Master’s Required – Top Graduate Programs for a Career in Study Abroad



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47 Comments on Master’s Required – Top Graduate Programs for a Career in Study Abroad

  1. Anonymous
    May 16, 2011 at 10:40 am (4 years ago)

    Two others: Harvard Graduate School of Education, degree in Administration, Planning and Social Policy. Also the International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership, degree in International Service.
    Erika Ryser Garcia

  2. Anonymous
    May 16, 2011 at 10:44 am (4 years ago)

    A lot of good suggestions here. I made it through my masters in higher ed at a different institution than those listed above and had to tailor it specifically to International Ed and Study Abroad. My advisors, though I learned a lot from them and am grateful to them, did not have much to offer me in regards to International Ed and Study Abroad. Thankfully, I was able to develop some good relationships with the study abroad office and campus and land an assistantship with them. However, getting into a program that offers coursework in the international arena is a big help.

    Nice post!

  3. Anonymous
    May 16, 2011 at 11:14 am (4 years ago)

    You mentioned you had initially considered Columbia and NYU. Would you please speak to the quality of these programs as well?

  4. Carolyn K. Sorkin, Ph.D.
    May 16, 2011 at 11:23 am (4 years ago)

    Two other excellent options are NYU’s MA in international education and Stanford’s MAs in international comparative education (ICE) and in international educational administration and policy analysis (IEAPA). The former ( is a 12-month program; either of the latter two ( can be done part-time or full-time.

  5. Anonymous
    May 16, 2011 at 11:29 am (4 years ago)

    Good suggestions here. And since there is not one set academic path for getting into the field of education abroad (or international education in general), it is really about getting a strong academic base paired with GA/practicum/intership experiences geared toward education abroad specifically. The final result should be an overall package of academic preparation, hands on experiences, and of course overseas experience.

    The reality (though I’m not sure it is sad, necessarily) is – the degree does matter. I see evidence of this more and more every day. When you work in academia (i.e. on campus), which is likely the case with most education abroad professionals, you have to play by those rules, so to speak.

    From a campus-based perspective… It is also important to remember that the intent and essence of study abroad hinges on academic learning, culture learning, and personal development. There is a side of study abroad that has become more of an “industry”; some would argue that it has become too much of a business (but that might be a topic for another article). It is a bit disheartening to hear study abroad referred to as an industry by colleagues in the field, as those of us that work on campuses regularly have to legitimize the study abroad experience as we advocate for credit transfer, scholarship funding, etc.

  6. Tiffany H.
    May 16, 2011 at 11:30 am (4 years ago)

    Love this post Brooke!! So many great suggestions. Now just have to start saving up :)

  7. Michelle
    May 16, 2011 at 11:58 am (4 years ago)

    Great post, Brooke! I wish I had had this resource when I started looking into programs. I just finished the Lesley IR program, though, so I can elaborate on that.

    I think you got why it’s awesome right. Some of my favorite classes were International Education Exchange and Intercultural Negotiation & Mediation. I also was able to create an independent study course on international ed for pre-med students which was great. I was not equally impressed with all the classes, though.

    One thing I really liked about this program initially was that I didn’t feel like it was only applicable to international ed. This is great for those who are undecided and want to explore since you can focus on HR or training or other things without doing education, or do a little of everything. Coming out of a corporate job looking back to higher education, this flexibility was important to me.

    But the real deciding factor for me was location. There were great internship and networking opportunities locally. I ended up with a full-time position in the field halfway through the program and was able to stay on track with coursework because of the evening and weekend class times. I was also able to meet the internship requirement with a special project at my job.

    However, I would have to disagree that most people are currently working in the field. There are a lot of recent grads or those trying to break into the field doing the program full-time. So newbies shouldn’t fear! Plus having those with more experience in your classes is a huge asset. I generally think it’s a good idea to get some work experience (even if not study abroad) before beginning a professionally oriented graduate program.

