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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. Our two-year program is on the quarter system. Three terms (1 year) is equivalent to two semesters.

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.

International Studies is able to offer many of its graduate admits 2 years (6 academic terms) of funding, which provides full tuition, health benefits, and a .40 salary, in exchange for GE (Graduate Employee) teaching assistance. We also regularly inform students of other GE opportunities on campus. You can find out more about the university’s system of GE awards, jobs, and funding at our Graduate School’s website.

The total tuition waivers associated with our Graduate Employee (GE) offer in 2018-19 had a value of $19,860 for Oregon residents and $31,362 for out of state residents, and included approximately $2076 in non-instructional fees. Each GE position will also earn wages in the minimum amount of $4067 per academic term. GEs are eligible to receive subsidized health insurance benefits for the individual GE and for family members. Please note that these figures are based on 2018-19 costs, and will vary slightly for 2019-20, and 2020-21 depending on tuition adjustments and insurance renewal rates. In all, the total financial benefit of our offer in 2019-20 ranges from $36,141 to $55,272, 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.

Coverdell Fellows Program. International Studies has partnered with the Coverdell Fellows Program, to seek Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) applicants to our 2-year graduate program. Coverdell Fellows work closely with International Studies faculty to identify an internship that furthers their professional aspirations, while serving under-served American communities. Coverdell Fellows also complete academic requirements to earn an M.A. Special application instructions for potential Coverdell Fellows are included on our “Graduate Application Instructions” page. Coverdell applicants must receive a special login in order to receive the application fee waiver. Please send your official Description of Service and signed letter from the Peace Corps program director, verifying your participation and dates of participation to:

Graduate Curriculum

Of the 65 course credits needed to complete the degree, students must take a minimum of 24 graded credits: primarily 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.

Proseminar Courses. Students take 4-8 credits of required proseminar courses. The core is composed of INTL 655 International Studies Graduate Core Seminar, and one additional 4-credit seminar course.

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. At the start of their first term, students must confirm with their advisor how they plan to meet the requirement. Competence may be shown by one of these methods: 1) passing three 300-level language courses or one 4th year language course, 2) passing 2 years of commonly taught language (Fr, Sp, Ger, Ital), AND 2 years of less common language. Language may be taken Pass/No Pass. If a student is a) making a concerted effort to learn the language, b) clearly making an effort to achieve 3rd year competency, and c) receives approval from i) advisor, ii) graduate director and iii) department head, 2nd year proficiency may be deemed sufficient. 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.

Field Experience. up to 12-credits. 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 a capstone project.  Other types of exit projects may be approved on a case-by-case basis by a student’s MA advisor.  Nine credits are required for either a thesis or capstone project.