Brief Background of the Department of International Relations

The University of Yangon (formerly Rangoon) is the oldest and the most renowned university in Myanmar.  To prepare for setting up a Department for International Relations in 1955 many Myanmar scholars were sent to visit the most famous universities in the United Kingdom and the United States to observe their courses on International Relations.  At the same time, advice was taken from selected Myanmar scholars from the University’s own Department of Modern History and Political Science, the most relevant department to inform International Relations. In 1958, a Board of Studies for International Relations was officially formed with professors from the Departments of Modern History and Political Science, Geography, Geology, Social Science and with other visiting foreign professors.  The first two-year post graduate programme for International Relations was introduced in the Department of Modern History and Political Science which came under the Social Science faculty at the University of Rangoon. Later, the post graduate diploma programme in International Relations was extended to offer a Bachelor’s degree programme, Bachelor Honors degree programme and Master’s programme. The medium of instruction was English, as in all courses at the University.

In 1964, in the context of a new education plan, all courses taught in the English language had to be offered in Myanmar language.  Some of the subjects offered at the University were impossible to teach in Myanmar language so they were suspended. International Relations was one of the subjects suspended at the then Rangoon University of Arts and Science (RASU).

Fortunately in 1982-1983 a new policy for higher education came in, stipulating that all disciplines at university and college levels were to be offered in English language except Myanmar literature. Consequently, International Relations was reintroduced at the university, having been suspended for fifteen years.  Many senior lecturers from the Department of History at RASU and Mandalay University were selected to study the teaching methodology, curricula and contents of syllabi concerning International Relations subjects at universities in Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan. During the vacation period of 1983, a refresher training course for International Relations was conducted for young faculty members under the intensive guidance of senior Professors and lecturers at RASU.Departments of International Relations were reintroduced in 1983 at RASU and Mandalay University. Demand for International Relations subject was high despite limited human resources in the departments of both universities.   So, each university accepted 100 students who were selected based on two criteria: a high total in their matriculation exam and 65 for English.  Then every selected student had to sit for an interview and a psychological test.  Students who were admitted to study International Relations earned a high total score and the subject was rated highly, alongside other subjects such as medicine, technology and economics in Myanmar.The Thirty Year Education Plan was introduced in the academic year 1995-1996, with the combination system:  a combination of arts subjects and a combination of science subjects for high school students, especially for Grades 8, 9 and 10. Under the 8 sets of combinations for the matriculation exam, only those students who took History at Grade 9 and Grade 10 could apply for International Relations.   The combination system was a barrier for some subjects at university level education.From 1996 to 2011, the Department of International Relations’ intake was low and few students graduated.  Students were also reluctant to take this subject because of the language barrier.  Following democratisation in Myanmar in 2011-2012, the combination system was decentralized with some minor restrictions and students who passed their matriculation exam with an all arts combination could apply to read International Relations.

A PhD programme in International Relations was introduced in 1999. From 1999 to April 2017, the Department of International Relations produced 49 PhD degree holders, in various fields of International Relations.  The Department is currently staffed by 26 faculty members, running both  International  Relations and Political Science disciplines.

A new undergraduate interdisciplinary course, B.A (ASEAN Studies), was introduced with the support of all arts subjects.  It extended its area of study to Southeast Asia and the Pacific (SEAP) and about 120 students obtained B.A (SEAP Studies) in 2005-2006 before that degree programme was unfortunately suspended.

To fulfil the needs of community and State, a post graduate Diploma in International Relations (DIR) was launched in 2003.  A Diploma in Political Science (DPS) was introduced in June 2013 at the request of the Hluttaws (Parliaments) and public.

Following the significant change in 2012 when the University of Yangon reopened for undergraduate classes, the Department of International Relations offered a new discipline, Political Science.  Criteria for student selection for the two courses now offered differ.  International Relations requires a total score of 470 in the matriculation exam, and 65 for English.  Aspiring Political Science students must have total of 420 in their matriculation exam, and 60 for English. Hopefully, a new selection policy will be introduced as the university gains greater autonomy under higher education reforms since 2013.

The Department of International Relations is currently headed by Professor Dr Chaw Chaw Sein, since 2006.

