MA (Master of Arts) International Studies, Admission, Syllabus, Colleges, Salary and Career options 2021-22

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What is MA International Studies?

MA International Studies is a postgraduate course which deals with International Laws, International Relations and Policies, Globalization and Foreign Trade Policies, etc. This course will help the candidates to build a career in Foreign Services. It is a 2 years long course, generally divided into 4 semesters. 

To be eligible for MA International Studies, a candidate must complete a Bachelor's degree in a similar field from a recognized college or university. The candidates must obtain minimum 50% marks in the graduation level to be eligible for this course. 

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The admission to MA International Studies course is generally given on the basis of marks obtained in graduation. But, many top colleges like JNU conduct their own entrance exams for admission to this course. 

MA International Studies course is offered by few colleges in India. The average annual fees for MA International Studies ranges between INR 40,000 to INR 80,000. However, the highest annual fees may rise upto INR 3,00,000.

Check the list of Top MA Colleges in India.

Some of the important subjects taught in MA International Studies include International Communications, International Organizations, International Relations, International Trade Policies, International Laws, International Conflict Resolution, etc. 

MA International Studies candidates get jobs as Diplomats, International Relations Experts, International Trade Experts, International Law Experts, Human Rights Activists, etc. The average annual salary for MA International Studies candidates ranges between INR 5,00,000 - 8,00,000 per annum. However, the salaries tend to increase with experience. 

After completing this course, if the candidates wish to study further, they can pursue PhD in International Studies. After completing PhD, they will get jobs as faculty members in various colleges and universities. 

Check: Top PhD Colleges in India

MA International Studies Course Highlights

MA International Studies is an important course which finds application in many fields including the foreign services. Some of the major highlights of the course are listed in the table below. 

Full-Form Master of Arts in International Studies
Level of Study Postgraduate
Course Duration 2 Years
Eligibility Graduation with minimum 50% aggregate marks 
Admission Process Merit Based or Entrance Based
Examination type Semester 
Course Fee INR 40,000 to 80,000
Average Starting Salary INR 5,00,000 to 8,00,000
Job Options Diplomat, Indian Foreign Services Officer, International Relations Expert, International Trade Expert, International Law Expert, International Coordination Manager, Editor in Newspapers for International Affairs, etc.
Areas of Employment Foreign Services, International NGOs, Corporate Houses, MNCs, etc.
Top MA International Studies Colleges

Top MA International Studies  Colleges

According to NIRF Ranking Survey 2020, the top colleges offering MA International Studies are listed in the table below:

NIRF University Ranking 2020  College Name  Location  Admission Process  Average Annual Fees  Average Annual Salary 
2 Jawaharlal Nehru University  New Delhi  Entrance Based  INR 1,260 INR 7,99,000
43 Symbiosis International University Pune Written Test + Personal Interview INR 3,13,000 INR 16,25,000
81 Goa University  North Goa Entrance Based INR 6,250 INR 2,28,000
151 Christ University  Bangalore  Entrance Based  INR 89,000 INR 6,85,000
NA Ravenshaw University  Cuttack  Entrance Based  INR 20,000 INR 3,00,000 
What is the Admission Process for MA International Studies?

What is the Admission Process for MA International Studies?

The admission to the MA International Studies course is granted either on the basis of marks obtained in graduation or on the basis of Entrance exam scores. However, some universities like Symbiosis International also take a Written Test and Personal Interview Round for final selection. 

Merit Based Admission

Many universities follow a merit based admission process for granting admission MA International Studies. The step wise admission process is discussed below. 

  • Step 1: Application: The students need to fill the application form to apply to the university through the official university website. The application forms are generally released in the month of April - May. 
  • Step 2: Generation of Merit List: A merit list of shortlisted candidates will be prepared on the basis of marks obtained in graduation. 
  • Step 3: Counselling and Document Verification: The shortlisted candidates will be called for Counselling and document verification. The candidates will have to show the relevant documents to prove their eligibility. 
  • Step 4: Enrollment: The candidates found eligible will be granted admission to the course. 

Entrance Based Admission

Many top universities including JNU, Goa University, etc conduct entrance exams for granting admission to MA International Studies course. The stepwise admission process is discussed below. 

