American University


The School of International Service provides a unique environment for learning and professional enhancement. It is a community comprised of scholars, practitioners, and students from around the world. The School of International Service community has tripartite governance with faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students involved in every facet of community life. The Graduate Student Council and the Undergraduate Cabinet are partners with the school's faculty in addressing emerging research issues, promoting public dialogue, and providing service to the larger community.

The School of International Service classrooms also reflect the spirit of the community; teaching styles are highly collegial. The curriculum is distinguished by linking theory and practice and by addressing both conceptually and empirically the emerging issues of an increasingly interdependent and complex world. The faculty focus on interactive learning and involve students in ongoing research projects. Cocurricular activities are also plentiful. From coffee houses to workshops and professional development proseminars to skills modules, the ability to craft an individually tailored program of study that meets career needs in the public, private, or not-for-profit sector is a unique strength of the School of International Service.

APSIA Membership: Full APSIA Member School



School of International Service
American University
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20016-8071

  • (202) 885-1600
  • (202) 885-1109
  • email


School of International Service
Director of Graduate Admissions
American University
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20016-8071

  • (202) 885-1689
  • (202) 885-2949
  • email

Career Services

School of International Service
Executive Director - Career Services
American University
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20016-8071

  • (202) 885-1810
  • (202) 885-1861
  • email

Degree Requirements

MS in Development Management -

  • The M.S. in Development Management offers a unique opportunity for combining development and public administration to provide state of the art training and practice in development management. The program is designed both for practitioners and students with prior field experience who plan to work on development programs and projects either within the United States or in developing countries. The approach emphasizes social learning, action research, institutional development, and social development management, with the objective of increasing the responsiveness of organizations to the publics they are designed to serve and enhance the capacity of these communities to further their own development.

MA in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs -

  • Offered jointly through the International Peace and Conflict Resolution program at SIS and the Department of Philosophy and Religion in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), this interdisciplinary degree is a response to the challenges of social policy facing the world and fosters understanding of the structural and political dynamic of conflict, including an analysis of their sources. Students gain theoretical and skills-based training in peace and conflict resolution and do substantial work in philosophy and social policy to acquire a solid framework for the increasingly compelling and relevant questions of ethics and peace.

MA in Global Environmental Policy -

  • The mission of the Global Environmental Politics program is to understand causes of environmental harm and identify ways to build a more sustainable world. Through coursework, individual and team research, and internships in Washington and around the world, students develop the knowledge, perspective, and skills to address today's most important environmental challenges. Particular areas of program strength include climate change, sustainable energy, water, food, and biodiversity conservation, as well as cross-cutting themes of political ecology, peace and conflict, the role of law and institutions, and participatory approaches.

MA in International Affairs: Global Governance, Politics, and Security -

  • The Global Governance, Politics, and Security Program provides students with a foundation of knowledge and critical analysis of history of global politics, global governance, and global security. The program also builds critical skills in methodology, international economics, and service experience in the public or private sectors through internships, which allows students to craft a flexible degree program that combines their interests in individual ways.

MA in International Affairs: Comparative and Regional Studies -

  • The Comparative and Regional Studies program (CRS) bridges comparative analysis and regional specializations. The CRS program at the School of International Service is innovative in its use of the prisms of comparative inquiry, enabling students to gain knowledge of specific countries while engaged in cross-regional analysis. Melding these two approaches, CRS offers an innovative program of study. Students can select regional concentrations in: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Russia and Central Asia, Islamic Studies.

MA in International Affairs: International Economic Relations -

  • International Economic Relations provides students with the range of skills needed to understand international economic and financial problems in today’s complex global environment. What distinguishes the program is its focus on international trade and financial issues using analytical tools from economics, political science, and law. Students learn to critically analyze economic issues and the political economy of policymaking in the areas of international trade, finance, investment, and development.

MA in International Affairs: Natural Resources and Sustainable Development -

  • An affiliate of the Global Environmental Politics program, the M.A. in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development is a dual-degree program in which students study at and receive degrees from both American University and the United Nations-affiliated University for Peace in Costa Rica. It is the first graduate degree program in which students can learn about environmental and development policies from the perspectives of both the South and North. American University, in Washington, D.C., has strengths in international relations, environmental policy, and economics, while the University for Peace, in San Jose, Costa Rica, provides unparalleled opportunities to offer courses and practical experience in sustainable development and natural resources management. All courses are taught in English.

MA in International Affairs: United States Foreign Policy -

  • The United States Foreign Policy and National Security (USFP) program presents a rigorous course of study that combines considerable programmatic flexibility with the benefits of specialization in a concentration selected by the student. USFP faculty teach courses on defense policy, intelligence, the formulation and implementation of foreign policy, and the social, political, economic, strategic, and historical underpinnings of United States foreign policy.

MA in International Communication -

  • The International Communication program in SIS is the first of its kind in the United States and continues to be an innovative leader in the interdisciplinary study of culture, communication, technology and international affairs. The program provides students with specialized knowledge and professional skills in the concentrations of Public and Cultural Diplomacy; Intercultural Relations (including cultural and educational exchanges); Global Social Media, Technology and Policy; and Global Health Communication. The distinctive mission of the IC Program is a focus on the role of culture and communications in the international system, and analysis of the relationship between international communication and international affairs.

