[ skip to content ]

Toggle Mobile Menu

Graduate Program in International StudiesAcademics

More Information about this image

Participants gather for a group photo at the ODU Graduate Program in International Studies’ Annual Graduate Research Conference. College of Arts and Letters

Master of Arts in International Studies

topstory1-lg04

The M.A. in International Studies is a highly customizable and interdisciplinary degree. Students may choose from one of several concentrations to focus their studies.

Degree Requirements

Concentrations

U.S. Foreign Policy & International Relations

Coordinator: Dr. Richard Maass (rmaass@odu.edu)

Among the virtues of U.S. Foreign Policy and International Relations as a field of concentration is its multi-faceted approach. By its very nature, the study of this field requires that students develop a thorough understanding of all of the concepts and conditions that serve as key components in the making of foreign policy. These factors include --but need not be limited to-- economic, cultural, and political considerations. Emphasis is placed on the fundamentals of foreign policy: the construction, the execution, the evolution, and the implications. The seminars in this field allow our students to examine the transformation of the U.S. role in the world in the global context of the 20th Century and help them to identify the distinguishing characteristics of the unfolding global order of the 21st Century.

In our intimate seminar setting, debate focuses, for instance, on Cold War and post-Cold War U.S. relations with former communist states and the security issues related to their democratic transformation and economic reform, as well as reemerging ethnic cleavages. Efforts on the part of the U.S. government, as well as activities of non-governmental and private voluntary organizations are examined and principal security issues, such as NATO enlargement, the possession of chemical and biological weapons, adherence to nuclear non-proliferation agreements, and ethnic conflict are discussed. Doctoral candidates are urged, but not required, to take at least one history course dealing with the pre-1945 years.

Students selecting this field as their major or minor must complete U.S. Foreign Policy and World Order (IS 606) as their required field course. M.A. students must select two more courses within the field; Ph.D. students must choose four more courses. Students are strongly advised to take courses other than those listed below only in consultation with the field coordinator.

Students are also advised that they have the opportunity to enrich their classroom experience through Independent Study/Directed Research projects with the agreement and under the supervision of the field coordinator.

Conflict and Cooperation

Coordinator: Regina Karp (rkarp@odu.edu)

During the past decade, international security studies have undergone rapid transformation. No longer beholden to the study of East-West competition, the security field has become increasingly diverse regarding the themes and issues it embraces as well as the community of scholars it involves. As a result, many intellectual foundations have been questioned and the field has been opened to a variety of innovations.

This field aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the various discourses in security studies enabling students to undertake independent and original work of their own. Students learn to critically examine different epistemologies and theories as well as to apply and test competing explanations of security choices. Students will engage traditional realist and liberal theories as well as ideationalist propositions.

Students selecting this field as their major or minor must take Collective Security (IS 702/802) as their required field course. M.A. students must select two more courses within the field; Ph.D. students must choose four more courses. Students are strongly advised to take courses other than those listed below only in consultation with the field coordinator.

Students are also advised that they have the opportunity to enrich their classroom experience through Independent Study/Directed Research projects with the agreement and under the supervision of the field coordinator.

International Political Economy and Development

Coordinator: Matthew DiLorenzo (mdiloren@odu.edu) and Georg Menz (gmenz@odu.edu)

Political decisions influence economic outcomes and vice versa. Governments determine the nature and distribution of property rights and the rules governing the production and distribution of wealth; markets shape the distribution of power, policy choices and the institutions of governance. The International Political Economy and Development curriculum examines the intersection of politics and economics globally, focusing on political and economic behavior which cuts across national boundaries. This includes foreign trade, investment, monetary relations, migration, globalization, and foreign aid.

The track also studies the differential production of power and wealth in the world. The focus here is on problems of underdevelopment, debt, and dependence, along with a consideration of alternative strategies for reducing poverty and inequalities within and between nations. The field draws upon an eclectic range of theoretical models and conceptual frameworks to critically interpret state-market relations in the contemporary global order. In helping students understand the global economy and issues in poverty and development, the courses in this track direct attention toward the role of both international institutions (e.g., World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, and United Nations) and domestic political institutions (e.g., democracy) in shaping economic decisions and outcomes.

Students selecting this field as their major or minor must complete Global Political Economy (IS 713/813) and Political Economy of Development (IS 740/840). M.A. students must select one more seminar within the field; Ph.D. students must choose three more seminars. Students should consult with the field coordinator in selecting these additional courses. Students also have the opportunity to enrich their classroom experience through Independent Study/Directed Research projects with the agreement and under the supervision of the field coordinator.

