Master of Arts in Global and International Studies

The M.A. in GIST provides an analytically sophisticated understanding of the contemporary global arena and cultivates the skills and knowledge to operate in a world where traditional boundaries are disappearing. Through the 33-credit hour program, students develop a specialization in a world region and can pursue interests in global politics, society, and culture across a broad range of courses in the humanities and social sciences.

Students in Global and International Studies have access to courses by top-notch research faculty across a wide variety of relevant disciplines at KU’s main campus in Lawrence. Besides access to quality instruction and content, our students have access to the amazing international resources that put KU on the top shelf for international education —a nationally-ranked Study Abroad Program, instruction in 40 foreign languages, and local, national, and international internship opportunities.

"Traditional" Master's Track

The self-tailoring and interdisciplinary field of Global and International Studies prepares graduate students with marketable skills (such as professional certification opportunities and research and writing skills) and the knowledge to deal with contemporary global issues. This is critical in our contemporary world in which both problems and opportunities increasingly transcend national boundaries.

KU's Master of Arts in Global and International Studies is designed for those who seek a better understanding of international issues that shape public policy and the global economy and who want to have an impact in these areas.

Interagency Studies Track

The Interagency track of the Master’s degree program in Global and International Studies is a one-year program designed primarily for officers pursuing their Intermediate Level Education (ILE) program at the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) at Ft. Leavenworth.

The objective of the Interagency Studies Program (ISP), is to prepare military officers for working in interagency environments by expanding their abilities to conceptualize and address issues beyond their military training. The program offers coursework from multiple disciplines with an array of theoretical frameworks. The ISP curriculum consists of 30 credit hours, with KU granting 6 hours of credit for ILE education. The remaining 24 credit hours come from 8 KU courses taught at in the evening at Ft. Leavenworth, along with courses at the Command and General Staff College. The evening classes run the length of the academic year - 3 courses August - December, 3 courses January - April, and 2 courses May - June. The program culminates with a final paper demonstrating the application of program knowledge to a military (preferably interagency) issue, which can be submitted to relevant journal outlets in military studies. 

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Graduate Admission

Eligibility criteria for admission to the M.A. program follow Graduate Studies' admission policy. Non-native speakers of English must meet English proficiency requirements as described here

For the traditional and Interagency Studies M.A. programs, students are admitted in the fall only. Interagency Studies applications are due by July 23. Applications for the "traditional" MA track are due January 15All applicants must check the application requirements through the traditional MA and ISP admission pages. 

Potential students must submit a complete online graduate application. For additional questions regarding program requirements and application processes, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Luciano Tosta. Applicants may also contact the department directly: 

The University of Kansas
Global and International Studies
201 Bailey Hall
1440 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 102
Lawrence, KS 66045 |

M.A. Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts in Global and International Studies is a 33-credit-hour degree. All students complete 3 required courses:

GIST 701Approaches to International Studies3
GIST 702Globalization3
GIST 710Research Design for International Area Studies3

In addition to the 3 required courses, students must then complete 7 graduate-level elective courses (21 credit hours). These electives form 2 coherent clusters: 

Regional Specialization Cluster:

These courses in this cluster should give students focused knowledge about a selected region of the world. Up to 3 language courses (9 hours) at or above the 500 level may also count toward this requirement.

Topic Specialization Cluster:

This cluster must focus on a topic specialization approved by the student’s adviser. Students can choose current global and international themes, or they can select an existing graduate certification program offered by another department, such as certificates in community health and development, peace and conflict, women gender and sexuality studies, international business, public administration or communication studies.

For more on the regional and topical elective options, consult the GIST graduate student handbook or contact one of the GIST graduate advisors.

For all students, the M.A. degree also requires evidence of current competence (equivalent to 2 years of successful college-level study) in a modern spoken and written language other than their native tongue; courses taken to complete this requirement generally do not count toward the degree. Students must meet all general requirements as well as program requirements

Thesis Option

Students electing to write and defend a thesis must have their thesis project proposal approved by their thesis advisor prior to enrolling in GIST 898 Thesis and Research Project Writing. Students choosing the thesis option must complete GIST 898. For guidelines and policy regarding the thesis, please consult the GIST graduate student handbook.

Non-thesis Options

Option #1 (Research Project and Oral Exam) – students selecting this option are required to take GIST 898 and complete a research project of more limited scope and scale than a thesis, and the project will be followed by an oral exam. For guidelines and policy regarding the research project option, please consult the GIST graduate student handbook.

Option #2 (Exam) – students choosing this option must take an additional 3 credit hours, corresponding to one of their 2 coherent elective clusters. In the final semester, the student must successfully complete a written examination on the core course content (GIST 701 and GIST 702) and the student’s regional and substantive areas of focus. This is followed by an oral exam. Students considering this option must consult the graduate director first. For guidelines and policy regarding the written and oral exam option, please consult the GIST graduate student handbook.