Masters Degrees in International Studies: Program Overviews

International studies master's degree programs draw upon international studies, political science, economics, and history; students become knowledgeable about the world outside of the United States and the relationships among nations.

Essential Information

Students in international studies master's programs gain a global awareness while learning about regional conflicts, international diplomacy, economic development, and other issues critical to this broad field. Many programs allow students to concentrate their studies in areas such as conflict resolution, non-profit management, or security studies. Other programs allow regional specializations, wherein students concentrate their studies on a particular geographic region, such as Latin America, the Middle East, or Europe.

Master's Degrees in International Studies

Applicants to master's programs in international studies must possess a bachelor's degree; many programs require undergraduate programs to have included coursework in international studies, political science, or other related fields. Some programs require applicants to have training in a foreign language prior to admission.

Courses in international studies master's degree programs incorporate multiple disciplines, including history and political science, to provide students with a far-reaching understanding of international issues. Common courses include the following:

  • History of U.S. international relations
  • Comparative politics
  • International trade theory
  • Developing nations
  • International law
  • The United Nations and world politics

Employment and Salary Prospects

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), individuals with a master's degree in political science or a related field, like international studies, can qualify for work as political scientists. The number of available positions in this field is expected to decrease by 2% from 2014-2024, reports the BLS. Competition for jobs among political scientists will be strong, given the relatively small size of the field. As of 2015, the median salary for political scientists was $99,730.

Continuing Education Information

Ph.D. programs in international studies are the terminal degree in the field. These are primarily intended for individuals seeking careers in education, research, or policy analysis. A master's degree in international studies is generally considered an acceptable degree for individuals interested in most careers in the field.

Students interested in world relationships and issues can advance their education and open up global career opportunities by enrolling in a master's degree program in international studies. Programs typically offer regional specializations and specializations focused more on policy and administration. Graduates of these programs can pursue work as political scientists, non-profit administrators, public sector managers and more.

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