Master of Global Affairs (MGA) Degree

Program Learning Outcomes for the MGA Degree

Upon completing the MGA degree, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate leadership, communication, and research skills to conduct independent studies enabling them to understand and formulate public policy recommendations in the international arena.
  2. Apply quantitative skills to data analysis to make policy recommendations.
  3. Describe real-life experience in international public policy development by participating in an internship.
  4. Assess the social responsibilities of governments, non-governmental organizations, corporations, and individuals in the global twenty-first century.
  5. Analyze and develop new and innovative solutions to emerging challenges in the global community.

Requirements for the MGA Degree

The MGA degree is a non-thesis master's degree. For general university requirements, please see Non-Thesis Master's Degrees. For additional requirements, regulations, and procedures for all graduate programs, please see All Graduate Students. Students pursuing the MGA degree must complete:

  • A minimum of 36 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements.
  • A minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate-level study (graduate semester credit hours, coursework at the 500-level or above).
  • A minimum of 24 graduate semester credit hours must be taken at Rice University.
  • A minimum of 24 graduate semester credit hours must be taken in standard or traditional courses (with a course type of lecture, seminar, laboratory, lecture/laboratory). 
  • A minimum residency enrollment of one fall or spring semester of part-time graduate study at Rice University.
  • A maximum of 2 courses (6 graduate semester credit hours) from transfer credit. For additional departmental guidelines regarding transfer credit, see the Policies tab.
  • The requirements for one area of specialization (see below for areas of specialization). The MGA degree program offers three areas of specialization:
  • The required Graduate Field Internship.
  • The required Capstone project.
  • A minimum overall GPA of 2.67 or higher in all Rice coursework.
  • A minimum program GPA of 2.67 or higher in all Rice coursework that satisfies requirements for the non-thesis master’s degree.

Please Note: Courses offerings may vary. Some listed courses may not be offered every year, and others may be offered that satisfy the requirements with pre-approval. Students should consult their academic advisors before enrolling and check for any course prerequisites.

The courses listed below satisfy the requirements for this degree program. In certain instances, courses not on this official list may be substituted upon approval of the program's academic advisor, or where applicable, the department or program's Director of Graduate Studies. Course substitutions must be formally applied and entered into Degree Works by the department or program's Official Certifier. Additionally, these must be approved by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Students and their academic advisors should identify and clearly document the courses to be taken.

Summary

Total Credit Hours Required for the MGA degree36

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements 1
GLBL 501GLOBAL SYSTEMS I3
GLBL 502INSTITUTIONS & DEVELOPMENT1.5
GLBL 507DECISION MAKING UNDER UNCERTAINTY3
GLBL 515ISSUES IN CONTEMPORARY U.S. FOREIGN POLICY1.5
GLBL 523QUANTITATIVE APPLICATIONS IN GLOBAL AFFAIRS3
GLBL 524MACROECONOMICS IN A GLOBAL ECONOMY3
GLBL 525INTERNATIONAL SECURITY3
Area of Specialization
Select 1 from the following Areas of Specialization (see Areas of Specialization below);9
International Political Development
International Political Economy
International Security
Graduate Field Internship Requirement
GLBL 519MASTER OF GLOBAL AFFAIRS INTERNSHIP 36
Capstone Requirement
GLBL 520MASTER OF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CAPSTONE 43
Total Credit Hours36

Footnotes and Additional Information

Areas of Specialization

Students must complete a minimum of 3 courses (9 credit hours) from one area of specialization. Students should choose coursework according to their individual academic interests and career goals. No more than 1 course (3 credit hours) at the undergraduate level (300- or 400-level) can be used toward the area of specialization. The area of specialization requirement must be completed during the second year of study. 

Area of Specialization: International Political Development

Select 3 courses from the following:9
WORLD POLITICS AND GLOBAL GOVERNANCE
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT AND GLOBAL ECONOMIC GOVERNACE
SUSTAINABILITY AND GLOBAL ISSUES
INTERNATIONAL MACROECONOMIC POLICY FOR MASTER'S STUDENTS
ENERGY POLICY
INTERNATIONAL CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN A MULTI-RISK, INTER-CONNECTED WORLD
SECURITY, ECONOMY AND DEVELOPMENT IN A CHANGING MIDDLE EAST
Total Credit Hours9

