Master of Arts [MA] (International Relations) - Course Overview

  • STREAM

    ARTS

  • DURATION

    2 YEARS

  • COURSE

    International Studies

  • COURSE TYPE

    Post Graduation

    Master of Arts [MA] International Relations Top Colleges, Syllabus, Scope and Salary

    Pranjal Singhal Pranjal Singhal
    Content Curator

    MA International Relations is a postgraduate degree program offered in full-time mode over a span of 2 years. As the name suggests, the course is all about Contemporary International Relations, Security Studies and Strategies, Regional Studies, the Formation of Public Policies and their Administration, etc.

    Check the full list ofTop MA International Relations Colleges in India

    Students who want to pursue an MA in international relations must hold a Bachelor’s degree or any equivalent degree from a recognized college or university with an aggregate of minimum 60% marks.

    Key Highlights of MA International Relations 

    • Full-Form: Master of Arts in International Relations 
    • Duration: 2 years
    • Eligibility: Bachelor's degree in Related Fields with minimum 60% aggregate score. 
    • Admission Process: Mostly Merit-based, but few colleges also take entrance exams. 
    • Top Entrance Exam: University of Mysore Entrance Exam, Pondicherry University Entrance Exam. 
    • Top Colleges: Jadavpur University, University of Madras, University of Mysore. 
    • Average course fees: INR 6,000 to INR 3,00,000.
    • Distance Education: Available
    • Distance Education Institute: IGNOU New Delhi, Vardhaman Mahaveer Open University. 
    • Job Options: International Diplomats, International Law Expert, International Business Management, Human Rights Advocates, etc. 
    • Average Salary Package: INR 2,00,000 to INR 12,00,000. 
    • Higher Study Options: PhD in International Relations 


    Admission to the course is either entrance based or merit based. In the entrance based mechanism, the score obtained in an entrance test is considered for the purpose of offering admission. In the merit based mechanism, the score obtained in the undergrad examinations is considered for offering admission. 

    Some of the major topics covered in MA International Relations Syllabus are Linguistics of International Relations, Politics and its Philosophical Aspect, Economics, Religious Studies and several other topics related to International Relations.

    The course helps students to find answers and solutions for various issues pertaining to Human Rights, Globalization, Economic Development, Nuclear Proliferation, etc.

    The course is offered by the government, private colleges and deemed universities. Different colleges might have different eligibility criteria, selection process, syllabus, fee structure.

    The table given below mentions some of the top colleges offering an MA in international relations. 

    NIRF University Ranking 2020 Name of the InstituteLocationAdmission ProcessAverage Annual Fee
    5Jadavpur University Kolkata Entrance Test INR 2,500
    22University of Madras Chennai Merit-Based INR 3,800
    27University of MysoreMysore Entrance Test INR 40,000 
    37Amity University Noida Merit-Based INR 1,20,000
    58Pondicherry University Pondicherry Entrance Test INR 16,068

    The average fee charged by colleges or universities for this course in India lies in between INR 6,000 and INR 3,00,000. The fee is different for private and government institutes and is subjected to vary as per the college.

    Professionals with MA International Relations degree are generally offered an average salary between INR 2,00,000 to INR 12,00,000. The salary offered is proportional to the experience earned in the field. The salary increases with the increase of experience in the field.

    Alert: Many MA Entrance Exams including the JNU Entrance Exam have been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The form correction window for JNUEE has been extended till July 20.Check the latest updates on JNUEE here.


    Such professionals usually get opportunities in sectors like Government Offices, International Diplomacy, International Law, International Business Management, Human Rights Advocacy, etc. Several job profiles available to such professionals are Patent Engineer, Assistant Manager, Analyst, Research Analyst, Business Head, etc.

    If the candidates want to study further, they can do an MPhil or PhD in International Relations. They can also conduct individual research on various relevant topics and publish their research papers. 

    MA International Relations Admission Process

    MA International Relations Admission Process

    Admission to the course is either entrance based or merit-based. In the entrance based mechanism, the score obtained in an entrance test is considered for the purpose of granting admission. In the merit-based mechanism, the score obtained in the undergrad examinations is considered for offering admission. Different colleges follow different selection methods.

