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Online Master's Programs in International Studies

Learn about the subjects you'll study in an online master's degree program in international studies, including international relations, global issues and international trade. Discover the program prerequisites and varied career options in this field.

What Online Master's Degrees Are Available in International Studies?

Master's degree programs in international studies are available online, albeit on a limited basis. Programs may go by various titles, including International Relations and Diplomacy. These programs generally require 36 credit hours of coursework, and they can be completed in as few as 2-3 semesters, though you may have two or more years to complete them. Some programs may also have a foreign language proficiency requirement as well.

ProgramsM.A. in International Relations; M.A. in Diplomacy
PrerequisitesBachelor's degree, sometimes GPA of 3.0 or higher and relevant work experience
Study TopicsTerrorism, comparative politics, security, economics, developing countries
Possible ConcentrationsInternational conflict resolution, commerce, politics
CareersTranslation, teaching, marketing and sales, policy development, disaster relief, journalism
Median Salary (2020) $52,330 (for all interpreters and translators)
Job Outlook (2019-2029) 20% growth (for all interpreters and translators)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

What Will I Study?

A typical master's degree-level international studies program is interdisciplinary in nature, blending such concepts as terrorism, comparative politics, security, economics and developing countries. You may be able to choose a concentration in international conflict resolution, international commerce, international politics or another area.

You'll spend time learning the basics of economics, world history and political science to broaden your perspective and give you historical and cultural knowledge of the country or region of your interest. You'll also study essential skills for working in politics, international affairs and global trade. Some of these skills include those related to problem solving, critical thinking, public speaking, writing, negotiating and leadership.

Along with the many skill-building courses, you'll learn about the cultures and politics of other countries. You'll examine world religions, human rights and governance. Some other topics you might explore include these:

  • Globalization
  • Diplomacy
  • Security issues
  • International law
  • Democracy
  • Research methods
  • United Nations
  • International communication

What Are the Prerequisites For This Program?

In order to apply for this program, you must have completed a bachelor's degree program in a similar area, such as political science or international finance. Programs often prefer students who've held an undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Some programs have requirements for relevant work experience, while others may consider past or current work experience but don't specifically require it.

What Can I Do With This Degree?

Since international studies covers a wide variety of topics, you can consider a career in many different fields. Some of the careers potentially available to you include translation, teaching, marketing, sales, real estate, policy development, security, disaster relief, politics and public health. You could work as a journalist, bringing news and developments to and from other countries. You could also work for a non-profit humanitarian organization, working to improve lives in developing countries. If you're interested in diplomacy work, you could pursue positions within the federal government.