Frequently Asked Questions
- Why choose Global and International Studies for my graduate degree? In a 2006 report, the Committee for Economic Development concluded that “U.S. businesses are concerned with developing the workforce that they need for the United States economy to retain its position as the global leader. Foreign language skills, knowledge of other world regions and cultures, and overseas experience all contribute to creating the employee who has the cross-cultural competence needed by American businesses in the twenty-first century.”
Whether you see yourself in a for-profit, non-profit, or government service career, the master’s in international studies will provide a solid yet flexible foundation that can enhance your employability in any of these settings while giving you a more complex understanding of issues that increasingly affect all of us.
- What can I do with an M.A. in Global and International Studies? The degree allows students to gain a deep understanding of a world region of interest and to explore the history and context of issues that cross national borders and affect the work of governments, corporations, and service organizations. Our students develop a significant awareness of the opportunities and challenges faced by any entity connected to the international arena. As a result, a master's degree in international studies, together with relevant work experience and language training, can be a valuable asset for a career in public service, private enterprise or with non-governmental organizations worldwide.
Beyond the particular regions and topics covered in the coursework, students in Global and International Studies further develop their abilities in research, critical analysis, reasoning, and writing–skills that are integral to success in any field. While many of our graduates are pursuing internationally-oriented careers in government agencies, business, and service organizations, others have been interested in career opportunities that required a master's level education, whatever the field. Thus, they chose this program because it was of personal interest, allowing them to earn the master's-level credential and move up, even in positions that have little international orientation. Those considering this program should think about their goals and investigate the types of degrees and training that are held by people working in that area to make sure that the Master of Arts in Global and International Studies will help move them toward those goals.
- I’m interested in international business. Why should I choose this degree over an MBA? While an MBA provides solid training in areas such as finance and management that can be used in international settings, the Master of Arts in Global and International Studies offers an in-depth exploration of issues that shape the prospects for multinational firms and industries. The coursework in Global and International Studies provides a strong contextual understanding of the ways both contemporary and historical events affect the business environment in a region. Further, our interdisciplinary program allows you to complete relevant courses in the Business School (such as International Business Strategy, Global Risk Management, Managing in a Global Environment, etc.) as part of your degree in Global and International Studies. The Master of Arts offers a background that can combine coursework in business with an in-depth global perspective and will set you apart as you pursue opportunities in international business.
- What kind of students enroll in the Global and International Studies Program? Our students are about 50/50 men and women and they come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some are recent college graduates, many from foreign universities; others work in the private sector or for non-profit agencies in the greater Kansas City area; still others are members of the armed services. We view the diversity of our student body as a particular strength of our program. Our students bring a wealth of personal experiences and diverse academic backgrounds to the program, which makes for lively and thought-provoking seminars. We also have a very engaged student body. The student organization, MISO (Masters in International Studies Organization), has been highly active over the past two years, sponsoring lectures, workshops, and community service projects. Profiles of some of our current students.
- How long does it take to complete the degree? For full time graduate students, the normal enrollment is 9 credit hours (3 courses) in the fall and spring semesters. Part-time students generally take 1 or 2 courses per semester, as their schedule allows.
A full-time student should be able to complete the program in two years. A working professional or part-time student who takes one course per semester can complete the program in three to four years. The KU Graduate School sets a limit of seven years from first enrollment to completion for the master’s degree.
- I work full time. Are there evening classes available? Courses at the Edwards Campus meet one time per week in the late afternoon or evening, specifically to accommodate the needs of working adult students. Courses in Lawrence are more typically offered during the day, limiting their accessibility for some Global and International Studies students. However, we work hard to schedule Lawrence courses in our program for evening time slots.
- Can I complete the program by attending classes at only one of the KU campuses? All students are required to take three core courses, and these courses are offered only at the Edwards Campus located in Overland Park, Kansas. Beyond these classes, students can select from course offerings at both the Lawrence campus and the Edwards campus; depending on the student’s particular areas of interest, it is possible to complete the rest of the coursework on either campus. The Lawrence campus is about 35 miles from the Edwards Campus, which is located in Overland Park, Kansas on the southeast side of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. This map shows the two locations. The K-10 Connector bus offers service between the two campuses.
- What background do I need to be admitted to the Master’s in Global and International Studies Program? To be considered for admission, applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with at least a 3.0 grade-point average (on a scale in which A = 4). However, students admitted to the program typically have a higher GPA than this, more often in the 3.5 or higher range. Undergraduate degrees in the social sciences (or significant coursework in social science fields) are regarded by the admissions committee as the strongest indicators of an applicant's likelihood for success in Global and International Studies.
For all applicants, and particularly those with degrees in other areas, elements of a strong application include a well-written essay that demonstrates excellent writing skills and explains the applicant's interest in the degree, a writing sample that illustrates your professional and/or personal writing abilities, official GRE, GMAT, or LSAT scores, and strong letters of recommendation from people who can speak to academic abilities and/or give specific information about the applicant's skills in areas relevant to coursework. Overall, the materials need to convince the admissions committee that you can be successful in a reading- and writing-intensive graduate program, that you have strong analytical and critical thinking skills, and that pursuing a degree in Global and International Studies makes sense in light of your background and goals. Visit the How to Apply page for more information.
- When are applications due? For domestic applicants, deadlines are April 1 or June 15 for fall admission and October 1 or November 15 for spring admission. International applicants should apply by April 1 or October 1.