Comparative and Regional Studies

Coordinator: Cathy Wu (xwu@odu.edu)

The Comparative and Regional Studies Concentration is designed to expose students to area studies scholarship to increase their capacity for broader comparative study. While overlapping with the International Cultural Studies sometimes, this concentration focuses on the study of "foreign" (i.e. non-U.S.) political institutions, processes, and behaviors. Students interested more in the study of culture and society should consider the concentration of International Cultural Studies.

Our course structure is devoted to understanding and analyzing similarities and differences in the practice of politics and in the characteristics of political institutions, economic structures and processes, and values across temporal and geographical space. It strikes a balance between developing the most general statements possible about political life and applying them to the understanding of political phenomena in specific places and times.

Requirements

Students selecting this concentration as their major or minor must complete Comparative Studies Theory as their required course. M.A. students and Ph.D. students selecting Comparative and Regional Studies as their minor field must select two more courses within the concentration; Ph.D. students selecting Comparative and Regional Studies as their major field must choose four more courses. All students in the concentration are expected to acquire adequate knowledge of at least two geographic regions (or countries) in their course study. In consultation with the concentration coordinator, students may take courses other than those listed in the concentration to fulfill the concentration requirements

Modeling and Simulation

Coordinator: Jesse Richman (jrichman@odu.edu)

The modeling and simulation (or "M&S") concentration provides students access to some of the most innovative research in international studies. M&S arose as a field of study in response to three complementary trends over the last thirty years. First, the various economic, demographic, cultural and technological processes of globalization have given rise to a range of transnational phenomena that increasingly occur outside the territorial confines of nation-states. The growth of such transnational phenomena has given rise to an important second trend: the growing recognition among scholars of international studies of the inadequacy of traditional levels and methods of analysis predicated upon the territorial logic of sovereign states. Scholars today increasingly seek to develop new methods of analysis. The third trend--the explosive growth of affordable and powerful microcomputing--has equipped researchers with a range of new technologies and methods to understand contemporary international and global phenomena. Together, these three trends have synthesize the field of M&S in international studies.

The M&S in international studies concentration provides GPIS students with an education in the most innovative methods in the field. Students can choose to specialize in methods as diverse as statistics, game theory, agent-based modeling, geographic information sciences, and network analysis. These fields reflect the Hampton Roads area's emergence as a global leader in the modeling and simulation industry. Local M&S firms, government and military employers in the region, and the proximity of Washington, DC (just three hours away) all provide internship and job opportunities for students who specialize in M&S.

At Old Dominion University, graduate study in modeling & simulation is a campus-wide initiative. Each of the University's six colleges offers M&S courses in fields as diverse as mathematics, engineering, health sciences and education. With the approval of the track coordinator, a GPIS M&S student may take courses outside of GPIS and the College of Arts & Letters and receive credit toward his or her M&S field requirements.

Requirements

Students selecting this field as their major or minor field must complete the MSIM 601 Modeling & Simulation Fundamentals course and IS 620 Advanced Statistical Techniques.

Ph.D. students pursuing M&S as the major field will complete five courses including the MSIM fundamentals course.

Ph.D. students pursuing M&S as the minor field and M.A. students choosing M&S as the field of concentration will complete four courses, including the MSIM fundamentals course.

International Cultural Studies

Coordinator: Angélica J. Huizar (ahuizar@odu.edu)

In the new millennium, increasing our capacity to live with and understand the heterogeneity and flux that characterize global flows of people, culture, and capital is of paramount importance. An understanding of the impact of such global transformations on local and national communities requires an interdisciplinary approach to the study of culture and society that responds to and builds upon, critical analyses of traditional disciplines and epistemologies as well as upon developments specific to studies that have emerged over the last thirty years. Key to the International Cultural Studies approach is the perception that language, gender, race, sexuality, nationality, and class organize identity, complex social relations and cultural objects. Also key is the assumption that the study of culture in all of its complexity requires cross-disciplinary work.

As in most fields, scholars in Cultural Studies share many assumptions, concepts, and methodologies, but there are also different tendencies and emphases within the discipline as a whole. Thus, the specific configuration of this concentration depends to a great degree on the interests and commitments of those involved. Currently, faculty whose research areas come from history, communications, health sciences, foreign languages, philosophy and women's studies will draw on the study of culture and cultural relations within their field.