Dr Yin Myo Thu Professor

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Dr Thida Aung Professor

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Dr Tin Tin Mar Associate Professor

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Dr Khin Ma Ma Myo Associate Professor

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Dr. San San Khine Associate Professor

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Dr.Yin Yin Kyi Lecturer

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Dr. Mi Win Htwe Lecturer

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Dr. Nu Nu Shwe Lecturer

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Dr. Sai Khaing Myo Tun Lecturer

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Dr. Amy Than Lecturer

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Dr. Tin Tin Aye Lecturer

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Dr. Myint Zu Win Lecturer

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Daw Lwin Cho Latt Lecturer

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Dr Hlya Myo Than Lecturer

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Dr. Wah Wah Aung Lecturer

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Dr. Oak Soe San Assistant Lecturer

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Daw Thaingi Khin Htwe Assistant Lecturer

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Daw Tin Zar Myo Win Assistant Lecturer

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Daw Zar Ni Htet Assistant Lecturer

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Daw Ei Ei Htwe Tutor

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U Ye Min Htay Tutor

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Daw Phyo Phyo Wai Tutor

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Daw May Zin Win Tutor

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U Hein Myat Thu Tutor

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Research Projects under the Department of Higher Education since 2010

  1. A Decade of Myanmar-China Trade Relations (1998-2008)
  2. The Role of US in Northeast Asia after the Cold War
  3. ASEAN-Japan Economic Relations in the Post Cold War Era
  4. Political Problems and Challenges in Pakistan
  5. Patterns of Indonesia’s Foreign Policy (1945-2009)
  6. Globalization Impact on Myanmar’s Culture
  7. Asian’s Efforts to Combat Terrorism
  8. Relations between Japan and New ASEAN Members
  9. Analyzing Myanmar’s Democratic Transition in the Regional Context

 

Departmental Research Projects since 2010

  1. International Response to Iran Nuclear Issue
  2. Financial Crises and Impacts on Global Economy
  3. The Role of Japan in the Middle East Conflict
  4. Community Resilience in Climate Change Adaption in Ayeyarwaddy Delta
  5. Bringing the Excellence Back In: Challenges, Tasks and Strategies of Higher Education Reform in the New Myanmar

 

Asia Research Projects (ARC) since 2010

  1. A Comparative Study of the Status of Women between Republic of Korea and Myanmar
  2. Myanmar’s Cooperation in the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)
  3. Myanmar-Singapore Relations
  4. Myanmar’s Reform and Its Impact on Myanmar-China Relations
  5. Foreign Investment in Oil and Gas sector in Myanmar
  6. Indo-US Relations: Indo-US Nuclear Deal and Its Impact

 

Research Projects in Universities Research Journal since 2010

  1. Trade Policy Reforms in Myanmar (1988-2010)
  2. Assessing Foreign Aid Policy Orientation towards Myanmar

 

Research Projects in Yangon University Research Journal

  1. Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III) in Territorial Sea Making: Myanmar
  2. The Taiwan Issue in Sino-US Relations
  3. A Study on China’s Strategies towards Southeast Asia
  4. Rehabilitation in Nargis Cyclone Affected Areas in Ayeyarwaddy Region
  5. Bandwaggoning on Rising Regional Powers: A Study on Geostrategic Position of Myanmar between China and India
  6. Refugee Issues in the Context of Myanmar-Thai Relations
  7. Nation Building Theory: A Case Study in Myanmar
  8. Myanmar Thai Cooperation since 1988: Drug Issues
  9. Myanmar Efforts to Control Illicit Drugs 1998-2015

 

Research Projects in Myanmar Academy of Arts and Science Research Journal (MAAS) since 2010

