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American U To Launch Online International Relations Master's Program

Beginning next May, American University’s School of International Service will offer an online version of its master's degree in international relations that it expects will draw students from around the world. The university, which is based in Washington, D.C., has been working with 2U, a company that specializes in transferring traditional master's programs to the Web. Students will choose one of two areas of focus: sustainable international development or global security and conflict resolution.

To gain admission to the online program, students will be expected to meet the same academic requirements and admissions criteria as students attending the on-campus programs. The cohort will participate in weekly class sessions virtually and work through self-paced content online. They'll also be expected to complete a research project as part of their degree. The platform, many components of which are proprietary to 2U, uses a combination of tools to allow students to collaborate with each other and faculty 24 hours a day.

"With International Relations Online, [the School of International Service] and its faculty are educating and preparing top international relations students to apply their knowledge and make an impact in an increasingly interconnected and complex world," said James Goldgeier, the dean for the School of International Service.

2U typically works with faculty in shifting their curriculum to a digital format and also manages multiple aspects of the new program, including marketing, recruitment, student support, and student retention. The company also invests in the programs and then takes a cut of the revenue generated. Universities currently working with 2U include the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Georgetown University, among others.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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