    Entrance Based Selection

    • Step 1: Apply for the colleges you are interested in.
    • Step 2: Register for the respective entrance exam.
    • Step 3: Results will be declared and colleges will call the eligible candidates for document verification. 
    • Step 4: Visit the college and submit all the required documents.

    Merit Based Selection

    • Step 1: Apply for the colleges you are interested in.
    • Step 2: Cutoffs will be released by the colleges and the shortlisted candidates will be called for document verification. 
    • Step 3: Visit the college and submit all the required documents, if eligible.

    MA International relation

    Read about the Admission Process of Jadavpur University in detail. 

    MA International Relations Eligibility

    The eligibility criteria for pursuing MA international relations may vary from college to college. The cutoff and the required percentage of marks may also vary from college to college. 

    Given below is the most common eligibility criteria for pursuing an MA in international relations.

    • A candidate must have completed their bachelor degree or any equivalent degree from a recognized college or university.
    • A candidate must have scored 60% or above in their bachelor degree examination (55% of marks for SC, ST, PH candidates).

    MA International Relations Entrance Exams

    Many top universities such as JNU, Jadavpur University, etc conduct their own entrance examinations for admission to MA courses. Students must score above the minimum qualifying score set by the respective college or university to get selected for the course. 

    Some of the popular entrance exams conducted for admission into the course are given below.

    • JNUEE: JNUEE is conducted by Jawaharlal Nehru University or JNU. The exam is conducted in order to shortlist students for various postgraduate and research programs.
    • Pondicherry University Entrance Exam: Pondicherry University conducts its own online entrance exam in order to shortlist candidates for various postgraduate degree programs.

    Important Dates related to these exams are tabulated in the table below. 

    Entrance ExamEntrance ModeApplication PeriodExam Date
    JNUEEComputer-based test (online)March 12 to June 30, 2020To be announced
    TANCETPen and paper-based (offline)January 7 to February 4, 2020February 29, 2020
    HPCET (Will not be conducted this year) Pen and paper-based (offline)In the month of May or JuneIn the month of June or July
    Pondicherry University Entrance ExamComputer-based test (online)In the month of March In the month of May

    How to Prepare for MA International Relations Entrance Exams?

    One of the most important factors responsible for excelling in any entrance exam is to be well aware of the latest exam pattern. Hence one should do thorough research about it, in order to develop a clear idea about the exam pattern. 

    Apart from this, one should know the complete syllabus of the entrance exam and prepare accordingly. Mainly there are four sections in almost every MA in the international relations entrance exam

    • Political Science
    • History and Economics
    • Current World Affairs
    • Indian Foreign Policies

    One can refer to the tips given below in order to perform well in any entrance exam:

    • The test may include questions based on political science. One should be well aware of the political structure of our country. Precisely, one must be politically aware to answer such questions.
    • Questions from History and Economics form a very crucial part of the exam. History can be further divided into sections like Mughal History, Colonial History, History after Independence. Students can refer to several graduation level books of these particular subjects in order to prepare for this section.
    • Apart from Political Science, History and Economics, the exam checks one's awareness and knowledge about the Current Affairs happening around the globe. Questions based on Indian foreign policies form a major part of the exam. Hence one must do a thorough study of India's political framework and foreign policies.
    • One must read a newspaper daily to keep oneself updated about current affairs.
    • Students must practice mock question papers. This helps one to get a taste of the type of questions which are usually asked in the exam. 
    • One must solve at least 10 to 15 mock tests before appearing for the actual exam. One can refer to the link given below for previous year question papers for MA in international relations.

    How to Get Admission in a Good College Offering MA International Relations

    • Since some colleges offer admission on the basis of marks obtained in the undergrad examinations, it is very important to perform and score well in those exams.
    • In case of an entrance exam, be well updated about the latest exam pattern. Be well aware of the weightage assigned to each section in the exam and prepare accordingly.
    • One must start preparing for the entrance exam a year before as this gives ample time for learning and revision. Do keep your target institute in mind.
    • After qualifying the exam, one may further be required to appear for a personal interview round. Once you have taken the exam, start preparing for this round as well. 
    • Be well updated about the current happenings and trending topics.

