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Global & Area Studies|College of Arts and Sciences

The Master of International Studies Degrees

Program Goals & Learning Outcome    Graduate Education    University Catalogue

Download our Graduate Program Brochure!

Overview of the Program

The Global & Area Studies Program at the University of Wyoming offers students the opportunity to obtain a Master's Degree that is tailored to a student's interests in global issues. As a small-scale, interdisciplinary program, international studies allows students to work closely with faculty members from diverse backgrounds and areas of study: globalization, environmental policy, national security issues, NGO administration, among many others. Students may also gain experience through teaching and internship activities.

International studies offers a Traditional Master's Degree that combines coursework and a thesis project. The Masters International Peace Corps Degree is an alternative to the traditional degree and combines coursework, two journal-length papers, including an applied research project, and Peace Corps service. Both degrees offer the option of a concurrent major in Environment and Natural Resources which allows students to learn and practice innovative approaches to natural resource management issues from a global perspective.


General MA Program Guidelines

The MA program for all students shares some common elements that help to promote a timely completion of the degree.

  •  In the 1st semester each student completes the required Graduate Proseminar (INST 5200) and International Social Science Methods (INST 5400) and has opportunities to attend scheduled orientation sessions focusing on tips for graduate school success, preliminary thesis work, and research funding sources
  •   Early in the 2nd semester students circulate and present a brief thesis proposal to the graduate faculty and other graduate students in the Spring Graduate Thesis Seminar.  This seminar familiarizes the faculty with student work and helps students identify faculty with whom they will work.  Students also form their thesis committee.
  •  By the end of the 2nd semester each MA student should submit a prospectus to their thesis committee and schedule a prospectus hearing with their committee prior to doing their summer fieldwork.
  •  Upon completion of the thesis in the 4th semester, students will make a public presentation of the main findings followed by an oral examination of the material and course of study by the student’s MA committee.
  •  The MA committee is composed of at least three members.  Two are designated from within the program and one from outside the program.  As a rule the thesis director should be a person with direct ties to the IS program (e.g., tenure-line affiliation with the program or be a member of the IS advisory committee).  Adjunct members of the faculty can also direct a thesis project with the approval of the graduate director.  

Masters Degree Program Requirements

Students can choose between a Traditional Masters Degree (thesis) or the Masters International Peace Corps Degree

  • Traditional Masters Degree

Students choosing the traditional Masters degree track must complete a minimum of 26 hours of graded, non-thesis coursework and 4 hours of thesis research. Students must meet three basic requirements:

  1. Complete one advanced theory course - INST 5400 International Social Science Research Methods (3 hours);
  2. Complete one research methods course - INST 5200 Graduate Proseminar in International Studies (3 hours);
  3. Demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language.

Area of Concentration
Students work with an advisor to develop a course of study for the additional 20 hours of coursework in an area of focus based on personal interests and career plans.
Thesis Work

Students must pass an oral examination at the completion of their program. Normally, an oral examination will center on the thesis, but may also encompass coursework of the candidate.

  • Masters International Peace Corps Curriculum

Students choosing the Masters International Peace Corps track must complete a minimum of 24 hours and 6 hours of internship credit for the 27-month Peace Corps service. (Note: Students simultaneously must apply to the Peace Corps as part of the application process!). Students must meet three basic requirements:

  1. Complete one advanced theory course - INST 5400 International Social Science Research Methods (3 hours);
  2. Complete one research methods course - INST 5200 Graduate Proseminar in International Studies (3 hours);
  3. Complete a critical paper prior to entering the Peace Corps and an analytical paper after completing Peace Corps service.

Students must choose between one of the following three areas of concentration:

1. Environment and Natural Resources Track (please see Joint Masters Degree in Environment and Natural Resources below)

2. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) Administration Track

The non-governmental organization (NGO) administration concentration is intended for Master's International-Peace Corps students who would like a volunteer placement that involves working with NGOs. The curriculum in NGO administration provides a basic foundation in public administration with an emphasis on the relationships, challenges and opportunities that shape the work of civil society organizations. This foundation is combined with courses that address broader issues encountered in NGO administration such as human rights, environmental protection, gender issues, and conflict reconciliation.

Recommended Core Classes
POLS 4710 Topics - Introduction to Non-profit Sector (fall semester); Non-profit Management and Leadership (spring semester).
POLS 5000 - Survey of Public Administration

POLS 5440 - Principles and Processes of Public Budgeting
POLS 5480 - Ethics in Government
POLS 5540 - Public Policy Perspectives
BUSN 5500 - Professional Managerial Skills

Students also have the option of developing another concentration based on personal interests, although this may be limited by the availability of course offerings.

Writing Requirement
Prior to entering the Peace Corps, students are required to write a critical paper associated with the locale of their anticipated Peace Corps service. After serving in the Peace Corps, students are required to write an analytical paper based on their Peace Corps service. The paper will be guided by the student's graduate committee and is due no later than six months following the completion of Peace Corps service.

Masters International Peace Corps Website

3. Agriculture Track

Master's International-Peace Corps students who would like a volunteer placement that involves working with farmers and other peasant producers may want to consider taking courses in agriculture. The curriculum for the concentration in agriculture is intended to give the student a general understanding of the issues facing agrarian-based communities. The focus of the curriculum is on economic development and natural resource management issues. There is some specific training in the principles and business methods of farm and ranch management, however students coming into the graduate program with a strong background in agriculture may choose courses in other areas, e.g. rangeland ecology or plant science.

Recommended Core Courses
AGEC 4640 - Advanced Farm and Ranch Management
AECL 4020/5020 - Alternative Agriculture (offered in the Spring)
AGEC 5660 - Community Economic Development Electives

Recommended Electives
AGEC 4460 - Agriculture and Economic Development
AGEC 4720 - Water Resource Economics
AGEC 4840 - Agricultural Market Analysis
AGEC 5600 - Community Economic Analysis

  • Joint Masters Degree in Environment and Natural Resources

The Master's program in international studies and environment and natural resources (ENR) allows students to learn about and practice innovative approaches to environmental and natural resource management issues from a global perspective. Students must take 26 hours of coursework and 4 hours thesis credit.

Required Courses (12 hours)
6 hours from international studies theory and research methods coursework - INST 5200 Graduate Proseminar in International Studies & INST 5400 International Social Science Research Methods;
ENR 5000 - Approaches to Environmental and Natural Resource Problem-Solving;
ENR 5900 - Environment and Natural Resources Assessment Practice.

Electives (14 hours)
Students must complete an additional 14 hours of coursework from a three different subfields: Policy, Economics, and Law; Science and Engineering; Human Dimensions; Quantitative/Qualitative Methods. Students will work with an advisor in both internationals studies and enr to determine the courses that will best fit with their program of study.


We hope you'll consider the University of Wyoming for your graduate career. All inquiries should be directed to Dr. Marcus Watson, Graduate Program Director, 307-766-4169, or Erika Helgeson, Program Coordinator, 307-766-3423.

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