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Brasão da PUC-Rio

Graduate Program in International Relations

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+55 21 3527-1557
+55 21 3527-1558

Instituto de Relações Internacionais
Rua Marquês de São Vicente, 225
Vila dos Diretórios, casa 20.  Gávea, Rio de Janeiro - RJ

Office hours:
9:00am to 12:00pm and
2:00pm to 4:00pm 

General Information

Program Overview

The Graduate Program in International Relations offered by the International Relations Institute of PUC-Rio is composed by a Master's and a Doctoral course. These two courses, with distinct characteristics from the standpoint of the required time for their achievement and the level of demand and degree that each intends to achieve, are intrinsically linked to each other in terms of teaching and research, forming a common curriculum structure and a unique research program.


The Master's course in International Relations aims at training professionals specialized in International Politics capable of producing and multiplying knowledge in this area.

The Doctoral course in International Relations aims at training researchers in the International Relations field with an ample theoretical and substantive knowledge in this area.


The International Relations Graduate Program’s history began in 1987 when the Institute, having completed approximately seven years since its creation – years dedicated to the institutionalization of the International Relations study area within the Brazilian university and the institutionalization of the Institute itself – created a Master’s Program in International Relations. Right from that year’s first semester the Program incorporated its first class. Following CAPES’ recognition by granting the “Master's Course in International Relations in Implementation Stage”, scholarships from CAPES and CNPq funding agencies were offered to students, thus allowing them to engage full-time in the Program’s activities.

Concurrently, the International Relations Research Program has strengthened  itself with the establishment of thematic lines with higher definition and specialization levels in terms of its object of study and of the employed  theoretical-methodological instruments.

In the following years, IRI proceeded on increasingly integrating research and teaching, through a permanent revaluation of its investigation lines, of its individual research projects and of the curriculum of its Master course. In the second semester of 1999, IRI implemented a Complementation Studies Course (sequential course) at the undergraduate level, which gave the Institute increased legitimacy in the heart of the country’s academic community and contributed to an advance towards the institutionalization of International Relations study area. Finally, in 2002, a bachelor in International Relations was inaugurated.

In terms of human resources, IRI, after its initial years as a program with faculty  members coming from different academic backgrounds within the social sciences field, opted to favor the incorporation of professors with a Doctoral Degree in International Relations obtained in foreign universities into its faculty.

After this period, in which the Institute witnessed, as whole, the consolidation of the Program’s knowledge area and, having in view the incorporation of professors with a Doctoral Degree in International Relations from leading European and American universities, a Doctoral course was created in the second semester of 2001, thus offering the student community a complete education in the field through a Program awarded grade 5 by the CAPES evaluation.

Concentration areas and lines of research

Concentration Area: International Politics
Line of Research 1: Architecture of the International System

The New Architecture of the Decisional Arena of Brazilian Foreign Policy: Impacts on International Cooperation in the Field of Mercosur and the CPLP (Community of Portuguese Language Countries) 2009-2012

Coordinator: Leticia de Abreu Pinheiro

Description: The overall objective is to contribute to the study of the relation between decision-making process of Brazilian foreign policy in its presumed new architecture and its impact on the content of this policy. To this end, without the expense of research on the performance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which remains a central actor in this universe, we investigate the role of other actors in the formulation of foreign policy, seeking to reflect the extent to which the content of the country’s foreign policy is influenced positively or negatively - by the action of other state agencies typically focused on different areas of expertise in international politics. In so doing, we intend to evaluate how subjects which are not traditionally associated with the foreign policy agenda currently help shape the Brazilian foreign policy. We also intend to evaluate how a new theme is brought to the foreign policy agenda, either by the agency responsible for its conduct, or by initiatives from other government agencies, in both cases evaluating its  impact on the foreign policy content, when promoting a new field for the country abroad.

Resistance and Transformation on the margins of the International System: the contribution of post-colonial critical thinking Theory 2009-2011

Coordinator: João Pontes Nogueira

Description: The research aims to advance the research on the alternative production of approaches of International Relations in places considered marginal in the geopolitics of knowledge, exploring the dialogue between critical theories of international and the growing literature of subaltern and postcolonial studies.

