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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Foreign Policy

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Explore a Master's Degree in Foreign Policy

Foreign policy or international/global affairs analyzes international relationships and factors that affect those relationships, including economic globalization, international law, and media and culture. Foreign policy graduate students may find work with the Foreign Service of the United States or in other government agencies, including the State Department, the United States Information Agency in Washington, the Defense Department, and the Central Intelligence Agency. Students may also choose a particular concentration within foreign policy like international relations, private sector, international law, peace building, conflict and security, or media and culture. Foreign policy graduate students will usually be required by their department to complete a thesis.

Class Curriculum

Some master's degree programs in foreign policy will not require a baccalaureate degree with experience in international affairs, but some require relevant professional experience. Check with your particular program for admissions requirements. Course work may require classes in global flows, international community, comparative development, economics in international affairs, international law, and analytical skills in international affairs. Further course work may depend on the student's chosen concentration, but may include modern diplomacy, media and global affairs, counter-terrorism and homeland security, international organizations, and the United Nations. The following are some specific examples of courses that may be available from a foreign policy master's degree:

  • Modern Diplomacy. Modern diplomacy covers the nature and development of diplomacy, diplomatic practice, methods and techniques in diplomacy, privileges and immunities, and diplomatic roles and functions.
  • American Media and Global Affairs. Media and global affairs covers the American mass media and its relationship with domestic and international politics. The course may examine the historic and current conflicts between journalism and politics, broadcast regulations, First Amendment issues, journalistic ethics, and technological change.
  • International Organizations. International organizations covers the regional and universal international organizations that deal with a several different global issues. The structures and processes of international organizations and their role and influence upon their issues of focus are analyzed.

Thesis work will be required throughout a master's degree program, but other assignments may include research projects, and lecture-based reading and corresponding essay topics. Foreign policy master's programs usually will provide study abroad and internship opportunities.

Building a Career

In addition to government positions within the U.S. Department of State, the United States Information Agency, the Defense Department, and the Central Intelligence Agency, foreign policy or international relations graduate students may find work with the United Nations, within the private sector in Washington or in international business, in a non-profit organization.

However, students may also find work as a university professor, which usually requires a Ph.D. Wage and employment vary between these positions as well as other factors like area, employer, and experience. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median pay for postsecondary teachers, which includes college-level teaching, was $62,050 per year. Employment for postsecondary teachers is expected to increase by 17% between 2010 and 2020, the BLS noted.