  1. The Sunshine Policy and the Process of Korea Reunification
  2. The Role of UNEP Environmental Issues: Climate Change
  3. The Role of INGOs for the Development of Health Sector in Myanmar: Save the Children (Myanmar)
  4. ASEAN Cooperation in Transportation towards Regional Integration
  5. Global Food Security in the 21st Century
  6. The Significance of UN Conferences on Climate Change
  7. Economic Development of Vietnam: Integration into Global Economy since 1997
  8. The Spratly Islands Dispute
  9. Global Water Scarcity in the 21st Century
  10. Myanmar-US Relations before & after 2010
  11. Japan’s Bid to UN Security Council Reform
  12. Natural Disaster Management in Southeast Asia
  13. Myanmar-China Tourism Development Cooperation
  14. Myanmar-IMF Relations: Channeling the Reform Momentum
  15. Myanmar – Japan Relations (1962-1974)
  16. Myanmar-Thai Cooperation in Migrant Workers Issues
  17. Defence Policy Priorities of China and India: Implication for Myanmar
  18. Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Development Assistance to Myanmar after 2010
  19. The Closer Cooperation between Myanmar and Thailand in the Context of Dawei Special Economic Zone Project
  20. A Study on Myanmar News in International Media (2010-2015)
  21. Myanmar’s Political Reform under the New Civilian Government and Its Impact on Myanmar-China Relations
  22. Changing European Union Policy on Myanmar after 2010
  23. Japan’s Search for Normalcy: Japan’s Policy in Southeast Asia after the Cold War

 

Research Projects Published in International Research Journals since 2010

  1. Political Relations between Myanmar and India
  2. Institutions in Myanmar’s 2015 Election: Union Election Commission , International Agencies and the Military
  3. Myanmar Foreign Policy under New Government: Changes and Prospects
  4. Conflict Management and Peace Making in Myanmar: Efforts and Effects
  5. Myanmar’s Reforms and Opening the New Chapter with Japan
  6. Myanmar Peace Process Beyond the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement 2015
  7. A Comparative Study of State-led Development in Myanmar (1988-2010) and Suharot’s Indonesia: A Developmental State Theory
  8. Politics of Development in Myanmar (1988-2009): Comparison with Indonesia under Suharto’s New Order
  9. Assessing the Context of Governance and Developmental State in Myanmar (1988-2010)
  10. State Building in Myanmar (1988-2010) and Suharto’s Indonesia: A Study of Building a Democratic Developmental State in Myanmar

 

Selected Ph D Dissertations at the Department of International Relations since 2011

  1. Myanmar- Israel Relations Since 1954
  2. Economic Integration in East Asia Community
  3. Myanmar’s Endeavour to Ensure Food Security Since 1988
  4. Myanmar-Japan Economic Cooperation
  5. Cooperation between Myanmar and ASEAN for Social Development
  6. The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care in Myanmar
  7. Cooperation in Drug Control in Golden Triangle Region Since 1988
  8. A Comparative Study of China and Japan’s Developmental Assistance Towards Myanmar Since 1988
  9. Development of Myanmar Marine Sector After 1988
  10. Myanmar Participation in the Non-Aligned Movement Since 1961
  11. Democratization and Its Implications in Myanmar
  12. The Role of UNHCR in Conflict Management in Northern Rakhine State

1. Regional & International Organizations
2. Gender and Politics
3. Peace and Security
4. Foreign Policy & Foreign Relations
5. Comparative Politics
6. Governance and Public Policy

Inbound and outbound students

The year of 2013 is a remarkable year for the University of Yangon with the reopening of undergraduate programmes, which have been closed since 1996 due to the political crisis under the military administration. However, Myanmar reintegrated into the international community by transforming the country into a democratic state with the seven-step of road map after 2010 general election. Since then, the University of Yangon (YU) has the great opportunity to cooperate with universities around the world. In the past, the student exchange program had been carried out only under the ASEAN University Network. Now, the YU has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with more than fifty universities from Australia, Japan, China, Korea, UK, and Germany etc. Under these MoU, several programmes such as student exchange, faculty exchange, seminars, workshops, research and visiting professor progammes are carried out.

