Development Management is for those who have at least two years' prior field experience and a strong applied and practical focus. You'll work on development projects and programs, capacity building, organization or institution building, NGO management, or monitoring and evaluation in developing countries or among disadvantaged communities abroad. You can use the elective concentration courses, such as gender and development, environment and development, or social entrepreneurship, to focus on a sector of your choice or to deepen your management skills.
Offered jointly through the School of International Service and the Department of Philosophy and Religion in AU’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Ethics, Peace, and Human Rights program offers an ethical approach to contemporary global problems. The purpose of this interdisciplinary program is to prepare you in the practical application of ethical theory and policy analysis so you can approach difficult ethical choices in global affairs.
The Global Environmental Policy program helps you understand causes of environmental harm and identify ways to build a more sustainable world. Particular areas of program focus include climate change, sustainable energy, water, food and agriculture, environment and development, peacebuilding, and urban design and sustainability.
The Intercultural and International Communication program prepares emerging global leaders to shape communication at the international, inter-organizational, and interpersonal levels. The first program of its kind in the United States, the program's faculty and alumni continue to lead the field in concentrations, including public and cultural diplomacy, international education, intercultural relations, global social media, technology and policy, and global health communication.
International Affairs Policy and Analysis (IAPA) provides students with the skills they need to tackle the international and foreign policy problems that they care about. This program blends the analytical rigor of traditional international affairs with a consolidated set of hard policy and management skills. As such, the curriculum offers significant flexibility. Students self-design a specialization drawing from courses across subfields of international affairs and select a Professional Competency Track composed of skills-based courses.
The Comparative and Regional Studies (CRS) program prepares students to be regional experts who understand key global issues through comparative analysis across regions and countries. Unlike traditional regional studies, CRS combines study of the comparative method with regional expertise. In this way, CRS regional concentrations serve as laboratories for knowledge, allowing students to draw lessons from experiences within a region to inform their understanding of the local context and, importantly, of how and why the local context shapes outcomes of global interest.
The Global Governance, Politics, and Security program takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding relations among states and societies. Our graduates find careers in multilateral organizations, government agencies, the private sector, and NGOs. In the program, you will apply global historical, political, and economic dynamics to contemporary policy problems and learn analytical techniques and professional competencies in order to make sense of data and turn rigorous analysis into policy innovation and practical action.
This interdisciplinary program provides you with the range of skills needed to understand contemporary international economic and financial problems. Our focus on using analytical tools from economics and political science to examine international trade, finance, investment, development, and governance distinguishes our program.
Natural Resources and Sustainable Development is a dual master’s degree in which you will receive degrees from both American University and the United Nations-affiliated University for Peace in Costa Rica, where you’ll spend your second and third semesters. American University offers international relations and environmental politics studies and unique exposure to Washington, DC, policy institutions and NGOs, while the University for Peace provides practical experience in sustainable development. Courses are taught in English, with mandatory free Spanish instruction provided for one year.
The United States Foreign Policy and National Security program presents courses on defense policy; intelligence; the formulation and implementation of foreign policy; and the social, political, economic, strategic, and historical underpinnings of U.S. foreign policy. It is a rigorous course of study that combines considerable programmatic flexibility with the benefits of specialization in a concentration you select.
For more than 40 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 improving opportunities for the world's poor and disenfranchised. It has one of the largest concentrations of faculty both teaching and researching international development and has approximately 1,200 alumni in development-related positions around the world.
This program is offered by the School of International Service in cooperation with AU’s Department of Economics and is designed for those who have previously majored or minored in economics and wish to apply substantive economic analysis in the international spectrum. The program offers a rigorous mix of theoretical, empirical, and policy-oriented courses in economics, political economy, and policymaking focused on international trade and finance.
The International Peace and Conflict Resolution program is the premier choice for those seeking careers related to conflict and peace. We prepare graduates to be peacebuilders in a wide variety of professional settings and political contexts. You will gain deep insight into the causes and impacts of war. You will learn the strategies and practices for resolving armed conflict and for preventing its resurgence, and you will learn to stand with populations impacted by war so that they can be collaborative agents of peaceful transformation. The program is committed to contributing to sustainable peace by addressing root causes and overt manifestations of violent conflict.