    Read more on Top MA Colleges in Maharashtra 

    MA International Relations: What is it About?

    MA International Relations: What is it About?

    • MA international relations is all about contemporary International Relations, Security Studies and Strategies, Regional Studies, the Formation of Public Policies and their Administration, etc. 
    • The course provides an advanced and comprehensive understanding with the factors responsible for modifying and dealing with the challenges both at an individual level and as an international community.
    • Some of the major topics covered under this course are Linguistics of International Relations, Politics, its Philosophical Aspect, Economics, Religious Studies and several other topics related to International Relations. 
    • The course helps students to find answers and solutions for various issues pertaining to Human Rights, Globalization, Economic Development, Nuclear Proliferation, etc.
    • The course imparts knowledge about contemporary International Relations, how these change with time, the factors affecting it, how these can be made stronger.
    • The course also covers the vast areas of Regional Studies, Security Studies and Strategies, Public Policy and Administration, Key Theories of International Relations, their Implementation, etc.
    • The course promotes creative and innovative thinking skills. Critical thinking, ability to analyse and interpret diverse situations is some of the key attributes of this course.

    MA International Relations Course Highlights

    The major highlights and important aspects of the MA International Relations course has been summed up in the table below. 

    Course levelPostgraduate
    Course duration2 years
    EligibilityOne must hold a Bachelor’s degree or any equivalent degree from a recognized college or university with an aggregate of minimum 60% marks.
    Admission processEntrance based or merit-based
    Top entrance examsJNUEE, TANCET, HPCET
    Academic CalendarSemester based
    Average annual feeINR 6,000 and INR 3,00,000 
    Average salary offeredINR 2,00,000 to INR 15,00,000 
    Top job profilesPatent Engineer, Analyst, Counsel, Assistant Manager, Associate Attorney, Business Head, Patent Writer, Research Analyst, Legal Associates, etc.
    Job sectorsPharmaceutical Industries, Law firms, Media Units, Publishing Houses, Voluntary Organizations, Software Industries, Research Organizations, etc.
    Why Study MA International Relations

    Why Study MA International Relations

    Over the past years, MA in International Relations has emerged as one of the most sought out degrees in India in terms of personal growth and career growth opportunities. Some benefits and perks of pursuing this course are given below.

    • The course comes with various career growth opportunities and promotes growth in one's knowledge. It is a must-do for students who are intrigued by the concept of International Relations and its related areas.
    • The course would be a perfect choice for students who are interested in preparing for the Civil Services exam especially for IFS (Indian Foreign Services).
    • The course is not limited to one's knowledge about the subject, it also helps one develop excellent communication skills and analytical skills.
    • The course offers a handsome salary package ranging from INR 2,00,000 to INR 12,00,000. 
    • The course opens various career opportunities in front of students. Students who successfully manage to complete the course find lucrative job opportunities in sectors like Government Offices, International Diplomacy, International Law, International Business Management, Human Rights Advocacy, etc.
    •  Several job profiles available to such professionals are Patent Engineer, Assistant Manager, Analyst, Research Analyst, Business Head, etc.
    MA International Relations vs MA Political Science
    MA International relation

    MA International Relations vs MA Political Science

    International Relations and Political Science are closely related subjects. Sometimes, they are even read together in a single course. But there are differences between MA International Relations and MA Political Science, some of which are discussed below. 

