Graduate Programs

Master of International Political Economy of Resources

Our graduate students learn about the intersection between international economics and politics with a focus on natural resources, including water, oil and gas, and minerals. In discussion-oriented classes, graduates strengthen their analytical, writing, and presentational skills. With an understanding of the global political economy and other cultures, graduates will be ready to work abroad.  Students can take courses in other departments at Mines and engage in collaborative efforts across campus.

The curriculum includes several core areas or courses:

  • International Political Economy: Theories and Methods
  • International Political Economy of Regions (Asia, Latin America, the Middle East & North Africa, Russia & Eurasia, and Sub-Saharan Africa)
  • Natural Resources and Development
  • Security Studies and Resources
  • International Political Risk Assessment
  • Quantitative Methods for the Social Sciences

The graduate program is ideally suited for:

  • Recent graduates of engineering and applied science programs.
  • Social science and business majors interested in resources and international relations.
  • Mid-level corporate professionals, government civil servants, and military officers seeking higher education.
  • Part-time students who are consultants or who have retired, but would like to update and expand their knowledge of today’s complex modern global economic system.

Miper's Foundation

The program’s philosophical foundations are built on the twin pillars of applying key methods and theories of International Political Economy (IPE) and Comparative Political Economy (CPE) to understanding the role of the world’s resources in the context of the human and natural environment.

IPE examines the intersections of politics and economy in interstate, regional, and global settings.

CPE compares the effects of globalization, economic and resource development on three types of economies: developed, newly industrialized and less developed.

What is International Political Economy?

Economic globalization has fundamentally changed the way we live: the way corporations conduct business, the way countries construct and implement their social and economic development strategies, the way engineers design products, and the role individuals play in the global economy.

New organizational structures are emerging: from regional-markets and regional-states in Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Russia and Eurasia, and Sub-Saharan Africa to the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and even the United Nations. New interlinked and interdependent global systems are being forged and are flourishing. Traditional paradigms fail to explain fully the complex realities of the contemporary world.

International Political Economy (IPE) provides new, integrated, and flexible ways of conceptualizing, analyzing, interpreting, and generalizing the contemporary world. IPE is an applied social science that builds on the theoretical, empirical, and analytical approaches and methods of political science, economics, sociology,anthropology, geography, and history. At Colorado School of Mines (Mines), the faculty combines both IPE and comparative political economy (CPE) to provide methodological flexibility and at the same time, breadth, depth, and diversity in our curriculum and research agenda.

Program Objectives

The objective of the Graduate Program in the HASS Division will be to develop students’ analytical skills on issues related to:

  • The interaction between resources and economic and political development.
  • Regional and global security as it affects the resource industries.
  • Political risks corporations face when expanding abroad.
  • International trade and investment flows and resource production and consumption.
  • International organizations, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and regional integration agreements,
  • such as the European Union, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the Southern African Development Community.

Residing in the Division of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, the graduate program incorporates culture into IPE analysis. Culture defines the perimeters of society, informs political and economic activities and institutions, and even shapes inter-state relations with close and distant neighbors. This cultural component imparts new perspectives and increases the decision-making skills of our graduate students.

Program Requirements

Students in the graduate program must complete 12 courses (36 credit hours), including five core courses and a minimum of five approved elective courses. Students work closely with their advisors to ensure they develop a cohesive program to meet their specific career needs.

Students may choose a thesis or non-thesis track; the thesis track requires the Graduate Student Director’s written approval before the student can begin research. Thesis students complete a minimum of 6 credit hours of research, while non-thesis students select an additional two approved elective courses. Upon admission and with the Director’s approval, students may transfer up to 6 credit hours of previous coursework; the courses must have been completed within seven years prior to enrolling in our graduate program.

Non-thesis option

  • 15 credits: 5 core courses
  • 21 credits: 7 approved elective courses

Thesis option

  • 15 credits: 5 core courses
  • 15 credits: 5 approved elective courses
  • 6 credits: thesis preparation and writing

The graduate degree and IPE certificates may be completed as part of a combined undergraduate-graduate program by students already matriculated as undergraduate students at Colorado School of Mines, or by individuals already holding undergraduate or advanced degrees.

Student Opportunities

MIPER graduates are well-rounded professionals

MIPER graduates present employers with an exceptional opportunity to hire professionals who deeply understand international and global contexts. Our graduates are equipped with analytical decision-making skills that provide an understanding of the interaction between governments and their economies, especially in terms of its effect on natural resources development, government behavior, corporate policy, and country political risks.

MIPER graduates uniquely offer employers:

  • Familiarity with methods of risk analysis and mitigation in national and international settings
  • Knowledge of security-related issues
  • Knowledge of broad geopolitical issues;
  • Ability to operate effectively in multi-cultural and international environments
  • Problem solving and skills
  • Understanding of natural resources in political, economic, and social contexts
  • Knowledge of issues related to corporate governance and corporate social responsibility
  • Analytic skills to assess and propose solutions to complex problems in the global political economy


MIPER graduates are working for:

  • American Chamber of Commerce, Indonesia
  • Black and Veatch
  • CDM
  • Cemex
  • China’s petroleum industry
  • Compassion by the Book
  • Dot Hill Systems
  • Electricity Utility Consultants, Inc. (EUCI)
  • ExxonMobil
  • Gold Fields Exploration
  • International Peril Mitigation Services
  • Korea Mine Reclamation Corporation, South Korea
  • Level 3 Communications, Inc.
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Marston/Golder Mining Consultants
  • Ramsay International & Behre Dolbear Environmental Services
  • RMB Resources
  • Sanjel USA, Inc.
  • SGI
  • Shell International Exploration & Production
  • The United States Army
  • VEI Global Business Development
  • Wm T Welch Company
  • Wood McKenzie
  • MIPER graduates have also gone on to Ph.D. programs in China and the U.S.


IPE Certificate Program

The IPE Graduate Certificate program is divided into two parts: (1) the first 15-credit hour certificate focuses on the IPE theories, methods, and models; and (2) the second 15-credit hour certificate focuses on specialization, such as regional development (Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Africa, Eurasia and the Middle East), international or comparative political economy issues and project-specific themes such as trade, finance, the environment, gender, and ethnicity. Admissions requirements are the same as for the degree program.  Please see the MIPER director for more information.

The graduate degree and IPE certificates may be completed as part of a combined undergraduate-graduate program by students already matriculated as undergraduate students at Colorado School of Mines, or by individuals already holding undergraduate or advanced degrees.

Graduate Individual Minor

A 12 credit-hour minor for graduate students pursuing degrees in other Mines academic units. Please contact either an HASS faculty member with whom you are interested in working or the director of the HASS graduate program. The Graduate Individual Minor must be approved by the student’s graduate committee and by the HASS Division.