The goal of the International Cultural Studies track is to offer challenging graduate study by preparing students to interpret cultural products and practices in diverse environments, media and fields. Students will be asked to research into the creation, dissemination, and reception of these products and practices in their own area or region of interest. The result: students will be able to better understand and work with culturally diverse populations, both domestically and internationally.

Requirements

Students selecting this field as their major or minor must take International Cultural Studies (IS 770/860) as their required field course. M.A.students must select two or more courses within the field; Ph.D. students must choose four more courses. Students are strongly advised to take courses other than those listed below only in consultation with the field coordinator.

Strategic Leadership

Strategic leadership is a critical quality in government and private sectors. This Concentration seeks to enhance student ability to think and act strategically. The Concentration in Strategic Leadership equips students with the knowledge and skills to assume leadership positions in government and private sectors. It educates students about issues of global relevance and the means to communicate and affect global concerns effectively. Through a contract with the US Navy, GPIS will offer this Concentration to Navy officers at the MA level but the Concentration is open to all admitted MA and PhD students



Doctor of Philosophy in International Studies

feature1-lg07

The Ph.D. in International Studies is a highly customizable and interdisciplinary degree. Students may choose from one of several concentrations to focus their studies.

Degree Requirements

Concentrations

U.S. Foreign Policy & International Relations

Coordinator: Dr. Richard Maass (rmaass@odu.edu)

Among the virtues of U.S. Foreign Policy and International Relations as a field of concentration is its multi-faceted approach. By its very nature, the study of this field requires that students develop a thorough understanding of all of the concepts and conditions that serve as key components in the making of foreign policy. These factors include --but need not be limited to-- economic, cultural, and political considerations. Emphasis is placed on the fundamentals of foreign policy: the construction, the execution, the evolution, and the implications. The seminars in this field allow our students to examine the transformation of the U.S. role in the world in the global context of the 20th Century and help them to identify the distinguishing characteristics of the unfolding global order of the 21st Century.

In our intimate seminar setting, debate focuses, for instance, on Cold War and post-Cold War U.S. relations with former communist states and the security issues related to their democratic transformation and economic reform, as well as reemerging ethnic cleavages. Efforts on the part of the U.S. government, as well as activities of non-governmental and private voluntary organizations are examined and principal security issues, such as NATO enlargement, the possession of chemical and biological weapons, adherence to nuclear non-proliferation agreements, and ethnic conflict are discussed. Doctoral candidates are urged, but not required, to take at least one history course dealing with the pre-1945 years.

Students selecting this field as their major or minor must complete U.S. Foreign Policy and World Order (IS 606) as their required field course. M.A. students must select two more courses within the field; Ph.D. students must choose four more courses. Students are strongly advised to take courses other than those listed below only in consultation with the field coordinator.

Students are also advised that they have the opportunity to enrich their classroom experience through Independent Study/Directed Research projects with the agreement and under the supervision of the field coordinator.

Conflict and Cooperation

Coordinator: Regina Karp (rkarp@odu.edu)

During the past decade, international security studies have undergone rapid transformation. No longer beholden to the study of East-West competition, the security field has become increasingly diverse regarding the themes and issues it embraces as well as the community of scholars it involves. As a result, many intellectual foundations have been questioned and the field has been opened to a variety of innovations.

This field aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the various discourses in security studies enabling students to undertake independent and original work of their own. Students learn to critically examine different epistemologies and theories as well as to apply and test competing explanations of security choices. Students will engage traditional realist and liberal theories as well as ideationalist propositions.

Students selecting this field as their major or minor must take Collective Security (IS 702/802) as their required field course. M.A. students must select two more courses within the field; Ph.D. students must choose four more courses. Students are strongly advised to take courses other than those listed below only in consultation with the field coordinator.

Students are also advised that they have the opportunity to enrich their classroom experience through Independent Study/Directed Research projects with the agreement and under the supervision of the field coordinator.

International Political Economy and Development

Coordinators: Matthew DiLorenzo (mdiloren@odu.edu) and Georg Menz (gmenz@odu.edu)

Political decisions influence economic outcomes and vice versa. Governments determine the nature and distribution of property rights and the rules governing the production and distribution of wealth; markets shape the distribution of power, policy choices and the institutions of governance. The International Political Economy and Development curriculum examines the intersection of politics and economics globally, focusing on political and economic behavior which cuts across national boundaries. This includes foreign trade, investment, monetary relations, migration, globalization, and foreign aid.

