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Master of International Studies

Broaden your global knowledge. Develop your intercultural communication skills. Prepare for a successful career in international relations.

Program Overview

The Master of International Studies (MIS) is a professional degree program that prepares students for exciting careers in government service, international institutions and non-governmental organizations.

The program combines a core curriculum with a 15-hour regional, topical, professional or technical specialization. Upon graduation, most students move into jobs in government service, nonprofit management, higher education student services and the private sector.

The strength of the program is its diversity of faculty from various disciplines and small class size. The richness of the student body from many countries around the world enhances learning. 

Information Session

Degree Requirements

The MIS is a multidisciplinary, non-thesis degree program. Of the 36 credit hours required, you will take 30 hours in courses at the 500 level or higher.

Core Courses

You must take 15 credit hours of core courses. That equates to at least one course from each of the five areas listed below. For course descriptions, please refer to the NC State catalog.

  • PS 530: Seminar in International Relations
  • PS 533: Global Problems and Policies
  • HI 554: History of US Foreign Relations
  • PS 540: Seminar in Comparative Politics
  • PS 541: Political Islam
  • PS 542: European Politics
  • PS 543: Latin America and the Caribbean
  • PS 544: Contemporary African Politics
  • PS 545: Comparative Systems of Law and Justice
  • PS 546: The Politics of East Asia
  • PS 547: Russian Politics
  • PS 531: International Law
  • PS 532: Seminar in Global Governance
  • PS 536: Global and Environmental Law and Policy
  • EC 548: International Economics
  • PS 539: International Political Economy
  • PS 571 Research Methods
  • PA 515 Research Methods
  • 500-level methods course from a different department*
  • Two GIS (Geospatial Information Science) courses

*You may also take a methods course in another discipline as warranted by your specialization if approved by your advisor in consultation with the MIS DGP. Examples include anthropology, communication, psychology, public administration and sociology.

Additional Requirements

  • Program Specialization: Students must create an individualized specialization of 12-15 hours. The specialization may be in a geographical region (e.g., Latin America), an international topic (e.g., environment and sustainable development), a professional field (e.g., public administration), or a technical specialty (e.g., Geographic Information Systems).
  • International Work or Study Experience: American students must have a significant foreign study or work experience of at least 12 weeks. This may be prior experience or one that is undertaken while enrolled in the MIS program. International students fulfill this requirement by living and studying in the United States while pursuing the program.
  • Capstone Seminar: Students nearing completion of the program are brought together in a seminar in which they explore broader issues in international studies and write a capstone paper that is presented to other students.
  • Language Compentency: Competency in a foreign language is also required and is certified by the foreign languages department. More information is available at the Foreign Language and Literatures Graduate Certification website.

Program Specializations

In addition to fulfilling core requirements, program specializations of 12 to 15 credit hours may be in a variety of areas. The following lists identify some of the more common options taken by students. Students may also develop their own individual specializations in consultation with their advisors.

