Requirements, Registration & Forms

As you pursue your graduate degree at SIS, you'll need to track various academic requirements along the way. The information below is intended to help you navigate certain requirements, including economics, program-specific methods courses, professional experience, language proficiency, and the capstone. Information about registering for an independent study or taking courses at other Consortium universities also is included.

Economics Placement Exam

In order to waive SISG-773 Introduction to Economic Theory, students must take and pass the SIS Online Economics Placement Exam. Exams are normally held twice per semester. Student should plan to take the exam prior to the semester in which the waiver is required to register for any of the following courses:

  • SISG-764 International Economics
  • SISG-768 Foundations of Economic Development

Exam Details

  • The Online Economics Placement Exam is offered live and is proctored, such that students must be on webcam during the length of the exam.
  • The exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions that cover both the principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics.
  • Students have up to 90 minutes to complete the exam.
  • Students may only take the exam once as an SIS graduate student.
  • The passing score is a minimum of 74%

Note: For students admitted for Fall 2016 or earlier, some MA programs may allow students to waive SISG-773 based on other criteria. Students should check with their Academic Advisor if they have questions about whether they must take the Economics Placement Exam.

Exam Times for Spring 2018

  • February 5-9, 2018
  • March 19-23, 2018

Register now

Methods Courses

Every student completing an IROnline degree has a required Quantitative Methods component. Options vary based on your program.

All students in the MAIR and SE Online programs are required to take 6 credit hours of Methods coursework.

  • SISG-763 Quantitative Methods: Research Design & Analysis
  • Students may choose one of the following second level methods course options:
    • SISG-765 Planning, Forecasting and Decision-making
    • SIS-750 Project Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation.

Note: Students pursuing the International Development or International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution concentration tracks are recommended to take SIS-750 Project Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation (DM&E), and students pursuing the Global Security or U.S. Foreign Policy concentration tracks are recommended to take SISG-765 Planning, Forecasting, and Decision-making.

It is also recommended that students complete SISG-763 before pursuing their second level methods requirement.

All students in the MIS Online program are required to complete 3 credit hours of Methods coursework, and can take any one of the following courses in order to fulfill this requirement:

  • SISG-763 Quantitative Methods: Research Design & Analysis 
  • SIS-750 Project Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation (DM&E) 
  • SISG-765 Planning, Forecasting, and Decision-making

Professional Experience

The School of International Service requires that MA students demonstrate relevant and substantive professional experience. Students may certify this experience in one of three ways:

  1. By completing a for-credit or non-credit internship while enrolled in MA program
  2. Through current or previous employment
  3. Through previous internship experience completed prior to starting the MA program

Instructions

Students fulfilling the professional experience requirement via option 1 must register a for-credit or non-credit internship during their MA program and students must meet all relevant registration deadlines (see University Academic Calendar). Internships must be registered in the semester in which they are being completed. For internship registration instructions and forms, please visit the Internship Registration page.

Students fulfilling the professional experience requirement via options 2 or 3 must fill out the MA Professional Experience Certification Form, including supervisor confirmation. Submit form to the SIS Graduate Advising office, either in person or via email at sisgradadvising@american.edu.

Experience Certification

Last Updated: 17 January, 2017

Non-credit internships are used to fulfill the professional experience requirement. Internships for academic credit can fulfill the professional experience requirement and may be counted towards academic program requirements (e.g. elective). Consult your advisor for more information.

Course Numbers

  • SIS-091: Non-credit internship
  • SIS­-691: For-credit internship taking place entirely within the United States
  • SIS­-692: For-credit internship with any international travel component

Requirements

Students are responsible for finding their own internships. For internship resources, visit the Career Center. All registered internships must:

  • Take place between the first and last day of the semester in which it is registered. A 3-credit internship for academic credit and all non-credit internships require at least 210 hours of service. Students seeking to register a for-credit internship for fewer than 3 credits should consult their academic advisor.
  • Be at least 85% substantive in nature (e.g., research, report writing, etc.)
  • Be relevant to a student's program of study.
  • Non-credit internships: Internships registered for non-credit to fulfill the professional experience requirement do not require a faculty advisor or academic work plan, and are registered pass/fail.
  • For-credit internships: To receive credit for an internship, students are required to register for an SIS internship course, which is registered for a letter grade (see Schedule of Classes for further course information). Questions about registration should be directed to the Graduate Advising office. Questions about the course should be directed to the relevant instructor.
  • Internships with any international travel component require Graduate Global Program (GGP) approval. Students completing an international internship should meet with an SIS Career Advisor prior to departure to discuss how to best leverage their international internship towards their career goals. Schedule an appointment with an SIS Career Advisor.

