Graduate Program

Degree Information

The Master of Arts with a major in International Studies is an interdisciplinary degree that prepares students for challenging careers in government, business, and nonprofit organizations. The course of study prepares students for work and leadership in an interdependent world by equipping them with proficient oral and written communication skills, familiarity with the world's major regional cultures, and technical skills with optional emphases in international communication, computer information systems, industrial manufacturing, and area studies.

Old Main at Texas State University

Application Requirements

Graduate College Application:

To complete your Graduate College Application and to review admission requirements, please see the Graduate College Website.

If you are a Returning Peace Corps Volunteer and interested in applying for the Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship, please see the link below regarding award details, eligibility requirements, application requirements, selection process, and contact information. Although the Center for International Studies admits students year-round, Coverdell applicants are reviewed and admitted during Fall semesters only.
Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship


Center for International Studies Application Requirements:

  • A current resume

  • An essay (two to five pages) that describes why the student is considering the International Studies Program, how it fits into a process of professional development, and what the student hopes to accomplish by enrolling in the program

  • Three letters of recommendation from professors, submitted to the Graduate College

International Students: International Students must have TOEFL scores that meet the minimum Graduate College International Student Admission Requirements.

Current Graduate Students

Degree Requirements

The MA-International Studies program offers both a 30 credit hour thesis option and a 36 hour non-thesis option.

The program of study includes required core courses, a group of elective courses, and either thesis or an internship, depending on which option is pursued. Students must demonstrate successful completion of courses in micro and macroeconomics and provide evidence of proficiency in a foreign language (other than English). Some courses may have additional prerequisites that are required by the academic departments before enrollment is approved. Review the program checksheets for more specific program details.

Helpful Links

Master of Arts in International Studies - Thesis Option

Master of Arts in International Studies - Non-Thesis Option

Specific Graduation Requirements

Oral and Written Comprehensive Exam

All graduate students in International Studies, whether thesis or non-thesis are required to pass an oral examination in order to graduate. The exam is administered by a committee of three graduate faculty members whom the student selects.  For deadlines on completing comprehensive exam and paperwork submission, see the Graduate College Deadline webpage

Additionally, effective Fall 2021, students are required to take a written comprehensive exam in their last semester of the program.  Students must pass the comprehensive exam during the last semester in at most two attempts.  If the student fails to pass the comprehensive exam in two attempts during the final semester, the student may retake the comprehensive exam the next semester. 

The written portion will be a fifteen-page essay administered by the chair of your exit exam committee.  The essay can be a synthetic treatment of assigned readings agreed upon between the student and committee chair, or it can be direct responses to two research questions posed by your committee chair.  The written exam should demonstrate mastery of the subject of study.

One faculty member, chosen by the student and with the consent of that faculty member, serves as the chair of the oral exam committee and is responsible for managing the exam and coordinating the exam report that is submitted to the Center for International Studies. The student is responsible for selecting the oral exam committee and for coordinating the date, time, and location of the exam. In most instances, the oral exam lasts one hour, but may be longer. The Center will forward the result of the oral exam report to the Graduate College.


Students pursuing the thesis track will be able to write a thesis in Geography, History, Political Science, Sociology, or Spanish. Students take the two course sequence in their respective field of study and choose a faculty member from that department to serve as their thesis advisor. Together with their thesis advisor, they will form a three-member thesis committee. The student defends their thesis to the committee in their final semester.  For deadlines on thesis submission, see the Graduate College Deadline webpage. The thesis defense  serves as their oral exam. Students who complete the thesis track will be afforded the opportunity to publish from their thesis, further bolstering their resume.

Helpful Links

Thesis and Dissertation Information from the Graduate College