The track also studies the differential production of power and wealth in the world. The focus here is on problems of underdevelopment, debt, and dependence, along with a consideration of alternative strategies for reducing poverty and inequalities within and between nations. The field draws upon an eclectic range of theoretical models and conceptual frameworks to critically interpret state-market relations in the contemporary global order. In helping students understand the global economy and issues in poverty and development, the courses in this track direct attention toward the role of both international institutions (e.g., World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, and United Nations) and domestic political institutions (e.g., democracy) in shaping economic decisions and outcomes.

Students selecting this field as their major or minor must complete Global Political Economy (IS 713/813) and Political Economy of Development (IS 740/840). M.A. students must select one more seminar within the field; Ph.D. students must choose three more seminars. Students should consult with the field coordinator in selecting these additional courses. Students also have the opportunity to enrich their classroom experience through Independent Study/Directed Research projects with the agreement and under the supervision of the field coordinator.

Comparative and Regional Studies

Coordinator: Cathy Wu (xwu@odu.edu)

The Comparative and Regional Studies Concentration is designed to expose students to area studies scholarship to increase their capacity for broader comparative study. While overlapping with the International Cultural Studies sometimes, this concentration focuses on the study of "foreign" (i.e. non-U.S.) political institutions, processes, and behaviors. Students interested more in the study of culture and society should consider the concentration of International Cultural Studies.

Our course structure is devoted to understanding and analyzing similarities and differences in the practice of politics and in the characteristics of political institutions, economic structures and processes, and values across temporal and geographical space. It strikes a balance between developing the most general statements possible about political life and applying them to the understanding of political phenomena in specific places and times.

Requirements

Students selecting this concentration as their major or minor must complete Comparative Studies Theory as their required course. M.A. students and Ph.D. students selecting Comparative and Regional Studies as their minor field must select two more courses within the concentration; Ph.D. students selecting Comparative and Regional Studies as their major field must choose four more courses. All students in the concentration are expected to acquire adequate knowledge of at least two geographic regions (or countries) in their course study. In consultation with the concentration coordinator, students may take courses other than those listed in the concentration to fulfill the concentration requirements

Modeling and Simulation

Coordinator: Jesse Richman (jrichman@odu.edu)

The modeling and simulation (or "M&S") concentration provides students access to some of the most innovative research in international studies. M&S arose as a field of study in response to three complementary trends over the last thirty years. First, the various economic, demographic, cultural and technological processes of globalization have given rise to a range of transnational phenomena that increasingly occur outside the territorial confines of nation-states. The growth of such transnational phenomena has given rise to an important second trend: the growing recognition among scholars of international studies of the inadequacy of traditional levels and methods of analysis predicated upon the territorial logic of sovereign states. Scholars today increasingly seek to develop new methods of analysis. The third trend--the explosive growth of affordable and powerful microcomputing--has equipped researchers with a range of new technologies and methods to understand contemporary international and global phenomena. Together, these three trends have synthesize the field of M&S in international studies.

The M&S in international studies concentration provides GPIS students with an education in the most innovative methods in the field. Students can choose to specialize in methods as diverse as statistics, game theory, agent-based modeling, geographic information sciences, and network analysis. These fields reflect the Hampton Roads area's emergence as a global leader in the modeling and simulation industry. Local M&S firms, government and military employers in the region, and the proximity of Washington, DC (just three hours away) all provide internship and job opportunities for students who specialize in M&S.

At Old Dominion University, graduate study in modeling & simulation is a campus-wide initiative. Each of the University's six colleges offers M&S courses in fields as diverse as mathematics, engineering, health sciences and education. With the approval of the track coordinator, a GPIS M&S student may take courses outside of GPIS and the College of Arts & Letters and receive credit toward his or her M&S field requirements.

Requirements

Students selecting this field as their major or minor field must complete the MSIM 601 Modeling & Simulation Fundamentals course and IS 620 Advanced Statistical Techniques.

Ph.D. students pursuing M&S as the major field will complete five courses including the MSIM fundamentals course.

Ph.D. students pursuing M&S as the minor field and M.A. students choosing M&S as the field of concentration will complete four courses, including the MSIM fundamentals course.

