Masters in International Studies

The MA program is designed to prepare students for careers in government, the private sector, or international agencies, or for doctoral studies.

The College of Arts and Sciences offers certificate programs in African-New World Studies, Asian Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Transnational and Regional Studies, among other. The graduate program encourages its MA students to pursue regional certification in conjunction with their work in the MA program.

The following is a brief summary of program requirements. For more information, see the IR Graduate Program Handbook.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the MA program, applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 in upper-level work, or its equivalent, from a recognized institution of higher education. International graduate student applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit a score for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A total score of 80 on the iBT TOEFL or 6.5 overall on the IELTS is required. Admissions requirements are minimums and even if the minimums are met, admission is not assured.

Degree Requirements

The MA program requires a minimum of 36 semester hours of credit at the graduate level. Undergraduate courses taken to satisfy prerequisites for graduate courses will not count toward the 36 hour minimum requirement. The Graduate Advisory Committee may approve the transfer of a maximum of six graduate credits earned at another recognized institution of higher education.

Core Sequence (15 credits)

All MA students must complete a core sequence of five courses (15 credits).

These courses are:

  • GEO 6473 Space, Place and Identity
  • INR 6706 Political Economy of International Relations
  • INR 5609 Contemporary Dynamics of International Relations
  • INR 5615 Research Design in International Relations
  • INR 5017 Approaches to Area Studies

Major Field (9 credits)

MA students also must select a major field of study in (1) Global Institutions and Issues, or (2) Foreign Policy and Securities Studies, by taking three courses (9 credits) from an extensive list of approved courses in the social sciences. Students must take at least two courses offered by the Department of International Relations to satisfy the field requirement. Click here for a list of INR courses listed by field.

Electives (6 credits)

To satisfy the program’s elective requirement, students must take two additional courses (6 credits) from the field lists. Students wishing to elect other graduate-level courses offered by the University may do so with permission of the Graduate Director.

Thesis and Alternatives (6 credits)

To complete degree requirements, MA students have the option of (a) writing a thesis or (b) taking a comprehensive examination. Before electing any of these options, students must demonstrate competence in the use of a foreign language other than English.

Any student electing (a) to write a thesis will normally take 6 credit hours of thesis supervision and prepare a thesis proposal subject to the approval of three members of the University graduate faculty. A graduate faculty member of the Department of International Relations must chair any thesis committee thus constituted. No thesis may be approved until the writer has defended it in a public examination. Any student electing (b) to take a comprehensive examination must have 6 semester hours of course work in preparation for the exam. One half of the comprehensive examination will cover the core sequence of courses, and the other half will cover the student’s major field.