Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of International Affairs (BA/MIA-PS)

This concurrent degree program is offered in collaboration with the Department of Political Science. The program is open only to Political Science-International Affairs majors at UC San Diego.

The program incorporates graduate-level coursework into the final undergraduate year of study for a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science-International Affairs. The Master of International Affairs is awarded upon completion of an additional year of coursework as a matriculated graduate student at the School of Global Policy and Strategy

Program Overview

In addition to the first year core courses that focus on the hard skills of economics, quantitative methods, and accounting and finance, and three additional classes in policy making in international affairs, students in the program select one career track and one country/regional specialization in the Asia-Pacific. All must also demonstrate a sixth quarter proficiency in a language that matches their chosen country/regional focus.

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science-International Affairs

The program requires completion of a specified set of courses that show broad mastery of the political science discipline—two in international political economy, two in American politics, two in either international relations or comparative politics, and three upper division electives. The requirements are different than the standard Political Science major. The final undergraduate year incorporates eight graduate-level core classes at GPS. Details on the curriculum may be found here.

Master of International Affairs

In order to meet the requirement of sixth quarter language proficiency, Political Science majors who are neither native speakers of an Asia-Pacific language nor have studied one will need to make certain they begin language classes in the fall of their senior year. It must match the student’s intended regional/country specialization.

Core Curriculum

The core curriculum is designed to integrate the diverse subject areas of international business, politics, economics and development.

Core Courses

All Master of International Affairs candidates must complete the following courses with a C- or better. The courses listed below are completed in the first year of study.

Policy Making Processes: This course is designed to teach students how to “read” a country’s political and economic system. The course will examine how the evolution of different institutional frameworks in the countries of the Pacific region influences the way in which political choices are made.

Microeconomics for Policy and Management: This course introduces microeconomics, emphasizing applications to public policy. We examine tools such as marginal analysis and game theory to understand markets, the behavior of individuals and firms, and what role policy plays when markets fail to maximize social welfare.

International Economics: The theory and mechanics of international economics. Included will be such topics as real trade theory, international movements of capital, the effects of trade and capital flows on domestic economies, and policies toward trade and foreign investment. 

International Politics and Security: Development of analytic tools for understanding international relations with applications to contemporary problems such as the environment, nuclear proliferation, human rights, humanitarian interventions and the roots of conflict and cooperation among countries.

Globalization, the World System and the Pacific: This course examines globalization and other economic and political factors that shape the international relations of the Pacific Rim. Specific topics include financial market integration, state cooperation and intervention, and case studies of individual countries.

Finance and Accounting for Policy Makers: This course covers concepts and applications of accounting and finance necessary for policymakers in for-profit, nonprofit, and public sectors. The course content consists of three parts: (1) basic financial accounting and financial analysis, (2) the effect of time value of money on investment decisions and (3) the effects of risk on financial decisions. 

Quantitative Methods I: This course is designed to provide proficiency in quantitative methods that are used for optimization and decision-making. The use of spreadsheets is applied to data analysis and problem-solving. Statistical theory and regression analysis are introduced.

Quantitative Methods II: This course covers elements from statistics that are central to business decision-making under uncertainty. In particular, regression analysis and estimation will be applied to problems of forecasting and optimization.

Capstone Courses

At least one of the following courses must be taken after satisfactory completion of all first year core courses: GPCO 400, 401, 403, 410, 412, 415, 453 and 454.

Strategy and Negotiations: This class introduces the fundamentals of corporate strategy, based on case studies requiring corporate analysis; and the principles of negotiation, based on exercises and class learning. Both sections of this class are highly applied and require intensive out-of-class preparation and teamwork that help students acquire skills in analytical thinking, strategic action planning and hands-on negotiations.

Policy Responses to Global Problems: This capstone is designed to test the analytic skills acquired in the GPS program, using them to explain complex real-world problems: security, persistent recurring conflict, persistent inequality and intergenerational debt, women’s rights, environmental change, energy/resource systems, and financial contagion. Emphasis will be placed on determining the nature and dimension of the problem, exploring a range of solutions and assessing the capacity of public institutions. Non-GPS students may enroll with consent of instructor. 

Evaluating Technological Problems: This capstone is intended as a culminating intellectual experience for students, particularly those in economics-oriented tracks. Students will learn to analyze “what works,” integrating a technical understanding of innovation with rigorous statistical analysis. The first half of the course focuses on building a set of science/engineering tools, and the second half focuses on building statistical tools of analysis. Letter grades only. Prerequisites: GPEC 446 or consent of instructors.

Real-World Projects in Energy and the Environment: The course emphasizes real-world application of theories and methods for policy analysis to projects with real clients. The class includes case studies and seminar-style discussions of topics like project finance and management of regulatory risk. Most of the class will be devoted to working in small teams with clients seeking strategic guidance.

See the UC San Diego General Catalog. 

