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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Political Science

M.A. in International Studies (MAIS)

The Master of Arts in International Studies provides students with a strong foundation in the theory and practice of international studies. The Department offers courses covering a wide array of topical areas such as international relations theory and practice, comparative politics, and foreign policy analysis. The curriculum is designed to be responsive to the more professionally oriented student rather than the student seeking an academic career. Normally, the master’s candidate will complete 24 hours of substantive course work plus 6 hours either of thesis credit or additional elective courses for a total of 30 hours. Up to 9 hours can be earned outside the Department, reflecting the value of interdisciplinary training for this degree. The program may require more hours in the event of deficiencies. Each student will select two of three fields and take in each field a minimum of 9 hours. The three fields available are: international relations theory and practice, foreign policy analysis, and comparative politics/area studies. An oral exam focused on the thesis, or on coursework, or on coursework and internship experience, is required. 

Competency in one foreign language or in the use of quantitative methodologies is also required. A full time load for students is three courses per semester (not including, for example, foreign language courses). The program is designed to be completed in three semesters or less.

For official MAIS degree requirements, consult the Graduate Studies Bulletin, available through

Handbook of Graduate Programs

MAIS Advisement Form

MAIS Degree Checklist

Interested in seeing what courses are offered?  A complete listing of courses offered in the department of political science can be found here.


Kiel Downey, MAIS Director