MA in International Development -

  • The International Development Program (IDP) at American University is quite possibly the best-established development program in the United States. For over 35 years, it has trained students to participate effectively in driving socio-economic, political, and environmental change throughout the world. The program's primary focus is the improvement of opportunities for the world's poor and disenfranchised.

MA in International Economics -

  • The MA in International Economics program offers a rigorous combination of theoretical, empirical, and policy-oriented courses in economics, political economy, and policymaking focused on international trade and finance. Administered jointly with the Department of Economics, the program prepares students to analyze the most important issues in today's global economy, including the macro- and microeconomic causes and consequences of trade and financial liberalization, exchange rate fluctuations, and capital-markets integration.

MA in International Media -

  • The Master of Arts in International Media offers students a unique opportunity to learn international communication theory and research while at the same time developing professional production skills. This interdisciplinary M.A. program allows students to take concurrent courses in the School of Communication (SOC) and School of International Service (SIS) that emphasize strategic communication, research, international communication, and global media. In addition, students take hands-on courses designed to hone writing skills over a broad range of media, and production classes that introduce them to filmmaking, newswriting, digital imaging, web design, photography, and public communication writing.

MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution -

  • The International Peace and Conflict Resolution program (IPCR) focuses on the causes of war and organized violence and the processes of conflict analysis and resolution. IPCR is founded on the belief that violence is neither necessary nor inevitable, and that change toward social justice and sustainable peace can best be approached from a collaborative and humanistic perspective that engages people in constructive conflict resolution. With a strong emphasis on the blending of theory with practice, peace studies with conflict resolution, and always with a search for alternatives to violence, IPCR stands apart as a reputable and unique academic and professional training program.

MA in International Relations (Online) -

  • International Relations Online is the innovative, online Master of Arts in International Relations degree that offers students a strong foundation in the field of international relations as well as the chance to gain specialized expertise through concentrations in Sustainable International Development and Global Security and Conflict Resolution. A multidisciplinary approach exposes students to a rigorous curriculum taught by an outstanding faculty. Through state-of-the-art technology, International Relations Online classes are delivered on an engaging online learning platform to students located around the globe, and combines highly-produced, self-paced content designed by AU faculty with live virtual class sessions. No other highly-ranked program offers a comparable online master's degree in international relations with AU's level of interaction among faculty and students. Learn more at

MA in Social Enterprise -

  • This program is the first of its kind offered by an Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs member, and is among the very few graduate degrees available worldwide that directly focuses on social entrepreneurship. This program is designed to assist you in acquiring the knowledge, skills, and mindset necessary to launch a new global social entrepreneurial venture or play a key leadership role in an existing one. This program's curriculum blends learning about both hard and soft management practices with an examination of the dynamics of social innovation.

Master of International Service (Executive Degree) -

  • The Master of International Service (MIS) degree is designed specifically for professionals with a minimum of seven years of professional work experience. This program provides 12-18 months of midcareer training in an individually designed specialization within the field of international affairs. Members of the MIS program draw from a variety of professional backgrounds including diplomatic, military, natural science, non-profit, finance, and the arts.

    As a cohort, MIS candidates enroll in two sequential proseminars in international affairs, which explore cutting-edge topics and help students enhance their professional skills. MIS candidates also design a unique specialization fitting their individual intellectual interests and plans for professional enhancement, including: International Development and Conflict, U.S. Foreign Policy and Security, International Communication and Diplomacy, and International Economic Relations and Policy Management. While the MIS is not specifically an evening or weekend program, many course offerings are available after business hours to accommodate the needs of part-time students.

PhD in International Relations -

  • The SIS PhD program trains students to produce new knowledge of the highest scholarly caliber. The program prepares students for careers as teachers and scholars at universities and research institutes in both the private and public sectors. The program is highly selective. SIS receives approximately 200 applications for a class of about ten students each year. The core curriculum covers the foundational fields of transnational study: Comparative and Regional Studies, International Relations and Social Theory. Students also take a two-course multiple-methodology sequence that introduces them to all the major qualitative and quantitative research techniques used in the social sciences today. SIS provides generous financial support - four years of guaranteed full funding, including tuition remission and a stipend - to all admitted students. All students have the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member on their teaching and research.

Fields of Specialization

Our multidisciplinary curriculum is focused on preparing students for careers in global service. While grounded in a core set of foundation courses unique to each degree, SIS encourages students to design their own personalized concentration from across the School's programs. With over 100 full-time faculty and more than 120 graduate classes each semester, students have an unparalleled opportunity to develop a focused expertise area as well as a wide range of broadly applicable tools and skills. Please visit our website to learn more about specialization options.

Joint Degrees

SIS offers dual degrees with a number of other academic units at American University, allowing students to pursue an SIS degree concurrently with a JD, MBA, MAT, MTS, or LLM. Additionally, SIS has partnerships with universities in Costa Rica, Japan, and Korea that lead to dual-degrees. Please visit our website to learn more about dual degree options.

Core Courses

Each degree program has a different set of core requirements, typically focusing on theory, economics, and research methods. A flexible concentration option allows students to draw courses from across the School's programs of study. An applied capstone project, typically a practicum or Substantial Research Paper (SRP), completes the student's program. Demonstrated proficiency in a modern foreign language is required to graduate.

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