This MA programme combines comprehensive study of international relations as an academic discipline and political practice with in-depth understanding of particular geographic regions, including the European Union, Russia and Eurasia, and the Baltic Sea region. The programme is a good fit for all those aiming for a career with an international focus, be it in diplomacy, public service, private sector or with non-governmental organizations.
How do states, international organizations and other actors pursue their interests, reinforce their identities and interact with one another in a complex and volatile international environment? How effective, adequate and fair are regional and global norms, rules, and institutions that regulate such interaction and how can these be upheld and improved?
The programme provides extensive knowledge about contemporary international relations, traditional and critical approaches to security, foreign policy analysis, conflict management and resolution mechanisms, international law, and politics, society, and international relations in the EU, Russia and Eurasia and the Baltic Sea region. These regions grow out of our faculty’s research interests and reflect Estonia’s historical experience at the border of Europe and Russia - experience which is highly relevant to other countries located in-between bigger powers.
Hannah Schaper, student of International Relations and Regional Studies (Germany)
"Tartu is a meeting point of cultures from East and West. I personally came here to learn more about Russia and the post-Soviet space from an Eastern perspective, while many Russian students for example come here to learn more about the EU or even Russia from a more Western perspective. This creates a unique learning environment in which students benefit greatly from this international diversity."
Location: Tartu, Estonia
Duration: 2 years
Language of instruction: English
Degree awarded: Master of Arts in Social Sciences
Tuition fee & scholarships: €3400/year, tuition-waivers available
The curriculum consists of five parts:
Click here to read the descriptions of all courses
Whereas the Methods and IR Core modules ensure students have a solid backbone to their studies, the Specialization and Elective modules allow them to tweak their learning to suit their more specific interests or career goals.
This MA programme is a versatile programme that prepares students for a wide range of careers in international affairs, including work for national governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.
The curriculum ensures that graduates emerge with a comprehensive understanding of international and regional issues, and have a wide variety of skills and competencies that enable them to effectively research, discuss, and address these issues.
The international dimension of the programme is enhanced by wide-ranging study-abroad opportunities. The Institute has numerous agreements which enable students to spend a semester at a foreign university. In addition, students admitted into the IRRS programme are eligible to join (on a competitive basis) a double degree MA programme jointly managed by the IGP at the University of Tartu (UT) and Institute for East European Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. Students attending the joint programme spend their first and second semester at Tartu and their third semester in Berlin and, upon graduation, receive a double degree: Master of Arts in Social Sciences «International Relations and Regional Studies» from UT and Master of Arts «Osteuropastudien» from FUB.
The learning outcomes of the IRRS programme include:
Our research and teaching in the field of IR is internationally visible and recognized placing us among the top IR schools in Eastern and Central Europe.
Our record of extensive international collaboration with universities in the U.S. (George Mason University, George Washington University), various universities in Europe, partner institutions in Russia (Higher School of Economics, MGIMO and others), and major international academic networks (e.g. PONARS-Eurasia, EISA, CEEISA) translates into excellent prospects for various partnerships in the realm of teaching.
We believe that in the current international context, learning about IR in one of the smallest EU member states which is situated at the centre of the Baltic Sea Region and on Russia’s doorstep has the potential to offer unique insights into international politics.
Since 1989, Estonia has been in the centre of democratic, economic and geopolitical change in Eastern Europe. The University of Tartu (UT) has played an active role in charting these developments.
In academic scoreboards, UT ranks among the TOP 2% of universities in the world (THE World University Rankings 2016–2017) and international students have rated Estonia as the #1 place to stay (Erasmus Student Network Survey).
The UT offers advanced study facilities, excellent libraries, well-equipped computer labs and modern residence halls. Interactive and innovative teaching and learning methods are widely used. There is a wide variety of opportunities to study abroad, including Erasmus agreements with a broad range of European partner universities.
Studying in Tartu is both attractive and affordable – it means high-quality education at a low cost in a country that is simultaneously both ancient and very modern, close to nature and technologically advanced, proud of its unique culture and traditions and open to the world (Estonia is a member of the EU and NATO and it belongs to the eurozone and the Schengen space).
Our faculty is highly accomplished, both in scholarship and in teaching, with wide-ranging expertise in international relations and regional studies. Our staff encompasses people from nearly a dozen nationalities, offering students a multi‐faceted perspective on international and regional developments and problems.
