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Master's of Art's Degree

International Studies Program | SPPAIS

General MA Program Guidelines

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

  • In the 1st semester each student completes the required Graduate Pro-seminar (INST 5200) and International Social Science Methods (INST5400) courses and has the opportunities to attend scheduled orientation sessions. The sessions focus on tips for graduate student 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, this is known as the Spring Graduate Thesis Seminar. This seminar familiarizes the faculty with student work and helps students identify faculty with whom they will work with. This is also the time when students pick the members for their thesis committees. The standard MA committee is composed of at least three members. As a rule the committee head should be a Professor with direct ties to the Global & Area Studies program. The committee members must be tenure track Professors that hold their doctorate.
  • By the end of the 2nd semester each MA student should submit a prospectus write up to their thesis committee prior to doing their summer fieldwork.
  • The 3rd semester is when students start preparing and begin working on their thesis.
  • The 4th and final semester student will have completed their thesis. Students will make a public presentation, called a thesis defense, before their thesis committee. This is followed by an oral examination of the material and course of study by the students thesis committee.

MA Degree Program Requirements

Students choosing the traditional Master's degree track must complete a minimum of 26 hours of graded, non-thesis coursework and 4 hours of thesis research. Students must meet the following requirements:

  1. Complete one advanced methods course- INST 5400 International Studies Social Science Methods (3 hours)
  2. Complete one research theory course- INST 5200 Graduate Pro-seminar in International Studies (3 hours)
  3. Complete at least 20 other course credits at the graduate level, as approved by your advisor
  4. Demonstrate conversational proficiency in a foreign language
  5. Perform field research
  6. Write and orally defend Master's thesis


Thesis Work

Students must pass an oral examination at the completion of their program. Normally the oral examination (thesis defense) will center on the thesis, but may also encompass coursework of the candidate. When setting up a thesis defense students will need to pick a date and time, students should know their defense is public and will also need to prepare an announcement that can be electronically distributed to all of the Faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences.


Joint Master's Degree with the school of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR)

The Master's of Arts in International studies offers the opportunity for students to do a joint degree with Environment and Natural Resources (ENR). This degree allows students to learn about and practice innovative approaches to environmental and natural resource management issues from a global perspective. Students must complete 26 hours of coursework.

Required Courses (12 hours)

  • 6 hours from international studies theory and methods coursework, as described above
  • ENR 5000- Approaches to Environment and Natural Resource Problem-Solving
  • ENR5900- Environment and Natural Resources Assessment Practice
  • 9 hours of ENR elective coursework; min. 26 credits of coursework total

Students will work with an advisor in both Global & Area Studies and ENR to determine the courses that will best fit their program.

Contact Us

School of Politics, Public Affairs, and International Studies

Department 3197 | A&S 208

1000 E. University Avenue

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307)-766-6484


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