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International Affairs, M.A.

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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. 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.

Note: Program requirements changing starting Summer 2020 term. Please review the Requirement page for more details. 

What We're Doing

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.

Related Media

  • MTSU College of Graduate Studies

    MTSU College of Graduate Studies


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.

The MAIA program can lead to work at such agencies as the United Nations or other UN agencies, the CIA and the Department of State; the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, U.S. Agency for International Development; nongovernmental organizations like the International Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders; and think thanks that research international conflicts. Students may choose to work with organizations that help communities with sanitation, clean water, and financing for agricultural activities. 


A Master of Arts in International Affairs (MAIA) is offered for students who have completed an undergraduate degree at an accredited university or college. 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. A study-abroad experience is encouraged, which additionally will help develop foreign-language skills. 

The M.A. in International Affairs provides preparation for careers in an increasingly globalized world by offering students a combination of theoretical knowledge, analytical research skills, and practical experience relevant for employment in:

• international affairs
• diplomacy
• international business
• domestic and international non-governmental organizations
• foreign policy organizations and government
• analysis and risk management firms
• homeland security
• the military and intelligence

Degree Is Designed for Students with:

• an intense interest in the professional fieldsrelated to international affairs
• a capacity to think critically and engage in independent analysis
• a strong initiative to develop professionally
• an undergraduate degree

Program Helps Students Develop:

• a deep understanding of the latest research and methods in international affairs
• the skills to organize practical field projects, work in interdisciplinary teams, and prepare and conduct professional presentations
• the theoretical and methodological tools to evaluat national or international policies
• creativity, self-reflection, and an appreciation for foreign cultures
• the foundations for a professional international career and/or doctoral-level study

Admission Requirements
To apply to the College of Graduate Studies:

1. A baccalaureate degree
2. An undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.75 on a 4.0 scale, for unconditional admission as a degree-seeking student

For entrance into the M.A. program in International Affairs:

3. Submission of a letter of interest stating the reason for applying to the program, academic interest, and professional goals, along with three letters of recommendation

Application Deadlines
Admission is on a rolling basis. Submit applications at:

Financial Aid
Limited numbers of graduate teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and scholarships are available in addition to other forms of aid. Applications may be obtained from the College of Graduate Studies website. Students must meet the requirements for admission to graduate school and have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher. More info:

Graduate Assistantships
If you are interested in applying for a graduate assistantship, notify the program director for the M.A. in International Affairs by these deadlines:
Nov. 1: for spring semester
April 1: for fall semester

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS button to the right. 

International Security and Peace Studies

International Development and Globalization

NEW Curriculum Requirements Beginning Summer 2020

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

John Maynor, Program Director
(615) 494-8758

Application Procedure 

To apply, please submit the following to the College of Graduate Studies:

  1. Application with the appropriate application fee;
  2. Statement of purpose addressing your career goals, related work experience, and how the MAIA degree will help achieve your goals;
  3. Official transcripts of all previous college work; and
  4. Arrange for three letters of recommendation, some from former professors, to be sent to the College of Graduate Studies.

GRE test scores are optional.  Also, International applicants should click here for additional admission requirements.

Degree Requirements
Total minimum required hours: 30
Core Requirements (12 hours)

  • PS 6100 Theory and Practice 1: International Relations (2 hours)
  • PS 6200 Theory and Practice 2: Comparative Politics (2 hours)
  • PS 6250 International Affairs 1: Concepts and Cases (3 hours)
  • PS 6400 International Affairs 2: Governance and Transnational Issues (3 hours)
  • PS 6550 International Affairs 3: Professional Skills and Methods (2 hours) 

Electives  (12 hours)

Graduate advisors will guide students toward specialized pathways that enable the student to gain expertise in a subject area aligned with their passions, interests and career goals.  Students will choose a focus for their electives in such areas as: 

  • international development, human security, and globalization
  • international security and peace studies
  • regionally focused area studies
  • global justice, human rights, and civil advocacy 

Other topics might include climate change, environmental politics, international migration and immigration, political corruption, and political economy. 

Thesis or Practicum (6 hours)

Foreign language and International Training

While not required, taking a foreign language relevant to career goals or geographic area of interest is strongly encouraged (see the Graduate Catalog at for foreign language courses available). Candidates in International Affairs are also strongly encouraged to include study abroad or field experience.


Financial Aid

A limited numbers of graduate assistantships and scholarships are available in addition to other forms of aid. Applications may be obtained from the College of Graduate Studies Web site. The Student Financial Aid Office has information on various kinds of financial aid online.

Academic Common Market

The SREB Academic Common Market is a program that allows students to study in a specialized field at an 
out-of-state college while paying in-state tuition. Students from such states as Alabama, Arkansas, 
Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and other states in the south may be eligible. For more information, go to:




Student Practicum Reports and Theses

Contact Information

John Maynor, Graduate Director

Who is My Advisor?

John Maynor, Graduate Director

Mailing Address

Department of Political Science and International Relations
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 29
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

College of Graduate Studies
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 42
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

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