International Education Policy Masters Program


International Education Policy Masters Program

Core Faculty:
Steven J. Klees
Jing Lin
Taylor Woodman 
Zeena Zakharia

Visiting Professors/Scholars:
Mark Ginsburg

Affiliate Faculty: 
Sahar Khamis
Deepa Srikantaiah 

The International Education Policy (IEP) program offers an M.A. degree in the exciting field of comparative and international education.  The M.A, degree is designed for those who want to begin professional work in the field, for those already working in the field and who seek advancement, and for those who plan to pursue further study in the area.  Graduates work for public and private international agencies, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, and universities, both in the U.S. and abroad (see the list of positions below).

The IEP program is designed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for an interdisciplinary understanding of today's educational policy and practice. We examine the relation of education to economic, political, and social development in both developing and developed countries at local, national, regional, and global levels. The IEP program gives comprehensive attention to education, considering both formal schooling, from pre-school to higher education, as well as non-formal, adult, and community-based education.  Students are encouraged to draw upon the entire range of resources the University of Maryland has to offer, as well as those of neighboring universities.

Beyond the core courses, a flexible, individually tailored program is designed for each student that uniquely reflects their background and career goals.  Students can develop their general skills and competencies in the field or choose to specialize in one or more areas.  Five specialties are described further below:

  • Education in Conflict and Emergencies
  • Gender and Development
  • Intercultural Education and International Student Exchange
  • Peace and Environmental Education
  • Political Economy of Education and Development

Alternatively, students can design their own specializations, such as:

  • Research and Evaluation Methods
  • Policy Analysis
  • International Development
  • Higher Education
  • Special Education

In the 21st century, marked by the rapid pace of global change, comparative and international education has become of paramount importance. Needed improvements in equity, social justice, and our ability to promote sustainable development and international peace at a global level require transforming our educational and social institutions. New actors in these processes have become important, such as non-governmental organizations and coalitions of civil society. By understanding and critically reflecting on current policies, practices, and conditions, the goal of the IEP program is to contribute to educational and social change. The IEP program aims at creating a community of faculty, students, and development professionals that strives to further cross-cultural and multicultural understanding and bridge the gap between scholars and practitioners. The IEP program is one of the top programs of its kind in the country. One of the biggest strenghts of our program is our students. Meet some of them here

Advantages of Washington, D.C.

The University of Maryland is located a few miles from the Washington, D.C. border, is a stop on Washington’s green metro line, and therefore we have easy access to everywhere in the District. Our geographic proximity to Washington, D.C. offers unique advantages to the IEP program in terms of internships, employment possibilities, and access to seminars, workshops, and internationally renowned speakers. Cooperative arrangements with universities in the area, such as American University and George Washington University, give students access to courses and seminars offered by other strong programs in related areas.

Financial Aid

Tuition at the University of Maryland is much lower than at many other universities, especially private ones.  The University of Maryland is named a “best value college” by The Princeton Review for its high quality and low cost.  Most students find Graduate Assistantships to support their studies and the IEP program helps newly admitted students to find GA positions. We especially welcome applications from underrepresented minority groups. 


The M.A. program requires a minimum of 30 credits and usually takes one and a half to two years to complete. The program is distinguished by the development of a unique program of study to suit the needs of each student. Initial program plans are flexible and are usually revised throughout a student's graduate work as particular directions and their implications for coursework develop. The M.A. program allows a student to specialize in one or multiple areas, as illustrated below.

Core Courses -- Select two of the following courses: 6 credits
Two out of the following three courses are required:
EDHI605 — Comparative Education
EDHI606 — Political Economy of Education in a Global Context
EDHI607 — Culture and Education in a Global Context
PROSEMINAR - Attendance required in at least 4 proseminars per academic year for first and second year students (0 credits)

Research Methods: 6-9 credits
EDHI672 — Modes of Inquiry
An Introduction to quantitative or qualitative methods course
An additional methods course if a master’s thesis option is selected.

