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General Requirements

  • This MA degree requires 36 hours and offers concentrations in Global Security, Law and Institutions, Global Economics, or Area Studies.
  • MAIS students enroll in a Global Policy Workshop for the culminating experience in the program, where students work together on a project of global policy significance. Students may also propose to write a traditional MA thesis as their culminating project.  
  • It is strongly encouraged that students accepted into the program have had a significant international experience in the form of study, work ,or residence abroad before commencing the degree program. Students without such prior experience will be encouraged to undertake some study or work abroad of limited duration, as approved by their advisory committees, before completing the degree.
  • No more than 25 percent (nine credit hours) of the minimum 36 credit hours required for this master's degree may be transferred from other institutions, subject to the normal rules and procedures of the OU Graduate College.

Core Curriculum

(15 hours)

This class is intended for first-year MA students in the International Studies program. The purpose of the class is to introduce students to the broad, multi-disciplinary field of International Studies; give students practice in analytical writing, reading, and public speaking; and to familiarize students with IAS faculty members and their areas of expertise. The course will contain two components: The first component will consist of class meetings where students read broadly in the field of International Studies to gain an appreciation of the topics, debates, and challenges within the field, as well as how different global actors interact to address such challenges in world affairs. The second component will entail a class project, wherein students will be assigned to analyze a current ongoing problem in the field of International Studies and required to collectively develop a response to it.

This course examines the nature and operation of the international system. It does so primarily, though not exclusively, by emphasizing (1) the importance of rules, norms, institutions and practices in shaping the fundamental patterns of the social world; and (2) the role of human agency both in perpetuating and changing these building blocks of the international system. The first part of the course introduces major theoretical approaches to the study of International Relations (IR). The second part of the course provides students the opportunity to apply these theoretical tools to the study of the institutions and practices that structure international politics in several crucial issue-areas: diplomacy, international law, global governance, great power politics, and war. The course therefore seeks to provide students with the analytical tools to apply their understanding of these phenomena to the professional worlds of diplomacy and international affairs.

This course aims to prepare students for a policy-oriented career in two ways. First, it will provide students with an organic understanding of the entire policy value chain, ranging from policy making to policy implementation and from policy diffusion to policy evaluation, and how various associated feedback loops shape the policy trajectories. Second, to build on a robust understanding of the policy cycle and its ecosystem, it will afford students an opportunity to develop skills to evaluate and engage in various forms of policy analysis. Students will be asked to conduct four forms policy analysis: a policy memo, a policy brief, a policy-focused Op-Ed, and a policy evaluation report.


This course aims to familiarize students with the foreign relations of the United States covering the history of US foreign relations, how the US creates and conducts its foreign policy, and contemporary US foreign policy challenges. The goal of the class is to acquaint students with the unique role played by the US on the world stage both throughout history and in contemporary world affairs. The course draws materials from a wide variety of disciplines and focuses on understanding major trends in US foreign relations, connecting history to contemporary events, and developing critical thinking and writing skills.  

This course serves as a culminating, capstone experience for the MA in International Studies degree program. It is intended to provide students the opportunity to integrate the knowledge and skills they have gained in the course of their program of study, and to apply them in a practical and/or experiential manner to significant contemporary global policy issues. The applied component of the course will typically involve either an extended simulation exercise, or a project for a real-world client organization.

For those students wanting to write an MA Thesis, students must write a proposal that outlines their topic, details their justification for wanting to write a thesis, and lists the 3 faculty who have agreed to serve on the committee (including a chairperson). This proposal must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Committee for approval, no later than April 15 the year before the student intends to graduate


(21 hours)
Courses listed are not exhaustive of courses that may fulfill a distribution.

Global Economics: 3 hours
IAS 5523 Global Political Economy
IAS 5273 Survey of International Economics
IAS 5323 Political Economy of Development
ECON 5613 International Economics

Global Security: 3 hours
IAS 5043 Global Security
IAS 5223 European Security
PSC 5553 International Security
PSC 5653 Low Intensity Conflict

Law and Institutions: 3 hours
IAS 5013 International Law
IAS 5213 Politics of the EU
IAS 5940 Law and Globalization
IAS 5940 Global Governance

Area Studies: 6 hours
IAS 5453 Politics and Policy of the Middle East
IAS5133 Chinese Politics
IAS 5213 Politics of the EU
IAS 5353 Latin American International Relations
IAS 5940: Global Environment
IAS 5940: Politics of Language

Electives: 6 hours as approved by Graduate Liaison