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MA in International Affairs

Program-Specific Course Requirements

Admission

Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor’s degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least a B+ (3.30 or higher on a 4.00 scale) and should have had at least 24 credit hours of social science course work relevant to international studies. 

The application deadline for fall admission is January 15; for spring admission October 1 (September 15 for international students). Admitted students may defer matriculation for no longer than two semesters provided that a written request for deferment is submitted to and approved by the SIS Graduate Admissions Office.

All applicants whose native language is English or those whose degrees are from an accredited institution where the language of instruction is English are required to submit results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Non-native English speakers are required to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) unless they hold a degree from a US-accredited institution (before enrollment at SIS). The minimum TOEFL score for full admissions consideration is 100 on the Internet-based test (IBT), 250 on the computer-based test, or 600 on the paper-based test. The minimum IELTS score is 7.0. LSAT scores will be ac¬cepted in place of the GRE for J.D./M.A. applicants. Fall applicants should plan to take the appropriate test no later than December to ensure full admissions consideration of the application by the January deadline

All applicants must submit two letters of reference evaluating undergraduate academic performance and suitability for graduate study in international affairs, at least one of which should be from an academic source. A resume should be included in the application. Applicants must submit transcripts from all institutions attended. Cultural factors are considered in evaluating transcripts and examination results. 

Requests for the transfer of a maximum of 6 graduate credit hours from other accredited institutions to be applied to a master’s degree are considered after successful completion of 9 graduate credit hours at American University. A minimum grade of B in each course is required for transfer. Transfer courses must have been completed within seven years of admission and must fulfill stated requirements of the degree.

Degree Requirements

  • 39–42 credit hours of approved graduate course work with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00, including a minimum of 18 core credit hours including one theory course and one graduate-level economics or international economic policy course appropriate to the field, 9 credit hours in a related field selected from offerings in SIS or other teaching units of the university, 6 credit hours in research and professional methods, 3 elective credit hours, and a 3-credit capstone. 
  • Completion of a capstone through one of the following three options: a master's thesis (original research project intended for students planning to pursue doctoral work), a substantial research paper (research or policy paper: scope and topic vary by program), or a research practicum.
    • Thesis: 6 credit hours (3 credit hours of thesis credit and 3 elective credit hours) and submission of the thesis.
    • Substantial research paper requirement: 3 credit hours
    • Practicum: 3 credit hours
  • Evidence of professional experience in the field. Relevant work or internship experience must be certified
  • Proficiency in a modern foreign language:
    Research competence in English and another language relevant to the student's career objectives must be certified.

Program-Specific Course Requirements

Course Requirements

 

COMPARATIVE AND REGIONAL STUDIES (CRS) (39 credit hours)

Core (18 credit hours)

  • SIS-672 Theories of International and Comparative Studies (3) or approved course in comparative theory (3)
  • One of the following:
    • SIS-589 Global Political Economy (3)
    • SIS-673 Comparative Political Economy (3)
    • or other approved course in comparative economics (3)
  • 12 credit hours of course work in a regional focus, including 3 credit hours of Regional Core Seminar:
    • Africa
    • the Americas
    • Asia
    • Europe
    • the Middle East
    • Russia and Central Eurasia
    • Islamic Studies

Concentration (9 credit hours)

  • Courses approved by the Program Director selected from one concentration. Approved concentrations may be found on the CRS Program website. Students may design their own concentration with the approval of the Program Director.

Elective (3 credit hours)

  • May be used for skills institutes, internship for credit, as part of the Master's Thesis requirement, or any other elective course.

Research and Professional Methods (6 credit hours)

  • SIS-600 Quantitative Analysis in International Affairs (3)
  • or
  • SIS-619 Special Studies in International Politics: Advanced Statistics, Research Design, and Research Methods for International Affairs
  • methodology course work appropriate to the student’s research interests (3) 

Capstone (3 credit hours)

  • SIS-797 Master’s Thesis Supervision (3 research credits and 3 elective credits) 
  • or 
  • Substantial research paper requirement

Note: The thesis or substantial research paper or practicum must relate to the regional and comparative aspects of the CRS program.

 

Global Governance, Politics, and Security (39 - 42 credit hours)

The Global Governance, Politics, and Security program provides students with a range of skills needed to understand some of the critical issues of our time relating to global security and global governance. Throughout the program, students demonstrate their ability to apply concepts and theories to explain key global problems and to understand and contribute to current policy debates and actions aimed at solving these problems.