International Cultural Studies

Coordinator: Angélica J. Huizar (ahuizar@odu.edu)

In the new millennium, increasing our capacity to live with and understand the heterogeneity and flux that characterize global flows of people, culture, and capital is of paramount importance. An understanding of the impact of such global transformations on local and national communities requires an interdisciplinary approach to the study of culture and society that responds to and builds upon, critical analyses of traditional disciplines and epistemologies as well as upon developments specific to studies that have emerged over the last thirty years. Key to the International Cultural Studies approach is the perception that language, gender, race, sexuality, nationality, and class organize identity, complex social relations and cultural objects. Also key is the assumption that the study of culture in all of its complexity requires cross-disciplinary work.

As in most fields, scholars in Cultural Studies share many assumptions, concepts, and methodologies, but there are also different tendencies and emphases within the discipline as a whole. Thus, the specific configuration of this concentration depends to a great degree on the interests and commitments of those involved. Currently, faculty whose research areas come from history, communications, health sciences, foreign languages, philosophy and women's studies will draw on the study of culture and cultural relations within their field.

The goal of the International Cultural Studies track is to offer challenging graduate study by preparing students to interpret cultural products and practices in diverse environments, media and fields. Students will be asked to research into the creation, dissemination, and reception of these products and practices in their own area or region of interest. The result: students will be able to better understand and work with culturally diverse populations, both domestically and internationally.

Requirements

Students selecting this field as their major or minor must take International Cultural Studies (IS 770/860) as their required field course. M.A.students must select two or more courses within the field; Ph.D. students must choose four more courses. Students are strongly advised to take courses other than those listed below only in consultation with the field coordinator.

Strategic Leadership

Strategic leadership is a critical quality in government and private sectors. This Concentration seeks to enhance student ability to think and act strategically. The Concentration in Strategic Leadership equips students with the knowledge and skills to assume leadership positions in government and private sectors. It educates students about issues of global relevance and the means to communicate and affect global concerns effectively. Through a contract with the US Navy, GPIS will offer this Concentration to Navy officers at the MA level but the Concentration is open to all admitted MA and PhD students



Certificates

Global Health Graduate Certificate

Global Health aims to show us the big picture. Mistakenly, people assume that the target of "Global Health" involves mainly tackling problems in the developing world. Diseases and health problems do not recognize borders. All countries can learn from the experiences of other countries. Neglecting to address health problems in a global scale may affect people's health, well-being and national security around the world including in developed countries such as the United States.

This competency-based graduate level certificate program aims to provide comprehensive training on Global Health. The Global Health Certificate is designed as an online program for professionals who are practicing or who plan to practice in a worldwide setting. Graduates of the Global Health Certificate can expect to find employment in a variety of fields including health-related governmental/non-governmental organizations, university research programs, international healthcare consultancies, and multinational corporations (Education Advisory Board, 2013).

Women's Studies Graduate Certificate

Students who want only the women's studies graduate certificate without a graduate degree may attain it, but must apply, nonetheless, for graduate standing in the Institute of Humanities. They must gain admission to the Humanities graduate program before the completion of nine graduate hours and must satisfy all of the admission requirements for the program, including the GRE. Only students who hold a B.A. or B.S. degree with an overall GPA of 2.75 may apply for the women's studies graduate certificate.

Other students who choose to obtain a master's degree in such fields as English, history, international studies, applied sociology, or counseling have the option of combining that degree with the women's studies graduate certificate. Students should fill in an application in the Women's Studies Department. Often this can be done without adding more than a few extra credit hours beyond those required for the master's degree. Admission and course requirements vary from department to department.

Graduate Certificate in Modeling & Simulation in International Studies

Over the past several years, GPIS has added faculty with expertise in this area, and has received significant external funding for modeling and simulation projects. A number of connections have been built between GPIS and the Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center. The M&S in international studies concentration could be pursued by students in several ways, which are outlined below. In each case, courses would be selected in close consultation with the M&S track coordinator. Modeling and simulation in the social sciences generally, and in international studies particularly, takes several different forms. The most prominent of these are:

- Statistical modeling
- Formal modeling/game theory
- Simulation/agent-based modeling
- Geographic/spatial modeling
- Network analysis
- Event simulation exercises.

Graduate Certificate in International Development

Careers in International Development involve working for a variety of organizations, both locally in the United States and abroad, mandated to support development efforts in lesser developed nations on topical issues such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, public health, poverty alleviation, debt relief, good governance, and economic development.

Prospective employers include government agencies such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); international and nongovernmental organizations such as the United Nations Development Program, United Nations Population Division, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Oxfam International and local affiliates, International Committee of the Red Cross, Physicians for Peace, and World Vision. The categories of employment often include skills such as program management, procurement, logistics, and monitoring and evaluation.