International Studies

Broaden your global knowledge through our Master of International Studies (MIS). Develop your intercultural communication skills. Prepare for a successful career in international relations.

MIS News More Stories

MIS 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. 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.

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, student services in higher education (international students, study abroad) and the private sector.

The strength of the program is its diversity of faculty from many different disciplines and small class size. The richness of the student body from many countries around the world enhances this interaction. In addition, students may take courses at other universities in the area, including UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke, through inter-institutional registration.

Application Requirements

Degree Requirements

The MIS is a multidisciplinary, non-thesis degree program. Of the 36 credit units required, you will take 30 hours in courses at the 500 level or higher. Additionally, 15 credit hours (5 courses) must come from core courses. At least one course (3 credit hours) must come from each of the five fields listed below. For course descriptions not listed here, please refer to the NC State course catalog

  • 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.


An individualized specialization of 12-15 hours is also required. 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 - GIS). The specialization should include an appropriate research methodology course, if recommended by the chair of the student's faculty advisory committee.


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.

To meet the requirement, the activity must be one in which the student has lived abroad and had to cope with a different culture in an individualized way. Such activities may include gainful employment, internships, volunteer activities, or academic study.

Students may also receive academic credit either by completing graduate courses at foreign institutions and request a transfer of up to six credits or by enrolling for the program's internship course for up to six credit hours. More information is available at NC State's Study Abroad Office website.


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.


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 advisor.

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
Elective courses (3-6 hours) for Non-profit certificate
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

Internships and Professional Development

As part of the Master of International Studies program, you are 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 identify the best placement for you. 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. 

Explore Internship Options

Professional Development Workshops

MIS Alumni Spotlight More

The whole graduate program helped boost my academic knowledge and research skills to a higher level, which made me the best candidate for my job. 

Elmas Hasanovic (2018)

Career Options

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