Core (15-18 credit hours)

  • ECON-603 Introduction to Economic Theory (3)
    Students with a strong background in economics may have this course requirement waived without substitution with permission of advisor.
  • SIS-601 Global International Relations Theory (3)
  • SIS-616 International Economics (3)
  • 3 credit hours of approved coursework in history of global politics
  • 3 credit hours of approved coursework n the foundations of global security
  • 3 credit hours of approved coursework in foundations of global governance

Concentration (9 credit hours)

  • 9 credit hours of approved coursework in Global Governance or Global Security

Elective (6 credit hours)

  • 6 credit hours selected from skills workshops, internship for credit, master's thesis requirement, or other elective courses

Social Science Research Methodology (6 credit hours)

  • SIS-600 Statistics, Research Design, and Research Methods for International Affairs (3)
    or
    SIS-619 Special Studies in International Politics: Advanced Statistics, Research Design, and Research Methods for International Affairs (3)
  • Approved second-level methodology or professional skills course work appropriate to the student's research and career interests (3)

Capstone Experience (3 credit hours)

  • SIS-797 Master's Thesis Supervision (3-6) (may include 3 elective credits)
    or
    Substantial research paper
    or
    Practicum requirement
    Note: the thesis or substantial research paper must relate clearly to the fields of global security or global governance

 

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC RELATIONS (IER) (39-42 credit hours)

Core (18-21 credit hours)

  • ECON-603 Introduction to Economic Theory (3)
    Students with a strong background in economics may have this course requirement waived without substitution with permission of advisor.
  • SIS-616 International Economics (3)
  • SIS-751 International Political Economy (3)
  • SIS-665 International Trade Relations (3) 
  • SIS-666 International Financial Relations (3) 
  • 6 credit hours from the following or other courses in international economic relations approved by the IER program director:
    • SIS-752 Global Economic Governance (3)
    • SIS-753 Global Financial Governance (3)
    • SIS-627 International Finance and the Emerging Markets (3)
    • SIS-630 Economic Policy in the European Union (3)
    • SIS-658 Financial Issues in Latin America (3)

Concentration (9 credit hours)

  • 9 credit hours of courses approved by the student's academic advisor from a related field. Students may design their own related field with approval of the academic advisor. Examples of concentrations include:
    • Trade and Investment
    • Money and Finance
    • International Business
    • Law and Policy
    • Development
    • Political Economy
    • Another major program in SIS

Elective (3 credit hours)

  • May be used for skills workshops, internship for credit, as part of the Master’s Thesis requirement, or any other elective course.

Research and Professional Methods (6 credit hours)

Option I

  • ECON-623 Applied Econometrics I (3)
  • or
  • ECON-624 Applied Econometrics II (3)
  • or
  • STAT-515 Regression (3)
  • or
  • Approved methods course (3)

and

  • ECON-624 Applied Econometrics II (3)
  • or
  • ACCT-607 Financial Accounting (3)
  • or
  • SIS-750 Research and Professional Methods in International Affairs: Qualitative Methods and Methodology (3)
  • or
  • Approved second-level methods course (3)

Option II

  • PUAD-601 Quant Meth for Pol Analysis I (3)
  • or
  • SIS-600 Int’l Affairs Stats & Methods (3)
  • or
  • SIS-750 Research and Professional Methods in International Affairs: Statistics, Research Design, and REsearch Methods for International Affairs II (3)
    or
  • STAT-514 Statistical Methods (3)
  • or
  • Approved first-level methods course (3)

and

  • ECON-623 Applied Econometrics (3)
  • or
  • PUAD-602 Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis II (3)
  • or
  • STAT-515 Regression (3)
  • or
  • ACCT-607 Financial Accounting (3)
  • or
  • Approved second-level methods course (3)

Capstone (3 credit hours)

  • SIS-797 Master’s Thesis Supervision (3-6) (may include 3 elective credit hours)
  • or 
  • Substantial research paper or practicum requirement

Note: The thesis or substantial research paper or practicum must relate clearly to the field of international economic relations.

 

UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY AND NATIONAL SECURITY (USFS) (39-42 credit hours)

Core (18-21 credit hours)

  • ECON-603 Introduction to Economic Theory (3)
  • Students with a strong background in economics may have this course requirement waived without substitution with permission of advisor.
  • SIS-682 Foreign Policy: Institutions and Processes (3)
  • SIS-689 Foreign Policy: Theories of Decision Making (3) 
  • One of the following:
    • SIS-615 Fundamentals of U.S. Foreign Economic Policy (3) 
    • SIS-616 International Economics (3) 
    • approved course in economic policy (3) 
  • One of the following:
    • HIST-661 U.S. Foreign Relations since 1914 (3) 
    • SIS-653 Topics in U.S. Foreign Policy (3):
    • Continuity and Change in U.S. Foreign Policy
    • approved course in diplomatic history (3) 
  • 6 credit hours from the following:
    • SIS-653 Issues in Intelligence (3)
    • or
    • SIS-681 Intelligence and Foreign Policy (3)
    • SIS-653 US National Security Strategy (3)
    • SIS-653 President, Congress, and Foreign Policy (3)
    • SIS-653 Diplomatic Practice (3)
    • SIS-653 Politics of National Security Budgeting (3)
    • SIS-653 Major Powers and Critical Issues (3)
    • SIS-653 Defense Politics (3)
    • SIS-688 President, Media, Public Opinion, and USFP (3)
    • One approved course on USFP toward a region (3)
    • Other courses approved by USFP Program director

Concentration (9 credit hours)

  • 9 credit hours of approved coursework constituting an academically-sound functional area (e.g. diplomacy, energy/environment, national security, etc) or regional field of study.