  • PS 540: Seminar in Comparative Politics
  • PS 541: Political Islam
  • PS 542: European Politics
  • PS 543: Latin America and the Caribbean
  • PS 545: Comparative Systems of Law and Justice
  • HI 518: Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany
  • HI 519: Modern European Imperialism
  • HI 520: European Diplomatic History
  • HI 529: 20th Century Britain
  • HI 539: History of the Soviet Union and After
  • PS 542: European Politics
  • FLS 525: Poetry and Politics in Latin America
  • FLS 592: Seminar in Hispanic Studies
  • HI 467: Modern Mexico
  • HI 553: U.S.- Latin American Relations Since 1823
  • HI 569: Latin American Revolutions in the Twentieth Century
  • PS 543: Latin America and the Caribbean
  • HI 465: Oil and Crisis in the Gulf
  • HI 477: Women in the Middle East
  • HI 507: Islamic History to 1798
  • HI 578: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa Since the 19th Century
  • PS 437: U.S. National Security Policy
  • PS 541: Political Islam
  • REL 408: Islam in the Modern World
  • SOC 520: Sociology of Religion
  • PS 541: Political Islam
  • HI 575: History of the Republic of South Africa
  • HI 576: Leadership in Modern Africa
  • HI 578: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • HI 579: Africa (Sub-Saharan) in the Twentieth Century
  • PS 502: The Legislative Process
  • PS 506: United States Constitutional Law
  • PS 507: Civil Liberties in the United States
  • PS 545: Comparative Systems of Law and Justice
  • HI 544: US Constitutional History Since 1870
  • HI 552: Recent America
  • HI 554: History of U.S. Foreign Relations 1900-present
  • PS 463: Public Choice and Political Institutions
  • PS 437: U.S. National Security Policy
  • PA 522: Intergovernmental Relations in the United States
  • PS 431: UN and Global Order
  • PS 531: International Law
  • PS 532: Seminar in Global Governance
  • PS 533: Global Problems and Policies
  • PS 536: Global and Environmental Law and Policy
  • PS 545: Comparative Systems of Law and Justice
  • PS 534: Politics of Human Rights
  • PHI 520: Global Justice
  • ECG 548: International Economics
  • EAC 540: Foundations of Higher Education and Student Affairs
  • EAC 541: Administration and Finance of Student Affairs
  • EAC 795: International Higher Education
  • EAC 517: Current Issues in Higher Education
  • ECD 525: Cross-Cultural Counseling
  • COM 523: International & Intercultural Communication

PA 531: Human Resource Management in Public and Nonprofit Orgs
PA 536: Management of Nonprofit Organizations
PA 538: Nonprofit Budgeting and Financial Management
PA 539: Fund Development
PA 510: Ethics and Professional Practices
PA 514: Management Systems
PA 532: Contract Negotiation and Mediation in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors
PA 535: Problem Solving for Public and Nonprofit Managers
PA 542: Public Information Technology
PA 546: Seminar in Program Evaluation
PA 598: Special Topics in Public Administration
PA 640: Grant Writing
COM 546: Nonprofit Marketing and Public Relations

  • PA 507: The Public Policy Process
  • PA 509: Applied Political Economy
  • PA 510: Ethics and Professional Practice
  • PA 511: Public Policy Analysis
  • PA 512: The Budgetary Process
  • PA 513: Public Organization Behavior
  • PA 514: Management Systems
  • PA 515: Research Methods and Analysis
  • PA 516: Effective Communication for Public Administrators
  • PA 521: Government and Planning
  • PA 522: Intergovernmental Relations in the United States
  • PA 525: Organizational Development and Change Management
  • PA 530: Financial Management in the Public Sector
  • PA 540: Grant Writing for Public Administrators
  • PA 546: Seminar in Program Evaluation
  • COM 566: Seminar in Crisis Communication
  • HI 465: Oil and the Gulf Crisis
  • HI 551: The Vietnam War
  • HI 553: U.S. – Latin American Relations 1823
  • HI 554: History of U.S. Foreign Relations 1900-present
  • PS 437: U.S. National Security Policy
  • PS 533: Global Problems and Policies
  • PS 598: International Security
  • SOC 432: Violence, Terrorism, and Public Policy
  • ANT 531: Tourism, Culture and Anthropology
  • ANT 533: Anthropology of Ecotourism and Heritage Conservation
  • ECG 540: Economic Development
  • GIS 510: Introduction to Geographic Information Science
  • NR 571: Current Issues in Natural Resource Management
  • PS 533: Global Problems and Issues
  • PS 536: Global Environmental Law and Policy
  • PRT 795: Sustainability, Poverty and Tourism
  • PS 431: UN and Global Order
  • PS 531: International Law
  • PS 532: Seminar in Global Governance
  • PS 533: Global Problems and Policy
  • PS 534: Politics of Human Rights
  • PHI 520: Global Justice
  • PA 536: The Management of Non-Profits
  • HI 568: Slavery in the Americas
  • PHI 575: Ethical Theory
  • SOC 755: Global Institutions and Markets
  • COM 562: Communication and Social Change

MIS students can also choose to add a Graduate Certificate to their degree plan. You can find a list of all Graduate Certificates offered at NC State here. The most commonly pursued Graduate Certificates for MIS students are in Policy AnalysisNuclear Nonproliferation Science and PolicyNonprofit Management, and Geographic Information Systems.

