Political Science And International Relations MA With Thesis

Program Overview

Master of Art (M.A.) in International Relations Program responds to a growing need for focused graduate programs in International Relations, offering students thorough training for careers in research, politics, foreign policy and business. The program serves students in two general directions: The first is preparing students for future careers in governmental and non-governmental organizations, both in Türkiye and abroad, as well as careers in the private sector, public institutions including foreign service, international organizations and NGOs. The second is preparing students for PhD programs in Europe and North America. In addition, the MA program makes a valuable contribution to the Department’s and the university’s research environment and academic reputation.

The composition of the program reflects the strength of the faculty in a variety of areas such as European Integration, International Political Economy, and Conflict Studies. Individual faculty research also allows students to pursue studies in areas such as Citizenship, Civil Society and Democracy, Development, Globalization, International Relations Theory, Middle East Politics, Migration, Religion and Secularism, and Turkish Politics.

The members of the International Relations Department at Koç University are recognized as contributors to the frontiers of knowledge in Türkiye and abroad.

Our graduate students are exposed to the latest theoretical debates and methodological techniques. They also have the opportunity to participate in the research programs of the faculty members.

Application Requirements

Statement of Purpose

Required for all applicants. It should not exceed 2,000 words focusing on the following questions: 

Why do you apply to Koç University?

Why do you apply to the particular program?

What are your career objectives?

For applicants of PhD programs what are your research interests and who do you want to work with?


You must have a 3.00 GPA for application for MA Applications. 

We strongly encourage applicants to submit a scanned image of the transcript at the time of application, which can speed processing; however, a final, official transcript will be required of all admitted students during registration. Applicants who have attended international institutions must submit transcripts or certified attestations of study, with certified English translations. Once translated, the original transcript and the certified translations are to be sent to the Graduate School admission office.

Letters of Recommendation

The Graduate School requires two letters of recommendation for MA applications. These should be by persons well qualified to speak from first-hand knowledge about the applicant’s potential for graduate study. Letters of recommendation must be submitted online.


Applicants to MA programs must have their available scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for foreign applicants or ALES (Akademik Lisansüstü Eğitim Sınavı) for native applicants sent to the Graduate School and uploaded during online application. You may leave these spaces empty if your scores are not available at the time of application. We do accept applications without ALES and/or TOEFL scores. You must submit these scores as soon as they are announced.


All applicants and international applicants whose native language is not English must ensure that the Graduate School receives their official score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language.

MA with Thesis International Relations Admission Requirements
Scores Minimum Requriment
ALES(Equal Weighed) 70
GRE (Quantitative) 153
GPA 3.00


  • Citizenship
  • Civil Society
  • Conflict Studies
  • Democratization
  • Development
  • Ethnic politics and nationalism
  • European Union
  • Foreign Policy
  • Globalization
  • International Political Economy
  • International Relations Theory
  • Middle East Politics
  • Migration
  • Religion and Secularism
  • Turkish Politics
1st Year – Fall Semester1st Year – Spring Semester
INTL 501: Research Methods (pre-requisite)INTL 601: Quantitative Research Methods
INTL 603: International RelationsINTL 602: Comparative Politics
INTL 600: Political TheoryElective
Elective,(*if waived from INTL 501)INTL 590. Seminar Course
KOLT 500: TA WorkshopsETHR 500: Ethics Course
TEACH 500: TA AssignmentsTEACH 500: TA Assignments
INTL 590: Seminar Course 
2nd Year – Fall Semester2nd Year – Spring Semester
INTL 604: Qualitative Research MethodsINTL 695: PhD Dissertation
2 ElectivesTEACH 500: TA Assignments
TEACH 500: TA Assignments 
3rd Year – Fall Semester3rd Year – Spring Semester
INTL 695: PhD DissertationINTL 695: PhD Dissertation
TEACH 500: TA AssignmentsTEACH 500: TA Assignments
4th Year – Fall Semester4th Year – Spring Semester
INTL 695: PhD DissertationINTL 695: PhD Dissertation
TEACH 500: TA AssignmentsTEACH 500: TA Assignments
5th Year – Fall Semester5th Year – Spring Semester
INTL 695: PhD DissertationINTL 695: PhD Dissertation
TEACH 500: TA AssignmentsTEACH 500: TA Assignments

