International Business Graduate Degree Program Options

Oct 19, 2019

Essential Information

A student looking for a graduate degree program in international business can enroll in one that awards a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in International Business or a Doctor of Philosophy in International Business. Master's degrees require a bachelor's degree and may require prerequisite coursework. Ph.D. programs require a master's degree or prerequisite coursework from bachelor's students.

While both types of programs cover basic management practices, multinational business administration, public policy and statistical analysis, a master's degree program may also focus on business plans and foreign language. Internship experiences may be included.

Doctoral program learners could expand their knowledge in areas such as qualitative analysis, sociological research methods and economics. Learning might also take place in teaching assistantships. Students who complete these programs might go on to careers as general operations managers, analysts or college professors.

Master of Business Administration in International Business

Students can earn their international business degrees to work as general operations managers. Most Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees can be earned after one or two years of study and are usually open to all students with 4-year degrees. However, those whose degrees are in non-business areas will have to complete course prerequisites before continuing their studies, such as accounting, economics, statistical research and finance.

Some programs strongly encourage international business students to learn a widely spoken foreign language, such as Chinese, Spanish, German or Japanese. This coursework also explores the different cultures that graduates will interact with in the field.

After earning their MBA degrees, graduates will be able to forecast business trends and analyze international operations. Graduates will also be able to demonstrate strong written communication, statistical analysis and presentation skills. While coursework provides a foundation for these skill sets, students in an international MBA program put them to practice during internship experiences.

Foundational MBA courses explore accounting, management and organizational theory. The international business major will typically expand this study within the context of foreign cultures while learning about public policy, multinational corporations and organizational design. Other coursework includes:

  • International finance strategies
  • Corporate organization
  • Marketing and statistics
  • Foreign language
  • Business plans
  • International business research

Doctor of Philosophy in International Business

Graduate students earn doctorates in international business to work as management analysts or teachers. Ph.D. programs are usually open to students with master's degrees; however, students with only 4-year degrees may be able to enroll, provided they complete prerequisites during the first year of doctoral study.

While completing graduate courses, students learn how to analyze international business from an interdisciplinary perspective, taking into account culture, public policy, statistical data and management practices. Coursework may also explore sociology, political science and geography.

Before earning their Ph.D.s, students are also expected to develop their teaching and presentation skills through teaching assistantships. This experience is required to teach university students. It is also helpful for educating potential clients about the comparative trade advantages between nations or render professional opinions on international business operations. To develop these abilities, graduate students also complete coursework in linear statistics, econometrics and global business theory.

All doctorate candidates complete advanced mathematics courses, including those in statistical analysis, econometrics and multivariate analysis. Coursework also teaches students how to design research models, which may involve sociological and mathematical variables. Generally, international business majors complete the following courses:

  • Qualitative analysis
  • Economics
  • Sociological research methods
  • International business history
  • International corporate practices

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the demand for general operations managers would grow by 7% between 2018 and 2028 ( In 2018, general operations managers earned median wages of $100,930 . Earnings varied depending upon business experience, industry and specialization. Most positions in general operations management require baccalaureate or graduate degrees.

International business majors can also apply their knowledge as management analysts, who according to the BLS, earned median incomes of $83,610 in 2018. The BLS expected demand for analysts to increase by 14% between 2018 and 2028. Qualifications and earnings vary, but the minimum requirement for many positions is a 4-year degree. More specialized positions, however, may require a graduate degree.

The BLS indicated that the median salary of all college business instructors was $83,960 in 2018. It also noted that demand for college instructors in general should grow by 15% between 2018 and 2028. Demand in the field should be driven by the increasing number of college students. Those looking for tenured positions need a doctorate; however, only a master's degree is required for temporary or adjunct positions.

Graduate degree programs in international business are offered at both master's and doctorate levels. Areas of study such as foreign languages and economics will prepare students for careers within the international business environment.

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