• Focus on globalization and development concerns or international security and peace issues
  • Russian researcher discusses Putin’s democratic policies during guest lecture
  • MTSU’s Middle East Center offers insights into culture, politics of the region
  • Take advantage of study-abroad opportunities and explore the world

International Affairs, M.A.

The Master of Arts degree in International Affairs can open a new world of career opportunities in an increasingly globalized world. The graduate program provides students with a unique combination of analytic research and practical applications tools. Choose from two concentrations: International Security and Peace Studies, or International Development and Globalization. The degree track appeals to students with an intense interest in and desire for work in professional international fields and/or study at the doctoral level. Highly qualified faculty teach the latest research methods in international issues; skills to organize field projects and work in interdisciplinary teams; and theoretical and methodological tools to evaluate national or international policies. Graduates also will have opportunities to develop a complete understanding of foreign cultures.

M.A. candidate works for Transparency International in Mexico City

M.A. candidate works for Transparency International in Mexico City

Rachel Harmon spent four months in Mexico for a prestigious practicum experience with Transparency International, a pre-eminent anti-corruption organization. Harmon, earning her M.A. in International Affairs in fall 2013, helped revise a survey that asks about people's participation in and perception of corruption (bribes, favoritism, etc.). She also worked on The Open Parliaments Project which promotes standards for openness and transparency for local legislators. "The fact I got to work for Transparency International is something that not many people can say in grad school, much less someone who comes from a public institution," Harmon says. The 2012 Political Science grad credited MTSU professors for opportunities including helping fund her education and studies abroad. Harmon saw political culture firsthand, visited historic ruins, increased her Spanish skills "tenfold," and fell in love with Mexico City and its welcoming citizens. Her goal is to help a nonprofit civil society organization find solutions to conflict and corruption.

Army officer chooses program to assist with nuclear weapons issues

Army officer chooses program to assist with nuclear weapons issues

U.S. Army Capt. John Erick Peters came back to MTSU for the new master's program in International Affairs after being selected as a nuclear counter-proliferation officer. Part of his job involves advising general officers and government officials on international nuclear weapons treaties and situations. "I needed a broader world view of the possible strategic complications nuclear weapons can have for the U.S. and its allies," he says. Peters could choose any university to further his education for the job, but since he was satisfied with his undergrad education (B.S., General Science) and the MAIA was the type program he was seeking, he chose MTSU. He will return to the Army on a nuclear disablement team upon graduation. He left MTSU as a Second Lieutenant in the Army's Chemical Corps; deployed to Iraq in 2008; served as a rear detachment commander for an infantry unit in Afghanistan 2010-11; and commanded the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Captains' Career Course.

The M.A. in International Affairs prepares students for careers in international affairs; international business; domestic and international non-governmental organizations focusing on poverty alleviation, human rights, or environmental policies; foreign policy organizations; government; analysis and risk management firms; homeland security; and the military. Some potential occupations:

  • Charitable aid director
  • City development manager
  • Combat engineer
  • Diplomat
  • Educator
  • Environmentalist
  • Equal employment opportunity coordinator
  • Foreign policy advisor
  • Government employee
  • Human rights advocate
  • Import company representative
  • International trade compliance analyst
  • Linguist
  • Military official
  • Multinational banker
  • Nonprofit director
  • Program analyst
  • Public servant
  • Relief agency director
  • Senior intelligence specialist in defense
  • Staff assistant to members of Congress
  • World health advocate

Employers of MTSU alumni

Because this degree program is quite new, employer information is still being compiled.

The International Security and Peace Studies track could lead to work at such agencies as the United Nations or other UN agencies, the CIA and the Department of State; nongovernmental organizations like the International Red Cross and Doctors without Borders; and think tanks that research international conflicts.

Students choosing the International Development and Globalization track might pursue jobs at nongovernmental organizations, multinational corporations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of Commerce, United Nations Development Program and other UN agencies, consulting firms, and philanthropies. Some might work with local people in villages to help with sanitation, clean water and financing for agricultural activities.


A Master of Arts (M.A.) in International Affairs is now offered, with a concentration either in International Security and Peace Studies or in International Development and Globalization. It is the only program of its type in the state of Tennessee.

International Affairs candidates must fulfill a requirement for either a practicum or a thesis. Students also must have or obtain a degree of fluency in a foreign language relative to career goals or geographic area of interest. A study-abroad experience is encouraged, which additionally will help develop foreign-language skills.