Registration

  • Complete all required spaces on the Internship Registration forms (and GGP forms as necessary).
  • For-credit internships: 1) Have your internship site supervisor confirm your duties on the Internship Info Form; 2) Indicate for which internship course section/instructor you wish to register and the number of credits; 3) Sign the forms; 4) Submit the forms (including the GGP if applicable) to the Graduate Advising office. Your academic advisor will obtain the faculty supervisor and Department Chair/Dean signatures and submit the forms to the Registrar's office for processing on your behalf.
  • Non-credit internships: 1) Have your internship site supervisor confirm your duties on the Internship Info Form; 2) Sign the forms; 3) Submit the forms (including the GGP if applicable) to the Graduate Advising office. Your academic advisor will obtain the faculty supervisor and Department Chair/Dean signatures and submit the forms to the Registrar's office for processing on your behalf.
  • Deadline: Registration deadlines are listed on the University Academic Calendar. If the internship is the only academic credits for which you plan to register in a semester, the deadline to initially register without a late fee is the Friday before the first day of classes. Tuition charged for for-credit internships is the same as the normal tuition rate. There is no cost for non-credit internships.

International Students on F­-1 or J­-1 Visas

  • F-1 and J-1 students must receive authorization from International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) before beginning an internship off campus. Contact ISSS to determine your immigration eligibility and see the ISSS website for the process for obtaining authorization.

Last Updated 29 September, 2017

Internship form

Language Proficiency

To satisfy the tool of research requirement (also known for most SIS programs as the language requirement), students must be able to conduct research in a language other than English. "Research," for the purposes of this degree requirement, means reading comprehension. Students for whom English is not their native language may be certified on the basis of their native language and English (the language of instruction for their graduate degree). All English language speakers will be required to certify proficiency in a language other than English.

Proficiency is

  • Reading proficiency at the intermediate level
  • Ability to read an article written in another language with good comprehension, using a dictionary only for specialized terminology

For students whose first language is English, proficiency in another language may be demonstrated by:

  • Passing the free Tool of Research (TOR) examination in a language tested by the Center for Language Exploration, Acquisition, and Research (CLEAR) at American University. The TOR is offered in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Swahili, and Arabic. Register for the next TOR exam.
  • Bachelor's degree in the language completed within 3 years of the date of matriculation.
  • Degree from a foreign university, in which the language of instruction is not English, completed within 3 years of the date of matriculation.

Alternatively, a student can be certified based on the following:

  • Presenting evidence of completion of a continuing education or graduate-level course in another language at the intermediate level with a grade of B or better.
  • If AU's Center for Language Learning does not offer a TOR exam in a language, we will accept certification by an accredited instructor/tutor of the language (please consult with your academic advisor prior to pursuing this option).

Either of these means can be certified up to a year before the student matriculates.

Note: If you have a learning disability that may adversely impact your ability to acquire foreign language competency, you must register with and provide documentation from American University's Academic Support Center. In such cases, the school will determine an alternative tool of research for you.

Last updated 12 September, 2016

Independent Study & Capstone

As you move closer to completion of your graduate degree, you will be required to register your independent study and properly submit your Substantial Research Paper or thesis. There are specific course numbers for which you should register depending on the type of project you are doing. Please read this important process information well before the semester for which you would like to register the credits. 

Course Numbers

  • SIS-690 Independent Study Project (1-3 credits, letter grade only)
  • SIS-795 Substantial Research Paper (SRP) (3 credits, letter grade only) 

Before Registration

  • Conduct preliminary research on potential topics. A research question, preliminary outline, and bibliography must be approved by your faculty supervisor prior to registration.
  • Network with faculty to determine their availability and relevance to the research topic. Many faculty members prefer to be consulted one semester prior to the semester you plan to register. You are responsible for finding a faculty supervisor.
  • If you are planning to do research abroad, you must secure Graduate Global Program (GGP) approval. Please consult your academic advisor for more information.
  • If your project will involve human subject research, you may be required to receive approval from AU's Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Registration Procedures

  1. Complete all required spaces on the Registration checklist and the Independent Study Registration form, below.
  2. Sign the form, have your faculty supervisor sign, and submit the form and required attachments (including the completed GGP approval, if applicable) to your academic advisor. Your academic advisor will obtain the Department Chair/Dean signature and submit the form to the Registrar's Office.
  3. Submit the form to your academic advisor as soon as possible. Please note the deadlines listed on the Academic Calendar. If the independent study is the only course for which you plan to register in a semester, the deadline to register without a late fee is the Friday before the first day of classes.

Important Information

  • An SRP is graded on an A-F letter grade scale. A student must receive a B or better to earn credit. Theses are graded SP/UP (Satisfactory Progress/Unsatisfactory Progress), and independent study or reading projects must be registered for the A-F letter grade option.
  • Independent study courses may be registered across multiple semesters by dividing the credits. For example, a 3 credit SRP may be registered as 2 credits of SRP in the fall semester and 1 credit of SRP in the spring semester.
  • Work is expected to be completed during the semester when the course is registered. An In Progress (IP) grade may be assigned by the faculty supervisor if work is not completed in a timely manner and an extension is approved.

Last updated December 4, 2017.

Independent Study form

Cross-University Courses

As an International Relations Online student, you have the opportunity enroll in online, graduate-level courses from schools affiliated with our technology partner, 2U, Inc.

Find out more

Immersion

Immersions are meant to provide students with a variety of learning experiences that build on the program's curriculum. Immersion is required for both MAIR and MIS students. Summer 2018 Immersion will take place May 3-6.

Learn more