Master of Advanced Studies in International Affairs (MAS-IA)


Program Description


The Master of Advanced Studies in International Affairs (MAS-IA) is our leading executive international affairs degree. Incoming students are seasoned professionals with five or more years of work experience and our curriculum challenges them by digging deeply into the study of international relations, international political economy, public policy, environmental sustainability and Asia-Pacific security.

We offer the flexibility of both full- and part-time enrollment, allowing students the option of maintaining employment while pursuing their degree. GPS students thrive in the diverse, cosmopolitan atmosphere of one of America’s most innovative cities while enjoying proximity to the broader Pacific region that plays such a crucial role in today’s global economy and geopolitics.

On campus, students work with professors who are leading experts in their fields. Selecting one of five specialized career tracks, as well as a regional specialization, students are able to connect academic work with the leadership roles they’ll assume after graduation.

Whether you’re looking to advance your global career or launch a new one, the MAS-IA provides all the tools you’ll need to excel.

Program Overview

Students enrolled full time complete the degree in a nine-month academic year (holders of F or J visas must study full time). A part-time enrollment option (2 academic years) is also available to professionals with flexible work schedules. The Security of the Asia-Pacific track is offered part-time in the evenings.

In addition to core classes, students must also satisfy the requirements of a career track and complete electives for a country/regional specialization: China, Korea, Japan, Latin America or Southeast Asia.

Core curriculum

The Master of Advanced Studies in International Affairs core curriculum is designed to integrate the diverse subject areas of international management, politics, economics and comparative public policy.

Core Courses

Two specially designed courses, offered during the fall quarter, are devoted to the politics and economics of the Pacific region and provide a solid foundation for the study of international affairs.

  • Politics of International and National Policy Making: This course provides an introduction to the international political economy of the Pacific Rim. The course covers important international developments, such as regionalism, as well as domestic decision-making processes.
  • Economies of the Pacific Rim: This course studies major economies of the Pacific region by combining standard tools in economics with institutional background on each economy. Special attention is given to the challenges that economic globalization poses on the economic relations among those economies.
  • or Managerial Economics (for students selecting the Environmental Policy and Sustainability career track): Survey of basic tools of economics. Included will be such topics as real trade theory, international movements of capital, the effects of trade and capital flows on domestic economies, and policies toward trade and foreign investment.

Capstone Course

The capstone course, offered in the spring quarter, provides an integrative analytical exercise culminating in a written report and oral presentation.

  • Workshop on Policy Issues in the Pacific Rim: Students collaborate on long-term projects analyzing important political, economic, and business issues in the Pacific regions using the tools acquired through other courses at GPS.

Career track requirement

Students choose one of five career tracks prior to beginning study. Career tracks are designed for students to focus their studies in a functional area of their choice.

International Relations (PDF)

  • Provides analytical tools to examine and understand the political, economic and military components of international policy-making.
  • Develops expertise on recent developments in specific issues of particular concern.

International Political Economy (PDF)

  • Builds analytical skills in understanding and explaining the politics of international trade.
  • Develops knowledge in specific applications of international economic policy: regulating multinational enterprises, negotiating trade agreements, adjusting to global economic shocks and forecasting economic variables.
  • Deepens awareness of the Pacific region and how countries interrelate through cross-border flows of trade, investments, and technology.

International Public Policy (PDF)

  • In-depth examination of processes relevant to the public sector and policy-making.
  • Provides interdisciplinary study options in the fields of political science, economics, program design and evaluation and finance that reflects how practitioners analyze policy problems and design solutions.
  • Explores the role of modern bureaucracies and how the institutional framework of a given political system dictates the ways in which governments work and interact with the private sector.
  • Deepens knowledge of the links between political process, economic constraints and the actual implementation of public policies in both developed and developing countries of the Pacific region.

Environmental Policy and Sustainability (PDF)

  • Develops analytical tools relevant to careers in international environmental policy and sustainability.
  • Focuses on concepts specific to environmental policy applications and sustainability issues.
  • Provides knowledge of key topics with the flexibility to focus on areas of individual concern including energy policy, sustainable development, resource management and conservation and green technology.
  • Fosters regional expertise in the Pacific, where the most pressing environmental problems persist.

Security of the Asia-Pacific (PDF)

  • Focus on the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Particular expertise on security and technology policy, including cybersecurity, defense innovation, and China.
  • An integrated approach in examining security studies with other disciplinary perspectives.
  • Faculty with extensive knowledge of and experience in security, economics, technology policy, domestic politics, environmental policy and international relations.
  • Now offering a part-time, evening option for this track only

Course schedules are published on a quarterly basis and are subject to change without notice. Some elective courses that can be applied to meet career track requirements may not be offered in a given academic quarter or academic year.

Students who have been admitted as candidates for the Master of Advanced Studies in International Affairs program are advised to review the list of courses to determine whether their academic and professional backgrounds have sufficiently prepared them to enroll in a particular course.

Country/regional specialization requirement

The country/regional specializations were established in recognition of the growing importance of the Pacific region to the U.S. and the world. Students are required to complete two courses.

Courses taken for a country/regional specialization may not be double counted as career track electives for the MAS-IA degree.

Students are required to take at least two courses that have a regional specialization. The two courses may either focus on one country or on two countries from the below list:

  • China
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Latin America
  • Southeast Asia

Part-time vs. full-time program schedule

The MAS-IA curriculum consists of a total of 12 courses (48 degree units). The program is designed as a one-year degree, which requires students to enroll in four courses each quarter. In an effort to accommodate working professionals, the degree may be completed in two years by attending part-time.

Please Note: only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible for the part-time program; international students must enroll in full-time study to maintain non-immigrant (F-1 or J-1) status.

Full-Time (9 Months)

MAS-IA full-time

Part-Time (18 Months)

MAS-IA part-time

Cost & Fees

MAS-IA 2018/19 Tuition and fees

*Health insurance is required as a condition of enrollment. Students are automatically enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) however, students already covered by an insurance plan may qualify for a health fee waiver. Please see the Student Health Insurance Plan page for more information, including waiver criteria, submission process and deadline.

Last updated Jul 2019

About the School

We are a true global society of faculty, staff, students and community partners dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through education and research — all with an eye on building a Pacific communi ... Read More

We are a true global society of faculty, staff, students and community partners dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through education and research — all with an eye on building a Pacific community. The school is anchored in the reputation and successes of UC San Diego and the University of California system. We are guided by individuals who strive to maintain a climate of fairness, cooperation and professionalism that is embodied in our ethical principles. Furthermore, we believe that diversity, equity and inclusion are essential ingredients of academic excellence. Read less