The Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR) program is a one-year Master’s degree leveraging ACM's strategic location in Southern France. The program builds on the historic academic tradition of the Institute for American Universities (IAU), ACM's study abroad institute,  as one of the first American institutions abroad to prepare students for careers as diplomats in the Foreign Service or in international business. French was the language of diplomacy at the founding of the Institute for American Universities in the late 1950’s when the Cold War was at the forefront of the international political landscape. The founders of IAU had this in mind when they constructed a curriculum based in Political Science and International Relations. The Humanities and Social Sciences have always played an important role at IAU and will naturally serve as the intellectual backbone of the MAIR.

As a founding member of the Association of American International Colleges and Universities (AAICU), IAU, and by extension, ACM, is part of a network of prestigious American institutions of higher learning dedicated to promoting American-style education abroad. Thanks to these connections, ACM shares resources and expertise with premiere academic institutions such as American University of Beirut, American University of Cairo, American University of Paris, and Central European University.

Field Studies and Research

A defining characteristic of ACM programs is the synthesis of academic and experiential learning. MAIR candidates will have the chance to conduct field studies and short-term research in Brussels, Strasbourg, Geneva, Paris, Madrid, Rabat, and Istanbul. With ACM’s network of international scholars, intellectuals, and politicians, students will observe international organizations such as the European Commission, the European Parliament, the World Trade Organization, NATO, and various consulates and embassies in North Africa and Turkey.


At the end of the spring semester, ACM will help students secure an internship in a government or non-government organization, or international business in the region or elsewhere. The ACM local contact network includes places such as the US Consulate General in Marseille, City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, l’Office du Tourisme, Maritime Organizations in Marseille, the International Red Cross, crisis relief agencies for immigrants, and many others. Although ACM guides and supports students in this process, each student is responsible for applying and interviewing for internships. Students will receive three credits for their internship, submitting regular reports to their advisors with a final report in July.

Language and Culture

All students admitted into the program will be required to take French language and culture courses in the Fall and Spring semesters of the program. If admitted students are Francophone speakers with high proficiency, they will fulfill the language requirement in either Arabic or Spanish.

Degree Requirements

The MAIR is a thirty-six credit hour, one-year program consisting of required three-credit core and language courses (15 credits), several different electives (9 credits), a required thesis workshop in the first semester (1 credit), an intersession traveling seminar (3 credits), a required thesis seminar during the second or summer semester (2 credits), an internship during the second or summer semester (3 credits), and finally a Master’s Thesis (3 credits) submitted at the completion of the program. At the end of the thesis workshop, the student will be assigned a thesis advisor and choose a thesis topic. The second semester thesis seminar will develop the thesis abstract, literature review, and thesis methodology. Students will continue to work on the Master's Thesis with their advisor and submit it no later than July 31st for successful completion of the program. 


During this year-long program (two semesters plus January Term and summer work), students will choose from courses in subject matter relating to Geopolitics, International Relations, Intercultural Management, and French as a Second Language.

Semester 1 (13 credits)

All students take four 500-level courses: three core courses (below), one thesis workshop, and one language that they will study during the year to fulfill the language proficiency requirement.

  • International Relations 504: Theories of International Relations
  • Political Science 510: Comparative Politics
  • International Relations 512: Ethics in International Relations
  • Thesis Workshop IRL 500
  • Language Requirement

January Term (3 credits)

MAIR students will take advantage of ACM’s variety of January Term programs which are multi-country traveling seminars, many of which explore the politics, economies, histories, and cultures of the countries visited. All students will participate in a January Term Seminar chosen from the following:
  • Diplomacy and Human Rights - France, Spain, Morocco
  • Europe and the Islamic World - France, Spain, Morocco 
  • Wine, Gastronomy, and Sustainability - France, Spain, and Italy
  • Great Cities - Italy, France, Czech Republic, and the Netherlands
  • The Mediterranean Basin - Greece and Italy
  • Theatre Alive - Studies in Theatre, Drama & Performance - United Kingdom

Semester 2 (14 credits)

All students will elect three 500-level courses (9 credits) from IR courses related to their interests, take a Thesis Seminar (2 credits), and continue with one language course (3 credits) to fulfill the language proficiency requirement.

Sample Electives:

  • The European Union: Integration, Enlargement, Unity
  • Geopolitics in The Mediterranean Basin
  • US Foreign Policy
  • The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict
  • Media and Conflict
  • International Economics and The European Union
  • Ecology of Mediterranean
  • Global Environmental Politics
  • Muslim Presence in Europe
  • International Law and Politics of Armed Conflict
  • North Africa and Colonial History

Summer (6 credits)

Students will participate in one internship (3 credits) and will complete their Master's Thesis (3 credits):

Internship: May-July (3 credits)
Students will submit regular reports to their advisors with a final report in July.

Master’s Thesis (3 credits): Students will work closely with their thesis advisor on a Master’s Thesis to be submitted no later than July 31st after the completion of their coursework. Students will attend the graduation ceremony in May but will only receive their diploma upon the submission and successful completion of their Master’s Thesis.

Total = 36 credits


ACM faculty is comprised of experts in the field of international relations, diplomacy, conflict analysis and resolution, environmental policy, and Mediterranean and European Studies. Both academics and professionals in their field, IAU faculty provide the MAIR the academic depth and the real-life experience necessary for a well-rounded international relations education. 

Admissions Requirements

Students admitted to the MAIR must have completed a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent (120 units of academic credit) with some proficiency in at least one language other than English. International experience and/or knowledge of other cultures is highly recommended for admission into the program. For international applicants who completed their course of study in any language other than English, a minimum TOEFL score of 79 is required. Apply Now!

For questions regarding the program or admissions, please contact ACM's U.S. Office of Admissions at or call 1-800-221-2051.

Cover photo by Natalie Weelborg, 2017