International Studies

Office: Anna & John J. Sie International Relations Complex
Mail Code: 2201 S. Gaylord St., Denver, CO 80210
Phone: 303-871-2544
Web Site:

Degree Programs

Doctor Of Philosophy in International Studies

The PhD degree is designed as a four to six-year program provided the student a) enters with a closely related master’s degree and b) is able to devote full-time study during the entire period. The student working toward this degree must earn a grade average of 3.5 or higher for a minimum of 90 hours of graduate credit. A maximum of 45 course credits can be transferred into the program from another university, while a maximum of 60 course credits can be transferred in from a Korbel MA. The precise number of course credits that can be transferred in will be decided by the PhD program director to ensure that each student takes a sufficient number of Korbel courses to back up their studies for the Korbel PhD. Students select two of the three fields available: Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory. In addition, each student must meet the core curriculum and field training, methodology, and foreign language requirements, pass written and oral comprehensive field exams, file an approved prospectus, and successfully write and defend a dissertation.

Master of Arts in Global Economic Affairs

The Global Economic Affairs (GEA) program provides students with a multi-disciplinary, policy-focused examination of the global economy. Emphasis is on political economy, not on the narrow field of economics as standardly taught in economics textbooks.  The GEA program is fully accessible to students who did not study economics as undergraduates. Courses within this degree focus on the complex changes underway in the global economy, including the emerging patterns of finance, trade, and investment flows and their effect on national economies; the effect of globalization on state capacity, policy autonomy, and national economic conditions; the relationship between economic, political, and social outcomes of policy choices; corporate governance, competition, and corporate social responsibility; and the politics of economic policy choices at the national and international levels, within multilateral agreements and organizations. All students within this degree receive training in advanced statistical methods, including econometrics. Students also select from a diverse collection of qualitative and quantitative skills courses.

This degree is intended for students looking to pursue a diverse range of careers:

  1. As international economic analysts for public sector agencies, such as the Department of Commerce, the International Trade Administration, Ministries of Finance, crime and security agencies such as the FBI, and state and municipal government,
  2. As analysts for multilateral institutions and organizations, such as the World Bank, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the World Trade Organization, United Nations agencies, the African Development Bank, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development,
  3. As researchers and analysts within non-governmental organizations, such as Oxfam, Action Aid, Accion, and Water for People,
  4. As private sector economic policy consultants, political risk or international project analysts, ethical supply chain experts, and international project managers.

Master of Arts in Global Environmental Sustainability

A defining issue of the 21st century will be international challenges posed by a changing environment, population growth, and increased demands on our food, water, and energy resources. Given the complexity and magnitude of these challenges, we need innovative approaches to meeting needs while promoting just and equitable development and a sustainable path for future generations. The Korbel School is poised to assume a position of leadership in research, teaching, and outreach around issues related to our changing climate and global environment. The Global Environmental Sustainability (GES) MA will stimulate, facilitate, and coordinate these activities in a sustaining manner. Our location in the Front Range puts us at the center of practical discussions about water, agriculture, and energy (both conventional and renewable). Our strength comes in taking a human-focused approach to understanding the consequences of global change for human well-being.

Master of Arts in International Development  

The MA in International Development focuses on development theory, policy-oriented decision-making and analysis, politics of institutions, and in-demand practical skills. The program prepares students for careers in government, multilateral and bilateral development agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. Development graduates also enter relevant doctoral programs.

The program reflects an approach to development that emphasizes not only economic issues but also the importance and interrelatedness of sustainable economic and human development, human rights, and environmental sustainability. We emphasize the diversity of needs, desires, opportunities, and constraints experienced by individuals of differing socioeconomic classes, ethnicities, and genders, as well as differences among nations and regions.

Students gain analytical skills that address not only policy issues, but also the logics and workings of diverse institutions that create, negotiate, and implement development policy. Students also engage the many power differentials that profoundly influence processes central to sustainable development. These power differentials exist not only among nations, but also among public- and private-sector partners within development programs; between development practitioners and their intended beneficiaries; and among those intended beneficiaries. Thus, we also engage with actors and processes across levels from the most macro-level international institutions and initiatives to the most micro-level agendas and actions taken by communities, firms, movements, and individuals.

The program provides training in key practical skills identified by development employers, including communications, quantitative analysis, program/project-focused management and assessment, qualitative and participatory field research, and cross-sectoral framework development. Through internships, students gain experience in meeting the challenges of development practice while applying these skills and their knowledge of ideas, institutions, and processes that have influenced the course of international development.

Master of Arts in International Human Rights

The MA in International Human Rights provides students with the opportunity to engage with some of today’s most pressing and compelling human rights issues and consider emerging issues and approaches in an academically rigorous and critical way. Students will examine diverse perspectives on the contributions, effectiveness, and relevance of international human rights frameworks, instruments, movements, and institutions.  Graduates of the program go on to work on human rights research and documentation, advocacy, and programming including with nonprofits, the UN, government, and the for-profit sector.  