International Education Specialization Course Electives: 6-12 credits
Select two to four of the following or equivalents:
EDHI608 — Gender and Education
EDHI680 — Gender, Education, and Development
EDHI681 — Education for Global Peace
EDHI682 — Ecological Ethics and Education
EDHI683 — World Religions and Implications for Education
EDHI684 — Alternative Education, Alternative Development
EDHI725 — Education in East Asia
EDHI750 — International Higher Education
EDHI788 — Contemplative Inquiry and Holistic Education
EDHI788 — International Education and Cultural Exchange: Policies and Practices
EDHI850 -– Seminar in Comparative Education

Professional and Disciplinary Course Electives: 3-9 credits
For example, courses may be selected in the areas of public policy, research methods, communications, anthropology, economics, sociology, gender studies, higher education, early childhood education, or elsewhere in the College of Education, the University, or the Washington Regional Consortium.

Internship -- Optional: 0-3 credits (click here to go to our internship page)
EDHI889 — Internship in Education

Master's thesis or Master's paper -- Select one: 3-6 credits
EDHI679 — Master's Seminar
EDHI799 — Master's Thesis Research

Total: 30 credits


All IEP students are expected to take both disciplinary courses and professional specialty courses. Disciplinary courses refer to those in the social sciences and humanities, such as Anthropology, Economics, or History. Professional specialty courses refer to those that develop expertise in areas relevant to working in education. For example, students may want to specialize in higher education, early childhood education, curriculum development, or distance education. Courses in a variety of departments and colleges provide specializations in these areas.

This division between disciplinary and professional courses is not meant to be interpreted rigidly. Some of the areas in which students wish to develop expertise may not be easily classified as one or another, for example, gender studies, public policy, Latin American studies, and others. The division above should therefore not be seen as constraining, but interpreted in a way that allows students to develop the best program of study for their own needs.

While graduate degrees have traditionally encouraged high levels of specialization, the field of comparative and international education comprises many researchers and practitioners who are generalists or have multiple areas of specialization. This is especially important in our field, as over a person’s career they will likely work across considerable substantive and geographical diversity. The flexibility built into the IEP program structure is designed specifically to prepare students for this kind of diversity.

There are five organized specializations in the IEP program. These are listed below, with example courses.

Education in Conflict and Emergencies: This specialization examines educational issues in contexts of conflict and emergencies, such as under conditions of war, forced migration, epidemic and pandemic, and climate disaster. Students gain familiarity with global humanitarian frameworks and interventions in Education in Emergencies, as well as national, local, and school-based responses in different parts of the world. Through critical and reflective exploration of theoretical, conceptual, and practical dimensions, students work to advance their contributions to related research, institutions, and educational contexts. Possible courses include:

Education in Conflict and Emergencies (EDHI788J)
Education for Global Peace (EDHI 681)
Global Climate Change and Education: Policy and Practice (EDHI788F)

Intercultural Education and International Student Exchange. Intercultural education is of paramount importance in today’s world where contact across cultures is increasing exponentially. This specialization offers an examination of the fundamental issues that combines culture, education, and development. These issues have recently been gaining importance to universities as they respond to globalization through internationalization initiatives, programming, and policy.  This specialization offers an examination of the higher education context in which those initiatives take place.  Possible courses include:

Education and Culture in a Global Context (EDHI607)
International Higher Education (EDHI750)
International Education and Cultural Exchange: Policies and Practices (EDHI788T)
International Investigations in Cuban Education (EDHI788X)

Gender and Development. Though attention to class, gender, race, and ethnicity permeates the courses in the IEP program, students can develop a specialization in gender and development which seeks to enhance their understanding of how gender operates in society and thus influences a variety of educational outcomes. Students are prepared to draw policy implications and design concrete practices to diminish the negative impact of gender and to increase individual and collective action toward its transformation.  Possible courses include

Gender, Development and Education (EDHI680)
Approaches to Women’s Studies (WMST602)
Gender and Development (WMST698R)

