International & Area Studies


The MA degree in International and Area Studies (IAS) is a two-year concurrent Masters program. It is an interdisciplinary program designed to complement the graduate degree work by providing the fundamentals of contemporary international issues and/or detailed knowledge on particular world regions or countries. The MA degree in International and Area Studies provides wide flexibility in crafting an individual interdisciplinary program complementing or enhancing the primary area of graduate study. Students tailor the content of their programs within a defined framework to suit their interests. Specific course work is chosen in consultation with a faculty adviser.

Please note that this program is available only to students who are currently registered in an UC Berkeley graduate program.

IAS MA Degree Requirements
  1. Students must organize their course work around either a topical or a geographic-area concentration.
    • A topic-oriented program concentrates on selected aspects of current international affairs. Course work might combine studies in economics, political science, and history, and could focus on international, transnational, or global issues.
    • An area-oriented program focuses either on a major country or region of the world and should have a strong historical or cultural dimension.
  2. All students must demonstrate a strong grounding in economics and social science. Students who have not completed equivalent course work prior to entering the program must take:
    • At least one intermediate-level Economics course, and
    • At least two Social Science courses, and
    • At least two Area Studies courses
  3. 24 Units of Course Work: A minimum of 24 units of course work, independent of courses taken for the primary degree (MA/MS or Ph.D.), is required. At least twelve of the 24 units must be graduate-level course work (course numbered 200-299). No more than a third of the units (8 maximum) may be taken on an S/U or P/NP grading basis. No courses used toward the student’s primary program may be used for the IAS M.A. Lower-division undergraduate coursework may not be used toward this degree.
  4. Foreign Language: Demonstrated proficiency in a modern foreign language relevant to the focus of study, and equivalent to the completion of four college-level semesters (2 years) of language study, is required. None of the courses taken to fulfill this requirement may be used toward the 24-unit requirement for the degree. Language courses may be taken on a pass/not pass basis. However, a maximum of four units of “advanced” level language courses (upper division), if relevant to the focus of the student’s program, may count toward the degree.
  5. Capstone – Thesis or Oral Exam: Either a written thesis or a comprehensive oral exam based on the focus of study is required to complete the IAS MA degree. This is in addition to any thesis or exam taken for the student’s primary degree. However, students are encouraged to relate the IAS thesis topic to the work done for their primary degree program. Students enrolled in IAS 292 Direct Advanced Research and/or IAS 299 Directed Reading courses to complete their thesis should note that no more than 4 units can be applied toward the 24 minimum units required for the degree.
  6. Advancement to Candidacy: Approval of all course work, completion of the foreign language requirement, and approval of the faculty committee must be granted by the IAS MA Faculty Adviser prior to advancement to candidacy. The candidacy petition must be submitted no later than the fifth week of the semester in which the student intends to complete the degree. If thesis research involves human subjects, a Course Completion Record from the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects must also be submitted. Final approval of candidacy petitions is granted by the Dean of the Graduate Division.

The application to this program is made available on this page each August. The application is due in mid-December, and applicants are notified of the admissions committee’s decisions by late March.

More Information

Dreux Montgomery
Graduate Student Affairs Officer
International and Area Studies
101 Stephens Hall

Graduate Group

Maximilian Auffhammer
International & Area Studies;
Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics

J. Bradford DeLong
Department of Economics

Emily Gottreich
International & Area Studies

Gillian Hart
Department of Geography

Alan Karras
International & Area Studies

Michael Watts
Department of Geography

Global Studies Major Map

How to Declare a Major

Meet with an Advisor