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MA in International Development

The MAID is designed for students whose professional interests require a broad, multidisciplinary approach to international development theories, issues, and programs. It is particularly useful preparation for those involved in policy analysis, development and global education, and research. The program provides the opportunity for students to examine critically the most current international development theories and policies, and to gain an inside view on the Washington development community by serving as interns with development organizations. Students also have the opportunity to choose an area of concentration from a wide range of options, or to fashion an individually designed specialization relevant to their needs and interests.

Offered by the School of International Service, for over 35 years, the International Development program has trained students to participate effectively in driving socio-economic, political, and environmental change throughout the world. The program's primary focus is the improvement of opportunities for the world's poor and disenfranchised. Students have the opportunity to custom-design a particular focus or concentration to fit their interests.

Admission to the Program

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 coursework relevant to international studies. Students who do not meet these minimum requirements, if otherwise admissible, may be assigned additional coursework in excess of degree requirements specified at the time of admission.

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 U.S.-accredited institution before enrollment at SIS. The minimum TOEFL score for full admissions consideration is 100 on the Internet-based test (iBT) or 600 on the paper-based test (PBT). The minimum IELTS score is 7.0. Fall applicants should plan to take the appropriate test no later than December to ensure full 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 credit hours in the graduate program at American University. A minimum grade of B in each course is required for transfer. Transfer courses must have been completed within five years of admission and must fulfill stated requirements of the degree program.

Degree Requirements

  • 39-42 credit hours of approved graduate coursework with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00, including a minimum of 12-15 credit hours in the core, 15 credit hours in a concentration selected from offerings in SIS or other teaching units of the university, 6 credit hours in research methods, 3 elective credit hours, and a 3 credit hour capstone experience.
  • Capstone experience: demonstration of critical thinking, research and writing skills through completion of a master's thesis, substantial research paper requirement, or practicum. All courses taken to fulfill this requirement must be passed with a grade of B or better.
    • Thesis: 6 credit hours of thesis credit and submission of the thesis
    • Substantial research paper requirement: 3 credit hours
    • Practicum: 3 credit hours
  • Evidence of professional experience in the field:
    • Relevant internship or work 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.

Course Requirements

Core (12-15 credit hours)

Required

One of the following:

Concentration (15 credit hours)

Community Development and Basic Needs Development Finance and Banking Development Education Development Management Development Policy Economics and Finance and International Economic Policy Entrepreneurship and Small Business Environment and Development Gender Studies and Development NGOs and Development

Elective (3 credit hours)

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

Social Science Research Methodology (6 credit hours)

Required

Methodology or Professional Skills Coursework

  • Methodology or professional skills coursework appropriate to the student's research and career interests (3)

Capstone Experience (3 credit hours)

International Development (MA) and Master of Theological Studies

A dual master's degree program is offered by the School of International Service and Wesley Theological Seminary. Graduates receive both the MA in International Development and the Master of Theological Studies.

Admission and Requirements

  • Applications are submitted to both SIS and Wesley. Students must be admitted separately to each program.
  • Students may count up to 9 credit hours from Wesley toward the related field/concentration requirement for the MA in International Development, and an additional 3 credit hours toward the research requirement if they select the thesis option.

Please refer to the Wesley Theological Seminary catalog for a description of the degree requirements for the Master of Theological Studies, or call the Admissions Office at 202-885-8659.