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School for International Studies | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Simon Fraser University Calendar | Fall 2022

International Studies

Master of Arts

This full-time 12 to 24 month program, leading to a master of arts (MA) in international studies, consists of seven courses that are completed over three consecutive terms. The duration of the program may be extended with the approval of the supervisor and graduate chair/director. In addition, students can earn a regional concentration by completing two courses and writing their thesis (IS 898) or extended essay (IS 880) on their region of expertise.

The available concentrations are:

  • Latin American Studies
  • Middle Eastern Studies

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the university admission requirements as stated in Graduate General Regulations 1.3 in the SFU Calendar. Normally, to be considered for admission, applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 from a recognized university, preferably in an arts or social sciences discipline. In addition, the School also requires a statement of research interest. Those admitted with other credentials or those with arts degrees who in the judgment of the graduate chair are without adequate foundation in the social sciences may be required to make up any deficiency without receiving graduate credit for those courses.

Students are admitted for commencement of studies in the fall term only. Please consult the School for International Studies website for application requirements.

Accelerated Master's

The minimum requirements for this accelerated master's is as per Graduate General Regulation 1.3.6a. In addition, the School also requires a statement of research interest. Students may be admitted for commencement of studies in the fall and spring terms. Please note that this program is only available to current Simon Fraser University declared international studies major or honours undergraduate students. 

Please consult the School for International Studies website. Applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as they have completed 90 units for their bachelor's requirements.

Students will be awarded a bachelor of arts (with major/honours) and will be offered conditional admission into the master of arts in international studies commencing in the fall term. Students may complete a portion of graduate units towards their bachelor's and master's requirements concurrently.

Program Requirements

This program consists of course work and two extended essays or a thesis for a minimum of 30 units.

Students must complete

IS 800 - Problems of International Policy and Practice (4)

An inter-disciplinary course which aims to bring to bear different perspectives on problems of International policy and practice. The particular problems taken up will change over time in light of global developments and current events. Prerequisite: Graduate students enrolled in the MA in International Studies, or permission of the instructor.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Jason Stearns
Th 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
HCC 3122, Vancouver
IS 801 - Politics, Institutions and Development (4)

'The quality of institutions' is now said to exercise a crucial influence on the prospects for development, and the course interrogates this claim both through analysis of different paths of economic growth and change across the developing world, and in regard to public administration and development management. It examines development policies and institutional theories, the politics of institutions and state formation, and the relationships between political systems, institutions and patterns of development. Prerequisite: Graduate students enrolled in the MA in International Studies, or permission of the instructor.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G200 Gerardo Otero
Mo 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
HCC 1525, Vancouver
IS 806 - State Failure and Reconstruction: Comparative Perspectives (4)

Examines the causes of state fragility and collapse, and assesses the challenges of reconstruction. Focusing on cases from different regions, we will explore the security dimensions of state fragility, the role of humanitarian intervention, the challenge of building democratic institutions in divided societies, and the relationship between state building and peace building.

IS 830 - Analytic Approaches for International Studies (4)

Introduces key methods in international studies, critically assessing them as concepts and as tools for helping understand the world around us. Prerequisite: Acceptance into the MA in International Studies Program. Undergraduate course work in methods is highly recommended.

and one four unit elective graduate course in international studies

Extended Essays Option

Additionally, students must complete

one elective graduate course for a minimum of four units (subject to approval of the graduate chair or director)

and two extended essays

IS 880 - MA Extended Essays (6)

Extended Essays. Prerequisite: Enrollment in the MA in International Studies program.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD
G200 TBD

Thesis Option

Additionally, students must complete

IS 886 - Thesis Prospectus (4)

Thesis Prospectus. Prerequisite: Enrollment in the MA in International Studies program.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD
G200 TBD
IS 898 - MA Thesis (18)

MA Thesis. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisite: Enrollment in the MA in International Studies program.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD
G200 TBD

Students pursuing an optional regional concentration complete an additional four units of course work for a minimum of 46 units. Approved courses for each regional concentration can be found in the relevant section below.

Regional Concentrations

The available regional concentration areas are Latin American Studies (LAS) and Middle Eastern Studies (MES).

Latin American Studies (LAS)

Students must complete two of the following

IS 815 - Theories of Latin American Development (4)

A synthetic introduction to historical and contemporary theories of development in Latin America. Topics include political economy of development, sociological theories of development, an introduction to neoliberalism, and the contemporary experience of globalization and development in Latin America. Students who have taken LAS 815 or SA 815 for credit may not take this course for further credit.

IS 835 - Social and Political Change in Latin America (4)

A general overview of social and political change in Latin America, including revolutions, independence, transition to democracy, and contemporary social movements. Theoretical approaches may include social-movement theory, democratic theory, etc. Students who have taken LAS 835 or SA 835 for credit may not take this course for further credit.

or an elective course with significant LAS content subject to the approval of the graduate chair or director

Middle Eastern Studies (MES)

Students must complete two of the following

HIST 852 - Themes in Middle Eastern History (5)

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD

or an elective course with significant MES content subject to the approval of the graduate chair or director

Program Length

Students pursuing the extended essays option will be able to complete the program requirements in three terms. Students pursuing the thesis option will also be able to complete the program requirements in three terms, however this option usually requires at least four terms of study.

Academic Requirements within the Graduate General Regulations

All graduate students must satisfy the academic requirements that are specified in the Graduate General Regulations, as well as the specific requirements for the program in which they are enrolled.