The Master of Arts in International Studies is an academically rigorous, thesis-driven, two-year program focused on social analysis and justice issues. Students today are confronted by complex world events such as the long "war on terror", global climate change, transitions to capitalism among post-communist societies, recurrent economic crises, and the exclusions effected through stigma, symbolic violence, and systematic misrecognition. Traditional economics and international relations theory has failed to offer insightful analyses or solutions for many of these developments.  The interdisciplinary field of international studies is uniquely situated to analyze this increasingly complex world, challenge conventional wisdom, and train students to find creative solutions.

The curriculum allows the flexibility of integrating multiple disciplines with training in critical theory and a rigorous thesis-driven program. Students investigate the underlying assumptions and histories of contemporary issues and analyze scholarship using approaches from critical social and cultural theory, and international political economy.

Program Features

Interdisciplinary Curriculum

Our curriculum includes content from many areas, including international economics, political science, world history, geography, area studies, sociology and anthropology. While our program has full-time faculty dedicated to international studies, we also draw on faculty members from other departments to provide students with a rich, varied, and robust curriculum.


Our program has been carefully structured to provide our students with the best possible preparation for thesis research during the second year of study, an opportunity becoming increasingly rare in masters programs. As they progress through the program, students develop a tutorial relationship with an individual faculty member who will serve as the student’s thesis advisor. For self-driven students with interests in a particular question, or who plan to apply to a PhD program, the thesis requirement is a major asset of the program.

Orientation Towards Social Justice

Our coursework challenges students to analyze the multiple ways in which inequality and oppression work and to strategize for social change in a way that bridges theory and practice. As the program progresses, students are expected to develop socially responsible ethical frameworks that are informed by historical consciousness of transnational contexts; these, in turn inform their research.

Post-graduate Opportunities

Because the program encompasses such a broad range of disciplines, the employment opportunities associated with the program are diverse and far-reaching. Many students go on to PhD work, well-prepared for research and writing at the doctoral level. Other graduates find jobs within nonprofits, international non-governmental organizations, and a range of international diplomatic entities.

The MA in International Studies may also be expanded to include select graduate certificate programs covering particular areas of interest.  Students participating in a combined MA/certificate program should consult with their academic advisor to determine what coursework might count toward both programs.  A separate application process for the certificate is required.  Students who are interested in any of the following combination programs should contact the Graduate Student Services Office for additional information.

  • International Studies + Global Health Certificate
  • International Studies + Metropolitan Planning and Development
  • International Studies + Community Development
  • International Studies + Social Research Certificate
  • International Studies + Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Certificate
  • International Studies + Women’s and Gender Studies Certificate
  • International Studies + Social and Cultural Foundations in Education Certificate
Degree Requirements 48 hours
   Total hours required    48 hours