International Relations Online offers you a foundation in the international relations field and the chance to gain specialized expertise through concentrations in global security, international development, international negotiation and conflict resolution, and U.S. foreign policy and national security. Classes are delivered to you on an engaging learning platform—wherever you are located around the globe—and combine self-paced content with live virtual class sessions. No other highly ranked program offers a comparable online master’s degree in international relations
The Social Enterprise program has the flexibility for you to build a master's degree around your passions. It's a way to engage with other activist students who want to use business techniques to drive social change, either by creating a new venture or leading change in an existing NGO, agency, or company. You'll have a hands-on, practitioner-oriented experience and will apply what you learn about innovation in the classroom to real-world problems.
International Studies Track
The international studies track is designed for you if you are currently enrolled or have recently completed a master's-level program in international affairs or a related field at a partner institution. You’ll benefit from cross-continental academic experiences that augment your educational and personal development. Graduates from the program are conferred a dual degree from SIS and the partner institution.
The executive track is designed for professionals with at least seven years of professional experience. As a true executive program, the program places emphasis on decision-making, strategic communication, leading multicultural workforces, and change and crisis management. Additionally, you will be offered a wide variety of possible concentrations in fields such as foreign and security policy, peace and conflict resolution, international negotiation, and international development. Most course offerings are available after business hours to accommodate the needs of part-time students. Both on-campus and online options are available.
The PhD program trains you to produce new knowledge of the highest scholarly caliber. The program prepares you for a career as a teacher and scholar at universities and research institutes in both the private and public sectors. The core curriculum covers the foundational fields of international studies: international relations, comparative and regional studies, and social theory. You will pick one of eight concentrations and also take a three-course, multiple-methodology sequence that introduces you to the major qualitative and quantitative research techniques used in the social sciences today. SIS provides you with generous financial support, which includes tuition remission and a stipend, both of which can be renewed for up to four years. You will have the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member on their teaching and research
A certificate awarded by American University's School of International Service is a symbol of professional achievement widely recognized by international organizations, non-profit agencies, corporate and government employers. SIS graduate certificates are credit programs designed for individuals who want an advanced academic credential without necessarily enrolling in a degree program. Applicants to Graduate Certificate programs at SIS are not required to submit GRE scores.
The School of International Service (SIS) offers graduate non-degree study for students who are interested in pursuing graduate coursework without the commitment of a degree program.
To apply for non-degree graduate study at SIS, applicants must be either a US citizen, permanent resident, or hold a visa status of A1, A2, G4, or H1. Students holding B1, B2, F1, or J1 visas are not permitted to take classes in non-degree status.
Applicants must have completed at least a bachelor’s degree at an accredited institution. Applicants who have been denied admission to a graduate program in SIS are not eligible for non-degree study during the academic year after having been denied admission.
Prospective, first-time non-degree students should direct their application for non-degree study to AU Central.
- Once registered, non-degree students must abide by American University policies, including, but not limited to, polices on academic integrity, and tuition payment and registration deadlines, including withdrawals and refunds. The Academic Regulations outline University policies, and important registration deadlines are listed on the Academic Calendar.
- SIS non-degree course tuition is charged by the credit hour. Non-degree students will be invoiced and may pay their bill through the Student Accounts office.
- Non-degree students may not register for courses that require special permission from the instructor/department or courses that are restricted to a particular degree program.
- Non-degree students who wish to take a course with a pre-requisite must receive written approval from the instructor and provide this documentation to the SIS Graduate Advising office prior to registration.
- Non-degree students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative graduate GPA in order to take courses at SIS.
To review the SIS semester graduate course opportunities and class schedules, please review the Schedule of Classes. Graduate courses are listed under International Service, begin with the prefix SIS, and have course numbers 500 and above. Registration for first-time non-degree students will begin in November for the fall semester. It is recommended to complete your application early to allow adequate time for processing.
Students may transfer up to 12 credits of relevant coursework taken as a non-degree student toward a graduate degree program at SIS. Non-degree students who intend to apply to a graduate program at a future date and wish to discuss potential programs and/or selecting courses towards a particular program of study should contact the SIS Graduate Admissions office.
Note that completing coursework in non-degree status does not guarantee admission to a degree program. All non-degree students seeking admission to a degree program must complete the SIS application to a graduate program. All graduate courses taken at AU, including non-degree but not courses taken as part of a completed program, will be counted in a student’s cumulative graduate GPA, even if not counting towards the requirement of a graduate degree program.