Master of Arts in International Security

The International Security curriculum provides education and practical training on issues related to the causes and consequences of foreign policies pursued by states plus the goals of non-state actors to advance their position and status in world political dynamics through violent confrontation and war or through cooperative moves towards peace. The Security Program combines traditional issues (state level threats, sovereignty, armament policies) and foundational theoretic perspectives (realism, liberalism, international law) with emerging twenty-first century problems (e.g. human security, climate change, health pandemics, humanitarian assistance, global governance) with exposure and appreciation for updated research and policy perspectives on contemporary topics to enable students to understand continuities and major shifts in the evolving global system, to foresee new threats, and imagine threat responses.

We focus on developing skill sets: written and oral communications; technical tools (graphic displays, statistical analysis) and clear, logical arguments that are essential for our graduates to be marketable practitioners in the security field—whether working in government, private industry, or the non-profit sector. We expect everyone to keep current in scholarship and policies presented in mainline journals. By completing the Security program, students will have a sufficient sense of basic concepts, theories, and approaches associated with the field with the confidence to apply this knowledge to real-world problems.

Master of Arts in International Studies  

The Master of Arts in International Studies combines a broad understanding of the field of international studies with an issue-oriented specialization, skills courses, and opportunities for internships or advanced research. It is the traditional professional international studies curriculum long favored by students pursuing career options in the government, private, and non-profit sectors, as well as those considering a PhD. It is also our most flexible degree, with ample opportunity to tailor a program to fit your specific needs and interests. 


Certificate of Specialization in Global Environmental Change and Adaptation

Environmental change, driven in large part by human activity, is increasingly identified as posing significant challenges to development and security. While climate change has received the most attention (see, e.g., US DOD, 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review), other changes, e.g. biodiversity loss, ozone depletion, and freshwater use have also been raised as significant issues affecting development and security. These issues have also been tied to questions related to social justice. The Josef Korbel School of International Studies (Korbel) is building a critical mass of scholars, student interest, and activities related to environmental change, development, security, and justice. This certificate seeks to provide opportunities for students to develop substantive expertise around one of the defining challenges of the 21st century: global environmental change and attempts to adapt thereto in sustainable ways that minimize harm to affected communities.

Note: The GECA certificate is not available to students pursuing the MA in Global Environmental Sustainability.

Certificate of Specialization in Global Health Affairs

The Certificate in Global Health Affairs (CGHA) is the first global health program to be based in a school of International Studies. Unlike certificates offered by schools of medicine or public health, which emphasize biomedical approaches to health, CGHA focuses on the social, political, and economic determinants of health as the primary avenues for addressing health inequity. . Combined with a degree, the five-course CGHA sequence prepares students for systematic, evidence-based approaches to a broad range of global health problems relating to development, diplomacy, security, trade, social justice and human rights.

CGHA’s core emphasis lies in building sound decision-making skills in an arena often suffused with inefficiency and blindness to political, social, and cultural context. Our courses address the social determinants of individual and population health, emphasizing short- and long-term effects; the increasing globalization of health; and interactions between health and other key factors such as politics, development, trade, and conflict. Practical courses build skills in epidemiology, research methodology, and program design and evaluation.

Certificate of Specialization in Global Justice

Social justice issues, such as the injustices and inequalities faced by women, LGBTQIA+ communities, racial minorities, indigenous people, and the poor, are more salient than ever. And across the world, people are standing up, asserting their rights, and devising movements to demand change – indeed, 2019 saw more protests across the globe than any other year on record. The Global Justice Certificate places these struggles in both local and global context, aiming to prepare students to support, participate in, and amplify movements from the #StopTheSweeps movement in Denver challenging mistreatment of the unhoused, to campaigns against femicide in Latin America, to global youth-led movements for climate action.  

Upon earning a GJC from the Korbel School, graduates will have a knowledge of theories of social change along with an understanding of clear historical examples; they will understand concrete strategies around using media, advocacy, storytelling, fundraising, and strategic visioning for global changemakers; and they will have a toolkit and network to help them launch a career in global social justice organizing and human rights advocacy. 

Certificate of Specialization in Homeland Security 

This certificate program is offered to currently enrolled Josef Korbel School of International Studies' Master’s students. The Homeland Security Certificate Program is a professional certification program focused on preparing participants to step directly into career opportunities in the local, state, and national homeland security profession. Current alumni are employed at NORTHCOM, FEMA, Colorado Office of Emergency Management, The Colorado Information Analysis Center (CIAC), many city/county offices of emergency management as well as a wide range of private section positions.  There are also increasing numbers of former students working in international roles and/or roles in home countries beyond the United States.  Professional roles include threat assessment, emergency preparedness, response and recovery, and crisis scenario development, testing, and exercise execution and well as the associated policy outcomes.

