Program Structure

The MA in International Studies is a 12 months program completed over three semesters. The program typically consists of two terms (Fall and Spring) of full-time course work, and a third term in which students complete their final essays. Students also have the choice to use the third term (Summer) as a co-op term to gain paid work experience, or to conduct their own research toward a thesis, and thereby finish the program in a fourth term.

Students should consider the program a full-time commitment. Tuition and additional funding support are made available to ensure students do not try to combine their studies with other full-time work.

The MAIS program is designed to give every student a confident grounding in key knowledge and methodologies relevant to International Studies. To this end, MAIS students enjoy a set of core courses together as a learning cohort in small-size seminars. These are stimulating opportunities for students and professors to conduct in-depth examination of key issues, and to learn together through small group dialogue and participation.

The program provides choices for students to customize their education to suit their goals. Students choose between the option of completing:

two extended essays (8,000 words each, no oral defense); OR

a thesis (14,000-16,000 words, oral defense, and submission to the library)

Students also choose their elective courses based on their own interests. Elective courses take up different regional concentrations (e.g. China, Latin America, etc.) as well as different topical interests (e.g. security governance, social movements, etc.).  

Sample timeline for MAIS program




  • IS 800 Problems  of International Policy and Practice
  • IS 801 Institutions, Policies and Development
  • IS 879 Career Development Seminar
  • elective course
  • IS 830 Analytic Approaches for International Studies
  • IS 806 State Failure and Reconstruction: Comparative Perspectives
  • elective course if pursuing Extended Essays; IS 886 if pursuing Thesis
  • Extended essays
  • Thesis completion

(if not completed in Summer, due to co-op or research)