The impact of externalization of human rights standards in peripheral countries: the case of the relation between the European Union and South America 2009-2011

Coordinator: João Pontes Nogueira

Description:  This project examines the concepts, norms and practices through which human rights are promoted in peripheral regions of the international system in joint actions to promote peace and justice. More specifically, it analyzes how the European Union's ambition to extend its work on behalf of human rights beyond its borders is perceived and received externally in concrete situations in South America. In this sense, we want to assess the impact of such policies as well as its absorption, dialogue and/or resistance in certain contexts of intersection between State policy and threats to human rights. Whereas new dilemmas emerge from practices and contemporary concepts of human rights, the project’s focus will concentrate on two issues: processes of externalization of internal  security and freedom of movement; and the peacekeeping efforts in conflict regions.

Expansion, Renovation and Fragmentation of Agendas and Foreign
Policy Actors 2007-2013

Coordinator: Letícia de Abreu Pinheiro

Description: This project aims the construction of a research network bringing together researchers from nine different national and international institutions whose main goal is to investigate the performance of state agencies and non-state actors in areas that traditionally flee - or fled -  the field of foreign policy such as health, education, culture, etc.. The research focuses on the investigation of Brazilian reality, but also includes comparisons with the cases of Mexico, South Africa and India.

For more information about this project, please visit http://agendasdepoliticaexterna.com.br

Concentration Area: International Politics
Line of Research 2: Conflict, Violence and Peacemaking

Norms of the South American Security System (2012-2015)

Coordinator: Monica Herz

Description: The research studies the process of security border definition, the concept of security and security threats with reference to the social space in which the use of violence or threat of violence confers specificity to social relations.

Human Rights, State of exception and war on terror

Coordinator: José María Gómez

Description: The Project seeks: 1) examine the advances and retreats of the international regime of Human Rights in a global and American scale, in the matter of security (with emphasis in humanitarian matters, terrorism and migration), democracy and poverty/inequality; 2) elaborate in a chronological manner the indicated aspects, from the collection and selection of material and relevant information provided by different sources (international institutions, international NGOs, media, etc..);  3) follow the theoretical and conceptual developments in the contemporary debate on human rights, focusing on privileged aspects.

Emerging powers and Peace operations: norms, motivations and contributions 2008-2012

Coordinator: Kai Michael Kenkel

Description: The project aims to analyze the determinants of emerging powers conduct in peace operations, as well as the participation of Brazil in MINUSTAH.

Scholarship from PUC-Rio

Brazilian International Insertion and Peace Missions: a new paradigm of peacebuilding as a specialized policy niche 2010-2012

Coordinator: Kai Michael Kenkel

Description: The project aims to identify the role of peace operations as venues for the amplification of Brazil's international profile. Based on the functionalist approach to the role of middle powers, modified for the category of middle powers, the project aims at the elaboration of concrete elements for Brazilian policymakers, for the development of a Brazilian model of peacebuilding to serve as "diplomacy" niche for the country in the context of peace operations. The project is focused on two levels: the concentration of national effort within the country, based on whole-of-government approach in operative in other countries, and effectiveness in the field. Funding agency: Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA).

Research Network on Peace and Security 2007-2011

Coordinator: Paulo Esteves

Description:  This project brings together researchers from six universities in Brazil with a view to develop three areas of research, namely: 1) Security Agenda of Regional Organizations; 2) Connection between major powers and regional security contexts; 3) Analysis of conflicts and regional security in comparative perspective.

Humanitarian Action in Situations other than War (HASOW)

Coordinator: Paulo Esteves

Description: The Humanitarian Action in Situations other than War (HASOW) project is based at the International Relations Institute of the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (IRI-PUC) with support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The aim of HASOW is to comprehensively assess the dynamics of urban violence and the changing face of humanitarian action. Administered between 2011 and 2013, HASOW focuses on the dynamics of organized violence in urban settings, including Rio de Janeiro, Ciudad Juarez, Medellin and Port-au-Prince. The HASOW team includes five senior researchers and three research associates with multi-disciplinary training.

