Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies

The Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS), at the University of California, San Diego, was created in 1986 as the University of California’s only professional school of international affairs. The school is unique in its geographical focus on the Pacific (the Americas and Asia). IR/PS is the only professional program in the United States to concentrate exclusively on the diverse political and economic systems of this region.

The school’s programs have been developed in response to the increasing importance of the Pacific in global economic and political affairs. When IR/PS was founded, the globe was still locked in the Atlantic-centric world of the cold war. Today, we see the emergence of nations such as China, Brazil, Korea, Singapore, and Mexico as important players in a globalized world. As a result, professionals who can understand and work in complex international environments are needed in both the public and private sectors. While previously looking to Europe as the site of its primary commercial, financial, and strategic interests, the United States is now shifting its attention westward toward the Pacific—a likely source of both extraordinary prospects and substantial challenges in this century.

The school’s primary objectives are to prepare students with an interest in these regions for positions of leadership in business, government, diplomacy, public service, and other fields; to serve as a center of excellence for research on regional economic, political, social, and security issues; and to promote dialogue on Pacific region issues of common concern.

  1. The degree programs provide students with professional training for careers in international affairs and management, including jobs in industry, government, international organizations, foundations, academia, and research institutes. Students receive broad training across professional areas, enabling those seeking careers in government to appreciate the interests of the private sector and those planning business careers to understand decision making in public organizations. The program combines core course work in applied social sciences with professional subjects, language training classes, and regional studies to provide students with the skills and knowledge to work effectively in the Pacific region.
  2. IR/PS serves as a center for research on issues of common concern to the nations of the Pacific. Since the region has become a focal point of economic and security relations, the demand for information and research centered on this dynamic region has increased. Consequently, IR/PS is home to several renowned research institutes and programs, including the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, the Center on Pacific Economies, the 21st Century China Program, the Fudan-UC Center on China, the Korea-Pacific Program, the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation (ILAR), the Policy Design and Evaluation Lab (PDEL), and the Global Information Industries Center. In addition, the school supports collaborative relationships within the UC San Diego community by partnering with institutions such as Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Institute of the Americas.
  3. As part of the University of California system, IR/PS plays an important role in developing public awareness and understanding of the Pacific region. Programs of public outreach, including visiting lecturers, research seminars, and roundtable discussions, add to the information available to citizens and interest groups about international issues that affect their lives.

Degree Programs

The degrees offered by the school include a professional master of Pacific international affairs (MPIA), a master of advanced studies in international affairs (MAS-IA), a doctorate in political science and international affairs offered jointly with the Department of Political Science, and a five year bachelor of arts/master of international affairs (BA/MIA) offered jointly with the International Studies Program. Training emphasizes international relations, economics and management, public policy, country and regional studies, and languages of the region.

The BA/MIA and MPIA programs are distinctive in several ways. The programs

  1. Expose students to the perspectives of both private business and public policymaking
  2. Offer specialized training in international politics, economics, management, environmental policy, public policy, and international development
  3. Provide language training necessary for professionals specializing in the countries of the Pacific
  4. Require students to focus their studies on the politics, culture, economics, and language of one Pacific country or region
  5. Create a laboratory for comparative analysis of economic management, foreign relations, policymaking, and development in the diverse nations of the Pacific

The MAS-IA program is designed for midcareer professionals who seek specialized and advanced training in the field of international affairs. The program will complement their professional experience and prepare them to assume senior leadership positions in their fields. The program

  1. Exposes students to the perspectives of both private business and public policymaking
  2. Offers specialized training in international security, international political economy, and international public policy
  3. Creates a laboratory for comparative analysis of economic management, foreign relations, policymaking, and development in the diverse nations of the Pacific

The PhD is offered only in conjunction with the PhD in political science. The doctoral program is designed for students who seek a rigorous training in a discipline along with a specialization in a specific policy area and regional expertise.

The master’s and doctoral programs are distinct and separate. There is little overlap in the structure or requirements of the programs because their objectives are very different. The MPIA and MAS-IA programs provide professional training for graduates who will pursue or further their international careers in management, government, and other fields. The doctoral program offers an academic education to a small number of students who will pursue international careers requiring advanced research capabilities at universities, corporations, government agencies, consulting firms, or other research organizations.

However, the master’s and doctoral programs do share a common intellectual framework. Both the master’s and doctoral curriculums are designed to bring the theories, methods, and insights of various disciplines together to analyze policy issues of the Pacific and to blend the perspectives of public policy makers and private managers. Many of the same faculty members teach and advise students in both programs.

Midcareer and other executive certificate programs are also offered by IR/PS. In particular, the Global Leadership Institute (GLI) is designed for working professionals seeking additional study in international management, international relations, and comparative public policy. Participants in the program may study from one quarter (eleven weeks) to two years at IR/PS. Under the auspices of the program, fellows have the opportunity to further internationalize their knowledge and experience as well as enhance their professional development in such areas as finance, accounting, quantitative methods, econometrics, and long-range strategic planning. The program of study is tailored to individual interests under the guidance of the program’s director and faculty advisers. Customized group programs are also available in durations and disciplines requested by an organization.

The Faculty

IR/PS has attracted an interdisciplinary faculty from such fields as economics, international relations, comparative politics, public policy, management, and linguistics. The various programs draw upon and contribute to research that focuses on the regions of the Pacific and on major issues that affect the region.

IR/PS places special emphasis on research in and teaching of topics of particular importance to the program. These topics currently include

  1. Studies of the Pacific as a system, including the interaction of the countries and regions within it (e.g., Latin American–Japanese economic relations, US relations with both East Asia and Latin America, and the placement of the Pacific in the global system of international relations, both contemporary and historical)
  2. Studies in international economics, management, and finance, including such subject areas as international competition, comparative industrial organizations, international trade and development, industrial relations, technological innovation, international financial structures, policies, institutions, and historical patterns of development
  3. Comparison of the trajectories of socioeconomic development among the countries of Asia and Latin America, including the exploration of differences and similarities in state-society relations, culture, entrepreneurship, linkage to the global economy, and geopolitical position
  4. Comparative analysis of patterns of policymaking in the countries of the Pacific region to understand how different governmental structures, economic systems, and social group interests shape the policy process and influence policy choices in such areas as budget allocation, regulation of industry, and foreign trade
  5. Combining advanced social science methodology with the power of information technology to design and test policies and programs that alleviate poverty, promote health, welfare and security, and enhance accountability

For further information, contact

Office of Admissions
Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies
UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr. # 0520
La Jolla, CA 92093-0520
(858) 534-5914