  • Step 1: Application: The candidates will have to apply for both college and entrance exam. 
  • Step 2: Entrance Exam: The exam will be conducted either on online or offline mode, though most exams are conducted online. Admit cards are generally issued 10-20 days prior to the exam. 
  • Step 3: Results and Cutoffs: Along with the results of the exam, a cutoff list will also be released. The candidates qualifying the cutoff will be shortlisted for next round. 
  • Step 4: Document Verification: The shortlisted candidates will be called for document verification. The candidates will have to present their marksheets and other documents to prove their eligibility. 
  • Step 5: Enrollment: The candidates found eligible will be granted admission to the course.

The important documents which need to be presented during document verification generally include the following:

  • Grade Sheets, Transcripts and Pass Certificates
  • Birth Certificate 
  • Migration Certificate 
  • Original Photo ID 
  • Passport Size Photographs 

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What is the Eligibility Criteria of  MA International Studies?

Though the actual eligibility criteria for admission to MA International Studies varies from college to college, the general eligibility criteria which is followed by most of the colleges is discussed below. 

  • The candidates must complete their graduation with honours in International Studies, International Relations, or other relevant disciplines from a recognized college or university. 
  • The candidates must obtain a minimum 50% aggregate score in their graduation to be eligible for this course. 
  • Many top colleges may ask for a minimum aggregate percentage of 55-60% or above. 
  • The candidates must be fluent in English and must have good writing skills. 

Is There Any Entrance Exam for Admission to MA International Studies?

Many top colleges offering MA International Studies conduct their own entrance exams. Some of the entrance exams for MA International Studies are discussed below. 

  • JNUEE: JNUEE is conducted by NTA for admission to various courses offered by the Jawaharlal Nehru University. The question paper comprises Objective Type Questions on the relevant subject. The application fee for the general category candidates for a single subject choice is INR 530.
  • GU-ART: GU-ART is a university level entrance exam conducted by the Goa University. It is a gateway for admission to all the courses offered by the Goa University and its affiliate colleges. 
  • Christ University Admission Test: Christ University Admission Test is conducted by the Christ University for admission to various PG courses offered by the university. 

Some important dates related to these entrance exams are tabulated below:

Entrance Exam  Conducting Body  Application Period  Exam Date Exam Mode
JNUEE  NTA on behalf of JNU March 2 - June 30, 2020  To be announced  CBT
GU-ART Goa University  Upto December 13, 2020  January 05 - 19, 2020 (on Sundays)  Offline 
Christ University Admission Test  Christ University  December 8 - May 18, 2020  To be announced  Online 

Read More: Top MA Entrances

How to Prepare for MA International Studies Entrance Exams?

Most of the MA International Studies Entrance Exams contain MCQ type questions, however, a few exams may also contain Short Answer Questions. 

The exam-wise Question Pattern is discussed below. 

  • JNUEE: The question paper will contain 100 MCQ questions of 1 mark each. The exam does not have any negative marking. The medium of the question paper is English. The total time duration of the exam is 3 hours. The syllabus will depend on the topics covered under bachelor's degree of the same subject. 
  • GU-ART: The question paper will consist of 50 questions of two marks each. There are three groups of questions in the question paper: Least Difficult (15 questions), Difficult (15 questions), Most Difficult (30 questions). In case of ties, the scores for most difficult questions will be considered first. 

The Entrance Exams generally include sections like General Knowledge, Analytical Ability, Logical Reasoning, and Subject Oriented Questions. 

Some of the important subject-oriented topics which need to be covered for appearing in MA International Studies Entrance Exams are tabulated below. 

India and The World  Post Cold-War
International Organisations and Multilateral Groupings  Contemporary Issues in International Relations 
World Wars I and II Modern Europe since 1789
Cold War Modern International Politics 

Important Points to keep in mind

Some of the important points which will help students crack MA International Studies entrance exams easily are as follows:

  • Try to complete the entire syllabus of the entrance exam at least 1 month before the exam date. This will help you get ample time for revision. 
  • Be thorough with the syllabus and important topics to cover so that no topic is left out. 
  • Practice as many sample papers as you can. Try to solve them within a stipulated time period in the exam environment. 
  • After solving the sample papers, check your scores and note them down. This will help you in tracking your daily progress and recognising the areas for improvement. 

