History of the Program
The earliest mention of a Masters of Arts program in International and Area Studies (MA-IAS) dates back to September of 1992. The original proposal described a program that would serve to “produce graduate students who combine advanced professional or disciplinary training with a detailed knowledge of contemporary international issues or particular world areas or countries.” This idea followed the 1990 decision by Berkeley faculty to establish “International and Area Studies” as a new unit “with the explicit intent of integrating as closely as possible the campus’ outstanding international and area strengths with its professional schools and disciplinary departments.” The proposal was approved by the Graduate Division in October of 1994, and formally announced in January of 1995. The organizing Graduate Group in IAS began accepting students in the Fall of 1995, with the first group graduating in 1996.
Mission of the Program & the Graduate Group
The MA-IAS is a concurrent program overseen by International and Area Studies, and is unique, both nationally and at UC Berkeley. The MA-IAS can only be pursued as a concurrent degree by students who are currently enrolled in one of several professional programs at Berkeley.
The Graduate Group in International and Area Studies administers the MA-IAS degree. The mission is to further international education and to bring interdisciplinary approaches to Berkeley’s excellent professional schools. The concurrent MA-IAS program was seen as appropriate for the University of California at Berkeley, because of Berkeley’s strength in the professional schools and because many of the students in these schools seek international jobs or careers.
The concurrent MA-IAS degree was designed as a concurrent degree, not a stand-alone degree, to help students avoid the relatively narrow job market that awaits students receiving a degree solely in International and Area Studies, who frequently find employment in the government and international agency sectors.
The degree caters mainly to students from the professional disciplines of journalism, law, business, environmental design, city and regional planning, public policy, public health, and social welfare. At Berkeley, the professional schools that participate in the concurrent degree program with International and Area Studies are: the Haas School of Business, the College of Environmental Design, particularly the Department of City and Regional Planning, the Graduate School of Journalism, the Boalt School of Law, the School of Public Health, the Goldman School of Public Policy, and the School of Social Welfare.
Graduate Group Faculty
The Graduate Group in IAS in constituted of 8 distinguished and senior faculty headed by the Head Graduate Advisor who also serves as the Program’s Chair. The Chair appoints a subcommittee from the group of core faculty who serve as the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee of the program meets two or three times a year. They also serve as the admissions committee and review student progress and petitions for exceptions. During 2010-2011 the Executive Committee was constituted of:
- Professor Nezar AlSayyad, Professor of Architecture, City and Regional Planning, and Urban History; Chair of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies; Head of Graduate Advisors for the M.A. in International and Area Studies and the IAS Program Chair since July 1, 2010.
- Professor Max Auffhammer, Associate Professor, Agricultural and Resource Economics; Director, International Area Studies Academic Program.
- Professor Brad DeLong, Chair of the Undergraduate Program in Political Economy in IAS; Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley; Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research; and Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
- Dr. Alan Karras, Associate Director, International and Area Studies Academic Program; and Senior Lecturer in IAS.
- Professor Ananya Roy, Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning; Education Director of the Blum Center for Developing Economies; and co-Director of the Global Metropolitan Studies Program.
There are six other core faculty members of the Graduate Group who are very active in advising students and chairing examination and thesis committees. They are:
- Richard Buxbaum, Jackson H. Ralston Professor of International Law, Boalt School of Law.
- Edwin Epstein, Professor Emeritus, Haas School of Business; Professor in the Graduate School, International and Area Studies; and Senior Fellow, Institute of Governmental Studies.
- Emily Gottreich, Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of History & International and Area Studies.
- Michael Watts, Professor of Geography; co-Chair of the undergraduate Program in Development Studies in IAS.
Other Participating Faculty in the Program
There are also several faculty members who are involved with the Program in that they have served on more than one examination or thesis committee over the course of the last five years. These include:
- Beverly Crawford, Associate Director and Associate Research Political Scientist, Center for German and European Studies; Adjunct Professor, Political Science
- Laura Enriquez, Professor, Department of Sociology
- Munis Faruqui, Assistant Professor, Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies
- Deniz Göktürk, Associate Profesor, German Department
- Emily Gottreich, Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of History and Middle Eastern Studies; Vice Chair for the Center for Middle Eastern Studies; and co-Chair of the Undergraduate program in Middle Eastern Studies
- Gilian Hart, Professor of Geography and co-Chair of the Undergraduate Program in Development Studies
- Ron Hassner, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science
- Minoo Mouallem, Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies
- Isha Ray, Associate Professor, Energy and Resources Group
- Raka Ray, Professor of Sociology and South & Southeast Asia Studies; and Chair of the Center for South Asia Studies
- Jerry Sanders, Senior Lecturer, International and Area Studies; and Chair of the Undergraduate Program in Peace and Conflict Studies
- Stephen Small, Associate Professor, African American Studies; Associate Director of the Institute of International Studies; and Director, the Rotary International Center for Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution
- Eric Stover, Faculty Director of the Human Rights Center; and Adjunct Professor of Law and Public Health
- David Vogel, Solomon P. Lee Chair in Business Ethics; and Professor, Department of Political Science
- Steven Weber, Professor, School of Information and Department of Political Science
Dr. Alan Karras, the Associate Director of IAS, serves as the Faculty Equity Adviser for the MA-IAS program.
Course Selection Requirements
Students must organize their course work around either a topical or an 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.
All students must also 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
- Two Social Science courses
- Two courses in Area Studies
These courses must be taken for letter grades (no S/U or P/NP option permitted) and be completed before you apply for advancement to candidacy. A PDF version of suggested courses is available on this page.
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.
Foreign Language Requirement
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.
Capstone Requirement: 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.
- Thesis: an in-depth study of an issue or subject chosen in consultation with a faculty adviser and two additional faculty members. M.A. theses generally range in length from 75-150 pages.
- Comprehensive Oral Exam: a 2-3 hour comprehensive exam conducted by three faculty members from at least two different departments. It covers the disciplinary areas in which the student has completed coursework.
How to Apply
Applications are accepted at the end of the Fall semester. Offers of admission are made early in the Spring semester - for matriculation in the following Fall term. Students must be in enrolled, at least, their first semester of graduate study on the Berkeley campus and have at least three semesters remaining.
The application for Fall 2013, which can be downloaded from this page, must be submitted in person at 101 Stephens Hall, and is due no later than 4:00PM on Thursday, December 6, 2012. Applications should be submitted to the IAS MA Graduate Student Affairs Officer (GSAO), International and Area Studies Teaching Program.
For questions, please contact Saba Sohail at email@example.com.
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.
IAS Master of Arts graduates move into various careers in non-profits, government, and international firms. Additionally, this program offers excellent preparation for students planning to pursue Ph.D.s and academic careers in social science disciplines and professional schools.