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Master of International Service for Experienced Professionals Online

Program Length: 12-16 Months
Credit Hours: 30
Total Classes: 10
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At a Glance

Our Master of International Service (MIS) online program prepares experienced professionals to analyze foreign politics, culture, and society strategically. Through our immersive online experience, American University will equip students to meet international relations and its challenges with thoughtful expertise.

Delve into the policies shaping the world by mastering specialized policy knowledge and begin strategizing impactful initiatives in international affairs.

The Master of International Service offers a condensed curriculum specifically designed for professionals and practitioners with seven or more years of experience in international affairs. Students learn alongside peers with similar levels of experience and develop skills and theoretical knowledge that build on their existing skill set to further their potential in the field of international affairs.

By developing expert-level knowledge in their specific area of focus, students become prepared to lead high-level strategic initiatives in their

For those with less professional experience in international relations who wish to enter the field, we also offer an online Master of Arts in International Relations program.

Students earning their international affairs master’s degree can align their course work with their desired career trajectory by selecting from a variety of concentrations, including Global Security, International Development, and U.S. Foreign Policy. They will also participate in at least one immersion experience held on the American University campus in Washington, D.C.—and have the option to study abroad, where they’ll meet their peers, network, and participate in hands-on projects on the ground. They will finish the program with a capstone that incorporates skills gained throughout their courses.

Advanced Standing Opportunity

Applicants who have extensive international professional experience may be eligible to apply for advanced standing and complete their degree on an accelerated track.

Advanced standing prospects will be evaluated based on the length of time they worked overseas and the intensity and quality of the international experience, including insights into the country’s culture, society, and politics.

Students granted advanced standing status can waive up to 6 credit hours, allowing them to complete the program in as few as 12 months.

If interested in advanced standing, students should contact an admissions counselor at 1-855-306-2847 or to see if they qualify.

Program Objectives

In an increasingly interconnected world, American University’s International Relations Online programs allow you the opportunity to earn your master’s degree from anywhere. With our online master’s degree programs, you can build the specialized expertise, policy knowledge, and communications skill set to start creating a meaningful difference in your community and beyond.

As a student, you will enhance your expertise in international relations and foreign affairs and have opportunities to build a rich network of political and international connections without sacrificing your responsibilities at home. GRE scores are not required to apply.

Online Learning

Students earning their international affairs master’s degree benefit from an innovative online learning platform that combines live classes hosted via webcam, interactive course work, and collaborative group exercises. The platform allows for flexibility while receiving a world-class education at the School of International Service, from anywhere in the world.

Learn more about the student experience.

Admission Requirement
Curriculum Description
Careers and Outcomes
Student Experience

American University’s School of International Service (SIS) seeks applicants for all online international relations programs who are dedicated to improving the world through international relations, service, and innovation.

Applicants will need to submit the following:

The Executive Master of International Service (MIS) program requires 30 credit hours to complete and is designed to build specialized expertise and leadership skills for professionals with seven or more years of professional experience. Depending on their professional international background, students may be eligible to apply for advanced standing to reduce the number of required credits to 27 or 24.

Details can be found on our Program Curriculum page.

Career Advancement in International Service and Affairs

Whether you are looking to transition or advance your career in global security, international development, foreign policy, national security, or conflict resolution, you will graduate ready to make innovative contributions to multiple settings—think tanks, nonprofits, consulting firms, or government agencies—and promote peace worldwide.

Global Security
Professionals in global security work toward keeping volatile or unstable nations safe from outside threat. This might include mediating conflict, tracking threats, and proposing new policies and safety measures.

USA Foreign Policy & National Security
Professionals in this field typically focus on creating and implementing foreign policy, defense, intelligence, and public diplomacy to promote national security.

International Development
Working in international development means helping to improve—and sustain—the economic development and quality of life in an area. This includes alleviating poverty and illiteracy, elevating life expectancy, and heightening Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita.

Intl’ Negotiation & Conflict Resolution
Professionals in this field work to understand, mitigate, and resolve conflict on an international level.

Learning Outcomes

Course work in the program will help students develop their understanding and hone their knowledge in the following areas:

Intercultural Issue Analysis and Critical Thinking Skills
Students will improve their ability to analyze international and intercultural issues, helping them better evaluate programs; interpret conflicts; and appreciate how culturally determined values, beliefs, and worldviews shape behavior at all levels. Students will also be able to demonstrate writing, presentation, and thinking skills in the analysis of international relations as well as key quantitative research methods.

Specialized Expertise
Students will expand their knowledge and proficiency in specialized subject areas that match their career goals through in-depth study of one of four specialization subfields: Global Security, International Development, International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, or United States Foreign Policy and National Security.

Leadership Abilities
Students will build their leadership skills throughout the program, specifically during the Cross-Cultural Leadership and Management course offered during the required in-person immersion, and through the capstone course. Because students can attend classes online and continue working, they have the opportunity to apply these leadership skills immediately to their jobs.

Current Concepts and Theories
Students will explore current and evolving concepts, organizations, and policy debates in the field of international relations, including the economic forces that continue to drive the globalization process. They will take an in-depth look at theoretical assumptions underpinning arguments and proposals as they refresh their knowledge of the major theories of international relations.

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We’re especially proud of our faculty—prominent scholars and real-world professionals at the top of their fields who value mentoring students as much as they value excellence in the classroom. Through their teaching, scholarly achievements and first-hand experience, you’ll gain a special entry point to international service.

Visit our Program Faculty page to learn more about our faculty. 

Class Profile and Backgrounds

The International Relations Online program attracts students from diverse career paths and locations who share a common goal of making a real difference around the world. Hear directly from our students about their passions, their career goals, and the work they are doing in the U.S. and abroad.

Class Profile

38 Average Age

68 percent Male

32 percent Female

73 percent Military

21 percent Have Previous Graduate Degree

The information above reflects enrolled students as of January 2018.

We Bring AU to You


Flexible Online Learning

Our online experience brings the AU campus to you. You will benefit from both the flexibility of online learning and becoming a full member of the AU community. Engage in Zoom HD live classes and enjoy 24/7 access to course materials.

The Immersive Digital Campus

The digital campus acts as your connection to the School of International Service’s resources and community. Everything you need to succeed is one click away, so you can benefit from the full AU experience no matter where you are.

A Global Community

You will join a diverse community of classmates, faculty, and alumni who are dedicated to influencing positive change in an ever-evolving and complex global environment.

In-Person Immersion In The Nation’s Capital

At our Washington, D.C., campus, you will engage with the AU community, meet the students and instructors you study with each week, participate in intensive learning exercises, and experience the inner workings of high-performing international relations organizations in the nation’s capital.

Support For The Entire Student Journey

As an online student, you will receive hands-on contact from our highly qualified team during the admissions process to your graduation ceremony and beyond.


The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Military Education Benefits

American University is dedicated to supporting military service members, veterans, and their families.

As an online student of the MA in International Service for Experienced Professionals program, you can transform your military experience and leadership skills into new career possibilities as you earn your degree, regardless of where you live or are stationed.

We support a full range of military education benefits such as:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB)
  • Tuition Assistance (TA)
  • Yellow Ribbon Program

Additionally, if you’ve served in any branch of the U.S. military on active duty within the past three years, you’re eligible for an application fee waiver. We accept transfer credits from military coursework, have a dedicated Office of Veterans Services to help connect you to benefits, and maintain an active Veterans Services Support Network.

We welcome you to learn more about our military benefits and how to apply for them.

Learn to lead and stay at the forefront of your field.

Find out more about the online Master of International Service program today.

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