Master's degree (2 years)
Full time
International Relations

Do you want to learn how to analyze and understand international relations in a rapidly changing world? This program gives students the skills to comprehend  developments in global politics – multilateralism, diplomacy, security and power politics among other topics -  in theory and practice. Emphasis is placed on interactive learning – and in English in preparation for international careers.

Application deadline:

Applicants outside EU/EEA: 1 December

Norwegian, Nordic, EU/EEA and Swiss citizens: 15 April 

Start of Studies:

Autumn 2024

Number of students:



Bachelor's degree

The master in International Relations trains students in core concepts and theories to analyse, explain and understand contemporary events and processes in global order. The first year comprises a compulsory introductory course and core courses in International Relations theory and methods, as well as elective courses  Our program-specific electives, cover a range of topics - security, international institutions, Intelligence, maritime policy, feminist and critical theory, cities in global order, and European politics among others. Students can in all semesters choose elective courses offered in the International Relations program and more broadly at NMBU. This ensures student choice in the individual study plan.

In the third semester of the program, students can do an exchange with one of our many partner institutions throughout the world, learn on-the-job skills through an internship in Norway or abroad or choose amongst several electives on campus. . The concluding element of the master program is the master thesis (30 ECTS), supported by a seminar course to create a community of learning and additional support around the thesis work.

Students attending the program typically represent around 20 nations from all continents, each year.

The NMBU master’s in international relations prepares students with a strong conceptual understanding of global politics, and offers opportunities to build competencies through a range of activities in class and beyond. A strong emphasis on empirical and contextual knowledge characterizes the international relations expertise in the department. Bringing the world to the classroom through a range of case studies but also in the form of guest lecturers and participatory learning/classroom activities provide basis for exploring a variety of themes. Our students are regularly included in research activities, such as ongoing projects and relevant seminars. Students can, under guidance of a dedicated team of researchers, develop their interests and ideas for further careers.

Career opportunities

Career possibilities:

  • Diplomacy
  • Civil Society organizations
  • Risk assessment and Risk mitigation, also in the private sector.
  • Public Sector
  • Learning outcomes

    After completion of the master in International relations, the candidate shall be able to demonstrate:


    • In-depth insight into theories of international relations and understanding of major factors stipulated in these approaches as drivers of international interactions.
    • Good understanding of the diversity and overlaps within major theories, and the weaknesses of using such macro approaches.
    • Understanding of micro-level analysis and the role of political, economic, and social developments in explaining global politics
    • Understanding of the contextual factors in theory generation and case studies
    • Knowledge of systematic analysis of International Relations with a theoretical and empirical focus


    • Ability to apply theoretical perspectives to analyze current issues in international relations.
    • Ability to identify, evaluate, and use a variety of sources (texts, digital material, popular culture, ethnography, etc.) in the study of international relations
    • Confidence in choosing appropriate research methods and operationalise their use in systematic analysis
    • Competence using relevant and innovative presentation techniques
    • Capability to write coherent and balanced argumentative essays, with correct use of references
    • Accomplishment of independent research, in the form of a master thesis, applying relevant concepts, theories, and methods in International Relations

    General competence:

    • Experience with interacting constructively with others in the study of international relations, to identify relevant research questions, analyze policies, strategies, develop projects, etc.
    • Experience with practical international interaction through participation in multi-national classes, by exchange with other educational institutions, and/or conduct of internship.
    • Sound ethical awareness in his/her conduct of professional work, and can account for power relations and value and interest conflicts and reflect on the researcher`s position in relation to a research field
    • Competence to engage in public debates, in media, in voluntary organizations, civil society and community meetings, and in meetings with policy makers
    • Ability to develop solutions by bringing out strategic development and institutional issues, work collaboratively, and lead networks and centers
  • NMBU has exchange agreements within many disciplines and with many universities across the world. There are ample opportunities to do parts of the studies abroad, both at universities with which NMBU has agreements and other universities/institutions. Refer to the following list:
  • The program is a two-year, 120 ECTS full-time study consisting of a basis of mandatory courses: an introduction course in international relations (5 ECTS), a core courses in IR-theory (10+10ECTS), a methods course (15 ECTS), and a 30 ECTS master's thesis. In addition, students can choose from a variety of elective courses offered in the program. It is also possible to take courses at other departments and universities, although such courses must be approved in each case. It is possible to integrate internships, exchange or field courses as components in the study program.

    • Entering the twenty-first century, the world has been confronted with a new set of international political challenges, notably globalization, poverty, security, and climate change. A master degree in International Relations will prepare students for the new global reality by providing an understanding of how ideology, culture, environment, power, religion, war and conflict influence international interactions between states, people and persons. Job opportunities can be found in academia, in government agencies, in national and international organizations, and in private consultancy agencies.
    • In addition to regular lectures and guest lectures, emphasis is put on problem-based teaching, group- and project teaching, individual work, seminars and field trips.
    • Methods of evaluation are varied and may consist of written or oral exams, evaluation of term papers, student presentations and reporting from various activities. Student competencies are tested in written exams and in essays, including pre-defined and open, independent essays where the students are asked to formulate independent essay questions.
    • The program is taught in English. Incoming exchange students can design a variety of course combinations.

Study advisor(s):