Master's Degree: International Education Concentration

The concentration in international education provides students with the opportunity to study the role of education in the context of Asia, Africa, and Latin America and other developing areas. The concentration provides opportunities to focus on formal or non-formal education, community education, teacher education, adult literacy and learning theories, gender issues in development, social theories of education, comparative education, cultural issues in education, and education in crisis and conflict contexts. Students can also choose to focus on issues of formal education and development. Courses and co-curricular activities also bring an international dimension to education in the United States.

Students in international education are expected to become aware of social justice issues in education and to understand participatory and popular education approaches to education. Graduates should have developed an in-depth awareness of cultural differences; the ability to apply critical theory and pedagogy in both schools and communities in domestic and/or international settings; and practical skills in training, project development, research, and evaluation.

Frequently asked questions about the international education concentration.

Students in the international education concentration also have the opportunity to be closely linked to the Center for International Education (CIE). The Center’s work can support students in exploring the relationship between academic studies and the practical realities of international development work. Many students receive financial support from projects in CIE. For those interested, active involvement in applied projects and research activities and a participatory community structure can add to a student’s experience in the program.

Admissions Process

The admissions process for the master’s degree in the international education concentration starts with the completion of the UMass Amherst Graduate School online application. We are happy to answer questions or to help you during the process.

If you have questions before applying, please contact Jennie Southgate, Department Administrator, at

Admissions Criteria

The master’s degree in international education is designed for professionals with relevant international field experience. In admitting new students, we look for applicants who can demonstrate a professional commitment to working in education in developing countries, a commitment to issues of social justice, and career goals congruent with the program.

Successful candidates are usually early- or mid-career professionals who have experience working in development education with marginalized populations, particularly in developing countries. We look for applicants who have meaningful experience of immersion in another culture while engaged in education and development-related work, often at the community level.


The required master's capstone project (details below) integrates students' academic learning and extra-curricular or applied work. Recent master's projects included:

See more master’s capstone projects.

Degree Requirements

Master’s programs of study are individually designed by the student in consultation with his/her faculty advisor. Students are required to take two courses:

  • Foundations in International Education (3 credits, first semester)
  • Master’s Seminar in International Education (3 credits, final semester).

The program of study typically takes four semesters to complete. Courses are taken within the international education concentration and across the College of Education or the university, according to the interests and needs of the student.

The minimum degree requirements are 36 course credits and a master's project. The project serves as a capstone experience for the student’s academic study. The project does not need to be a formal thesis paper. It can be a written paper of substantial length (40-50+ pages) or a practical product such as a training guidebook, an action research project, or another project/product which links the student’s program of study with past, present, or future professional work. As the culmination of the program of study, the capstone project provides an opportunity for the student to conduct an in-depth study or activity on a topic of professional interest.

See IE course offerings, current courses (Spring 2017, Fall 2017) and other IE-related courses.

Contact Information (Jennie Southgate, Departmental Administrator)

Associated Faculty

Sangeeta Kamat (Associate Professor), Jacqueline Mosselson (Associate Professor), Bjorn Nordtveit (Associate Professor), Cristine Smith (Associate Professor).