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Master of Arts in International Policy Studies


To receive the M.A. degree in International Policy Studies, students must complete the courses listed below. These requirements entail a minimum of 26 units of policy skills courses, a 10-unit practicum or master's thesis, a 5-unit writing and rhetoric seminar, a 5-unit course in international economics, a 1-unit colloquium, a 3-unit course in international relations theory, and a total of six courses at a minimum of 24 units from the concentration curriculum. Only students with two or more years of relevant policy work experience may petition to write a master's thesis instead of taking the practicum. To obtain the M.A. degree in IPS, students must complete a minimum of 74 units over two years.

The IPS program has the following prerequisites:


Core Courses

  1. IPS 300. Issues in International Policy Studies Colloquium (1 unit)
  2. IPS 201. Managing Global Complexity (3 units)

Policy Skills Courses—

  1. POLISCI 350A. Political Methodology I (5 units) and POLISCI 350B. Political Methodology II (5 units)

    or ECON 102A. Introduction to Statistical Methods for Social Scientists (5 units) and ECON 102B. Introduction to Econometrics (5 units).

  2. IPS 208. Justice (4 units)

    or POLISCI 336. Global Justice (5 units)

  3. IPS 221. International Political Economy (4-5 units)

    or SOC 260. Formal Organizations (5 units)

  4. IPS 207A. Judgment and Decision Making (4 units)

    or IPS 207B. Public Policy and Social Psychology: Implications and Applications (4 units)

  5. Those concentrating in international political economy must choose one of the following:
    • IPS 204A. Microeconomics (4 units)
    • IPS 204B. Cost-Benefit Analysis and Evaluation (4 units)

    Those not concentrating in international political economy must choose one of the following:

    • IPS 204A. Microeconomics (4 units)
    • IPS 204B. Cost-Benefit Analysis and Evaluation (4 units); must petition and have strong microeconomic background
    • IPS 202 (5 units) or IPS 203 (5 units); take whichever course is not taken for the international economics requirement

Writing and Rhetoric Seminar—One of the following (5 units):

International Economics Seminar—One of the following (5 units):

Practicum or Thesis—One of the following (10 units):

Area of Concentration Curriculum—Students are required to choose one area of concentration from the list below and complete a total of six courses within the concentration at a minimum of 24 total units. Each area of concentration has a gateway course, which must be taken during the first year and prior to enrolling in subsequent courses. Additionally, each area of concentration has a list of approved courses (see list below).

Language Requirement—Proficiency in a foreign language is required and may be demonstrated by completion of three years of university-level course work in a foreign language or by passing an oral and written proficiency examination prior to graduation. International students who speak English as a second language already meet this requirement.

Grade Requirements—All courses to be counted toward the degree, except IPS 300, must be taken for a letter grade. Overall GPA of 3.0 must be maintained.

Additional Academic Requirements

  1. Students are not required to repeat a course that duplicates material they have already mastered. Students, may, by petition and approval, substitute a different course for a core requirement whose material would be duplicative. This flexibility does not reduce the unit requirements for the M.A. degree.
  2. All graduate degree candidates must submit a Master's Degree Program Proposal to the International Policy Studies office by the end of Autumn Quarter; this document must be on file in order to apply to graduate.

The courses listed below fulfill elective requirements within the various areas of concentration. Not all courses are applicable for every area of concentration. Additional relevant courses may be offered. For course descriptions, see ExploreCourses.

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