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Master of Arts in International Studies

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Program Components

The 36-semester-hour MA in International Studies program draws on the strengths of the university's numerous academic programs and has four main components:Core Courses, Concentration, International Field Experience and Foreign language and cultural competencies. (Students must pass a comprehensive exam based on the four core courses after having completed 18 s.h.)


  1. COMMUNICATION ACROSS CULTURES (INTL 6005) examines language and other forms of human communication in order to facilitate and prepare students for potential challenges in cross-cultural communication events. The course begins with a discussion of culture and how cultural differences may lead to communication difficulties in a multicultural context. The course will cover the basics of descriptive linguistics, to see where human languages are the same or differ, and then turn to the study of how languages are used for different purposes in various cultures. Situational analysis and problem-solving in cross-cultural contexts will be stressed. View example syllabus.
  2. GLOBAL ISSUES (INTL 6105) begins with a discussion on international political economy to present competing perceptions about the interplay of individual, group and national interests in the international system. The discussion presents components of global systems, and discusses how different processes and goals may encourage either adaptation or resistance to change. Next, processes and goals that currently structure many of the world's interactions are considered, focusing especially on interactions among countries and people who share a common perception of the system, yet compete for opportunities and resources. The last part of the course takes up a more complex issue: what happens when actors compete not only for resources, but also disagree as to the appropriate structure for that competition. The course will conclude with student presentations of their own research. .View example syllabus.
  3. INTERNATIONAL PROBLEM SOLVING AND DECISION MAKING (INTL 6500) provides students from a wide variety of disciplines with basic skills in problem solving and decision making. The course has three sections: a systematic approach to decision making, game-theoretic approaches to strategic interaction,and a systematic approach to negotiation in international conflict. The course is self-contained; no prior knowledge of the topics is required. View example syllabus.

  4. GLOBAL AND MULTICULTURAL DISCOURSE (INTL 6510) is designed to engage students in an international and intercultural discourse towards the enhancement of global and multicultural understanding, especially in a postcolonial and postmodern context.  Through cross-cultural teaching, learning, and references the course intends to produce a rich and universal experience of intertextuality, interdisciplinarity, and multiculturalism.  Texts, films, documentaries, lectures, discussions, and speeches will be used to enhance the learning experience, especially in the areas of global cultures and worldviews. View example syllabus Top


The concentration develops essential skills in a professional or academic discipline or allows you to pursue interdisciplinary study of a major international issue or to acquire specialized knowledge of a particular region of the world.

For example, a professional or academic concentration could be in Business or Political Science. An interdisciplinary concentration could be in health education or environmental policy. Course offerings are currently available for regions such as Europe and Africa. For the full range of graduate subjects taught at ECU, see the home page for the Graduate School.


Students who have chosen the International Teaching concentration can quality for the International Teaching Certificate by completing HIST 5005, TCHR 6011 as well as INTL 690.In their required field experience portfolio, they should include at least one essay that deals with a topic related to education in the foreign culture in which they lived. This certificate is designed to enhance the concentration and provide students with an opportunity to integrate their coursework in international communication with teacher education or pedagogical coursework.   GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT DISCLOSURE


The international field experience provides first-hand knowledge of a foreign culture through an employment internship, study abroad, military service, or other experience appropriate for your career goals. Credit for the field experience is based on a portfolio of materials, including a background statement of intent, several reflective essays submitted at regular intervals during the experience,official documentation of experiences (e.g., work reports,letters from supervisors, academic transcripts, or annotated lists of contacts), and a total outcome summary. In exceptional cases, students may use prior experience in a second culture as the basis for the portfolio.


  1. Thesis Option:
    The thesis is tailored to your career goals and may be professional or academic in orientation. Students are encouraged to use their field experience to gather materials for the thesis.

  2. Nonthesis Options:

    1.      Business:The business option requires the successful completion of MKTG 6992, Global Marketing, ENGL 5780 Advanced Writing for Business and Industry, and ENGL 7710 Professional Communication. These courses are not offered every semester, so it is wise to plan ahead when registering. (NOTE: MKTG 6162 is a prerequisite for MKTG 6992. If you select this option, it is advisable to schedule MKTG 6162 as soon as possible.)

    2.      Advanced Language and Culture: The ALC option requires the successful completion of two 5000- or higher level courses (each 3 s.h.) in Spanish, French, German or English, with at least one course at the 6000-level. Consult with the MA in International Studies Director on your choice of courses for this option. This option is available only to students who are not native speakers of the language.

    3.      International Administration: The International Administration option requires the successful completion of PADM 6220, Leadership and Ethics in the Public Sector, and one of the following: PADM 6163 (Environmental Policy Analysis), POLS 6330 (Political Modernization and the Non-Western World), or POLS 6440 (Seminar in International Organization). Available only to students who choose a concentration in political science.

    4.      Economic Development: The economic development option requires the successful completion of two 6000-level courses chosen from an approved list in consultation with the MA in International Studies  director not included in the student's concentration.

    5.      Public Health: The public health option requires the successful completion of MPH 6020 (Research Methods in Public Health) and one additional 6000-level course chosen from an approved list in consultation with the MA in International Studies director.

    6.      Security Studies: The security studies option requires the successful completion of two 6000-level courses chosen from an approved list in consultation with the MA in International Studies director not included in the student's concentration. 


    7.      International Education Administration: The international education administration option requires the completion of ADED 6690 (Current Topics in International Higher Education Administration) and ENGL 5780 (Advanced Writing for  Business and Industry/Professional Communication) or ENGL 7710 (Professional Communication).

         8.   Professional Communication: The professional communication  

             option requires the completion of two 6000 or 7000 level courses

             chosen from an approved list in consultation with the director of

             the MA in International Studies and courses not included in the

             student's concentration.





Students must also demonstrate foreign language and cultural competencies before graduation. The Foreign Language Requirements emphasize reading and listening more strongly than writing and speaking. All students are encouraged to participate in a language immersion program as part of their international field experience. The Cultural Competencies Requirements emphasize gaining a broad base of knowledge in order to interact competently with peoples of other cultures