BA/MA Progressive Degree in International Relations

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This accelerated 160-unit program allows students to complete all requirements for both the BA and MA degree in International Relations in as few as five years.  The program is designed to provide superior students with analytical skills and functional expertise to help them move into professional careers in the public and private sector.

This program targets outstanding, intellectually mature undergraduate students who have clear professional goals in the field.  Progressive degree students should take at least two graduate seminars during their senior year.  Students complete all other requirements during their fifth year. A maximum of one-third of the units for the master’s degree may be applied toward the units required for the bachelor’s degree.

Progressive degree students are strongly encouraged to participate in the IR Honors Program during the fall of their senior year.  Students may choose to develop the Honors Thesis to satisfy the MA substantive paper requirement. 

MA Degree Requirements

  • IR 500: International Relations Theory (4 units)
  • IR 514: Multivariate Analysis (4 units)
  • Two domain courses (8 units) selected from the following:
    IR 502: Conflict and Cooperation
    IR 509: Culture, Gender and Global Society
    IR 521: Foreign Policy Analysis
    IR 541: Politics of the World Economy
  • Four 500 level IR elective Courses (16 units)
  • Fourth semester of a foreign language
  • Substantive Paper

Admission Requirements

Students who wish to pursue the progressive degree should apply to the Office of Student Affairs in the School of International Relations (VKC301) in the Spring of their Junior Year.  Applications are reviewed for Fall semester admission only.  To be eligible for admission, students must:

  • Complete 64 units of coursework applicable toward the undergraduate degree since graduating from high school.  Please note that AP units, IB units, and coursework taken prior to high school graduation are excluded.  Applicants must submit their application before completing 96 units of course work.
  • Minimum Major GPA of 3.75
  • Minimum Overall GPA of 3.75
  • Completed IR 210: International Relations: Introductory Analysis
  • Completed IR 211: International Relations: Approaches to Research
  • Two upper division IR electives (at least one at the 400 level)
  • Two letters of recommendation from IR professors.  At least one letter must come from an IR faculty member who explicitly states they will supervise your substantive paper and one letter must be from a tenured or tenure-track professor.
  • Personal Statement (2 pages)
  • Official transcript
  • Progressive Degree application available on line at:
    http://www.usc.edu/programs/ugprograms/progressive/
  • Complete application and supporting documents are due March 15 to VKC 301


  • School of International Relations
  • 3518 Trousdale Parkway
  • Von KleinSmid Center 330
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0043
  • Phone: (213) 740 - 2136