    I agree with you on the big con – lack of scholarships and funding. I got one of the very few graduate assistant positions my first year, but it was not relevant and the funding was negligible. I think the reason you see a decent number of those with positions already is that employer tuition assistance helps get around this con.

    This is an excellent introduction to options. When I was thinking about grad school I was pretty much asking myself SIT or Lesley? But this makes it obvious how many options there are to consider!

  8. Amanda Roshan-Rawaan
    May 16, 2011 at 1:22 pm (4 years ago)

    Great post, Brooke! As a Lesley grad, I cheered a bit and felt validated that my school was listed! Lots of great schools out there for a variety of interests (e.g. comparative ed., international ed., higher ed, student services, etc…) – I think sometimes students don’t know which avenue to choose!

    Definitely some things to think about (advice from a recent graduate): funding and practical experience. I received a Dean’s scholarship to Lesley, which paid for 3 of my 9 credits every semester. Lesley also requires an internship, which is crucial if you don’t have much in-the-field experience yet.

    Also, and this is especially pertinent in an urban area like Boston, if you have the time to volunteer or intern in a study abroad office whilst going to grad school, DO IT. You’ll need as much experience as possible on your resume (and under your belt) when it comes time to apply for jobs. Sometimes the ol’ MA, MS, M.Ed. just isn’t enough.

  9. Danielle
    May 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm (4 years ago)

    Another masters option at American University is the International Communication (IC) degree program. It is academically more rigorous than the ITEP program, yet allows you to take many of the same courses and tailor the degree to your specific interests. My concentration in IC is public diplomacy and international exchange. Highly recommended and the location cannot be beat.

  10. Kevin F
    May 17, 2011 at 12:23 am (4 years ago)

    Loved the post Brooke! Now who is this Christie I’m supposed to heckle!?

  11. fabularz
    May 17, 2011 at 9:43 am (4 years ago)

    I just completed my MA at the University of Pittsburgh in Social and Comparative Analysis of Education, which has an International Education track. It’s great because you get to pick a regional specialization (I did East Asia) while also taking courses in any kind of education topic. Going to a huge school like Pitt is great for grad students because there are so many opportunities to work there. During my two years, I worked for the Institute for International Studies in Education and the Asian Studies Center, and I got to spend my summer as an intern in Beijing, China. Since Pittsburgh is still under the radar yet highly respected, grad students get huge perks.

  12. Erin & Carl
    May 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm (4 years ago)

    The International Education Program at The George Washington University in DC is great! I went there and there were specific courses on study abroad: 1.) “Topics in Study Abroad” taught by the director of the study abroad office and she brought in a ton of leaders in the as a guest speaker (perk for being in DC). 2.) Managing International Students and Study Programs — covers budgeting, trends in the field, etc.

    Also, through the consortium of DC universities, IEP student can take the popular American Univ courses but not have to focus only on training. And last, it’s felxbiel, and allowed me to take courses in the business school and Elliot School of International Affairs to applty toward my sub-specialty in marketing and project management.

  13. Lisa
    May 17, 2011 at 7:34 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Brooke! Thank you so much for this post– it makes daydreaming about my academic future so much easier =) I still have some questions, though, about the biggest hiccup for me– FUNDING. What do you think about PhD programs? Do you know if PhD students in these sorts of programs receive more funding than Masters students? Also, I saw that you listed a few programs as being especially lacking in funding, but do you know which are best at financing students’ educations? If I have to incur some nasty debt to pursue this degree, I will, but I would REALLY rather not. :/

    Thanks again!

  14. Valerie_S
    May 18, 2011 at 2:30 pm (4 years ago)

    Nice post.
    Glad to see my alma mater, Lesley University, listed :)Validation! I got my degree eight years ago and yes, seems like it’s definitely becoming a requirement (though many listings still say ‘preferred’, I am guessing it’s highly preferred)

  15. Kate
    May 18, 2011 at 10:25 pm (4 years ago)

    I really love this post! Thanks so much for the information. I’ve been considering earning this degree abroad, as both a Master’s and overseas experience seem to be valuable! I appreciate the information about Edge Hill, and the IPSL program looks great as well. Are there any more suggestions out there for overseas programs?? Thanks!

