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Master of International Studies (MIS) Degree Program Overview

Majors Overview November 16, 2015

This article talks about Master of International Studies (M.I.S.) degree programs and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, and job and wage outlook.

Master of International Studies (M.I.S.) Degree Programs

A professional and terminal degree, the Master of International Studies (M.I.S.) typically serves to expand on students’ knowledge from a previous degree program related to the same field. In most programs, students are allowed to specialize in an area related to a global issue, including public health, global trade, conflict resolution, economic development, or foreign policy. Alternatively, the focus might be on a world region, such as Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, or Europe.

In many programs, students are offered the opportunity of participating in internships and studying abroad. In the majority of programs, students are required to complete a capstone project where they get busy researching, analyzing and writing about policy issues; schools don’t usually insist on a thesis. Enrollees may also be expected to gain proficiency in a language other than their native language.

Educational Requirements

Some educational grasp in social sciences is an expectation for enrollees. Submission of a resume, transcripts from previous coursework and Graduate Record Examination scores are usually requirements.


The focus of programs in international studies is on global and regional issues that impact nations and societies worldwide. MIS programs are usually interdisciplinary, and enrollees within the program gain an insight into practical applications and key theories related to multicultural settings.

Coursework typically cover areas of history, economics, cultural understanding and political science. Program graduates also get to hone their skills in negotiation, communication, and leadership. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Trade theory
•International Policies
•Developing societies
•Environmental law
•Global problems
•Political economy
•Cross-cultural development
•Intercultural communication

Career Choices

An MIS program can lead to careers in diplomacy, public service or government. Graduates can apply their skills to careers dealing with various business or policy matters. Program graduates can seek careers as:

•Senior management analyst
•Export Assistant
•Legislative Assistant
•Foreign policy officer
•International services coordinator

Job and Wage Outlook

A federal government pay scale is used to compute the pay of foreign policy officers working in the U.S. Department of State. The pay schedule has 14 steps and nine classes, locality pay or a dangerous post or hardship differential may be earned by some foreign service officers to augment their base pay.

In January 2014, legislative assistant salaries in the 10th-90th percentile ranged between $26,866 and $61,322, with the median pay equaling $40,178. The range for import/export agent salaries in the 10th-90th percentile is between $28,941 and $51,857, with the median pay equaling $38,279 (PayScale).

In 2012, management analysts brought in an average annual wage of $78,600. Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, management analysts are expected to see a job growth of 19% (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

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