American University Creates Online International Relations Graduate Program

Compiled by Jamar Ramos
December 18, 2012

In an effort to offer programs for working students and people who live outside the Washington, D.C. area, American University will offer its first online degree program in May 2013. American University’s School of International Service, in conjunction with the online education platform 2U, will be offering a Master of Arts degree in international relations.

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The degree program will be fully web-based, with both asynchronous and synchronous elements. There will be self-paced content for students to study at their leisure, as well as weekly live class sessions. The live sessions will allow students to interact with faculty and classmates, participate in discussions, and have an experience that is as close to the classroom setting as possible.

American University is crafting the online degree program to be as rigorous and demanding as the one offered on campus, with the same stringent admissions criteria. A maximum of 15 students will be granted admission into the program, creating a close-knit environment for learning and discussion. There will be two areas of specialization attached to the degree: sustainable international development, or global security and conflict resolution.

Students will be expected to complete a research project before the culmination of the program. While the degree will be offered online, graduates will be allowed to attend American University’s on-campus commencement services. The International Relations master’s degree is a two-year program, with enrollment costs estimated to be the same as the on-campus offering.

One of the program’s instructors, Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, says that the online degree isn’t meant to completely mirror the delivery and curriculum of the face-to-face program. Jackson wants to use podcasting, blogging, and interactive group discussions to enrich the experience, and noted that “The proper use of technology can be used to further the aims of student inquiry and a broader understanding of the material.”


“American University Launches Online International Relations Graduate Program,”, December 11, 2012

“International Relations Online Masters Launches,”, December 11, 2012, Lauren Ober

“American U to offer 1st major online degree in international relations with Web provider 2U,”, December 11, 2012