  16. Jessie V
    May 21, 2011 at 9:11 pm (4 years ago)

    as a PhD graduate of the CIDE program at the u-mn, i tell you, it is an incredible program. i am so glad that there are many, many chances and places to learn, in this critical field of international education! now i publish a travel site for global educators ( and see the joy of intercultural experiences, every day. :)

  17. arr14
    May 23, 2011 at 10:04 am (4 years ago)

    Hi, I would recommend Ohio University’s MAIA program which offers several tracks including Latin American Studies, African Studies, etc. You can check it out here – Thanks!

  18. Brooke
    May 23, 2011 at 10:08 am (4 years ago)

    From Kirsten Laufer at the University of Florida

    “As a graduate of Stanford’s ICE program, I second Carolyn’s comments above. Stanford and NYU should definitely be on the list, as should the programs at Harvard and Columbia. Despite not having attended NYU, I’m impressed by the three tracks it offers and recommend it to our study abroad alumni who are interested in the field.

    Many other schools have flexible graduate programs that can be tailored to an international research focus, even if they don’t offer IE specifically. Two of my classmates went on to PhDs in related education fields at UCLA and Hawaii, and one of my colleagues received a degree in higher ed administration. One of our former Peer Advisors is now doing a master’s in International Affairs at GWU that she’s tailored to focus on IE. There are certainly many different types of programs out there.”

  19. Pamela Lowenstein
    May 23, 2011 at 11:08 am (4 years ago)

    I am a current SIT Graduate student and this posting is not completely true about the program. The program is 1 year of classes and 1 year of practicum (find a job in IE, write your thesis and your other school work while doing this). So it’s two years (even the low residency program)

    Also a negative: very few scholarships and even if you do get one, its for a very little amount of money.

  20. Nicolle
    May 23, 2011 at 11:31 am (4 years ago)

    Hey everyone! Fantastic program suggestions and topic.

    To get experience, I suggest pursuing your full time MA program outside of the US. I did my graduate degree abroad at Aalborg University in Aalborg, Denmark in an interdisciplinary program called Culture, Communication and Globalization. I enrolled directly as an international student, not on a study abroad program. The international program provided me with a set of practical skills – including problem solving, qualitative assessment, research, writing, interviewing and working cross culturally- to apply to my career post-grad school. We were also required to do an international internship during our second year (I worked for a small volunteer tourism nonprofit in Thailand), a requirement that most internationally focused grad programs should embrace. I did my program in 2006-2008 and thanks to the interdisciplinary program style, I was able to focus on research topics such as social media, international education and sustainability. In addition, I worked for their international student office, gaining international work experience (and keeping up my skill set) while attaining my grad degree. I drew heavily from my grad school abroad experience to promote myself for study abroad jobs. It paid off as I currently work at a university level study abroad office advising students.

    Many programs abroad are in English and since you’re an international student, you’ll be hanging out with other international students getting awesome practice using your foreign language-of-choice outside the classroom.

    Other benefits of pursuing your graduate degree abroad:

    Can be less expensive than US schools (UK excluded) – study abroad isn’t exactly the highest paying industry to help you pay back all that debt! Some governments offer students scholarships because they are interested in attracting students from outside the host-country (not many US students pursue their studies as a full time international student). This was the case in Denmark. They offered me a full scholarship (need-based).

    Developing a Global Network – my friends from grad school work in places like Afghanistan, Switzerland, England, and HK, across a wide range of industries; my instructors and profs are also from places outside the US. You will need (and want) a strong network post-grad school for the job search.

    Learning a different educational system – it challenges and enhances your perspective on education in the US which will benefit you in the study abroad field.

    You’re abroad for two years! – Excitement, opportunities, and challenges abound!I lived in Denmark, Thailand and Germany during my two year program. Epic times accompanied my academic pursuits.

