Degree Requirements

A. Three Core Courses

GIST 701: Approaches to International Studies

GIST 702: Globalization

GIST 710: Interdisciplinary Research Methods for Global Contexts

B. Electives
In addition to the three core courses, students will take seven graduate level elective courses (or eight electives if they choose to complete the non-thesis option).  These courses form two coherent clusters, one around a world region and the other focused on a topic specialization area approved by the student’s advisor. No more than three of these elective courses may be taken in a single department other than Global and International Studies.

For their regional focus, students choose three courses from one of KU’s area studies programs (African Studies, East Asian Studies, European Studies, Latin American Studies, Russian & Eastern European Studies) or courses related to another world region (e.g., the Mediterranean, the Middle East, South Asia). 

Students use their other three elective courses to form a topical focus such as women and development, domestic and international conflict, international politics and policies, globalization, international business and economics, global urbanization, peace studies, or international culture and communication.

Students take one additional elective in any area of interest approved by the GIST Graduate Director.

C. Knowledge of a Second Language

Exposure to a second language is an important part of international studies.  Before completing the M.A. program, students must demonstrate familiarity with a language other than their native tongue.  This can be done through two years of successful college-level study (either before entering the program or concurrently) or--if the student has gained competence through other means (such as tutoring or living outside their country of birth)--through certification by the appropriate language department.

D. Additional Curriculum Requirements

  1. Thesis Option: The thesis option is recommended for all students in the program but is particularly important for those who are considering pursuing a PhD in international studies or a related field. Students electing to write a thesis must complete GIST 898 and produce an original research project with a range of 50 to 100 pages of text, not including notes, references, tables, figures, or appendices.

            For additional information and course planning regarding the thesis option, please the requirements on the Thesis Option Degree Checklist (PDF).

          2. Non-thesis Options: The Center for Global & International Studies offers two non-thesis options. These options are designed primarily for students who do not intend to pursue further graduate study beyond the M.A. in Global and International Studies.

    a. Research Project: Students selecting this option are required to take either GIST 810 or GIST 898 and complete an original research project of between 30-45 pages of text, not including notes, references, or appendices. Like the thesis, the project must involve original and systematic analysis of data/information (i.e. it must utilize a research method) and will include an oral defense. 

For additional information and course planning regarding the research project option, please see the Research Project Degree Checklist (PDF).

    b. Oral & Written Exam: Students choosing this option must take an additional 3 credit hours, corresponding to one of their two coherent clusters. In the final semester, the student must successfully complete a written examination over the course content and the student's regional and substantive area of focus. Students receive comprehensive questions over the areas mentioned above and are given 72-hours to respond to each of the three questions with a minimum of ten pages of text per question. Students considering this option must receive the advance approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. 

For additional information about the exam option, please see our Exam Option Degree Checklist (PDF).


Quick Links

Degrees Internships
Courses Career Resources
Funding Student Success

Follow us @kuglobal! (Click to Connect!)

Instagram Facebook Twitter LinkedIn