Certificate of Specialization in Humanitarian Assistance

The humanitarian system comprises international, national, and local entities who work together to alleviate suffering and save lives of people affected by conflict, displacement, and natural disasters. Our certificate in humanitarian assistance provides students with the theoretical and practical underpinnings for humanitarian work that is technically sound, partners with affected communities, responds to diverse needs, and sets the stage for sustainable and inclusive development efforts. Through this certificate, you'll be able to explore your specific interests in the humanitarian field and develop relevant skills, experiences, and professional networks.  The certificate offers personalized advising, exclusive networking, and unique experiential learning opportunities including a simulation and the Humanitarian Assistance Applied Research Group. Graduates pursue humanitarian careers abroad and in the U.S. working with international organizations, government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

Certificate of Specialization in Strategic Intelligence

This certificate program is open to all University of Denver Graduate Students. The Strategic Intelligence Certificate is designed to prepare students for careers in the intelligence community and related threat and situational analysis roles in government, consultancies, and the private sector.  The emphasis of the certificate is familiarity with the realities, skill sets, and challenges associated with strategic intelligence analysis.

Interdisciplinary Certificates 

Interdisciplinary Certificates allow students to gain competence in relevant issue areas by taking approved coursework in another academic unit, as well as course at JKSIS. While these certificates are open to matriculated students pursuing a graduate degree at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and are offered jointly, they are administratively based in other units.

Certificate in Global Business and Corporate Social Responsibility 

As a joint offering between the Daniels College of Business and the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, the graduate Certificate in Global Business and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at the University of Denver focuses specifically on the challenges and opportunities businesses confront in a globalized and developing world.

Businesses today are aware of increased pressure to behave ethically. Many are unsure how to integrate these goals into their business strategy and engage meaningfully with stakeholders. Likewise, governments, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders recognize the importance of having businesses at the table, but do not always have a clear understanding of how to best engage with the private sector. Both private enterprises and those wishing to affect their behavior are looking for young talent with the capability to navigate this new space.

The certificate curriculum draws from unique course offerings at the Daniels College of Business and the Josef Korbel School of International Studies to provide students with the skills to embrace and navigate the complexity of business and governance issues. The required and elective courses explore the theory and practice related to: economic development, business ethics, CSR strategy, social entrepreneurship, business and human rights, sustainability, impact investing, international business law, financial accounting, managerial accounting, as well as considerations with regards to hard and soft law mechanisms that govern transnational space. Students complete the program with a clear understanding of the complexity of the global business environment, a variety of corporate strategies, best practices and the impact of CSR efforts in particular cases.

The Certificate of Specialization in International Studies with a concentration in Global Business & Corporate Social Responsibility is administered by the Daniels College of Business.

Certificate in Public Diplomacy

The Graduate Certificate in Public Diplomacy is an interdisciplinary, 24-credit certificate which examines the history, theory, methods, and uses of strategic communication for the purposes of informing, influencing, and establishing dialogue with international publics and stakeholders. Recognizing the central role of mediated communication in international relations today, the certificate is designed to help students acquire a sophisticated understanding of global media and communication processes and the ways in which they are employed by individuals, groups, organizations, and governments to advance their strategic interests. The certificate combines expertise from the Department of Media, Film, and Journalism Studies and the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, providing students with a truly interdisciplinary experience and preparing them to address contemporary international challenges in ways that make an impact. Those earning this Certificate of Specialization will be equipped with conceptual and practical skills that prepare them for careers in the fields of cultural diplomacy, nation branding, public affairs and information, foreign aid, global health and development communication, international strategic communication, and international education.

The Certificate of Specialization in International Studies with a concentration in Public Diplomacy is administered by the Department of Media, Film & Journalism Studies (MFJS) – Division of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

Certificate in Religion and International Affairs

The Certificate in Religion and International Affairs provides graduate students pursuing MA degrees in the Department of Religious Studies (AHSS) or the Josef Korbel School of International Studies with the opportunity to enhance their home program of study with specific expertise in the scholarly and professional field of religion and international affairs. This certificate program emphasizes scholarly and practitioner approaches to understanding the intersections between religion and international affairs in the modern world, providing students with an interdisciplinary approach to contemporary case studies as well as theoretical issues. The program will enable certificate students to develop demonstrable competencies that will help them position themselves for academic policy or non-profit careers.

Interested students from the Religious Studies or the Josef Korbel School of International Studies MA programs will submit an online application consisting of a 500-word personal statement, a CV, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, which will be reviewed by an interdepartmental faculty committee. Applicants must be enrolled graduate students in good standing in the Department of Religious Studies MA program or the Korbel School of International Studies MA program.

The Certificate of Specialization in International Studies with a concentration in Religion & International Affairs is administered by the Department of Religious Studies (RLGS) – Division of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.