Career Track Requirement

Career tracks are designed for Master of International Affairs students to acquire expertise in a functional area of their choice and consist of five courses from a prescribed list: two required and three electives. Students will choose one of the following career tracks:

International Development and Nonprofit Management

Sample Classes

  • Applied Data Analysis and Statistical Decision Making “QM III”
  • Corporate Finance
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Corruption and Development
  • Cost Benefit Analysis
  • Economic Development
  • Economic and Social Development of China
  • Economics in Southeast Asia
  • Energy Policy in Latin America
  • Evaluating Social Program
  • Evaluating Technological Innovation
  • Food Security
  • GIS and Spatial Data Analysis
  • Governance, Public Administration and Development
  • Human Rights, Public Policy and International Politics
  • International Health Economics
  • Macroeconomics of Development
  • Making Policy with Data
  • Management of Nonprofit Organizations
  • Managing Mission Driven Organizations
  • Political Economy of Foreign Aid
  • Public Opinion and Foreign Policy
  • Sustainable Development
  • The Politics of Economic Inequality
  • Topics in China’s Development
  • Workers and Labor in International Markets

International Economics

Sample Classes

  • Advanced GIS and Remote Sensing
  • Applied Data Analysis and Statistical Decision Making “QM III”
  • China in the Global Economic Order
  • Competing Business Systems of Developing Asia
  • Corruption and Development
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • East Asian Economies
  • Economic Development
  • Economic and Social Development of China
  • Economic Policy in Latin America
  • Economies in Southeast Asia
  • Evaluating Technological Innovation
  • Financing the Chinese Economic Miracle
  • Fiscal and Monetary Policy
  • GIS and Spatial Data Analysis
  • Immigration & Immigration Policy
  • International Health Economics
  • International Trade Agreements
  • Macroeconomics of Development
  • Making Policy with Data
  • Management & Entrepreneurship in China
  • Political Economy of Energy in Asia
  • Topics in China’s Development
  • Topics in International Trade
  • Workers and Labor in International Markets

International Environmental Governance 

Sample Classes

  • Energy Policy in Latin America
  • Food Security
  • GIS and Spatial Data Analysis
  • International Law and Regulation
  • Political Economy of Energy in Asia
  • Real World projects in Energy and the Environment
  • Sustainable Development
  • The Politics of Energy and Environmental Regulation

International Management 

Sample Courses

  • Accounting and Decision Making
  • Applied Data Analysis and Statistical Decision Making “QM III”
  • Applied Financial Accounting
  • Automation and the Future of Work
  • Big Data Analytics
  • China’s Dynamic Industries
  • Competing Business Systems of Developing Asia
  • Corporate Finance
  • Corporate Non-Market Strategies
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • East Asian Economies
  • Economies of Southeast Asia
  • Economic and Social Development of China
  • Environmental and Regulatory Economics
  • Evaluating Technological Innovation
  • Fiscal and Monetary Policy
  • Government and Regulation
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Japan
  • Innovation in the New Economy
  • International Business
  • International Law and Regulation
  • International Trade Agreements
  • Managerial Accounting and Control
  • Marketing
  • Marketplace Behavior and Survey Methods
  • Organizational Economics
  • Political Economy of Energy in Asia
  • Technology & Operations Management: Analysis and Control
  • Technology, Trade, and Globalization
  • Topics in International Trade

International Politics 

Sample Classes

  • China Security, Technology, and Innovation
  • Cuba
  • Current Issues in US-Latin American Relations
  • Democratization in Latin America
  • Geopolitics, Insurgency, and Weak States
  • Human Rights, Public Policy and International Politics
  • Immigration & Immigration Policy
  • International Law and Regulation
  • International Relations of the Asia Pacific
  • International Political Economy: Money and Finance
  • Korean Security
  • Making US Foreign Policy
  • Multinational Corporations
  • Policy Responses to Global Problems
  • Politics of Southeast Asia
  • Political Economy of Energy in Asia
  • Politics and Institutions in Latin America
  • Real World Projects in Energy and the Environment
  • State Building and Modeling State Capacity
  • The Politics of Energy and Environmental Regulation
  • The Political Economy of Authoritarian Regimes
  • Topics in International Trade
  • US-Chinese Relations
  • US-Japanese Relations
  • US-Latin American Relations
  • Violence in Latin America
  • Workers and Labor in International Markets

Note: Course schedules are published on a quarterly basis and are subject to change without notice. Some elective courses that can be applied to meet career track requirements may not be offered in a given academic quarter or academic year. See the UC San Diego General Catalog. 

Country/Regional Specialization Requirement

The country/regional specializations were established in recognition of the growing importance of China, Japan, Korea, Latin America and Southeast Asia to the U.S. and Pacific region and have two components:
  • Two designated courses: one on the economy and a second on the political system of the region
  • A language requirement

Dual specialization requires the student to complete the coursework and language requirement for both regions.

Courses taken for a country/regional specialization may not be double counted.

Students will choose one of the following country/regional specializations:

  • China
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Latin America
  • Southeast Asia

Language Requirement

The language must match the cchool’s country/regional specializations. 

Country/Regional Specialization

  • China = Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Japan = Japanese
  • Korea = Korean
  • Latin America = Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese
  • Southeast Asia = Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese (Mandarin), Thai, Tagalog, Vietnamese
  • Other languages may be allowed by petition

Students must complete a minimum of four (4) quarters of a foreign language in order to meet the B.A. requirement. Two (2) additional quarters are required for the MIA. It is recommended, but not required that students complete all six (6) quarters at the undergraduate level.

All language courses taken before matriculating into graduate standing must earn a letter grade of C- or better or Pass (P) grade.

The foreign language requirement may be satisfied in one of four ways:

  • Proof of having attended either high school or university in the regional language
  • Native proficiency
  • Completing six quarters (four semesters) of college-level language instruction from an institution comparable to UC San Diego with a grade of "B" or better in the final course.
  • Passing a special GPS-administered language exam, which is the equivalent of the final exam administered in the sixth-quarter course in the selected language.

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Concurrent Degrees