Program Overview

The Master of Arts in International Studies program provides a comprehensive perspective on international issues, including globalization, development, peace and conflict, human rights and international law. It prepares students for careers in international affairs, including non-governmental organizations, foreign service, and international organizations.

The International Studies program is a two-year, 34-unit program that begins each fall and consists of the following:

  • Elective and skills courses
  • A research methods course
  • Final capstone thesis or applied project
  • Internship
  • Proficiency in a language other than English
  • Summer fieldwork and research opportunities are available

Core Concentrations

Choose a core concentration to gain expertise in a subject area aligned with your passions and career goals in International Studies. Each concentration will let you develop closer working relationships with faculty and fellow students.

Culture, Power, and Social Movements

In this concentration, examine the role of culture, the meaning of identity and belonging in a globalized world. Explore theories of social change as a way to better understand how they shape contemporary global processes. Analyze diverse social and political movements, constituted through race, class, gender, religion, and other forms of inequality. Learn how to effectively address the most critical issues facing our world today.

Sustainable Development and Environmental Justice

Evaluate government, agency, and practitioner programs aimed at economic growth, poverty reduction, and environmental protections. Topics include:

  • the relationship between development and environmentalism
  • how development impacts communities
  • the ways in which local strategies, beliefs, and movements shape development

Governance and Global Justice

Explore the meaning of justice and the best practices for international enforcement. Consider the relationship between local efforts to promote and protect human rights and the global entities and processes that make up world governing systems.

Sample Program Timeline

  Fall Spring
Year 1 Critical Social Theory in Global Perspective

Concentration required course

Graduate Writing Seminar
Research Methods and Project Design

Concentration elective I

Concentration elective II
Year 2 Concentration elective III

Skills courses (two 2 unit or one 4 unit)
Capstone (thesis or applied project, one-on-one with adviser)


You will participate in a 120-hour minimum internship experience. Program staff, faculty, and the Career Services Center can help you find an internship related to your interests and expertise. You can intern at an organization anywhere in the world. Typically the internship is completed in the summer between the first and second year of study.
Learn more about internships

Language Proficiency

Language skill is critical for success in the field of international studies. By the completion of the MAIS Program, you will be required to show proficiency in a non-English language at intermediate level two (fourth-semester language course at USF). You can do this through previous undergraduate coursework, passing a language exam at USF, or completing a fourth-semester language course.

Contact Info

International Studies MA

Kalmanovitz Hall, Room 213, 2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117-1084 (415) 422-5122