Elective (3 credit hours)

  • May be used for skills institutes, internship for credit, as part of the Master's Thesis requirement, or any other elective course.

Research and Professional Methods (6 credit hours)

  • SIS-600 Statistics, Research Design, and Research Methods for International Affairs (3)
  • or
  • SIS-619 Special Studies in International Politics: Advanced Statistics, Research Design, and Research Methods for International Affairs
  • research or professional methods course work appropriate to the student’s research and career interests (3) 

Research and Writing Requirement (3 credit hours)

  • SIS-797 Master’s Thesis Supervision (3 research credits and 3 elective credits) 
  • or 
  • Substantial research paper requirement or practicum requirement

Note: The thesis or substantial research paper or practicum must clearly relate to the field of U.S. foreign policy. 

 

NATURAL RESOURCES AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (42 credit hours)

The Natural Resources and Sustainable Development concentration
is available only through the exchange program with
UnitedNations-affiliatedUniversity for Peace, Costa Rica. Students
study at and receive degrees from both American University
and the University for Peace. The program equips students
with the knowledge and skills necessary for managing eco-development
issues in a global context and provides themwith opportunities
to establish ties that bridge the North-South divide.
These qualities aid graduates to formulate policies to advance
sustainable development at the local, regional, and global levels,
to facilitate international cooperation in the design of sustainable
development and environment policy, and to generate strategies for environmental conflict management.

Note: This degree is available only through the exchange program with United Nations University for Peace, Costa Rica. Contact the SIS Graduate Office for more information.

Core (29 credit hours)

  • ECON-603 Introduction to Economic Theory (3)
    or

    One of the following:
    • ECON-579 Environmental Economics (3) 
    • SIS-616 International Economics (3) 
    • Approved economics course 
  • SIS-660 Environment and Politics (3)
  • One of the following:
    • SIS-620 Studies in Global Environmental Politics:
      Global Climate Change Politics (3)
      Political Ecology of Food and Agriculture (3)
      Water Governance (3)
    • SIS-637 International Development (3)
    • SIS-649 Environment and Development (3)
  • 11 credit hours of SIS-602 AU-University for Peace Exchange topics courses

Social Science Research Methodology (7 credit hours)

  • SIS-602 AU-University for Peace Exchange (topics) 

Research and Writing Requirement (6 credit hours)

  • SIS-792 Practice of International Relations (3)
  • One of the following:
    SIS-793 Practicum in International Affairs (3)
    SIS-794 Substantial Research Paper with Coursework (3)
    SIS-797 Master's Thesis Supervision (3-6) (may include 3 elective credit hours)

 

M.A. in International Affairs and J.D.

Graduates receive the J.D. degree from the Washington Col¬lege of Law and the M.A. in International Affairs from the School of International Service.

Admission

Students apply to both the Washington College of Law (WCL) and the School of International Service (SIS). Students may begin their studies in SIS after completing one full year of full-time study at WCL. SIS accepts LSAT scores in place of the GRE general scores normally required for admission. For specific criteria employed by SIS, see the graduate admission and degree requirements for the M.A. in International Affairs above. Admis¬sion to either WCL or SIS in no way implies that admission to the other will be granted. Students who have been admitted to the M.A. in International Affairs may apply to WCL. For more infor¬mation on admission requirements, contact the WCL Admissions Office at 202-274-4101.

Degree Requirements

  • 86 credit hours of WCL course work. Up to 6 credit hours of SIS course work may be credited toward the J.D. requirement.
  • 36 credit hours of approved graduate course work in an SIS M.A. in International Affairs program: Comparative and Regional Studies (CRS), International Economic Relations (IER), International Politics (IP), or United States Foreign Policy (USFP). Up to 15 credit hours in WCL courses may be credited toward the M.A. requirements (see approved list in the SIS Graduate Office).
  • Demonstration of research and writing skills through completion of a master’s thesis, substantial research paper requirement, or research practicum. All courses taken to fulfill this requirement must be passed with a grade of B or better.
  • Proficiency in a modern foreign language: Research competence in English and another language relevant to the student’s career objectives must be certified.

Course Requirements

  • approved major theory course (3)
  • approved major field course (3)
  • approved research methods course (3)
  • approved economic or business policy course (3)
  • 9 credit hours of approved courses
  • 3 credit hours of master’s thesis or substantial research paper requirement option
  • Up to 15 credit hours in WCL course work including the following:
    • LAW-516 Legal Rhetoric: Writing and Research I (2)
    • LAW-517 Legal Rhetoric: Writing and Research II (2)
    • approved economic or business policy course (3)
    • 5 credit hours of approved international law course work