The faculty’s research themes include:
The tuition fee for fee paying students on this programme is 3400 euros per year and it covers tuition and some study materials. Note that tuition fees can only be paid once the new autumn semester officially begins.
Altogether 25 students will be admitted to this programme. Based on the admission's ranking list, 14 best applicants will be given tuition-waiver scholarship. Applicants do not have to apply for the tuition-waiver separately, as they will be considered for the competition automatically.
Students receiving the tuition-waiver do not have to pay the tuition fee if they meet full time enrollment requirements. Full time study load is completed if no more than 6 credits are missing from the 30 ECTS workload per semester. If students receiving the tuition-waiver fail to complete full-time study load per semester, they have to pay for the credits not earned. The price per credit point is 58 euros.
Click to read more about tuition fees at UTClick to read more about scholarships at UT
The applicants are ranked based on the following indicator:
The maximum score is 100 points. The application will be considered for the admissions ranking if a score of 66 points or higher is achieved. Further information on assessing candidates' academic performance and calculating admissions' score.
Applicants who have completed or are about to complete their bachelor´s studies in Estonia should apply via the National Admission Information Systems (SAIS) – further information is available here.
Applicants with Estonian citizenship who have graduated or are about to graduate abroad as well as international applicants should submit their application using the DreamApply system as instructed below.
Guide to applying online (step 1)
Submit the online application via the DreamApply application system. Please be sure to fill in the form correctly with all of the requested information and make sure to submit your application. You are required to upload the electronic copies of all the required documents (please see below) to your online application by March 15. Please keep in mind that the electronic copies must be made of the original educational certificates that have been stamped and signed by the issuing institution. Incomplete applications or those submitted by email will not be considered by the University.
Applicants will receive feedback, notifications and official admission offers through the DreamApply system to their email. Once applying, you should ensure that you have access to your DreamApply and email accounts. The decisions on the applications will be made based on the electronic copies that have been added to the DreamApply system by the applicants. If needed, the University has a right to request the applicant to send application documents by post immediately after providing the scanned copies.Guide to paper submission (step 2)
All the applicants who have been admitted are required to send all the application documents by post to: Student Admissions, University of Tartu, Ülikooli 18-134, Tartu 50090, ESTONIA. Please note that the documents are expected to be mailed to the University only by those receiving the admission offer (unless instructed otherwise by the admissions staff). Please make sure the documents reach the University within 3 weeks from the announcement of the offer. For example, if the admission offer is announced on April 1, the hard copies of the application documents must be received by the University by April 21. You will be informed when the documents have arrived.
The official admission letter will be sent to the accepted students by email only after reviewing their hard copies of the application documents. Once you receive the admission letter, you may proceed further with arranging your arrival (flights, accommodation and residence permits/visas when applicable). If your application documents do not reach us in 3 weeks, the University has a right to withdraw the admission offer.
NB! Applicants graduating in 2017 and having their diplomas issued later than the application deadline, should electronically submit their most recent official Transcript of Records by the required deadline along with the rest of the required documents.
All copies of educational documents (diplomas and diploma supplements/academic transcripts) must be officially certified. Certified copies should bear an original signature and seal of the authority certifying that these are true copies of the original. The documents can be certified: 1) by an authorized official of the issuing institution; 2) by a notary; 3) with an Apostille attached. The University does not accept simple copies of already certified copies.
Some country-specific requirements also specify the way documents must be certified: important information for non-EU applicants is available here.
The University's Admissions Committee will announce final admission results, including information on tuition waiver scholarships, by May 15 at the latest. Admission offers are sent through the DreamApply system. The offer may be conditional or unconditional. If the offer is conditional, we will set out the conditions in the offer you need to fulfil in order to be admitted to the programme. If you do not fulfil the conditions or inform your admissions coordinator of your decision by the stipulated deadline, we reserve the right to withdraw the conditional admission offer.
Furthermore, we may withdraw or amend any offer or revoke your matriculation as a student of the University, if we discover that your application contains fraudulent information or if you are found to have omitted key information from your application.
Please note that the University cannot grant admission deferrals to accepted candidates who wish to postpone the beginning of their studies to the next academic year.
All admitted students are required to present their original qualification certificates upon arrival (unless these were sent directly from the issuing institution).