There are several oversea students especially from China, Japan, and Korea learning Myanmar language at the Myanmarsar (Burmese) Department. Besides, there are also oversea students learning at the Department of IR under student exchange programme. The YU has been receiving inbound as well as sending outbound students since the University reopened for undergraduate programme in 2013. The list of outbound and inbound students of the Department of IR, YU can be seen as follows:

Table 1: List of outbound students

Source: Compiled by the author from student application

Table 2: List of Inbound students/researchers

Source: Compiled by the author from student enrolment at the department

Curriculum

Modules for International Relations Specialization and Political Science Specialization 

 

IR (First Year)

Semester I

IR 1101     International Relations in Political Thoughts I

IR 1102    Introduction to International Relations I

Semester II

IR 1103      International Relations in Political Thoughts II

IR 1104      Introduction to International Relations II

 

PS (First Year)

Semester I

PS 1101      Introduction to Political Institutions I

Semester II

PS 1102     Introduction to Political Institutions II

Modules for International Relations Specialization and Political Science Specialization

 

IR (Second Year)

Semester I

IR 2101      Elements of Political Institutions I

IR 2102     Governments & Politics of Southeast Asia I

IR 2103     Post Cold War International Relations

Semester II

IR 2104     Element of Political Institutions II

IR 2105     Governments & Politics of South East Asia II

IR 2106     Post World War II International Relations II

 

PS (Second Year)

Semester I
PS 2101     International Relations I

PS 2102    Democracies & Non Democracies I

PS 2013    Comparative Politics of Southeast Asia I

Semester II

PS 2104     International Relations II

PS 2105    Democracies & Non Democracies II

PS 2016    Comparative Politics of Southeast Asia II

Modules for International Relations Specialization and Political Science Specialization

 

IR (Third Year)

Semester I

IR 3101     Government and Politics of USA

IR 3102     Current Issues in International Relations

IR 3103     Government  and Politics of Myanmar

IR 3104     International Relations in Middle East I (Elective Course)

IR 3105     International Relations in Latin America I (Elective Course)

Semester II

IR 3106     Contemporary US Foreign Policy

IR 3107     European Union

IR 3108     Myanmar Foreign Relations since 1948

IR 3109     International Relations in Middle East II (Elective Course)

IR 3110     Environmental Issues (Elective Course)

 

PS (third Year)

Semester I

PS 3101     Government & Politics of Myanmar I

PS 3102     Foreign Policy I

PS 3103     Political Theories I

PS 3104     Political Economy I

PS 3105     Peace & Security I

Semester II

PS 3106     Government & Politics of Myanmar II

PS 3107      Foreign Policy II

PS 3108      Political Theories II

PS 3109      Political Economy II

PS 3110      Peace & Security II

 

Modules for International Relations Specialization and Political Science Specialization

 

IR (First Year – Honours)

Semester I

IR 3201      Governments and Politics    of USA

IR 3202     Current Issues in International Relations

IR 3203     Government  and Politics of Myanmar I

IR 3204     International Relations in Middle East I (Elective Course)

IR 3205     International Relations in Latin America I (Elective Course)

Semester II

IR 3206    Contemporary US Foreign Policy

IR 3207    European Union

IR 3208    Myanmar Foreign Relations since 1948

IR 3209    International Relations in Middle East II (Elective Course)

IR 3210    Environmental Issues (Elective Course)

 

PS (First Year – Honours)

Semester I

PS 3201     Government & Politics of Myanmar I

PS 3202    Foreign Policy I

PS 3203    Political Theories I

PS 3204    Political Economy I

PS 3205     Peace & Security I

Semester II

PS 3206     Government & Politics of Myanmar II

PS 3207     Foreign Policy II

PS 3208     Political Theories II

PS 3209     Political Economy II

PS 3210     Peace & Security II

Modules for International Relations Specialization and Political Science Specialization

 

IR (Second Year – Honours)

Semester I

IR 4201      Diplomacy I

IR 4202      International Relations of Southeast Asia

IR 4203      United Nations:

IR 4204      Governments & Politics of East Asia (Elective Course)

IR 4205      Myanmar – China Relations (Elective Course)

Semester II

IR 4206      Diplomacy II

IR 4207      ASEAN

IR 4208      United Nations: Human Development Activities

IR 4209      Governments & Politics of South Asia (Elective Course)

IR 4210       Myanmar – India Relations (Elective Course)

 

PS (Second Year – Honours)

Semester I

PS 4201      Research Design and Method

PS 4202     Conflict Resolution I

PS 4203     Public Policy

PS 4204     Myanmar Foreign Policy & Foreign Relations I

PS 4205     Global Politics I

Semester II

PS 4206     Research Design and Method: Research Project

PS 4207     Conflict Resolution II

PS 4208    Public Administration

PS 4209    Myanmar Foreign Policy & Foreign Relations II

PS 4210     Global Politics II

 

