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International Studies Major

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International Studies

1,084 Master's Degrees Annually
9 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#111 in Popularity (Master's)
$115,300 Median Salary

Types of Degrees International Studies Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many international studies graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 1,084
Graduate Certificate 89
Doctor’s Degree 9

What International Studies Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to international studies and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for International Studies Majors

International Studies majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skills for International Studies Majors

When studying international studies, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for International Studies Majors

International Studies majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

What Can You Do With a International Studies Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with international studies:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Political Scientists 2.7% $117,570

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in International Studies?

1,084 Master's Degrees Annually
50% Percent Women
29% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 50% of the graduates are women, and 50% are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of international studies majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of International Studies Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 53
Black or African American 89
Hispanic or Latino 130
White 554
International Students 161
Other Races/Ethnicities 97

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in International Studies, too. About 14.9% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • India

How Much Do International Studies Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

The median starting salary of students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree in international studies was $42,900 per year. These stats come from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $37,825 (25th percentile) and $49,325 (75th percentile).

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We don’t know for sure if all of these people took jobs related to international studies so take that into consideration.

Salaries According to BLS

The median salary for someone in a career related to international studies is $115,300. This median refers to all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for an International Studies Major  115,300
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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Some degrees associated with international studies may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to international studies have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 6.7%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 3.3%
Master’s Degree 13.3%
Doctoral Degree 73.3%
Post-Doctoral Training 3.3%

Online International Studies Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 400 schools offered some type of international studies program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 29 5
Certificate (1-2 years) 7 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 18 4
Bachelor’s Degree 20 5
Post-Baccalaureate 29 5
Master’s Degree 46 11
Post-Master’s 3 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 5 1
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in International Studies Worth It?

The median salary for a international studies grad is $115,300 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 189% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,508,000 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to international studies.

Major Number of Grads
Other Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 37,392
Biological & Physical Science 29,278
Interdisciplinary Studies 6,609
Nutrition Science 4,794
Behavioral Science 3,731
Natural Sciences 2,571
Cognitive Science 2,275
Sustainability Science 2,194
Human Biology 1,460
Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution 1,310
Gerontology 1,281
Human Computer Interaction 1,272
Science, Technology & Society 1,171
Mathematics & Computer Science 1,105
Computational Science 927
Systems Theory 917
Museum Studies 801
Dispute Resolution 668
Historic Preservation 433
Multicultural & Diversity Studies 424
Classical & Ancient Studies 303
Marine Science 275
Cultural Studies & Analysis 227
Biopsychology 165
Medieval Studies 108
Accounting & Computer Science 71
Maritime Studies 45
Holocaust Studies 40

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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