    It takes much search and planning to go abroad as these programs won’t just fall in your lap. Plus negotiating foreign university systems, rules, and policies is a process, and up and moving to a new place sight unseen is its own challenge. But the skills and perspectives you develop are absolutely relevant to study abroad careers (you’ll also stand out).

    Hope this helps! @pdxnicolle

  21. stazia
    May 23, 2011 at 8:59 pm (4 years ago)

    Great post! I am about to start a M.A. in Educational Leadership in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Western Michigan University this fall. I am excited because I landed a full assistantship too (bonus for professional development)! The curriculum requires a 300 hr field experience and a 100 hour practicum too! Attending conferences and even presenting is highly encouraged. I’m really excited to do this program. I am really excited to see where my Masters will take me and I’m excited because I can try and customize the program to my interests: study abroad.

  22. budsey 'bret' appleseed
    October 24, 2011 at 12:25 pm (4 years ago)

    Great information!
    I am about to complete my undergraduate degree, and I would love to pursue my Master’s abroad…I am having some trouble though finding programs. Does anyone have any tips for figuring out which programs will provide the kind of training we need? Thanks!

  23. LoveStudyAbroad
    December 27, 2011 at 1:16 pm (4 years ago)

    Although I haven’t gotten my masters, I received two job opportunities because of my study abroad blogging. Blogging is a great way to get your name out there and great for your resume especially if you’re interested in intl ed/communications/marketing/social media/digital media etc. Even though I purchased my own domain, I recommend creating a blog on Students Gone Global which is launching in January and will be better than Tumblr and Blogger because it’s just for study abroad students. Check it out:

  24. belami
    January 5, 2012 at 8:42 am (4 years ago)

    Good afternoon everyone and bonjour from Paris!

    I landed a job as a Student Life Counselor at Parsons Paris after obtaining a MA in French Cultural Studies through Middlebury College. Needless to stay, my experience was very fruitful and I finally feel as though I have found my niche within education (after teaching for the last 3 years).

    After having read the blog, I would like to know if there is an MA program in Paris ie. in continuing education in Student Affaires that any of you may know about. While I don’t plan on leaving my, what seems to be the beginning of a fruitful career, I would still like to continue learning about this outstanding career path.

    Thanks for all your help!!

  25. Jenny
    August 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm (3 years ago)

    As a KSU graduate I was really happy to see it listed here. It has a beautiful campus (I was at the main campus but there are 8 regional campuses)and the faculty are wonderful! I am currently debating grad school and comparing programs.

    I think one point to highlight about getting a masters degree abraod is that unlike US schools, you do not have to take the GRE for grad school. It is only a requirement in the US, so if like me, you find yourself freaking out in the thought of another huge standardized test, relax, you have a ton of options abroad as well for grad school! I am currently looking at one in Scotland, Ireland, and Spain. Spain appeals more to me financially as it is the cheapest. (Specifically the Universitat de Barcelona or the Universitat de Granada. And the UNAM in Mexico is 2 years but just about the same cost as the one year programs at the universities I listed in Spain!)

    I’m not entirely decided on what I want to do job wise yet so I’m more or less kicking around ideas as well as grad school until I feel a bit more settled on a goal. Meanwhile I am volunteering as a Rotarian with Rotary International :)

    Just some food for thought :)

  26. Yevie
    October 21, 2012 at 8:34 pm (3 years ago)

    There’s also a relatively recent masters program in International Education Management at Monterey Institute of International Studies. Definitely worth checking out!

  27. Brooke Roberts
    October 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks Yevie! Another great option. :) I’m going to be updating this post soon to incorporate more programs and links. Stay tuned!

  28. A.M.P.
    January 18, 2013 at 3:01 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi Brooke,

    Can you recommend any Master’s programs at Spanish speaking universities?


  29. Marky
    February 14, 2013 at 12:08 am (3 years ago)

    If given an chance to take these top degree programs, I would really love to study in spain.

  30. Brigette Burandt
    April 24, 2013 at 2:29 pm (2 years ago)

    Any suggestions for how to look for a program overseas? I’ve been trying to do some research online but I must not be searching for the right thing. English language programs would be great, but I speak French as well.