Modules for International Relations Specialization and Political Science Specialization

 

IR (Third Year Honours & Qualifying)

Semester I

IR 5201    Conflict Management & Conflict Resolution I

IR 5202    Research Design & Method

IR 5203    Geopolitics in International Relations I

IR 5204    National Security & Human Security I

Semester II

IR5205 Conflict Management & Conflict Resolution II

IR    5206 Research Design & Method: Research Project

IR    5207 Geopolitics in International Relations II

IR    5208 National Security & Human Security II

 

PS (Third Year Honours & Qualifying)

Semester I

PS    5201 Media & Politics I

PS    5202 Gender & Politics I

PS    5203 European Politics I

PS    5204 American Politics I

PS    5205 National Security & Human Security I

PS    5206 Identity Issues in the Asia Pacific I

Semester II

PS    5207 Media & Politics II

PS    5208 Gender & Politics II

PS    5209 European Politics II

PS    5210 American Politics II

PS    5211 National Security & Human Security II

PS    5212 Identity Issues in the Asia Pacific II

 

Modules for International Relations Specialization and Political Science Specialization

 

IR (Fourth Year)

Semester I

IR 4101     Diplomacy I

IR 4102    Research Design & Method

IR 4103     International Relations Theories

IR 4104    Governments & Politics of East Asia (Elective Course)

IR 4105     Myanmar – China Relations (Elective Course)

Semester II

IR 4106     Diplomacy II

IR 4107     ASEAN

IR 4108     United Nations

IR 4109    Governments & Politics of South Asia (Elective Course)

IR 4110     Myanmar – India Relations (Elective Course)

 

PS (Fourth Year)

Semester I

PS 4101    Research Design and Method

PS 4102    Conflict Resolution I

PS 4103    Public Policy

PS 4104    Myanmar Foreign Policy & Foreign Relations I

PS 4105    Global Politics I

Semester II

PS 4106    Research Design and Method: Research Project

PS 4107    Conflict Resolution II

PS 4108    Public Administration

PS 4109    Myanmar Foreign Policy & Foreign Relations II

PS 4110    Global Politics II

 

Modules for International Relations Specialization

(Master of Arts Degree)

 

IR (First Year)

Semester I

IR 611      International Relations of Asia Pacific I

IR 612     Major Issues in International Relations

IR 613     International Relations: Theories and Approaches

IR 614     International Political Economy I

Semester II

IR 621      International Relations of Asia Pacific II

IR 622     International Relations of Central Asia

IR 623     Globalization: Ecological Issues

IR 624     International Political Economy II

 

IR (Second Year)

Semester I

IR 631    Research Progress Report

IR 632   Research & Seminar

Semester II

Research

 

PS (First Year)

Semester I

Semester II

*Modules for Political Science specialization are being discussed.

 

PS (Second Year)

Semester I

Semester II

*Modules for Political Science specialization are being discussed.

 

Modules for International Relations Specialization

(PhD Preliminary Course)

 

Ph D

Preliminary

IR 711       Myanmar Foreign Policy

IR 712      United Nations and Myanmar

IR 713      Regional Development in Asia

IR 714      Treaties, Agreements & Conventions

Modules for Diploma in International Relations (DIR)

DIR

Semester I

D IR Module I      Elements of International Relations I

D IR Module II     Elements of Political Institutions  I

DIR Module III     Diplomacy I

D IR Module IV    Current Issues in  International Relations I

 

Semester II

D IR Module V     Elements of International Relations II

D IR Module VI     Elements of Political Institutions  II

DIR Module VII    Governments of Southeast Asia

D IR Module V III  Current Issues in  International Relations II

 

Modules for Diploma in Political Science (DPS)

Semester I

DPS  Module I      International Relations in Political Thought

DPS  Module II     Essentials of International Relations

DPS  Module III     Comparative Politics

DPS  Module IV    Public Administration

 

Semester II

DPS  Module V     Foreign Policy Formulation

DPS  Module VI    Elements of Political Institutions

DPS  Module VII    Comparative Politics

DPS  Module VIII   Public Policy