Applicants must have

  • an undergraduate degree with at least 18 hours of courses in political science, international relations, or related disciplines with no grade lower than a C;
  • a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for all college work taken;
  • satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

The department also offers a graduate minor in Political Science. 

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS tab above. 


Political Science undergraduates can pursue a Bachelor of Science (B.S) degree in International Relations or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Political Science with a general focus, with a concentration in Pre-Law or Public Administration, or with Teacher Licensure.

Undergraduate minors are available in International Relations, Political Science, Political and Civic Engagement, Public Administration, and Paralegal Studies. The department also coordinates interdisciplinary minors in Russian Studies, African Studies, and Urban Studies.

International Security and Peace Studies International Development and Globalization

International Affairs, International Security and Peace Studies, M.A.

Andrei Korobkov, Program Director
(615) 898-2945

The Department of Political Science and International Relations offers the Master of Arts degree in International Affairs with concentrations in International Security and Peace Studies and International Development and Globalization and a minor in Political Science at the graduate level.

The department also offers the Accelerated Bachelor to Masters (ABM), a program designed for MTSU undergraduate students who can receive both a B.S. and M.A. within a five-year period by enrolling in the program during their junior year. For more information, please visit www.mtsu.edu/politicalscience/abm.php.

For the most current information about the program and the department, please visit the department web site at www.mtsu.edu/MAIA.

Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Admission decisions will be made after reviewing all materials and determining the applicant's capacity, suitability, and preparation for graduate study.

Admission decisions are based upon consideration of a number of criteria which are believed to indicate a high potential in the graduate program.

Admission to the Master of Arts in International Affairs with a concentration in International Security and Peace Studies program requires

  1. an earned bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college, including at least 18 hours of undergraduate courses in political science, international relations, or related disciplines (including, for example, courses in international relations theory, research methods, and comparative politics);
  2. a minimum grade point average of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale for all college work taken;
  3. satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Application deadline: Applications for Summer/Fall admission must be complete by March 31, and applications for Spring admission must be complete by October 1. Late applicants who meet the admission criteria may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Applicant must

  1. submit application with appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php);
  2. submit official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE);
  3. submit official transcripts of all previous college work;
  4. submit three (3) letters of recommendation from professors or professionals that address the applicant's potential to successfully complete a master's program in International Affairs;
  5. submit a statement of interest stating reason for applying to the program, academic interest, and professional goals.

Degree Requirements

Candidate must

  1. complete at least 36 semester hours of graduate-level, designated courses in international affairs, with at least 70 percent of the hours at the 6000 level;
  2. successfully pass a comprehensive examination;
  3. fulfill a foreign language requirement in any of the following ways:
    1. complete 12 undergraduate semester hours in one foreign language;
    2. earn at least a C grade in any upper-division undergraduate foreign language course taught in the language and requiring translation;
    3. pass a written examination in the language administered by the Foreign Languages and Literatures Department;
    4. earn a grade of B or better in GERM 5990, FREN 5990, or SPAN 5990; or
    5. complete a three-month intensive language program in an accredited foreign language institute with passing certification.

Curriculum: International Affairs, International Security and Peace Studies

 Candidate must complete 36 hours in the following course of study:

Core Requirements (12 hours)


  • PS 6100 - Seminar in International Relations

    3 credit hours

    Examines the theoretical foundations of international relations, the historical contexts in which they arose, the practical implications of the competing theoretical models, and the contemporary issues that occupy researchers and policymakers in the discipline.

  • PS 6200 - Seminar in Comparative Politics

    3 credit hours

    Examines the theories and methods of comparative politics, the evolution of the discipline, and the issues that drive comparative political research today. Readings include both classic and contemporary literature from different theoretical, empirical, and methodological orientations.

  • PS 6400 - Global Governance  3 credit hours  

    PS 6400 - Global Governance

    3 credit hours

    Examines the issue and challenges of global governance in an increasingly globalized world. Discusses the evolving area of global  governance, governance mechanisms, processes, and institutions, and the effect they have on the international system in maintaining order, and promoting peace, security, prosperity. Topics include roles and activities of inter-governmental organizations, international non-governmental organizations, international law, and transnational processes in global governance.

  • PS 6500 - Research Methods in International Affairs

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PS 3001. Develops the methods of research and data analysis commonly used in the study of international affairs. Emphasis upon proper design and execution of research strategies and upon practical application through use of software such as STATA or R. Required for completion of the M.A. in International Affairs.