Check:JNUEE 2021 PRACTICE PAPERS

How to Get Admission in a Good College Offering MA International Studies?

As the number of colleges offering this course is less, therefore, a candidate will have to face stiff competition for admission to a good MA International Studies college. The candidates may follow the given points to get admission in a good college:

  • For admission to the colleges offering admission on the basis of entrance exam, the candidates must score as much as they can in the entrance exams, so that they can qualify the cutoff. 
  • The candidates should look to attempt at least 80-90% of the total question paper during the entrance exam. This will help them score better. 
  • If the entrance exam has negative marking, avoid giving rash answers. This will help you avoid unnecessary loss of marks. 
  • For admission to colleges offering merit based admission, try to score above at least 70% in the graduation. Cutoffs for most of the top colleges range between 70-80%, but it may vary with college. 
  • Fill the application form carefully, so that it does not have any errors. Errors in application may lead to cancellation of the candidature. 
MA International Studies: What is it About?

MA International Studies: What is it About?

MA International Studies course involves the study of all the important international laws and aspects of various diplomatic situations. Read the points given below to know what MA International Studies is all about. 

  • MA International Studies include subjects like International Communications, International Organizations, International Relations, International Politics, International Laws, etc. 
  • Apart from regular international laws and regulations, this course also gives importance to Globalisation and International Trade policies. 
  • This course also involves the study of various cultural aspects of major countries in the world like America, Africa, etc. 
  • The main aim of the course is to make the students understand the finer details and factors involved in international diplomatic relationships between nations. 
  • It includes all the important topics required to be studied by a candidate to become a successful diplomat in future. 

Read More: Top MA Courses

Why Should You Study MA International Studies?

Why Should You Study MA International Studies?

Studying MA International Studies has multiple benefits, some of which are listed below:

  • Opportunities to work in Foreign Services: MA International Studies candidates generally get opportunities to work in Embassies, Passport department and Foreign Service offices. They can also qualify IFS and join the External Affairs Ministry as IFS officers. 
  • Opportunities of Settling Abroad: MA International Studies candidates get opportunities to travel and settle in foreign countries due to their work. 
  • High Salary Package: The average salary package for MA International Studies candidates ranges between INR 5,00,000 to 8,00,000, which keeps on increasing with experience. 
  • High Demand in Corporate Houses and MNCs: The Corporate Houses and MNCs generally recruit these candidates as International coordination officers. They are responsible for maintaining the coordination between offices in different countries. 
  • Opportunities to get associated with international NGOs: Many international NGOs also recruit these candidates to increase coordination between different countries. 

MA International Studies vs MA International Relations

MA International Relations focuses only on international relations, which MA International Studies covers both International Relations and International Culture. These two courses are compared below. 

Parameters  MA International Studies  MA International Relations 
Full Form  Master of Arts in International Studies  Master of Arts in International Relations 
Overview  This course deals with International Relations, International Laws, Culture of Different Countries, along with diplomatic principles and processes.  This course concentrates only on International Relations and diplomatic processes. It involves very less study of International culture and society of foreign nations. 
Duration  2 years 2 years
Eligibility  Bachelor degree with minimum 50% aggregate  Bachelor degree with minimum 50% aggregate 
Admission Process  Merit Based or Entrance Based  Merit Based or Entrance Based
Top Colleges  Symbiosis International University, Goa University, Christ University, etc.  Jadavpur University, Madras University, Mysore University, etc. 
Average Annual Fees  INR 40,000 to 80,000 INR 6,000 to 3,00,000 
Job Profiles Diplomat, International Relations Expert, International Trade Expert, International Law Expert, International Coordination Manager, Editor in Newspapers for International Affairs, etc.  International Relations Expert, International Trade Expert, International Coordination Manager, Editor Foreign Affairs, Human Rights Activists, etc. 
Average Annual Salary  INR 5,00,000 - 8,00,000  INR 5,00,000 - 12,00,000 
Top Recruiting Areas  Foreign Services, International NGOs, Corporate Houses, MNCs, etc.  Foreign Services, International NGOs, Corporate Houses, MNCs, etc. 
MA International Studies vs MA International Relations

Which are the Top colleges for studying MA International Studies?

Which are the Top colleges for studying MA International Studies?

Very few colleges in India offer MA International Studies courses. The top  MA International Studies colleges have been tabulated below. 

