MA International Relations: Global Politics and Social Theory

In the winter semester 2023/24, a thoroughgoing reform of the MA International Relations (MAIR) will take effect. The resulting “New MAIR” will not immediately replace the current program, but applications for the latter program are no longer possible. (Students who joined the program before 2023 will not be affected by the changes.)

Like its predecessor, the “New MAIR” is an all-English International Relations program that sources the insights of modern social and political theory to gain a deeper understanding of contemporary world politics. Problem-solving through global governance remains on the agenda and in the curriculum, but forms of non institutionalized, conflictual politics and their underlying social dynamics will receive more attention, as expressed in the new sub-title of the program: Global Politics and Social Theory.

As before, the MAIR is a two-year program, where students attend, interact in, and actively contribute to seminars rather than listen to lectures. Group sizes of 20-30 students per cohort are conducive to collaboration and exchange and make for a good student-instructor ratio. Students earn credits through active participation in seminars (based on required readings) and by passing variable and combined types of “exams” in the broadest sense, ranging from presentations and short essays to take-home exams and research papers.

Unlike its predecessor, the “New MAIR” includes electives and gives students the option to earn credits by doing a research internship or studying a semester abroad.

Another major difference from the previous program is that the “New MAIR” will be offered by just one university, viz. the University of Bremen. (Jacobs University decided to phase out its participation in the program as part of a broader re-orientation in the wake of a change of ownership that took place in 2021. This decision will not affect students who joined the program before 2023.)

Structure of the MA International Relations: Global Politics and Social Theory

First Semester ● Foundations of Global Politics
● Foundations of Social Theory
● Methods of Social Science
Second Semester● Theorizing Social and Political Phenomena
● Examining Global Political Dynamics
● Analyzing International Policies
Third Semester ● Research Design
● Research Internship (optional)
● Study Abroad (optional)
Fourth SemesterMA thesis (+ supporting seminar) 


The MAIR is a research-oriented program that provides students with up-to-date knowledge of the theory and practice of international relations with a special emphasis on the contribution of modern social theory to the analysis of global politics.

In the first semester, students deepen their familiarity with the history and the present of International Relations, delve into core topics, arguments, and paradigms of contemporary social theory, and revisit the ever-growing toolbox of the quantitative and qualitative methods of social science.

Building on these foundations, in the second semester, students specialize by choosing modules and seminars that further explore issues of political and social theories relevant to international relations, address the variety of global and regional social dynamics that underlie (changes in) present-day world politics, or focus on the attempts by state and non-state actors to institute a measure of global governance in diverse policy areas.

In the third semester, students further broaden their horizon either by leaving Bremen for a semester abroad or a research internship or by taking additional courses in other Master’s programs at the University of Bremen (e.g. MA Political Science, MA European Politics, or MA Social Policy). The semester starts and ends with a two-part block seminar on “Research Design”, helping students to prepare their Master’s thesis.

In the fourth semester, finally, students write their Master’s thesis while attending a supporting Thesis Seminar offering them an opportunity to share and discuss interim results of their ongoing thesis work with their peers as well as faculty.

For a more detailed description of the formal structure of the program see here.

Information on the admission procedure can be found here.

If you have any questions regarding the program (even after checking out the FAQ) please turn to mairprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de.

Note also that the website is still under construction as far as the new MAIR is concerned. So it may be worthwhile revisiting it from time to time.


Key Facts

Start date: First week of October

Duration: 2 years full-time

Tuition fee: None

Application: 1 December through 1 February

Program contact: mairprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

Frequently Asked Questions

Program reform in 2023 - see here

MAIR Alumni
What do our graduates say about the program?
Find out more here!