Master of Arts in International Education (Online With Brief Residencies in Vermont)


Program Description

Learn to lead international education programs without leaving your job.

Become an effective policy advocate and skilled program administrator through a carefully designed combination of faculty instruction, individual practice, analysis, and experience. Our low-residency format allows you to complete most of your coursework online so you can stay in your job and community.

Through an experiential learning model, you’ll develop expertise in advising, exchange management, community education, and nonprofit and volunteer program management. You’ll examine the historical, theoretical, and social foundations of the international education field; design a variety of educational programs, and develop and conduct field-based research projects.

This program also gives you an opportunity to explore interests and develop skills related to advising, exchange management, nonformal and community education, volunteer program management, language teaching administration, conflict transformation, international education development, and social justice education.

By the end of the program, you’ll be prepared to run a program anywhere from a traditional school to a nonprofit organization to a refugee camp or homeless shelter, in the US or abroad.

There’s no better time than now.

Today, international exchange and intercultural understanding are more important than ever. International educators are responding to the increasing effects of globalization by equalizing educational opportunities and experiences for diverse populations, fostering deeper and more nuanced understanding of social justice issues, promoting intercultural understanding and interaction, and internationalizing programs and institutions.

Whether you’re fostering international understanding through citizen exchange and socially responsible educational travel at a nonprofit or for-profit organization, conducting needs assessment, monitoring and evaluating educational programs, coordinating mobility programs abroad, helping international students get acclimated to their new community, or advising a university as part of a government team, you’ll be making a difference in the lives of students and in communities, at home and abroad.

Degree Components

On-campus coursework, two sessions in June (1–2 weeks each session)

  • Year one: First two weeks in June
  • Year two: Second week in June

Online coursework and reflective practice (the remainder of the year)

  • 10 to 15 hours of online coursework per week, plus reflective practice related to your professional experience (actual hours are higher for first term)

Capstone paper and presentation

  • Final paper and presentation on campus


With SIT’s experiential curriculum, you’ll learn how to put theory into practice. In addition to core courses, a broad range of elective choices let you focus on courses that will help you meet your career goals.

The program comprises primarily online coursework with limited residential coursework, reflective practice of your ongoing professional work, and a final capstone paper and presentation, for a total of 37 credits. While you must fulfill a number of degree requirements, you have opportunities to customize your learning according to your interests.

Core Coursework (19 credits)
You are required to complete between 10 and 15 hours of work each week. Assignments typically include readings, electronic group work, electronic postings, papers, and projects. Through the coursework component, you’ll acquire critical theoretical knowledge and new professional competencies. The following courses are required:

  • Foundations in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management – 4 credits
  • Practitioner Inquiry – 3 credits
  • Theory, Practice, and Policy of International Education – 3 credits
  • International Education Program Planning and Design – 3 credits
  • Advanced Concepts in International Education – 6 credits

Electives (2 credits minimum)
You can satisfy the program’s elective requirement in a number of ways, including by selecting offered SIT courses, pursuing independent study, or taking a course at a local institution and transfering the credit to SIT. Please note that in the last situation, the course must be at the graduate level and the institution must be accredited.

Reflective Practice (15 credits)
Reflective practice is a structured approach for you to apply learning from your coursework to ongoing professional activity. You’ll receive course credit for documenting the integration of your knowledge and skills in a professional context while remaining engaged with faculty and other students.

Capstone Paper and Seminar (1 credit)
You’ll demonstrate, assess, and synthesize your learning through preparation of a capstone project and participation in a one-week capstone seminar held multiple times each year on SIT’s campus in Vermont. Researching and writing the capstone paper takes you deeply into the experiential learning cycle, where you’ll explore the meaning of your reflective practice experience, integrate theory and practice in a written and oral presentation, and make a contribution to the field of international education.

Degree Requirements

You have five years from the time you enter the program to complete all degree requirements. If you do not complete all degree requirements (including the language and culture proficiency requirement) within five years of your entry date, you will be withdrawn from the program. If you have extenuating circumstances, you must apply to the dean of the program for an extension.

Reflective Practice

A cornerstone of this program is the reflective practice. This allows you to apply learning from your SIT courses in the real-world setting of your job, enriching your learning experience.

Put your developing skills to use during faculty-guided, reflective practice at your current job or a practicum placement.