NIRF Ranking 2020  College Name  Location  Average Annual Fees  Average Annual Salary 
Jawaharlal Nehru University  New Delhi  INR 1,260 INR 7,99,000
43  Symbiosis International University Pune INR 3,13,000 INR 16,25,000
81  Goa University  North Goa INR 6,250 INR 2,28,000
151-200  Christ University  Bangalore  INR 89,000 INR 6,85,000
NA Women's Christian College Chennai  INR 58,730 INR 2,40,000 
NA Stella Maris College  Chennai  INR 20,000  INR 2,30,000
NA Ravenshaw University  Cuttack  INR 20,000 INR 3,00,000 
NA Filadelfia Bible College  Udaipur  INR 29,000 INR 2,00,000

MA International Studies: College Comparison

Three top universities offering MA International Studies have been compared on the basis of parameters like Average Fees, Average Salary, Admission Process, etc. 

Parameters  Jawaharlal Nehru University  Symbiosis International  Goa University 
Overview  JNU is a Central University which was established in 1969. It is one of the top five universities in India. It is particularly famous for its research oriented courses. It offers UG, PG and PhD courses across all the major disciplines. It offers many PG level courses in International Studies and International Relations through its School of International Studies.  Symbiosis International University is a reputed private university which has campuses in Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Nashik, Noida. It has headquarters in Pune. It includes 18 academic institutions within its shed. It offers PG courses in International Studies through its Symbiosis School of International Studies, situated in Pune.  Goa University is a public university in North Goa, which was established in 1984. It has 53 affiliated colleges under its shed. It is accredited by NAAC with an A grade. It offers UG, PG and PhD level courses in various disciplines. It is particularly known for its Science courses. 
Location  New Delhi  Pune North Goa
NIRF University Ranking 2020  2 43 81
Admission Process  Through JNUEE Through Written Test and Personal Interview  Through GU-ART 
Average Annual Fees  INR 1,260 INR 3,13,000 INR 6,250
Average Placement Salary  INR 7,99,000 INR 16,25,000 INR 2,28,000
Top Recruiters  Accenture, Cyprus, IBM, Capital IQ, Bluestar, HP, DE Shaw and Co, etc.  Accenture, Google, Bajaj Finserv, Vodafone, Barclays, IDFC Bank, etc.  Chegg India, HDFC, Geist Research Pvt. Ltd., Tavant Technologies, etc.
MA International Studies : College Comparison

MA International Studies Syllabus and Subjects

MA International Studies Syllabus and Subjects

MA International Studies Syllabus includes all the relevant subjects related to International Laws, International Trade, etc. The course subjects are divided into core subjects and elective subjects which are discussed below. 

The core course subjects are those subjects which are compulsory for every MA International Studies student. The semester wise breakup of the core subjects for MA International Studies is tabulated below. 

Semester I Semester II
International Communications  Diplomacy and International Governance 
International Organizations  International Security 
Research Methodology  Advanced Research Methodology 
An Overview to International Relations  International Trade and Development 
Global Political Economy - An Introduction  Integrated Disaster Management 
Semester III  Semester IV
International Conflict Management  Global Common Goods
International Law and International Relations  Human Rights and Peace Studies
Internships and Projects Geopolitics and Risk Analysis 

Important Elective Subjects 

Apart from the core courses, the course also includes many important elective courses. The semester wise breakup for some important MA International Studies elective subjects are tabulated below. 

Semester I and II
Asian Studies  Arabic I
American Studies and USA French I
Chinese I Spanish I
Semester III Semester IV
Area Studies - Asia II Dissertation 
Area Studies - Europe and USA ---

Important Books for MA International Studies

Some important books which should be read by MA International Studies candidates are listed in the table below along with their Author's names. 

Important Book Author Name
Bureaucratic Politics and Foreign Policy  Morton Halperin
Economic Statecraft  David Allen Baldwin 
Man, The State and War - A Theoretical Analysis  Kenneth Waltz
Theory of International Politics  Kenneth Waltz
Globalization and Its Discontents Joseph Stiglitz
What after MA International Studies ?

What after MA International Studies ?

MA International Studies candidates generally get jobs in Foreign Services, Government Offices, Passport Centres, Corporate Houses, MNCs and NGOs.