Concentration Requirements (18 hours)


Core Courses (6 hours)


  • PS 6110 - International Security in a Changing World

    3 credit hours

    Surveys the research on the causes of international conflict, including interstate and intrastate conflict as well as other types of political violence between states and non-state actors. Includes discussions of the major wars in the modern international system, the military legacy of the Cold War, recent and continuing conflicts (intrastate and interstate), and the future of conflict in the international system.

  • PS 6120 - Peace and Conflict Resolution: Concepts, Processes, and Consequences

    3 credit hours

    Surveys the theories of conflict resolution, the skills involved in negotiation, mediation, and crisis management, and the implications of crisis management. It includes discussions of theoretical premises of conflict resolution, negotiation, and mediation as well as the techniques of each and how they differ. It examines the ways in which society is reconstructed and the implication of reconstruction for the future of society.

Electives (6 hours)


  • PS 5030 - Human Rights  3 credit hours  

    PS 5030 - Human Rights

    3 credit hours

    Aims to foster critical thinking about human rights, develop skills in weighing powerful but opposed arguments, and evaluate complex moral situations. Familiarization with the role of national and international organizations in human rights and global politics.

  • PS 5070 - Political Violence and Terrorism

    3 credit hours

    Political violence, assassination, terror, repression, and genocide examined in comparative and international perspective. Theoretical and case study approaches used to examine political violence forms, goals, tactics, and responses. Significant independent research component.

  • PS 5180 - African Politics  3 credit hours  

    PS 5180 - African Politics

    3 credit hours

    Comparative study of selected African political systems with different colonial traditions in the process of rapid change. Ideology and politics of development, political system forms and processes, modernization efforts, and challenges of nation-building.

  • PS 5190 - Middle East Politics

    3 credit hours

    Examines Middle East political structures and processes; group and elite behavior; the dynamics between politics, society, and culture; and the role and impact of the Arab/Israeli conflict and Radical Islamic ideology in the region's politics and policies.

  • PS 5240 - American Foreign Policy

    3 credit hours

    Foreign policies in the nuclear age from Kennan and containment to the present with emphasis on contemporary problems and policies.

  • PS 5300 - Comparative European Governments

    3 credit hours

    Comparative analysis of the governmental forms and practices of England, France, Germany, the European Community, and others.

  • PS 5310 - Comparative Asian Government

    3 credit hours

    Comparative analysis of the governmental forms and practices of China, Japan, India, and other governments of the region.

  • PS 5690 - International Relations of the Middle East

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PS 1010, PS 3210, PS 4190, or MES 2100. The contextual, substantive, and theoretical framework within which to understand Middle East international relations. Course themes include the Arab/Israeli Conflict, the major powers and the Middle East, Middle East Oil and international relations, Globalization and the Middle East, Islam and Middle East international relations, regional cooperation, and terrorism.

  • PS 5770 - Russian Politics  3 credit hours  

    PS 5770 - Russian Politics

    3 credit hours

    Formation and evolution of the Russian state from pre-Communist to Soviet and post-Soviet stages. Special attention to historical origins and the role of authoritarianism in Russian political culture and to the ideological foundations, formation, and evolution and the reasons for decline of the Communist system. Includes a brief discussion of the other post-Soviet states.

  • PS 5900 - Latin American Politics

    3 credit hours

    Comparative analysis of the institutions, functions, and aspects of culture of the Latin American nation-states and their relevance to understanding international relations, world politics, and diplomacy.

  • Study Abroad
  • Directed Independent Study in International Affairs

Guided Interdisciplinary Electives (6 hours)

  • Approved by advisor

Thesis or Practicum (6 hours)


  • PS 6640 - Thesis Research  1 to 3 credit hours  (3 credit hours) 

    PS 6640 - Thesis Research

    1 to 3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PS 6170. Drawing on work from PS 6170, collect and analyze data and compose thesis. Once enrolled, student should register for at least one credit hour of master's research each semester until completion.


  • PS 6290 - Practicum in International Affairs  6 credit hours  (6 credit hours) 

    PS 6290 - Practicum in International Affairs

    6 credit hours

    A supervised experience with students placed in organizations active in globalization and development issues. The practicum placement must be approved by the graduate advisor and departmental graduate director prior to enrolling.

Program Notes

Candidate must

  1. file a degree plan in the College of Graduate Studies prior to entry into the program;
  2. file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the term in which candidate intends to graduate.