    ParametersMA International RelationsMA in Political Science
    Full-FormMasters of Arts in International relationsMasters of Arts in Political Science
    Course OverviewMA International relations course is all about contemporary International Relations, Security Studies and Strategies, Regional Studies, the Formation of Public Policies and their Administration, etc. The course imparts knowledge about contemporary International Relations, how these change with time, the factors affecting it, and how these can be made stronger.MA political science course is all about politics. The course requires students to study topics like Political Theory, Public Administration, Indian Politics, the Formation of the Government, etc. The course extensively revolves around the Indian political structure, stating it's pros and cons.
    Duration2 years2 years
    EligibilityOne must hold a Bachelor’s degree or any equivalent degree from a recognized college or university with an aggregate of minimum 60% marks.One must hold a Bachelor’s degree in any relevant stream preferably Arts and Humanities from a recognized college or university with an aggregate of minimum 60% marks.
    Admission ProcessEntrance based or merit-basedEntrance based or merit-based
    Average Annual FeeINR 6,000 and INR 3,00,000 INR 20,000 to INR 80,000
    Average Salary OfferedINR 2,00,000 to INR 15,00,000 INR 4,00,000 to INR 8,00,000 
    Job ProfilesPatent Engineer, Analyst, Counsel, Assistant Manager, Associate Attorney, Business Head, Patent Writer, Research Analyst, Legal Associates, etc.Consultant, Academician, Manager, Activists and Political Content Writer, etc
    MA International relation VS MA Political Science

    Source: College Websites 

    Also, go through the full list of Top PhD Political Science Colleges in India. 

    MA International Relations Top Colleges

    MA International Relations Top Colleges

    A significant number of colleges across the country offer MA in International Relations to students who hold a bachelor degree in any relevant field from a recognized college or university with a minimum aggregate of 60% marks.

    Some of the top colleges offering MA in international relations are mentioned below: 

    NIRF University Ranking 2020 Name of the instituteLocationAdmission Process Average Annual Fees 
    2Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi Entrance Test INR 1,309
    5Jadavpur University Kolkata Entrance Test INR 2,500
    22University of Madras Chennai Merit-Based INR 3,800
    27University of MysoreMysore Entrance Test INR 40,000 
    35SRM University of Science and Technology Chennai Entrance Test INR 50,000
    37Amity University Noida Merit-Based INR 1,20,000
    43Symbiosis School of International Studies, Symbiosis University PuneEntrance Test INR 3,00,000 
    58Pondicherry University Pondicherry Entrance Test INR 16,068
    101-150 Sikkim University Gangtok Merit-Based INR 3,185
    151-200 Islamic University of Science and Technology Pulwama Merit-Based INR 50,100
    Average Annual Fee

    Source: College Websites 

    MA International Relations College Comparison

    In the below-given table, we have compared top colleges providing MA International Relations courses on the basis of Courses Offered, Average Fees and Placement Package and some other parameters. 

    College NameJiwaji UniversityJawaharlal Nehru UniversityPondicherry University
    LocationGwaliorDelhiPuducherry
    College OverviewJiwaji University is located in Gwalior. It offers various undergraduate, postgraduate, M.Phil & PhD courses in its affiliated colleges. The admission to these courses is offered either on a merit basis or on the basis of an entrance exam.Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) was established in 1969. Since then it has become a common name in the list of India’s top-ranked universities. The university is known for its Postgraduate and research studies.Pondicherry University is a central university. It was established in 1985. The university offers various Postgraduate and Doctoral level programs in regular mode as well as distance education programs. Apart from these, the university also offers 26 Diploma / Certificate Add-On Courses in the evening session.
    Admission Process Merit-basedEntrance basedEntrance based
    Average Annual FeesINR 6,335INR 1,309INR 37,715
    Average Annual PackageINR 3,50,000INR 5,60,000INR 4,50,000
    Top Recruiters Nestle, Axis Bank, Reliance Communication, Vedanta Group. Blue Star, Cyprus, Cadence, Accenture, HP. Venper Academy, Chegg, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank. 
    MA International relation College comparison

    Source: College Websites

    MA International Relations Distance Learning

    Sometimes, due to various reasons, one finds it difficult to pursue the desired course through regular learning mode, in such a case distance learning method comes to the rescue. Students must check for the validity of the course and the college in distance or correspondence mode.

