International Studies Graduate Programs

Get information about online and on-campus graduate certificates, master's degrees and doctoral programs in international studies. Find out about the classes offered, and read tips on selecting a program. Schools offering Global Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn in a Master's Degree Program in International Studies?

In a master's degree program in international relations or affairs, you'll get a multidisciplinary education in business, political, cultural and financial dealings between countries. You may be asked to select an area of concentration, such as culture, politics, economics or global development; some schools require you to complete several courses from each area. In some cases, these sub-fields are offered as individual degrees. Fundamental classes in an international studies master's program may include political communications, economics, globalization and international affairs research.

Master's Level Degree available with concentrations
Doctoral Level Available; on-campus courses and mentor visitation required
Certificate Level Graduate certificate programs available online; 4-6 courses required
Topics of Study Human rights, public health, international trade, global security
Online Requirements Reliable internet connection and basic software required

Can I Pursue a Ph.D.?

Most Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in International Studies programs also require you to select a concentration. However, Ph.D. programs are more research-focused and largely prepare you for careers in academia, conducting scholarly research in your area of interest. As a doctoral student, you'll be required to take several courses in quantitative and qualitative research methods, evaluation of existing research and research study design. Additionally, you'll need to take several theoretical courses in your area of concentration. You may also be required to attend foundational seminars in international policy analysis, global social science issues or comparative studies.

Doctoral programs also require you to research, write and defend a scholarly dissertation in your area of interest. Ph.D. programs in international relations are not usually available online.

What Does a Graduate Certificate Program Entail?

A graduate certificate in international affairs or a related field provides you with an overview of advanced concepts related to globalization. Some schools offer general certificates in international relations, while other programs focus on specific topics like global economics, international business or foreign policy in American politics. Course curricula for most graduate certificate programs consist of 4-6 courses. Course topics could include international trade, global economics, international culture and global business ethics. Certificate programs in international studies are available online.

What courses and specializations are typically available?

In the area of international culture, your classes may be devoted to understanding the culture of specific nations or regions, such as Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Courses related to culture and politics may cover significant historical events and examine how they shaped globalization and international relations. Other topics may include war and peace, U.S. foreign policy, global security, human rights, terrorism and comparative political systems.

If your area of concentration is economics, your courses may focus on international trade, emerging financial markets, foreign exchange rates, financial globalization or U.S. global economic policy. An international development specialization also addresses global economic development, but its primary emphasis is on human rights and environmental resources in developing nations. Relevant course topics include developing urban transportation systems, public health programs, poverty in developing nations and foundations of non-government organizations (NGO's). International communications concentrations educate you in the ethical, security and communicative issues of reporting one nation's news to another nation. Required courses place particular emphasis on the issues of war and terrorism.

Most master's degree programs in international studies require completion of a thesis paper on a current issue in your area of interest. In some cases, you can opt to complete an applied project demonstrating your new-found knowledge instead. Some programs also require you to complete a relevant internship in politics, business, journalism or non-profit advocacy. Some schools offer online master's degree programs in international studies.

How Do I Take Part in Online Programs?

To complete an online program, you'll need a computer with a reliable Internet connection; you can order textbooks online, should they be required. Online courses are delivered through online learning platforms, such as Blackboard Vista and WebCT. These course delivery systems allow you to access course content, such as lecture notes, media files and exams. You can also turn in assignments and participate in class discussions online. You may need some basic software programs, such as Microsoft Word, Adobe Reader or Windows Media Player, to view course documents or complete your assignments.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Johns Hopkins University

    Johns Hopkins University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Johns Hopkins University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Utica College

    Utica College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Utica College:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Abilene Christian University

    Abilene Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Abilene Christian University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Valparaiso University

    Campus Locations:

    • Indiana: Valparaiso
  • University of San Francisco

    Campus Locations:

    • California: San Francisco
  • University of Denver

    Campus Locations:

    • Colorado: Denver
  • Northwest University

    Campus Locations:

    • Washington: Kirkland
  • Northland International University

    Campus Locations:

    • Wisconsin: Dunbar
  • Oklahoma State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Oklahoma: Stillwater