Master in International Relations (MAIN)

Master in International Relations (MAIN)

Two-year English-language Master's degree programme provides students with the knowledge and analytical skills to understand the international context of politics, economy, and security. The tensions among major powers, such as the United States, China, the European Union and its members, or Russia, are on the rise. At the same time, the world is growing ever more inter-connected. Major political decisions, influencing our everyday lives, are made not only by individual states, domestically, but increasingly also internationally and by regional as well as global institutions.

Our programme helps students understand how international and European politics work, and what are the challenges faced by states, as well as business, NGOs and individuals, in the globalized world. Within an inter-disciplinary framework, students learn about the key points of contestation in world politics, but also about the functioning of the European Union and of the key global institutions. They study how international conflicts can be productively transformed into cooperation. In addition to providing students with a robust background in international and European politics, the programme puts an emphasis on the development of students’ analytical capabilities and critical thinking. Thanks to the broad scope of competences students acquire and deepen during their studies, our graduates become highly valued experts in national administrations and diplomacy, European and international institutions, but also businesses, NGOs, media and, some of them, in academia.

Detailed information

Programme Duration: 2 years

Language of Instruction: English

Academic Director of the Programme: Doc. PhDr. Jan Karlas, Ph.D. (

Coordinator for Admission: Michal Parízek, M.Sc., Ph.D. (

Admission Administration:


The programme, our teaching philosophy, student competences

The programme aims at providing students with a deep understanding of the problems of international and European politics. Throughout the curriculum, we put emphasis on two cornerstones of our graduates’ success.

First, over the course of the programme, our students build a solid substantive knowledge of the problems of contemporary international politics. The curriculum covers especially the following areas:

  • International Relations as a discipline investigating the behaviour of states in world politics, with a focus on great powers, and the nature of the international system.
  • International Economics and Security, as the two key issue areas of international life.
  • European Union as the most profound project of inter-state integration in the history.
  • International Organizations and International Law as the key instruments of the management of global affairs.

Second, throughout the curriculum, students acquire specific, tangible skills relevant for their future professional careers:

  • Empirical analytical skills. Our students undergo robust introductory training in both qualitative and quantitative analytical skills.
  • Critical thinking. The ability to think outside of the box is essential in the environment in which constant adaptation and change is the need.
  • Languages and transferable skills. The success of our graduates depends not only on their hard analytical skills and their knowledge of international politics, but also on their writing, presentation, and communication skills.

Future careers

Career prospects of our graduates reflect the prestige of the programme they have studied and the demands the programme puts on their abilities and on their academic, professional and personal development. Our graduates succeed in very diverse fields:

  • national administrations
  • diplomacy
  • international and European institutions
  • transnational corporations, businesses, or NGOs
  • media or think-tanks
  • academia

Programme structure and graduation requirements

The study curriculum is centred on the first year’s set of common compulsory modules and the second year’s individual specialization and master’s thesis research. The Table below summarizes the programme structure. In the first semester students attend modules concerning the nature of the international system in general – modules on the theories of international relations, the introduction to international economic relations, and the introduction to conflict studies. In the second semester, we build on this basis a block of courses dealing with regional and global institutions and problem-solving. Specifically, students attend courses that cover the evolution of the European integration process and contemporary European politics, as well as international organizations and international law. Over the course of the first study year, they also obtain systematic training in the methods and techniques of empirical political analysis.

In the second year, students choose from a broad range of elective courses that deepen their understanding of the individual areas of international and European politics. These courses come from the selection offered by the department of international relations and from other departments and institutes of the Faculty. In general, the programme offers a broad range of possible thematic specializations, including in general questions of international politics, in security, economics, environment, and other areas. Yet, a large share of the members of the Faculty specialize in their research in European studies, International Organizations and in the current global order more broadly, so these are the fields in which the expertise offered is particularly broad.

Throughout the second year, students work on their master’s theses, under the individual supervision of one of our faculty. In addition, during the second year students are welcome to spend one or even both semesters at one of our numerous partner universities across Europe and over the world.

The state exam at the end of the studies is composed of compulsory exams in International relations and in European studies, and of a choice from specializations in International Organizations, International Law, or International Economic Relations.


International Relations, Security & Economy

European Studies & International Institutions

Research Methods & Individual Master's Thesis Research



Theories of International Relations

International Economic Relations

Conflict studies


Researching International Politics: Quantitative Methods




European Union

International Law

International Organization

Researching International Politics: Qualitative Methods





Individual specialization through elective courses at Charles or on Erasmus/stay abroad


Individual specialization through elective courses at Charles or on Erasmus/stay abroad


Master's Thesis Research

Every year, our Department offers to students of International Relations guest courses taught by professors coming from leading European and global universities and research centers. In the last several years, these included such globally renowned scholars as Prof. Kenneth Abbott (Arizona State University), Prof. Tapio Raunio (University of Tampere), Prof. Gerald Schneider (University of Konstanz), and Prof. Robert Jervis (Columbia University, New York).

In the course of the programme, students obtain in a total of 120 ECTS credits. Out of these, students obtain 59 from compulsory courses, 20 from seminars attached to these compulsory courses, and 41 from electives.

Double degree with University of Konstanz

We are proud that the programme offers a Double Master's Option in cooperation with one of the top German political science and public administration departments, at the University of Konstanz. In addition to obtaining the MA in International Relations from Charles University, the students of the Double Degree option obtain a degree from the prestigious MA in Politics and Public Administration from the University of Konstanz. The curriculum of the two-year double degree programme can be found in this attachment. Applicants for the double degree programme are selected, based on merit, after the first semester of their studies.

Study prerequisites and application requirements

Applicants for MAIN programme will need to have obtained their BA certificates by the time of the start of the first semester of their studies (end of September every year). Background in international relations, political science, or other related disciplines will prove advantageous for the students during the course of the programme, but we also welcome highly motivated applicants with a background in other fields. What is essential for the applicants’ success during the selection procedure is a demonstrated active interest in international politics.

On the formal level, the application file will include:

  • a diploma certificate of BA level education, or an up-to-date certificate of attendance of a study programme, indicating that the applicant will obtain the BA level diploma by the time of the start of our programme
  • a transcript of grades from the previous study programme(s)
  • academic CV
  • a motivation letter (we recommend a length of between 1000  and 1500 words)

Tuition fees

The programme operates a merit-based fee reduction scheme within which excellent and highly motivated students are eligible for fee reductions of 2000 EUR per academic year and in exceptional cases of 4000 EUR per academic year, hence reducing the study fee, for the very best students, to one-third of the standard rate (see below for further details). Please note that the fees cover only the cost of instruction and examinations and that students are responsible for paying their own living expenses (food, lodging, etc.). The living costs in Prague are generally considered affordable compared to many West European capitals.

Reducing or Waiving the Fee

The Faculty of Social Sciences wants to support future students and their studies. Therefore we offer a set of scholarships and fee reductions!

Conditions for reducing or waiving the fee for study in a foreign language at FSV UK can be found here.