    • In order to be eligible for this course through correspondence mode, students need to possess a bachelor’s degree in any relevant field from a recognized college or university with a minimum aggregate of 50%.
    • The minimum duration required to complete this course from distance mode is 2 years and the maximum duration of the same is 3 years.
    • Admission to MA in international relations through correspondence mode is offered mainly on the basis of one's graduation marks.
    • The average fee for the course ranges from INR 5,000 to INR 50,000 annually.

    Given below are some colleges which offer this course in distance mode.

    Name of the InstituteLocationDuration Average Annual Fees
    Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)Delhi2 yearsINR 9,000
    Vardhman Mahaveer Open UniversityKota2 yearsINR 14,200
    Annamalai UniversityTamil Nadu2 yearsINR 12,850

    Along with these, some colleges also provide MA in International Relations in coordination with Political Science. 

    MA International Relations Syllabus

    MA International Relations Syllabus

    MA in international relations is a 2-year degree program. Each year consists of 2 semesters. A year-wise break up of the syllabus for MA in international relations is tabulated below. The syllabus may be different for different colleges or universities.

    YearSubjects Description 
    Year 1Writing International RelationsWritten communication in a proper diplomatic way is an important strategy of International Relations. This subject deals with diplomatic written communications, its effects and advantages. 
    World PoliticsThis course deals with the history, influence and major happenings in the field of Politics all around the world. 
    International Relations TheoryThis course discusses some important theories of International Relations, their effects and process of  implementation. 
    International Political EconomyThis course explains how World Economy and World Politics are connected to each other. Through this course, one can learn to utilise Political Scenarios for Economic gain. 
    Global SecurityThis is one of the most important subjects which deals with Global Security policies and threats. 
    Making Foreign PolicyThis course will train the students to develop foreign policy by making them understand the entire process and principles behind making foreign policies of a nation. 
    Year 2Violence and Political OrderThis subject covers the relation between Violence and Politics, and ways to avoid such violence. 
    The Evolution of the International SystemIt is a chronological history of International Systems and how they have evolved with time. 
    GlobalizationThis subject discusses the effects of Globalisation in World Business and World Economy. 
    Democracy and its ContentsA detailed study of all the democracies in the world, their laws and history of rise and fall. 
    Framing Critical PerspectivesThis course discusses the process of forming Critical Perspectives around the world. 
    Case Studies in DiplomacyThis subject will include the case studies of some of the most famous diplomatic cases around the world. 

    MA International Relations Important Books

    Some of the most important books which are essential for any International Relations student are listed in the table below. 

    Name of the BookAuthor
    Art of WarSun Tzu
    DiplomacyHenry Kissinger
    ArthasastraChanakya
    Conflict and DiplomacyJaswant Singh & Maj. Gen (RETD) S.P Bhatia
    PAX INDICA: India and the World of the 21st CenturyShashi Tharoor
    MA International Relations Jobs and Career Prospects

    MA International Relations Jobs and Career Prospects 

    MA in international relations course offers various jobs and career opportunities.

    • Fresh graduates of the course can easily expect compensation of INR 2 lakhs to 20 lakh per year.
    • The compensation offered is proportional to the experience earned in the field.

    Some of the major job profiles available to postgraduates with an MA degree in international relations are mentioned below:

    Job Profile Job Description Average Annual Salary 
    Patent EngineerPatent engineers keep in touch with manufacturers and investors to discuss the various processes involved. They do research and analyse technical or scientific documents and then draft detailed descriptions of the inventions.INR 3,00,000 to 5,00,000 
    Assistant ManagerAssistant managers look after the company's policies and administration. They control costs and expenses in order to organize profits. They are actually the leaders hence maintaining an overall management style and ensuring product availability and quality is their foremost duty.INR 5,00,000 to 7,00,000 
    Research AnalystResearch analysts collect all the relevant documents of client companies and then deeply analyses their background information. They may also develop documents and reports containing recommendations. Their major task involves data analysis and coordination with client companies.INR 3,00,000 to 4,00,000 
    LawyerLawyers are legal practitioners of civil and criminal laws. They deal with legal conflicts that affect businesses, like various transactions, intellectual property, taxation, etc.INR 6,00,000 to 7,00,000 
    MA International Relations Future Scope
    MA International relation

    MA International Relations Future Scope

    Over the past years, Master of Arts [MA] (International Relations) has become immensely popular among students. More and more students are exploring this specialisation of the course. Analysing the current trends, the scope of this course seems to be ever-increasing. 