Ph.D. students can take any courses listed under the MA in International Relations program as well as some of the courses from other relevant graduate programs. They will have the opportunity to take graduate-level electives on such topics as European Union, Turkish politics, political economy, and conflict studies among others, which reflect the areas of particular strength in our department. Students will also have the opportunity to attend programs in other countries, including distinguished universities in Europe and the United States.

Course Descriptions

All students are required to take the following non-credit courses to successfully complete the program:

KOLT 500: Teaching Assistant Training and Workshops (all students are required to take these workshops in their first semester.)

TEACH 500: Teaching Experience during the semesters of their assignments. (all students must enroll to TEACH 500 every semester) 

ETHR 500: Students must complete an online ethics course latest by 2nd Semester. 

ENGL 500: Academic Writing (Advanced) course. (all students must complete this course in their second year) 

INTL 590: Seminar Course (all students must complete the seminar requirement in their first year)


Required Courses: Ph.D. Students must take 9 courses* (27 Credits) in the course of the Ph.D. Program: 6 required courses (Including 1 Pre-requisite course), 3 Electives (2 area electives, 1 free elective).

Additionally, students are required to take 5 non- Credit courses;

ENGL 500: Academic Writing

KOLT 500: Teaching Experience (Required to be completed in the 1st semester)

TEACH 500: Teaching Assignments  (Required every semester)

ETHR 500: Online Ethics Course (Required to be completed latest by 2nd semester)

INTL 590: Seminar Course

INTL 695: Thesis Course (Required every semester after passing the Qualifying exam)

Students are urged to complete all the course requirements by end of 4th semester, if possible.

*Students admitted with a BA degree are required to take 14 courses (42 credits)

Students must have a minimum of 3.00 GPA to graduate.

Taking Courses from different departments: For free electives, Ph.D. students can take courses from other relevant graduate programs offered at KU or other universities with the approval of the program coordinators.

Undergraduate Courses: Undergraduate courses cannot be counted towards degree requirements. However, Ph.D. students may audit undergraduate courses with the approval of the course instructor.

Language Courses:  Language courses may not be counted towards degree requirements.

Transferring Courses from previous studies: Please consult with GSSSH office and then with the program coordinator.


Appointing an advisor: Students are required to choose and get the approval of a thesis advisor latest by the2nd semester and turn in their advisor appointment form to GSSSH office.

Changing an advisor: Students may change their advisor in the course of their studies with the approval of their previous advisor, prospective advisor and the program coordinator.

Withdrawal of an advisor: In the case that advisor decides to discontinue monitoring the student’s thesis, then the student must find an advisor within one month (30 days) or may opt to leave the program.

Co-Advisor: Students may appoint more than one advisor. Second advisor may be outside of KU.


Term to take the exam: Students are required to have their first attempt at passing the Qualifying Exam, in both of their fields, by the end of their 3rd semester. If they fail in their first attempt, they will be given a second exam after 6 months, which they must pass to continue the doctoral program.

Qualifying exams are generally held in the beginning of February and beginning of June of each year.

Structure of the exam: Students are examined in the two of the three sub-disciplinary fields (International Relations, Comparative Politics, Political Theory). Students choose and indicate to the program coordinator in which of the two fields they will be examined in 2 months prior to the exam.

Qualifying exam is composed of two parts; written and oral.

Exam jury members: PhD Qualifying Exam Committee must have at least 5 members; of which at least 2 members must be outside of KU.

Students who fail the exam: Students who fail the first attempt of the exam may re-take the exam in the next date it is offered. The second exam must be in the same field. Students who fail the second time will lose their stipend, housing aid and all other benefits and will be required to pay an annual tuition.

