New Curriculum Guidelines
The Master of Arts in International Affairs is a 30-unit program that includes four core courses and a capstone project, which is either a Directed Research Project (3-units) or a Master’s Thesis (6-units). The purpose of the required core courses is to develop a coherent structure underpinning the M.A. by ensuring some common theoretical foundations, knowledge, and language shared by students in this program and with graduates of similar programs around the world. This contributes to the building of a professional community and identity. In addition to the required courses and the capstone project, at least three courses must be home-based in International Affairs. Remaining electives may be chosen from International Affairs seminars or from other graduate-level courses approved by University College.
Required Core Course — 12 Units
Students must take four core courses aimed at students acquiring a common understanding of foundational knowledge and skills for analyzing international affairs, enhancing their abilities to be thoughtful and critical users of academic research in applied settings, and pursuing careers in the field. One required course is a research writing and methods seminar that helps students develop systematic tools for use as practitioners who write and present their work. The other three core courses, selected from a list of core courses, provide a theoretical and substantive foundation for the analysis and understanding of international affairs. These are designed to enable students to develop expertise and understanding of dominant analytical frameworks, tools, and common language in the field of international affairs to engage with other professionals in the field. A selection of three core courses, which are overlapping, ensures that this foundation will be sound and robust.
- Methods and Research Design (U85 524). Students work to produce a research proposal for a significant question in global affairs, which can be academic or applied. The workshop proceeds step-by-step: assessing what good research looks like from different disciplinary perspectives, building a “doable” research question as a puzzle to be explored and one that engages others, elaborating different theoretical approaches that might help explain the puzzle, constructing a literature review relevant to the research question, deciding what type of data/information is best to answer the proposed question, speculating about what pitfalls might threaten confidence in the research, and determining what are some of the potential implications of the research. The workshop will be highly structured and highly interactive with fellow students providing critique and input at each step of the process.
- At least three of the courses listed below:
- Theories of International Relations (U85 574)
- International Organizations (U85 509)
- International Law and the Use of Force (U85 511)
- International Growth and Development (U85 519)
- American Foreign Policy (U85 535)
- International Economics (U85 5181)
- Politics of Global Finance (U85 5571)
- International Political Economy in Theory and Practice (U85 559)
- Global Political Economy (U85 5780)
- State Failure, State Success and Development (U85 5772)
Capstone Research Project
After completing formal course work, all students are required to complete a capstone research project under the supervision of a Washington University faculty member. The research project is either a 3-unit Directed Research Project, or especially strong students can opt for a 6-unit Master’s Thesis.