Understand international issues with a degree from OU

by Dr. Peggy Lerner
University of Oklahoma

Do you want a graduate education you can put instantly and daily to use? How about one that enables you to consume and understand current events and contribute to critical discourse about them?

The University of Oklahoma (OU) offers three master’s degree programs under contract in Europe. The one that we’d like to highlight is the Master of International Relations (MAIR). For those who wish to pursue a profession in, or who are in one that deals daily with, international issues, this will be a rather logical and easy decision. For the rest, at first mention or glance, this program might not seem exactly what you are looking for, but here are a few questions that might tempt you to give it a second look given today’s daily news and headlines.

  • Do you wonder how the leading western nations got into the areas of the world and the issues and situations in which they are currently involved?
  • Would you benefit from understanding the terms, acronyms, organizations and concepts that guide these nations and the decisions that are made by these nations for large parts of the world? (e.g. International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, OPEC, NATO, United nations (U.N.), terrorism, democracy, regimes, dictatorship, clanship, diplomacy.)
  • Do you want to know the history of international organizations, i.e. how and why they were formed by whom and when?
  • Have you ever wondered why we even have nations and how they support or limit politicians, the military or individuals in their actions domestically and internationally?
  • Can you perceive a change or end to any of the issues that nations and people are experiencing?
  • Would you like to be able to participate in the discussion, change and/or support political debates and elections, peace-keeping and relief efforts while honing and practicing critical thinking skills?

If you answered yes to any of the above, pursuing this program will introduce you to the vocabulary of political discourse, as well as the place that politics plays in the international environment, daily workings of institutions, corporations and even interpersonal interactions. If you’ve ever heard someone say “it’s a very political decision or action,” it’s probably true, and wouldn’t you like to be a savvy observer or participant and be prepared to deal with it?

The MAIR program will expose you to the role that power plays in these agencies and how power, or lack thereof, affects the motivation, methods, decision-making, strategies and actions of international and organizational players.

Participation in the program will take the mystery out of the daily news as it hits your computer screen each morning, as you learn about the aspects that affect people and nations, such as geography, history, natural resources, general level of education, religion, trade, finances and many more.

The international world often seems like a puzzle without a frame, but the framework to understanding and putting the pieces of this puzzle together is available to you. We encourage you to consider this area of study and find the key that unlocks your mind and understanding of the world in which you and the next generations will live.

The MAIR program is organized to allow internationally recognized OU faculty to travel to Europe to teach and interact with you as they do with your campus-based classmates. Professors in the international relations program research at home and abroad and present and attend international conferences in areas of their expertise. Some professors have or do serve in political and military roles, and all are part of an organized cadre of educators working within a planned and coherent body of study.

The 11 courses (approximately) that you will take to complete the program will provide a basis for your understanding of international relations and allow you to choose courses of interest in substantive areas, so you can build your own personal knowledge base in directions of your greatest interest.

You can and should look at all educational options available to you, but once you do, we hope you’ll come for additional information and to apply. Please ask about speaking with other students who are pursuing or who may have completed the program, as satisfied consumers of OU’s educational experience are the best evidence that we can provide to you in your decision-making process.

And remember, if you didn’t answer “yes” to many or any of the questions above, OU also offers degrees in human relations and education, and we hope you will give us the chance to provide you more information about these programs and areas if they are of interest to you. 

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