Through a multifaceted approach to education led by faculty with expertise in human capital development, international organizations, and education policy reform, IEPM equips students with the skills and knowledge to become changemakers in the field of international education and human and economic development around the world.

Program focus

Through foundational coursework, IEPM students gain a deep theoretical understanding of underlying public policy issues facing K-12 and higher education systems and non-formal learning environments in varying contexts around the world. Combined with a strong background in research and data and a focus on practical application, students are prepared to critically engage and address salient issues within international education today, notably the relationships between education and economic growth, social cohesion, global health, and other dimensions of human development.


IEPM proudly attracts a diverse student cohort from within and outside of the United States, with roughly one-half comprised of international students. Current and past international IEPM cohorts of students have come from China, Russia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Paraguay, South Korea, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Iraq, Japan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, India and the United Arab Emirates. Many students bring professional experience in teaching, development assistance, advocacy and community outreach, including in the Peace Corps, Teach for America, the U.S. Student Fulbright Program and more, that enriches the learning experience of all students in the program.

Structure and Delivery

Most IEPM students pursue their degrees full time (9 credit hours per semester) over the course of two years (four semesters). IEPM courses typically meet during the week, usually in the evenings (4:10-7:00 pm), with select courses occasionally offered during the day. With this course offering schedule, many students find that they can also pursue part-time employment on campus as either a graduate or research assistant for a faculty member.

Curriculum Requirements

36 credit hours consisting of 12 hours of the IEPM core (4 courses); 6 hours of methodology (2 courses); and 18 hours of electives selected with the guidance of the faculty advisor. Additionally, a two-month practicum (which can be taken with or without course credit, as determined by the student) is usually taken in the summer after the first year.

I. IEPM Core Courses

  • International Issues in K–12 Education Policy Reform (3)
  • Comparative Issues in Higher Education Policy Reform (3)
  • International Organizations and Economic Development (3)
  • Education and Economic Development (3)

II. Methodology

  • Research Methods and Data Analysis I (3)
  • Research Methods and Data Analysis II (3)

III. Electives

Elective courses may be taken across Peabody College, as well as in other disciplines offered across Vanderbilt University upon consultation with and approval of your faculty advisor. Past IEPM students have elected to take courses through the law school, graduate school, business school, divinity school, and the Vanderbilt Institute of Global Health. Some popular electives taken by IEPM students include the following; however, students are free to choose any others not included in this list:

  • Social Context of Education Leadership and Policy
  • Economics of Higher Education Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Development, Reform, Innovation
  • International Perspectives on Leadership Politics and Governance in Education
  • Grants, Policy, and Administration
  • Non-Profit Management
  • American Education History and Policy
  • Teaching and Teacher Policy
  • College and University Management
  • Postsecondary Access and Opportunity
  • Public Finance of Higher Education
  • College Student Personnel Services

Total number of course credits required for graduation: 36

Graduation requirements

In addition to completing 36 credit hours toward the degree, IEPM students must also either pass a comprehensive examination (offered in the spring) OR write and submit a master’s thesis paper on a topic of their choosing. Only upon successful completion of the comprehensive exam or the master’s thesis will the student be considered a candidate for graduation.

The IEPM Advantage

The IEPM program allows students to tailor their curriculum and experience to their own individualized pursuits, and many students have complemented their international education coursework with classes in business, law, religion, global health, regional and area studies, and other disciplines across Vanderbilt University. Combined with a summer practicum experience, our IEPM students are prepared with essential skills and specialized content knowledge necessary to tackle some of the greatest educational challenges of our time.

Many of our graduates go on to pursue careers with international development agencies, private foundations, advocacy groups, government bodies, private consultancies, non-profit organizations, school districts, and higher education institutions, among others. Some graduates of the program choose to pursue further graduate or professional study at the Ph.D. level. There is no one “traditional” path for IEPM graduates, and the program thrives on bringing together students of diverse and varied backgrounds, interests, and experiences as they relate to international education.

Program taught in:
  • English

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This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2020
2 years
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