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Masters in International and Regional Studies

The Masters in International and Regional Studies (MIRS) provides students with the comparative perspective and analytical tools necessary to both understand and address issues and challenges that traverse the globe. MIRS combines an interdisciplinary curriculum, deep regional/thematic expertise, rigorous methodological training, and international experiences to enable students to situate these issues and challenges in their cultural, historical, geographical, political, and socioeconomic contexts and to approach them in diverse ways. MIRS is designed to prepare students for global career opportunities, whether in academia, private, or public sectors.

MIRS builds on the strengths of the International Institute’s interdisciplinary centers and programs. Our centers and programs rank among the nation’s finest in their respective fields of study; five have been designated as U.S. Department of Education National Resource Centers. Students have the unique option of pursuing either a regional or thematic track with multiple specializations anchored in one of our centers or programs.

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The MIRS Advantage

MIRS provides students with unique academic and professional training, including:

  • Immense curricular offerings, including language training
  • Innovative regional and thematic programming and events
  • Publicly engaged, internationally recognized faculty with deep regional expertise
  • Rigorous, yet flexible, core requirements tailored to career interests
  • Robust academic advising and professional development opportunities
  • Large, intellectually vibrant, and diverse cohort 

MIRS students will complete a total of 36 credits, distributed over at least two academic disciplines, at the 400-level or above. 27 of these credits are determined by the specialization. The remaining 9 credits are required for all MIRS students. MIRS requirements include two core courses and a graduate colloquium. In addition, MIRS students will have access to a graduate professional development workshop.

MIRS Requirements (9 credits)

Core Courses

  • Research Design Seminar: Students will sharpen critical thinking, analytical skills, research design, and writing strategies. (3 credits)
  • Capstone: To complete the program, students will dedicate effort to their capstone, either in research, coursework, or work experience related to their specialization. Select one of the below options:  (4 credits)
    • Master’s Thesis: research project supervised by a faculty member
    • Additional Research Seminars: completion of graduate seminars with a substantial independent research component
    • Practicum: internship or work experience related to the specialization combined with a related academic component

Graduate Colloquium

Students will participate in two semesters of engaged discussions covering topics of global significance, including programs (guest lectures and relevant events) and participation in moderated online and in-person discussions. (2 credits).

Language Proficiency Requirement

Prior to graduation, each MIRS student must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in a non-English language associated with their specialization. This requirement is typically achieved through coursework taken in addition to the 36 credit hours required for a MIRS degree, with the possibility of up to 9 credits of advanced language study counting toward credit within the specialization. Alternatively, students may also complete this requirement though intensive summer language courses or by placing into an advanced language course after taking a proficiency exam at the University of Michigan.

If students enter the program having already reached proficiency or as a native speaker of the language, the specialization may require or request that students pursue an additional language. MIRS specializations maintain authority over the proficiency requirement and may require approval for particular languages. For specific information about each specialization’s language requirement, please visit their page via the links below.  

Specialization (27 credits)