Peace and Environmental Education. This specialization provides students with an understanding of conditions, global and local, that lead to wars, conflicts, environmental destruction and climate change. It informs students of theories and practices in peace and sustainability education for peace building and preservation of nature. Also emphasized are understanding of political, economic, cultural, religious, and educational contexts for peace and sustainability. Peace is defined as a deep respect for each other as human beings, and for nature with sustainable ecological ethics. Further, peace is seen as being achieved through both external efforts and internal endeavors to cultivate wisdom and equanimity. Through coursework, students study alternative and transformative paradigms and acquire practical knowledge for peace and sustainability education.  Possible courses include:

Education for Global Peace (EDHI681)
World Religions and Implication for Education (EDHI683)
Global Climate Change and Education: Policy and Practice (EDHI788F)
Contemplative Inquiry and Holistic Education (EDHI788)

Political Economy of Education and Development. The term “political economy” is a contested one but generally has to do with a broad and integrated understanding of the politics and economics of issues. This specialization offers students an understanding of the debates about the theory and practice of political economy, current educational policies, and their relationship to development.  Possible courses include:

Political Economy of Education and Development (EDHI606)
Alternative Education, Alternative Development (EDHI684)
International Investigations in Cuban Education (EDHI788X)

NOTE: In addition to the above specializations, others are possible. For example, students have developed specializations in professional areas such as Early Childhood Education, Special Education, Primary and Secondary Education, Teacher Education, Education Leadership, Education Policy, Higher Education, and Public Health Education. Specializations have also been developed in social science disciplines and applied areas such as Anthropology, Economics, Public Policy, Sociology, and Women’s Studies. The University of Maryland is a strong multiversity, offering many specializations, and we strongly encourage students to take additional courses outside of the IEP program from elsewhere in the Department, the College, the University, and the Region. (See the UMD DC Consortium webpage for details on schools where UMD students can enroll in classes.)

Positions Held by MA Graduates:

  • Vice President, World Learning
  • Deputy Chief of Party, USAID, Senegal
  • Program Analyst, USAID’s Office of HIV/AIDS
  • Consultant, World Bank
  • Senior Human Development Officer, African Development Bank
  • Program Assistant, FHI 360
  • Coordinator, International Rescue Committee, Baltimore
  • Director of International Childcare, Orphan’s Heart
  • Consultant, Canadian International Development Agency
  • Coordinator, Equity and Inclusion, LWTech
  • Program Leader, Thinking Beyond Borders
  • Senior Consultant, Public Consulting Group, Austin, Texas
  • Senior Associate, American Federation of Teachers
  • Program Officer, Gender Development, Qatar
  • Senior Program Manager, Institute of International Education
  • Program Officer, International Institute for Education
  • Program Coordinator, University of Texas, Austin
  • Study Abroad Advisor, UC Berkley
  • Assistant Director, Global Communities, UMD
  • Director, Global Communities, UMD
  • International Career Fellow, Elon University
  • Senior Coordinator, Professional Learning Services, NAFSA
  • International Student Coordinator, U of Maryland Baltimore
  • Academic Advisor, Business School, Johns Hopkins University
  • Associate Director, Student Outreach Resource Center at JHU
  • International Student Services, University of Maryland
  • International Student and Scholar Advisor, UC Berkeley
  • International Scholar and Faculty Advisor, University of Maryland
  • Program Advisor, Projects Abroad
  • Founder, Amani Children’s Network
  • International Student and Scholar Advisor, UC Berkeley
  • International Scholar and Faculty Advisor, University of Maryland
  • Senior Program Manager, Institute of International Education
  • Program Officer, International Institute for Education
  • Program Advisor, Projects Abroad
  • Founder and CEO at Aumazo, Inc.
  • Executive Director, Center for World Music
  • ResCare Inc., Singapore
  • Founder, Amani Children’s Network
  • Director, Student Residence Hall at UMD
  • Teacher, Montgomery Public School
  • Ph.D. program, Stanford University
  • Ph.D. program, University of Wisconsin
  • Ph.D. program, Michigan State University
  • Ph.D. program, International Education Policy, UMD
  • Ph.D. program in Urban Education, UMD
  • Ph.D. program, Harvard University
  • Associate Professor, University of Hawaii
  • Professor, Capital College of Physical Education, Beijing