A Leading Program

As an affiliate member of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, the MIS program joins distinguished universities around the world in providing global education for the 21st century.

Admission Info

Prospective students apply through the NC State Graduate School. Completed applications include a personal statement, resume, transcripts and three letters of recommendation. Additionally, international applicants must demonstrate proficiency of English.

Please note that we do not require the GRE, nor do we use if submitted.

Application Deadlines

U.S. Citizens

  • Fall Applicants: March 1 priority for funding, admission on a rolling basis until June 1. 
  • Spring Applicants: November 1 priority, admission on a rolling basis until November 25. 

International Applicants

  • Fall Applicants: March 1
  • Spring Applicants: July 15

Internships and Professional Development

As part of our program, you’re encouraged to complete an internship and earn academic credit with an organization relevant to your studies and career interests. Our internship director, Dr. Tracy Appling, will work with you to find the best placement. MIS students have interned across the country and around the world.

Professional development workshops offer opportunities to learn about internships, fellowships and careers. Experts share experiences working in a variety of organizations including the U.S. Foreign Service and other government agencies, international NGOs, the private sector, government contractors, research institutions and others.

We offer several professional development opportunities throughout the year. Here’s a list of several upcoming workshops and past events.

MIS students pose for a photo

Alumni Outcomes

Your career opportunities will be strengthened by the area of specialization you choose within our program.

Our most popular career tracks are in these four general areas: 

  • Government service at the state and national levels.
  • Nonprofit organization administration and outreach.
  • Higher education administration in international students services and study abroad.
  • International business, primarily trade and marketing.

Frequently Asked Questions

A full-time course load is 9 credits or 3 courses per semester and the program requires 36 credits. Therefore, it should take 4 semesters if you attend full-time, summer excluded. Credits can be earned for internship and study abroad experiences during the summer that may shorten the time to completion.

The program is designed to accommodate part-time students. Courses are always offered in the late afternoons and evenings. If you are working full time, it is not recommended that you take more than 2 courses per semester. It will then take longer to complete the degree.

The Department of Foreign Languages and Literature here on campus administers graduate foreign language certification.  It is recommended that you have some foreign language training before entering the program and obtain the appropriate certification either through testing or a course while here on campus.  It is difficult to start a language from scratch while also pursuing graduate work in another discipline.  Credits obtained for language training cannot be applied toward the required 36 credit hours for the degree.  To learn more about fulfilling this requirement, the Foreign Languages Department offers these guidelines.

There are several ways you can gain international experience.  If you have had a significant international experience within the last five years prior to entry into the program, it will be counted as having fulfilled this requirement.  Otherwise, you may study abroad for a summer or semester, work abroad through your existing job or an internship, or take several extended trips abroad in either a work or study capacity during the course of your program.  You may get course credit for study abroad and/or internship.

NC State students can take courses at other institutions in the area, including Duke and UNC Chapel Hill, through inter-institutional registration. You first need to find a course that you are interested in and be sure it is either an advanced undergraduate (400 or better) or graduate class. You would then contact the professor of that class to request permission to register. Once that permission is given, you would fill out an inter-institutional registration form, attach the professor’s permission and turn it in to the MIS Director for final approval.

The MIS program offers teaching assistantships. They are awarded generally on an annual basis.  Each assistantship pays a stipend per each semester, in addition to tuition and health benefits. In exchange, student recipients must work up to 20 hours per week for a faculty member and be enrolled full time. The number of assistantships varies annually.