Passing the Qualification exam: Students must bring the exam reports to GSSSH office once completed. Please see Ph.D. Milestones for details and forms:

!!! Students who fail the Qualifying exam twice are dismissed from the program


One month after passing the qualification exam, students are required to form a thesis monitoring committee.  If a student fails to form the committee by the suggested deadline their scholarship will be put on hold.

* Please see Ph.D. Milestones for committee composition and appointment forms:


When to propose: Students are required to propose their thesis research no later than six months after passing their qualification exam . All Thesis Monitoring Committee members must approve the proposal. If the student fails to propose her/his thesis by the suggested term, then the student must submit a petition to GSSSH with the approval of the advisor and the program coordinator. If a student fails to form the committee by the suggested deadline his/her scholarship will be put on hold.

Forms Required: * Please see Ph.D. Milestones for committee for thesis proposal forms:

!!! Students who do not  successfully defend the Thesis Proposal by the suggested time-line , students who fail to meet this deadline will  only  be given an additional 3 months and if not successful or completed, student will be dismissed from the program


When? After thesis proposal student must meet with the thesis monitoring committee every six months. All Thesis Monitoring Committee members must approve the progress of the student. If the student fails to meet with the committee members by the suggested term, then the student must submit a petition to GSSSH with the approval of the advisor and the program coordinator.

According to YÖK students must hold min. of  3 Thesis Monitoring Committee meetings before graduations

Forms Required: * Please see Ph.D. Milestones for committee for thesis proposal forms:

!!! It is the students responsibility to schedule their monitoring committee meetings every six-months after the proposal is defense Students who do not turn in their progress report  on time to the GSSSH office will be considered to have failed the progress meeting, will receive an “U” Unsatisfactory grade. Students  who receive two consecutive “U”  or three “U”s in total will be dismissed from the program !!!


Traditional format: Thesis can be written in a form of a book consisting of chapters. Please visit the library for samples.


Thesis jury is composed of Thesis Monitoring Committee + 2 members. Thesis jury must have 2 members from another University. 2nd advisor may attend meetings. Jury must be appointed by the Department and approved by the Graduate School. Members of this committee must be affiliated with a University or an Academic Institution and must at least hold the rank of an Assistant Professor.

Forms Required: * Please see Ph.D. Milestones for committee for thesis proposal forms:


Final draft of the thesis must be sent to all the appointed Jury members 3 weeks before the defense date in a hardcopy format.

Students must notify the Graduate School of their defense date and provide announcement information 2 weeks before the defense date.

After the thesis is revised and finalized, students must submit a bound copy to all jury members who prefer to have one.

Forms Required: * Please see Ph.D. Milestones for committee for thesis defense forms:


Except for official holidays when the University is closed, graduate students are expected to be on campus fulfilling their degree requirements. During summer months graduate students who are on scholarships can take paid vacation (maximum two weeks) upon the recommendation of their advisors and the program coordinator. Otherwise they all have to be on campus.

Long-Term Leave of Absence: Students may hold their studies up to two consecutive semesters with the approval of their advisor, program coordinator and the graduate office. Their stipends will also be on hold in these terms.  Students who would like to expand their hold beyond two consecutive semesters will have to consult with the program coordinator and the graduate school and students may lose their stipends and benefits and may be subject to pay registration fee.


All students are appointed as TA and RA in the beginning of each semester. Please find the TA/RA regulations set by the graduate school enclosed. Please note that the task found in the enclosed is not exhaustive. TA Duties are graded under TEACH 500 course. Students must be enrolled every semester.

RA Spring assignments will continue in the summer months unless indicated otherwise.


All GSSSH students are expected to be present for proctoring exams (including make up and amnesty exams) of the courses they are assigned to. They may also be asked to proctor exams for courses, which they are not assigned to as TAs. These extra proctoring assignments would not exceed 4 per academic year. Proctoring assignment will be done centrally by the graduate office. Proctoring may be necessary on weekends, late evenings, or times outside of regular hours.


All grievances should be first communicated to the program coordinators.