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Grad Program: International Relations and Affairs

Basic Information

With improved technology and media, the world seems smaller than ever before. Now that industry works on a global scale, old-fashioned businesses no longer cut it; for this reason, companies are looking for qualified people to build their businesses internationally.

Graduate students in International Affairs seek to understand international policy, economics, and statistics, and are generally required to do an internship related to their individual career interests. Applicants are encouraged to have an understanding of macro- and microeconomics along with a background in the social sciences.

Students choose a concentration to narrow the focus of their studies. These concentrations may include policy analysis, finance, economics, trade, security, criminal justice, communications, health policy, and others. It’s important to look for schools offering skills training in international analysis and forecasting, negotiation, strategic planning and leadership.

Schools often expect that their students have a good knowledge of one or more foreign languages prior to graduation. They encourage students to get first-hand experience by participating in a wealth of international programs. Schools offer part-time study but taking advantage of the opportunities to go abroad as a full-time student is invaluable.

Degree Information

In most cases students will work towards a Master of Arts (M.A.) or a Master of International Affairs (M.I.A.) degree. Schools do offer joint degrees for those looking to combine International Affairs with Journalism or Law, for example. Degrees on the doctoral level are less common and are primarily research-based. Those pursuing doctorate degrees generally do so in areas such as Political Science, Cultural Studies, or Business.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program
  • What concentrations are offered? Will you be required to specialize in a geographic area or subject area?
  • What opportunities exist for study abroad? For internships?
  • Does the program offer skills training in fields like negotiation, strategic planning, and leadership?
  • What is the foreign language requirement? What opportunities and options exist for language study?
  • How connected are the program, faculty, and students to the international community?

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