Design your own degree

MIS offers experienced professionals the extraordinary flexibility to design a master’s degree that meets their career ambitions. Students select a concentration of their choice—including energy and environment, development management, regional studies, and more—to hone in on the skills and knowledge they need to supplement what they already know.

The program provides a skills-focused curriculum that communicates rigorous academic education in theory, research, and economics taught by leading scholar-practitioners in international affairs.

Degree Options

The Executive Master of International Service program offers two formats to accommodate students’ busy schedules. Choose to pursue your Executive Master of International Service in either the traditional on-campus format or online.

The Executive MIS degree is ideal for mid-career professionals seeking to advance their careers through a tailored master’s program. Students who choose the on-campus Executive MIS degree will have classes that meet on campus once per week, with most classes offered after 5:00 p.m. to accommodate working students.

The program is unique in the flexibility it affords professionals with at least seven years of professional experience to earn an executive-focused graduate degree from one of the top-10 international affairs schools in the world. They will be able to benefit from the wealth of courses offered at the School of International Service and enroll in those courses that further their career and complement their professional interests.

As a true executive program, we place significant emphasis on decision-making, strategic communication, leading multicultural workforces, and change and crisis management. 

By combining the flexibility of online learning with the same quality and rigor of our renowned on-campus program, the MIS Executive Track Online provides students with professional, live, and interactive virtual classes with a student-to-faculty ratio of approximately 15:1, and self-paced, multimedia coursework designed by SIS faculty and available 24/7. Online students are required to participate in a unique four-day immersion event that brings you and your classmates to the AU campus in Washington, DC, to meet faculty, staff, and peers in person, as well as connect with employers and alumni in the area.

Classes for this online program begin year-round, with four program start dates available. Learn more about the MIS Executive Track Online.

Degree Partnerships

The Master of International Service program partners with various universities to offer additional opportunities for students interested in pursuing an MIS to supplement their education elsewhere.

Through a partnership with Marine Corps University (USMCU), graduates of the Command and Staff College Distance Education Program (CSCDEP) at USMC’s College of Distance Education and Training (CDET) are eligible for advanced standing and funding for SIS’s Executive MIS program. The partnership enables CSCDEP graduates to waive 6 of the 30 required program credits and to qualify for a $5,000 scholarship when they enroll as a student in the Executive MIS program.

The MIS International Studies Track offers students who are enrolled in or have recently completed a master's degree at a partner university the opportunity to gain additional academic training in an applied international affairs concentration at SIS. Students in the International Studies Track complete a dual degree in international affairs with the first part completed at the partner institution, and the second part at SIS. Our current partners include:

  • American Graduate School in Paris (Paris, France)
  • Korea University (Seoul, South Korea)
  • National Chengchi University (Taipei City, Taiwan)
  • Peruvian Diplomatic Academy (Lima, Peru)
  • Radboud University (Nijmegen, The Netherlands)
  • Ritsumeikan University (Kyoto, Japan)
  • Roma Tre University (Rome, Italy)
  • Sookmyung Women's University (Seoul, South Korea)
  • University of Melbourne (Melbourne, Australia)
  • University of Warwick (Coventry, England)
  • University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Canada)

Learn more about the MIS International Studies Track.


Students will create a concentration of their choice, tailored to their professional goals. The concentrations described below are not meant to serve as an exhaustive list of all the possible concentrations, but rather as a guide to demonstrate how courses from across the University can be put together to form an academically sound area of study.

  • SIS-620 Global Climate Change
  • SIS-620 Water Governance 
  • SIS-620 Environmental Economics 
  • SIS-620 Politics of Conservation 
  • SIS-620 Political Ecology of Food and Agriculture 
  • SIS-649 Environment and Development 
  • SIS-660 Environment and Politics 
  • LAW-618 International Environmental Law
  • SIS-533 Population, Migration and Development
  • SIS-635 Children, Youth & International Development 
  • SIS-635 Community Development 
  • SIS-635 Rural Development 
  • SIS-635 Urban Development 
  • SIS-636 Micropolitics of Development 
  • SIS-637 International Development 
  • SIS-650 Global Economy and Sustainable Development

Work with the MIS academic advisor to design a concentration that best fits your professional and academic goals. Select from a wide range of SIS graduate courses to create a cross-disciplinary or regional focused degree.

  • SIS-635 Leading Social Innovation
  • SIS-635 NGO/Social Enterprise Management 
  • SIS-635 Social Enterprise Context and Best Practices 
  • SIS-632 Microfinance 
  • SIS-635 Social Accountability 
  • SIS-635 Community Development
  • SIS-653 National Security Budgeting
  • SIS-653 US National Security Strategy 
  • SIS-653 President, Congress and Foreign Policy 
  • SIS-653 Diplomatic Practice 
  • SIS-653 Issues in Intelligence 
  • SIS-681 Intelligence and Foreign Policy 
  • SIS-682 Institutions and Processes 
  • SIS-689 Theories of Decision Making


All MIS students must complete a capstone and can choose from three different options to fulfill their capstone requirement.

The Practicum in International Affairs is designed to give students in their final semester real-world experience in project management and consulting while preparing them for post-graduate careers. Students work in teams with expert clients, including US and international government agencies, non-profit organizations, and businesses to conduct policy and program analysis. Students draw on their substantial research, as well as qualitative and quantitative skills, to prepare final oral and written analysis and recommendations.

This online course gives on-campus and online MIS students the opportunity to apply what they have learned to a real-world situation in their field and to learn from their fellow Executive Track peers. Students identify their own project, client, and audience, and, with the support of the professor, work to produce a resume-worthy accomplishment they are passionate about. This practicum serves as a vehicle to help students integrate what they have learned in their graduate coursework into their professions, and provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate the ability to apply their skills and knowledge to projects beneficial to their professional trajectory.

The substantial research paper refers to a research or policy paper based on independent research. The scope and topic of the paper may vary by concentration and program.

Application At a Glance

View a detailed admission and degree requirements listing for your on-campus degree of interest.

Alternatively, view deadlines and requirements for the online program

Entrance Semester
Fall and Spring
Priority Deadline
March 15 for the fall semester
October 1 for the spring semester
Applications are accepted after the priority deadline and will be considered on a space-available basis.
Additional Requirements
Undergraduate degree
TOEFL/IELTS score if international applicant
Two letters of recommendation
Statement of purpose
Complete your application for MIS