International Relations & Regional Studies (MA) - University of Tartu

March 15, 2022

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Provided by: University of Tartu

Location (s):

  • Estonia


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 organisations. 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.


The versatile 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 university abroad. 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:

  • comprehensive understanding of core IR concepts, approaches, and practices, including familiarity with international law, the global economy, and international security arrangements;
  • detailed knoweldge of a specific geographical region (European Union, Russia and Eurasia, Baltic Sea Region);
  • ability to identify and formulate meaningful research problems and/or questions in the field of International Relations, and the theoretical, analytical and methodological competencies to effectively address these;
  • specific knowledge, skills and norms relevant to the practice of international relations (e.g. conflict mediation, negotiations, skills relevant to foreign and security policy formulation and implementation);
  • a range of general-purpose skills (e.g. effective oral and written communication skills, critical thinking, responsibility, initiative, leadership and teamwork skills);
  • an international perspective that will enrich career prospects both at home and globally.

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).

This MA programme prepares you for a wide range of careers in international affairs, including work for national governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. Our graduates work, for example, in the national Foreign Ministries and other governmental bodies, EU institutions, lobby groups, but also in journalism or academia.

Opportunity is About:


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

Entry requirements

  • bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification
  • English language proficiency – acceptable tests and exempt categories specified here

Applications are evaluated based on

  • the score of the motivation letter (yields 100% of the final score)

The maximum score is 100 points. The application will be considered for admission if a score of 66 points or higher is achieved. 


Deadline: March 15, 2022

Cost/funding for participants:

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 semester officially begins.

Altogether 25 study places are available on the programme. On the basis of the admission results, 14 best applicants will be given tuition-waiver scholarships. Applicants do not have to apply for the tuition-waiver separately, as they will be considered automatically for the competition.

Information about the rules and conditions for tuition-waiver scholarships as well as tuition fee payments is given here.

Information about other scholarships is available here.

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