International Trade Masters Degree Programs

Those interested in studying international trade at the graduate level can choose from the Master of Arts in International Trade and Investment Policy or the Master of Science in International Business and Economics. Learn about the requirements to enter these programs, common coursework to expect, and career expectations.

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Essential Information

International trade master's programs are typically offered as either an MA in International Trade or MS in International Business and Economics. Students are required to have a bachelor's degree in some related field before being admitted, in addition to satisfactory GRE scores, foreign language skills, and relevant work experience. Some programs also give students the opportunity to specialize in different subjects, like business, economic policy, and economic development.

These degree programs include studies of global financial markets and how they are affected by trade policies, monetary exchange rates, and tariffs. Graduates are prepared for careers in the expanding global marketplace as managers, economists, and brokers.


Master of Arts in International Trade & Investment Policy

The international trade and investment policy master's degree program provides students with an understanding of the relationships between businesses and governments around the world. Schools also offer seminars on subjects such as international financial markets and the banking crisis in emerging markets.

Because the admittance standards at most universities are highly competitive, it is advantageous to have graduated from programs in economics, business, or finance. Professional experience, academic preparations in economics, and language study are taken into consideration.

Required core curriculum studies science, history, political science, and international economics. They must also study a foreign language, based on their global interests. Besides the traditional European languages, some schools offer languages such as Arabic. Specialty courses include:

  • Economics of technological change
  • The global competitive framework
  • Global investment banking
  • U.S. developmental trade policies
  • International business negotiations

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Master of Science in International Business & Economics

This course of study provides students with the opportunity to study foreign economic systems and understand how to integrate them into American business practices. Many programs also require students to take a foreign language based on their specific global area of interest.

Applications also require recommendation letters from either college professors or employers, along with essays discussing the applicant's reasons for wishing to take the program. While not required, work experience and an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, enhance an application.

Core courses usually begin with studying foreign exchange markets and international monetary institutions, emerging markets, and global cultures and consumers. Elective courses include:

  • Commercial bank management
  • Macroeconomic analysis for a global economy
  • Global communications
  • Global supply chain management
  • Cross-cultural dimensions

Popular Career Options

While multinational corporations employ many graduates from international trade master's degree programs, job postings overseas are uncommon and usually only granted after many years working with a firm, according to Michigan State University's Broad College of Business. In addition to working for global businesses, international trade graduates can find careers with:

  • International nonprofit organizations
  • U.S. firms doing business internationally
  • Public policy think tanks
  • U.S. government agencies and policy advisory boards
  • International policy development agencies

Career Outlook and Salary Information

Employment for all kinds of economists, including those who work in international trade, is projected to grow 6% from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). The BLS notes that employment should be higher in the private sector, particularly management, scientific and professional consulting. Economists in the management, scientific, and technical consulting services industry earned a median salary of $105,510 in May 2015. The overall median salary earned by economists of all kinds was reported as $99,180 by the BLS in May 2015.

Continuing Education

Because the job market for international trade is extremely competitive, professionals with a master's degree frequently go on to a Ph.D. to facilitate career advancement. The master's degree can also help an applicant enter law school to study the legal complexities of international trade.

International trade master's degrees come in either a Master of Arts or Master of Science and teach students a variety of skills to understand and take part in the world economy. These programs give students the opportunity to earn lucrative careers in numerous economic sectors and prepare for further education in the future.

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