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Graduate Program

We offer an interdisciplinary M.A. degree in international studies for students who contemplate careers in international affairs, international development, diplomacy, international organizations, or domestic organizations with an international focus. A minimum of 73 credits must be completed for the degree.

The degree program can be tailored to meet the unique professional needs of each student. In close consultation with a faculty adviser, the student develops a program that combines expertise in a specific professional area with interdisciplinary training in international studies. Areas of professional concentration include comparative development, cross-cultural training, cultural arts, environment, food and food systems, gender and development, health, international community development, international education, international tourism, journalism, migration, non-profit management, and public policy and planning. Concentrations in other professional areas can be arranged.

Graduates of the Department of International Studies serve as international technical advisers, career diplomats, community development professionals, international business and trade experts, analysts in developing countries, international educators, administrators of international programs, and cross-cultural communication consultants.

Every student who is admitted to our program is offered a minimum of three academic terms (the equivalent of one academic year) of funding assistance in the form of a Graduate Teaching Fellowship (GE). Each term in which you hold a GE position you will receive a tuition waiver as well as other benefits outlined below. This means you would not pay tuition for three terms. You will receive this funding in your first year of the MA program, or in your second year, or, in part, over both years. You can find out more about the university’s system of GTF awards, jobs, and funding at our Graduate School’s website.

The total tuition waivers associated with our GTF offer in 2015-16 had a value of $17,026 for Oregon residents and $26,935 for out of state residents, and included approximately $2173 in non-instructional fees. Your GTF position will also earn wages in the minimum amount of $3661 per academic term. GTFs are eligible to receive subsidized health insurance benefits for the individual GTF and for family members. Please note that these figures are based on 2015-16 costs, and will vary slightly for 2016-17, depending on tuition adjustments and insurance renewal rates. In all, the total financial benefit of our offer ranges from $31,279 to $47,301, depending on individual circumstances.

International Students. International students are encouraged to apply. Study programs are designed to meet students’ professional needs and those of their home countries. As many as half the program’s graduate students are international students.

Concurrent J.D./M.A. Degree. A four-year program for students interested in international human rights, this program provides background in legal theory and instruments sensitive to social, cultural, economic, and political realities against which international human rights law is implemented. Future lawyers concerned with asylum, immigration, or public interest law benefit from the study of international relations and cross-cultural communication.

Graduate Curriculum

Of the 73 course credits needed to complete the degree, students must take a minimum of 28 graded credits: 12 in the interdisciplinary core and 16 in the professional concentration area. A maximum of 24 credits may be taken in any one department (other than International Studies) in order to allow an appropriate degree of specialization.

Interdisciplinary Core. Students take 16 credits of interdisciplinary courses that form the common core of the curriculum. The core is composed of two major competence areas: cross-cultural communication and understanding, and international relations, development theories and approaches. Students may select from a range of courses to satisfy this requirement. A minimum of one course must be taken from each competence area.

Professional Concentration Area. Students take a minimum of 24 credits in their area of professional concentration. In consultation with an adviser, students choose courses from relevant departments or professional schools. Concentration areas are tailored to individual student interests. Students interested in agricultural extension, forestry, and public health may take courses at Oregon State University. (For information about concurrent enrollment, click here to learn about the Joint Campus Program.)

Geographic Focus. Students must take a minimum of 12 credits in their area of geographic focus (e.g., Africa, East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, or Southeast Asia). Students who earned their undergraduate degrees from institutions outside the United States may substitute an additional 12 credits in the professional concentration for the 12 credits of geographic focus. Students are encouraged to choose a geographic focus outside their home region.

Language Study and Competence. Students must demonstrate a third-year level of proficiency in a second language relevant to their professional or geographic focus before completing the program. Formal courses are offered in a number of European and non-European languages (see the University catalog for full details).  Students may also study languages through self-instruction at the Yamada Language Center. International students whose high school or university instruction was not in English demonstrate proficiency in English as a second language through completion of the master’s degree requirements. It is recommended that international students study a language from their region of concentration.

Supervised Field Internship or Field Research. 12-credits of internship or field research is required. The program assists students in locating internships/research opportunities and securing funding. The internship or research experience should be related to the student’s career plans to enhance future job opportunities. International students may do their internship or research in the United States. Students must pay all or most of the costs of most internships and research experiences. Many graduate students in the program have competed successfully for funding to support internship and research experiences.

The international studies faculty expects students to gain the following from the internship or research experience: (1) a reasonably in-depth experience in a culture other than the student’s own, (2) greater fluency in the language of the culture in which the internship or research takes place, and (3) knowledge and experience useful to the career goals of the intern.

MA Project. Each student must prepare an MA project, usually in the form of a thesis, policy paper, or article accepted for publication in an approved refereed journal.  Other types of exit projects may be approved on a case-by-case basis by a student’s MA advisor.  Nine credits are awarded for a thesis and 6 credits for a policy paper or a published article.

Proseminar Series. The Department of International Studies conducts three required proseminars in which students and faculty members explore the field of international studies: International Studies Graduate Core Seminar (INTL 655), Research and Writing in International Studies (INTL 656) and Proseminar in Proposal Writing (INTL 657).

For a copy of our Graduate Program Brochure, click here