Further information on the HASOW project can be obtained at: http://www.hasow.org

Concentration Area: International Politics
Line of Research 3: Globalization, Governance and Development

Global Politics, Human Rights and Transnational Justice

Coordinator: José María Gómez

Description:The project intends to analyze the politics of transitional justice, applied (or not) by successive post-dictatorial governments (1985-2011) in relations to the violations perpetrated by military regime (1964-1985) in light of changes in the international context (global and regional), the contributions and strategic interactions of key actors, and consequences of political, legal and socio-cultural framework of the democratic regime and rule of law.

Transnational third worlds: rumors and the protection of refugees in spaces of exclusion and territorial seclusion 2010-2011

Coordinator: Carolina Moulin Aguiar

Description: This research project aims to analyze the link between the humanitarian policy of protection of refugees and intervention strategies and coordination of these groups in areas of territorial exclusion of peripheral states. It takes as space of research the dynamics of refugee populations in the Brazilian context, in particular the African refugee community in slum areas in the city of Rio de Janeiro, and the organizations of internally displaced populations (IDPs) in the triple border between Brazil, Colombia and Peru in the Alto Solimões, State of Amazonas. Through ethnography of the daily life of these groups, the project seeks to analyze how practices of orality, the proliferation of rumors in particular, allow not only to articulate a sense of community, but to respond and challenge the central assumptions of the international framework of regulation and protection of forced human displacement.

Research Laboratory of the BRICS Countries IRI/PUC-Rio 2010-2012

Coordinator: João Pontes Nogueira

Description: The proposed project concerns the multidisciplinary study of the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa - in parallel with the establishment of a center of the BRICS countries at PUC-Rio. Through investments in physical infrastructure for research, three facilities were established: BRICS lab, multimedia room and coordination room, the project aims to develop multidisciplinary research on the BRICS  countries in areas considered relevant from the point of increased cooperation possibilities and information exchange among the five countries.

For more information: http://bricspolicycenter.org/homolog

The cosmopolitics of the emigrant 2011-2012

Coordinator: Carolina Moulin Aguiar

Description: This research project seeks to articulate three elements to the contemporary global process, namely the cosmopolitan, the emergence of the emigrants as a figure/political subject and the conformation of a possible post-international order. The research question is limited to the following terms: how does the emergence of the emigrant figure in the global politics demonstrate the tensions and possibilities of confluence between a post-international order and cosmopolitan one? To what extent the control emigration strategies from the origin countries and political intervention in transnationally organized emigrant communities’ reconfigurations between authority-sovereignty- territory and the potential establishment of a post-national and cosmopolitan citizenship.

Observatory on democracy, citizenship and Human Rights in Latin America 2010-2014

Coordinator: José María Gómez

Description: The project proposes to assess the condition and quality of democracy and human rights of citizenship in seven Latin American countries (Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil), from a comparative perspective and focusing on a series of themes (violence, inequality, institutions, social movements, corruption) that organize the work plan for the next four years. Funding agency: CNPq

Global City and Social Technology 2009-2012

Coordinator: Pedro Claudio Cunca

Description:  Research on the impact of globalization in large cities specially in periphery areas.

South-South Cooperation: Insertion Policies of Brazil and China

Coordinator: Adriana Abdenur

Description: This project aims to analyze, in comparison, Brazil and China’s insertion policies of in Lusophone Africa, and more specifically the official cooperation that these countries have been developing with the government of Mozambique. The project aims to clarify several issues that, given the increasing role of "emerging" countries as donors or partners in international development, bring repercussions not only for Mozambique but also for South-South cooperation and to the field of International Development as a whole.

Recognition of the Course

Master’s and Doctoral Degrees

CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Eduction Personnel; from Brazilian Ministry of Education) evaluation: grade 6 (in a 3 to 7 scale) for the 2010-2012 period.
Approved by the CNE/CES MEC n.288/2015 of July 08, 2015.
Granted degrees: Master and/or Doctor in International Relations

Requirements for obtaining the Master’s and Doctoral degrees



Admission and Enrollment


The program requires that applicants have:

 Selection process:



The program requires that applicants have:

Selection process:


The selection process notice that establishes each year the admission rules is always published in the month of August so that the selection occurs between the months of November and December for admission in March of the following year.