Some of the major job profiles along with salary trends for MA International Studies candidates are given in the table below. 

Job Profile  Job Description  Average Annual Salary 
Diplomat A Diplomat is a specialized person appointed by any country or a company to look after their relations with other nations.  INR 3,00,000
International Law Expert International Law Experts give their advice over legal matters involving multiple nations. They can also get involved in various cases files in ICJ.  INR 5,00,000 
International Trade Expert International Trade Expert analyse and introspect over various international trade related issues. This involves export and import, various taxes involved in international trade, etc.  INR 7,20,000
International Operations Manager  International Operations Managers look after the works and coordinate between the offices of a company situated in different countries. They are generally hired by the Multinational Corporations to look after their offices in different countries.  INR 3,45,000
Editor - Foreign Affairs A foreign affairs editor of a media agency is responsible for researching on various updates related to international affairs and providing an easy to understand analysis of the same.  INR 6,00,000 
Newspaper Columnist  Newspaper columnists write news blogs for a newspaper on various international and national news updates.  INR 5,00,000 
Teacher A teacher teaches the school students about the various aspects of the subjects. MA International Studies students generally teach parts of history and civics at the school level.  INR 3,00,000
Salary Trend Graph for MA International Studies

What is the MA International Studies Future Scope?

What is the MA International Studies Future Scope?

After completing MA International Studies, a candidate can either do higher studies, or they can appear for the IFS exam. The various future scope and further studies options for these candidates are discussed below. 

  • PhD International Studies: MA International Studies candidates can go for PhD International Studies if they wish to study further. PhD International Studies is a research based course of 3-5 years duration. The candidates will have to qualify the UGC-NET exam to get admission to the course. After completing this course, the candidates will be able to join as faculty positions in various colleges and universities. 
  • MBA: The candidates can also do MBA after completing MA International Studies. This is particularly helpful for those candidates who wish to get managerial jobs in corporate houses and MNCs. 
  • IFS: Candidates who wish to join the foreign services will have to qualify Indian Foreign Services exam conducted by UPSC. After qualifying, the candidates can become diplomats and foreign service officers. 
MA International Studies FAQs

MA International Studies FAQs

Ques. How can I prepare for the MA International Studies Entrance Exam of Christ University if I don't belong to an International Studies background?

Ans. The candidates who don't have an International Studies background need to study all the relevant topics included in the subjects thoroughly. They should go through the Bachelor’s syllabus of the subject and make them comfortable with all the relevant topics. They should also practice as many sample papers as they can. 

Ques. Does a non-BA student get admission to MA International Studies courses in JNU? 

Ans. A candidate who has qualified Bachelor's degree in any discipline with a minimum 50% aggregate score is eligible for the MA courses of JNU School of International Studies. 

Ques. How early should I start preparing for the MA International Studies Entrance Exam of JNU? 

Ans. You should start preparing for the exam at least 4-5 months before the actual entrance exam so that you can cover the entire syllabus nicely. 

Ques. How much do I need to score in graduation for admission to MA International Studies course at Christ University? 

Ans. The minimum required aggregate score for the course generally ranges between 50%-60% marks in Graduation level. 

Ques. What are the career options other than UPSC for a MA International Studies candidate? 

Ans. Other than UPSC and IFS, the MA International Studies candidates can also get jobs in Corporate Houses, MNCs and International NGOs. 

Ques. How is the Placement Scenario for MA International Studies candidates in Christ University? 

Ans. The University does offer placement assistance and campus Placement drives for all the students of the University. The median placement package for MA candidates is around INR 4,00,000 - 6,00,000. 

Ques. What type of questions are commonly asked in the Written Test for admission to MA International Studies in Christ University? 

Ans. The questions are generally asked from the topics covered in the BA International Studies Syllabus of the university. The question paper generally involves MCQs and sometimes short answer type questions are also asked. 

Master of Arts [MA] (International Studies) Fee Structure in India


2.62 K (Minimum Fee)PUBLIC COLLEGES6.16 L  (Maximum Fee)
1.49 L (Average Fee)
56 K (Minimum Fee)Private COLLEGES6.16 L (Maximum Fee)
2.74 L (Average Fee)

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Master of Arts [MA] (International Studies) Colleges IN INDIA

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Christ University
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Goa University
North Goa, Goa
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