  31. lizabaker
    June 12, 2013 at 5:22 am (2 years ago)

    It’s safe to generally say that having a masters degree would be helpful in having a career achievement.

  32. dbsaide
    July 26, 2013 at 3:35 pm (2 years ago)

    This is a great resource! Can anyone speak more for MIIS and SIT and what their total program cost was? Also, if any of the above posters could share what their total program costs were and explain how much work/study, assistanships, grants and scholarships (and loans) they gathered, it would be great to know what the average “final cost” was for each program.


  33. Roger Richard
    August 2, 2013 at 12:32 am (2 years ago)

    The international experiences that are open to Masters and Ph.D. students are usually quite different from undergraduate study abroad programs. Graduate students have fewer international options, and their academic planning is more important and complicated. But on the positive side, graduate students can sometimes go abroad for longer periods of time; their time abroad is often closely linked to their careers; and their experiences abroad are often “deeper” than those of undergraduates.

  34. rerambles
    September 15, 2013 at 2:39 am (2 years ago)

    This is a great list. I was just wondering if you’ll ever update it?

  35. anastasia gray
    September 24, 2013 at 3:15 am (2 years ago)

    Hi Brooke, Could you give us an updated list? Your list is very helpful but I wish it included more west coast schools. or maybe none of them are good enough to make the list? Also, it would be really awesome if you could do a top ten list for universities abroad as well. (If you have time, of course).

    Thanks for all the help, your blog is a fantastic resource!

  36. amesterrr
    September 25, 2013 at 12:04 pm (2 years ago)

    I know you wrote this over a year ago…but what kind of programs were you looking into in Scotland, Ireland and Spain? Do you have any links you can provide? Was your searching successful?

  37. Melissa King
    November 7, 2013 at 7:41 pm (2 years ago)

    I would also love an updated list!

  38. lovelytravels
    December 5, 2013 at 6:09 pm (2 years ago)

    When did they offer you a full scholarship? I would love to go abroad to do a program like this but money is an issue. Could you go more in-depth with the application process and post acceptance process?

  39. Chalsie Kennedy
    January 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm (2 years ago)

    Thanks Brooke! Any chance any of the programs you suggested are available online? Currently I am a Spanish Teacher at a high school in northwestern PA. I am also a wife and mother of an 8 month old, but would love to change my career path. My dream would be to work as an Adviser to International and Study Abroad Students at the University level or with an online company. Since I’ll be 30 this year I will be a non-traditional student. I was wondering if you knew whether any of the programs you suggested are offered online or have any other suggestions of online programs that would allow me to pursue this new career goal. Thanks ahead of time for your help.

  40. Will J. Lee
    January 30, 2014 at 5:59 pm (2 years ago)

    And a new Master’s program: Global Higher Education Master’s Program at University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the 2013 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate School Choices, the School of Education at UW-Madison was ranked ninth in the nation.

  41. Megan
    May 2, 2014 at 11:44 am (1 year ago)

    Hi-I don’t know if you ever got a response on this so here’s what I know. I graduated from the ITEP program at American University in 2012. While I was there, they did not have, but were looking into starting, an online format to their program. Also, SIT has a distant learning set up that is great for non-traditional students. Since I do not have more information about what is going on at AU, I would highly recommend the SIT program. I know people who have done it and had a great experience. Hope that helps.

  42. Sharon
    May 10, 2015 at 6:41 pm (5 months ago)

    Hello! I found this post extremely helpful! I’m currently looking into grad programs that focus on International Education and I’m really interested in schools abroad. Do you know of other International Education programs in Europe? Thank you! :)

  43. Allison Hradacky
    Allison Hradacky
    May 13, 2015 at 4:36 pm (5 months ago)

    We are glad that you found this helpful! We are actually in the process to updating this list, so stay tuned!

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  1. […] programs. There’s been work done on this–for instance, Inside Study Abroad compiled a great list. But I’m envisioning something more along the lines of a searchable and up-to-date online […]