelihood of war and the maintenance of peace. The concepts of coercion, deterrence, compellence, and reassurance will be discussed at the "general" strategic level; whereas crisis bargaining will be introduced at the "immediate" tactical level. The ultimate goal of the seminar is to provide students with a solid theoretical foundation for future explorations of academic and policy questions of special interest to them.

Instructor(s): M. Reese     Terms Offered: Autumn,Winter
Note(s): Open only to CIR students

INRE 43800. Core Seminar: International Political Economy. 100 Units.

This seminar is a graduate-level survey of international political economy (IPE). It addresses three prominent questions: (1) How do governments coordinate to regulate the cross-border flow of goods, services, and capital? In particular, what are the relative merits of relying on decentralized, or market-based institutions, as opposed to centralized, or state-based ones, for doing so? (2) What are the distributional implications of these coordinating devices? Specifically, what kind of cleavages constitute the distributional struggles that characterize today’s global economy? (3) Why are the systems of international exchange prone to periodic crisis, and how do governments seek to restore stability, and insure against future volatility? By the end of this part of the core sequence, students will be able to (1) critically evaluate competing (empirical) measurements of the key concepts which constitute theoretical propositions in IPE; and (2) craft a research design that adequately matches a theoretical claim in IPE with relevant empirical data.

Instructor(s): M. Staisch     Terms Offered: Autumn,Winter
Note(s): Open only to CIR students

INRE 44802. Network Theory for International Political Economy. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to the ongoing network turn in international political economy (IPE).  It has three goals.  First, students will replace purely metaphorical (and vague) talk of networks with focused propositions about the network properties and dynamics of contemporary phenomena such as international hierarchy, regional fragmentation amidst global integration, and the fate of sovereign territoriality in an age of (violent) transnational activism. Second, students will ponder competing explanations of the network turn in IPE: have IPE scholars abandoned conventional analytical tools in favor of network theory, because the conventional toolkit already came with rudimentary network-theoretic devices that simply needed sharpening; or did some changes in the real international economy prompt the shift? Finally, students will critically assess the ability of SNT to be a vehicle for innovative social science. They will do this, in part, by devising a research proposal of their own that assesses the validity and utility of testing a single network-theoretic proposition against some conventional competitor.

Instructor(s): M. Staisch     Terms Offered: Spring

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

This seminar is a graduate-level survey of recent scholarship in the study of international security, covering two general areas: (1) traditional (i.e., "state-centered") and (2) non-traditional security issues. The first half of the seminar is devoted to recent developments in the study of interstate security. We will contemplate the significance and durability of American unipolarity, the rise of some peer competitors, and the changing nature of international relations in the 21st century. The second half of the seminar will explore the growing significance of non-traditional security threats. In this portion, we will discuss counterinsurgency, civil war, terrorism, humanitarian intervention, among other developing security concerns. The ultimate goal of the seminar is to provide students with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with a sample of prominent recent thought on the nature of violence in the contemporary international system. This exploration will provide students with a foundation for the independent pursuit of academic and policy questions in international security of special interest to them.

Instructor(s): M. Reese     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Enrollment by instructor permission
Equivalent Course(s): SOSC 44901,PPHA 39810