Area of Specialization: International Political Economy

Select 3 courses from the following:9
NEOLIBERALISM AND GLOBALIZATION
WORLD POLITICS AND GLOBAL GOVERNANCE
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT AND GLOBAL ECONOMIC GOVERNACE
SUSTAINABILITY AND GLOBAL ISSUES
INTERNATIONAL MACROECONOMIC POLICY FOR MASTER'S STUDENTS
ENERGY POLICY
SECURITY, ECONOMY AND DEVELOPMENT IN A CHANGING MIDDLE EAST
AMERICA IN THE MIDDLE EAST
INTRODUCTION TO MAXIMUM LIKELIHOOD ESTIMATION
RACE AND ETHNICITY SEMINAR
Total Credit Hours9

Area of Specialization: International Security

Select 3 courses from the following:9
NEOLIBERALISM AND GLOBALIZATION
WORLD POLITICS AND GLOBAL GOVERNANCE
ENERGY POLICY
CYBERPOLITIK: INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS IN TECHNOLOGY AND INFORMATION
INTERNATIONAL SECURITY: DE-RISKING NATIONAL THREATS AND BUSINESS THREATS
INTERNATIONAL CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN A MULTI-RISK, INTER-CONNECTED WORLD
UNDERSTANDING TERRORISM AND COUNTERTERRORISM
SECURITY, ECONOMY AND DEVELOPMENT IN A CHANGING MIDDLE EAST
AMERICA IN THE MIDDLE EAST
INTRODUCTION TO MAXIMUM LIKELIHOOD ESTIMATION
Total Credit Hours9

Policies for the MGA Degree

Global Affairs Graduate Program Handbook

The General Announcements (GA) is the official Rice curriculum. As an additional resource for students, Global Affairs publishes a graduate program handbook, which can be found here: https://gradhandbooks.rice.edu/2020_21/Global_Affairs_Graduate_Handbook.pdf

Admission

Applicants to the Master of Global Affairs degree program are required to submit:

  • Statement of purpose
  • Professional resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, with official degree conferral date
  • Applicants are recommended, but not required to submit scores from either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). 
  • Approved TOEFL scores for applicants whose native language is not English and who did not receive a degree from a country in which English is the official language of communication.

Foreign Language Proficiency

Students who expect to complete their degree program with a particular regional focus in mind are expected to be proficient in one of the primary languages of that region. Proficiency is defined as the ability to read and speak the language. This requirement can be met in one of three ways:

  • By passing a language proficiency exam administered by the Rice Language Center.
  • By achieving a grade of B+ (3.33 grade points) or better in an intermediate language course at Rice. Taking this class does not count toward the 36 credit hours total for degree completion.
  • By graduating from a high school or university where a language other than English was the primary language of instruction.

Transfer Credit 

For Rice University’s policy regarding transfer credit, see Transfer Credit. Some departments and programs have additional restrictions on transfer credit. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic program’s advisor when considering transfer credit possibilities.

Program Transfer Credit Guidelines

Students pursuing the MGA degree should be aware of the following program-specific transfer credit guidelines:

  • No more than 2 courses (6 credit hours) of transfer credit from U.S. or international universities of similar standing as Rice may apply towards the degree.
  • Requests for transfer credit will be considered by the program director on an individual case-by-case basis. 

Additional Information 

For additional information, please see the Global Affairs website: https://mga.rice.edu/

Opportunities for the MGA Degree

Fifth-Year Master's Degree Option for Rice Undergraduate Students 

In certain situations and with some terminal master's degree programs, Rice students have an option to pursue a master’s degree by adding an additional fifth year to their four years of undergraduate studies.

Advanced Rice undergraduate students in good academic standing typically apply to the master’s degree program during their junior or senior year. Upon acceptance, depending on course load, financial aid status, and other variables, they may then start taking some required courses of the master's degree program. A plan of study will need to be approved by the student's undergraduate major advisor and the master’s degree program director.

As part of this option and opportunity, Rice undergraduate students:

  • must complete the requirements for a bachelor's degree and the master's degree independently of each other (i.e. no course may be counted toward the fulfillment of both degrees).
  • should be aware there could be financial aid implications if the conversion of undergraduate coursework to that of graduate level reduces their earned undergraduate credit for any semester below that of full-time status (12 credit hours).
  • more information on this Undergraduate - Graduate Concurrent Enrollment opportunity, including specific information on the registration process can be found here.

Rice undergraduate students may have the option to pursue the Master of Global Affairs (MGA) degree. For additional information, students should contact their undergraduate major advisor and the MGA program director. 

Additional Information 

For additional information, please see the Global Affairs website: https://mga.rice.edu/