    • After completing the course, postgraduates may work in various manufacturing industries like Pharmaceutical Industries, Law firms, Media Units, Publishing Houses, Voluntary Organizations, Software Industries, Research Organizations, etc.
    • The course comes with diverse job profiles attached to it. Successful professionals of the course may find employment as a patent engineer, analyst, counsel, assistant manager, associate attorney, business head, patent writer, research analyst, legal associates, etc. 
    • Such professionals can also start their own law firms. They may also work in the education sector as teachers and lecturers in colleges or universities.
    • The scope of the course is not limited to employment and jobs. Apart from seeking jobs, students can also choose to pursue further education in the relevant field. They can study PhD in International Relations course.

    Check the full list ofPhD International Relations Colleges in India

    MA International Relations FAQs

    MA International Relations FAQs

    Ques. What are the eligibility criteria one must fulfil in order to pursue MA International relations?

    Ans. Candidates who want to pursue an MA in International relations must hold a bachelor's degree in any relevant field from a recognized college or university with a minimum aggregate of 60% marks.

    Ques. How much does it cost to pursue an MA International relations degree program?

    Ans. The average tuition fee charged by colleges or universities for this course in India lies anywhere in between INR 6,000 and INR 3,00,000. The fee is different for private and government institutes.

    Ques. Which are some of the most popular colleges offering MA International relations degree programs?

    Ans. Some of the best colleges offering MA in international relations degree program are the University of Madras, SRM University of Science and Technology, Maharani Laxmi Bai Government College of Excellence, Pondicherry University, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, etc.

    Ques. What are the various job positions available to professionals with an MA in International relations?

    Ans. Some job positions available to such professionals are patent engineer, analyst, counsel, assistant manager, associate attorney, business head, patent writer, research analyst, legal associates, etc.

    Ques. Can I pursue an MA in International relations through distance learning mode?

    Ans. Yes, you can pursue an MA in International relations through distance learning mode. Some of the institutes offering the course through distance learning are Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Sikkim Manipal University, Annamalai University, Alagappa University, Madurai Kamaraj University.

    Ques. What are some of the popular entrance exams conducted in order to shortlist candidates for admission into an MA international relations degree program?

    Ans. Some of the major all India entrance exams conducted in order to shortlist students for providing admission into the course are JNUEE, TANCET, HPCET, Pondicherry university entrance exam.

    Ques. What initial salary can an MA international relations professional expect?

    Ans. Professionals with MA in international relations can expect an annual compensation of INR 2 lakhs to 20 lakhs. The salary offered is proportional to the experience earned in the field. The salary increases with the increase in experience in the field.

    Ques. Are the entrance exams for admission into MA in international relations degree program being postponed due to COVID19?

    Ans. Yes, most of the entrance exams have been postponed due to the ongoing pandemic. The new dates and other updates of the exams can be found by visiting their respective official websites.

    Ques. What are some of the books I can refer to before pursuing an MA in international relations?

    Ans. Some such books are Art of War by Sun Tzu, Diplomacy by Henry Kissinger, Arthashastra by Chanakya, Conflict and Diplomacy by Jaswant Singh & Maj. Gen (RETD) S.P Bhatia.

    The major highlights and important aspects of the MA International

    Ques. What is the MA in international relations all about?

    Ans. MA international relations is all about contemporary international relations, security studies and strategies, regional studies, the formation of public policies and their administration, etc. The

    Master of Arts [MA] (International Relations) Fee Structure in India


    6.3 K (Minimum Fee)PUBLIC COLLEGES1.3 L (Maximum Fee)
    42.69 K (Average Fee)
    23.5 K (Minimum Fee)PRIVATE COLLEGES6 L (Maximum Fee)
    1.75 L (Average Fee)

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