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2023 International Studies Degree Guide

Dive into the study of international politics, global economies and relations with a major in International Studies. This is an important field in an increasingly global society. Students will get the chance to explore the delicate structure of diplomacy and interactions with other countries.

Many students pick one are of the world to focus on, whether it's Europe, Asia, Africa or any other country that interest you. Your coursework will involve in-depth study on the history, culture, politics and economy of your chosen region.

Other classes you will take are: sociology, statistics, macroeconomics, economic development, political analysis, area studies, foreign language, diplomacy, and conceptual approaches to International Studies.

International Studies Degrees Decreasing

#100 Most Popular Major
7.4k Degrees Awarded
-6.9% Increase in Graduates

In 2020-2021, international studies was the 100th most popular major nationwide with 7,368 degrees awarded. This represents a 6.9% reduction in international studies degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 7,874.

This year's Best International Studies Schools ranking compares 126 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of international studies programs later in this article.

2023 Best Colleges for International Studies
2023 Overall Best International Studies Colleges >

Best International Studies Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in International Studies
Bachelor's Degrees in International Studies
Master's Degrees in International Studies
Doctorate Degrees in International Studies

International Studies Degree Requirements

This major is ideal for students who love to explore and learn about different cultures and countries. Students should have an open mind to different experiences and perspectives. Classes will involve a lot of critical reading, research and writing. Along with writing papers, you will also be expected to participate in class discussions and debates.

Students will use analytical skills and integrative thinking to combine perspectives from various disciplines. Many programs involve opportunities to study abroad. This will greatly enhance your educational experience as you get to know a foreign culture first-hand.

International Studies Degree Program Entry Requirements

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. Specific international studies careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Types of International Studies Degrees

There are many different international studies degree levels. International Studies programs offered by schools range from a to a , which is the highest international studies degree you can get. The time it takes to complete a international studies degree varies depending on the program.

DegreeCredit RequirementsTypical Program Length
Associate Degree60-70 credits2 years
Bachelor’s Degree120 credits4 years
Master’s Degree50-70 credits1-3 years
DoctorateProgram required coursework including thesis or dissertationAt least 4 years

A doctor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to international studies, with approximately 73.3% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for international studies workers below.

Level of EducationPercentage of Workers
Doctoral Degree73.3%
Master’s Degree13.3%
Bachelor’s Degree6.7%
Post-Doctoral Training3.3%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate3.3%

About 76.7% of workers in careers related to international studies obtain at least doctor's degrees. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in international studies careers have.


The education level required is different depending on the international studies career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for A Degree In International Studies Graduate

Low Number of Jobs
$34.3k Average Starting Salary
3% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Graduates of International Studies are prepared to work in international politics and relations, international economics, or international law. You may also decide to work as a journalist, political scientist, economist, or foreign exchange trader. Some graduates choose to continue their education with a Master's in International Relations or another related field.

Steady Demand Projected for International Studies Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your international studies degree? International Studies careers are expected to grow 2.7% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to international studies.

Occupation NameProjected JobsExpected Growth
Political Scientists7,5002.7%

How Much Money Do People With a International Studies Degree Make?

Recently graduated international studies students earned an average of $34,307 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $15,350 to as high as $162,528. As you might expect, salaries for international studies graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid International Studies Careers

Salaries for international studies graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers international studies grads often go into.

Occupation NameMedian Average Salary
Political Scientists$115,300

Getting Your International Studies Degree

With over 664 different international studies degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased international studies school rankings to help you with this.

International Studies is one of 44 different types of Multi / Interdisciplinary Studies programs to choose from.

Related MajorAnnual Graduates
Other Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies34,975
Biological & Physical Science30,075
Interdisciplinary Studies9,074
Nutrition Science5,330
Behavioral Science4,169

View All International Studies Related Majors >


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