During the online coursework phase, you’ll conduct reflective practice while engaged in professional work in the field of international education. During this period, you’ll remain engaged with faculty and other students and receive course credit for documenting the integration of your knowledge and skills.

Admissions Criteria

We strive to create a diverse and experienced student body to enhance the learning experience both inside and outside the classroom.

To be considered for admission to the low-residency MA in International Education program, an applicant must have the following:

  • US bachelor’s degree or an equivalent that demonstrates academic ability
  • Demonstrated English language ability (see details below)
  • Intercultural and professional experience
  • Demonstrated ability to use experience as a source of learning
  • Experience and familiarity with instructional technology, distance learning, and/or independent learning
  • Current experience in the field of international education is expected, but previous or anticipated experience may be considered

English Language Ability

Applicants whose first language is not English and who did not graduate from an English-speaking institution in a country whose official language is English submit test scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), or the PTE (Pearson Test of English). (Applicants can access free TOEFL and IELTS practice tests online.)

  • Applicants taking the TOEFL must receive a minimum score of
    • 600 on the paper-based test (PBT)
    • 250 on the computer-based test (CBT), or
    • 100 on the internet-based iBT.
  • Applicants taking the IELTS must receive a score of Band 7.0 or higher.
  • Applicants taking the PTE must receive a minimum score of 68.

These scores are considered the minimum proficiency needed to undertake graduate-level work. Scores must be dated within two years of the start date of your academic program at SIT.

Our admissions staff works one-on-one with every applicant to facilitate a highly informed and multidimensional admissions experience: applicants are encouraged to talk with SIT faculty and staff and hear from current students and alumni. As applicants become familiar with the attributes of an SIT education — grounded in the experiential learning model and focused on social justice and leadership skills in intercultural environments — they determine for themselves in what ways SIT can help them meet their educational and career objectives.

SIT welcomes students from all economic backgrounds. Students commonly fund their SIT degree through a variety of sources, including federal and private loans, SIT grants and scholarships, scholarships from other sources, and personal and family funds. SIT Graduate Institute’s Financial Aid Office provides information on all aspects of funding an SIT degree.

SIT is able to process federal loans and graduate PLUS loans for students in the low-residency MA in International Education program. We recommend that you begin the process of applying for financial aid as soon as possible, even before you are accepted for admission.

Alumni Careers

Students in this program go on to work in the field in a variety of areas including study abroad offices, NGOs, nonprofits, and government agencies. Find out some of the career paths that may be open to you.


I am a proud alumnus because SIT gave me the academic and practical foundation and network that propelled my career forward. I’m now a PhD candidate at University of Minnesota in comparative and international development education and serve as deputy director of International Studies & Study Abroad at John Jay. This wouldn’t have happened without SIT.

—Kenneth Yanes, Deputy Director, International Studies & Study Abroad, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY

The program prepares professionals to:

  • Advise international students
  • Design and lead cross-cultural programs
  • Coordinate and manage projects, resources, and staff
  • Develop courses and training modules on topics related to international education

Students of SIT’s low-residency MA in International Education program gain the skills they need to advance in their career. Graduates are prepared for positions as directors of study abroad or international student services, language program coordinators, trainers, community education specialists, program designers, international student coordinators, or international student recruiters. Graduates work in study abroad offices, NGOs, nonprofits, and government agencies as well as in other venues.

SIT has been a leader in the field of international education for more than 80 years.
Through SIT’s low-residency MA in International Education program, students have access World Learning’s network of international education and exchange programs and practitioners.

Positions held by alumni of the international education program include:

  • Study abroad advisor
  • Director of international student services
  • US embassy education specialist
  • Program designer
  • Country development officer
  • International student recruiter
  • Exchange program manager
  • Community educator
  • Admissions director
  • Consultant
  • Director of ESL programs
  • International partnership manager
  • High school completion program manager
Last updated Mar 2019

About the School

SIT Graduate Institute offers internationally focused master's degrees, certificates, and professional development programs in the fields of conflict transformation, international education, sustainab ... Read More

SIT Graduate Institute offers internationally focused master's degrees, certificates, and professional development programs in the fields of conflict transformation, international education, sustainable development, and TESOL. Since 1964, SIT has been preparing professionals to be successful in intercultural and international environments. Read less
Brattleboro , Washington , Oaxaca , Johannesburg + 3 More Less