- Annual Enrollment:
- % International:
- Employment sectors:
- Government, Intergovernmental, NGO/Nonprofit, Private
- Degrees offered:
- MA in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, MA in International Policy and Development, MPA, MA in International Trade, MA in International Environmental Policy, MA in International Education Management, and more
- $44,766 per year (full-time) and $1,600 per credit (part-time)
Get the skills you need for a rewarding career with an online or on-site master’s degree from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies—a graduate school of Middlebury College. We are a training ground for developing and implementing practical solutions. You’ll put theory into practice through interdisciplinary courses working with real-world clients—all under the mentorship of leading experts in global security, climate change, development, and intercultural communication.
Our programs integrate content courses in a second language and intercultural competence, expanding your career opportunities around the world. Institute alumni find fulfilling careers in the intelligence community at organizations like the United Nations, U.S. State Department, Conservation International, and the WTO, as well as at for-profit companies in banking, consulting, and tech.
We offer a wide range of merit, need-based, and partner scholarships to help you fund this important investment in your future. Our students come from more than 50 countries, fostering an international community across our hybrid campus. All of our programs are available online and in-person (in Monterey, California) for maximum flexibility.
You will learn from and work with experts in our prominent research centers and initiatives, including the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, the Center for Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism, the Cyber Collaborative, the Center for the Blue Economy, the Center for Conflict Studies, and the Monterey Initiative in Russian Studies.
From the moment you first contact us, you will receive a customized enrollment experience to help you realize your personal and professional goals. We look forward to working with you.
To receive information directly from the Admissions Department, click here.
How does the Middlebury Institute prepare students for an age of uncertainty?
The Middlebury Institute of International Studies is a professional graduate school in Monterey, California. Our goal is for students to develop professional skills and gain up-to-date industry knowledge through our innovative learning approaches. We understand that new teaching methods are needed to better suit the learning needs of students with professional goals. Our master’s degree in international trade and economic diplomacy is a good example of our approach to teaching.
First, we use real-world issues as learning opportunities. Through the use of case materials based on current issues, we ask students to conduct role-playing negotiation simulations. For instance, we have an in-class negotiation simulation on global climate talks, Doha round negotiations, Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, and a South China Sea dispute settlement. By providing detailed instruction and inviting professional negotiators to guide the process, we teach the subject matter in an engaging way and enable students to practice negotiation skills effectively. In addition, we have developed a number of immersive courses that give our students opportunities to conduct field research in different parts of the world, including East Asia, South America, and Africa.
What I am most proud of is that these unique practicum courses offer a rare opportunity for our students to develop, work on, and deliver a real policy-relevant research project from scratch. The knowledge they gain throughout this process endures; more importantly, the skills they acquire and practice in the field are applicable to their future endeavors anywhere in the world. These practicum courses develop professional research skills that cannot be learned simply by sitting in the classroom and library. Finally, the last semester of this graduate program allows students to gain additional professional experience at our Washington, DC, campus after they complete two semesters of coursework in Monterey.
The merits of learning from and understanding diverse perspectives now takes a more important role than ever. How is the Middlebury Institute responding?
This is important for a graduate professional school with a strong focus on international policy studies like the Middlebury Institute. It is our priority to make sure that students study complicated global issues by deeply understanding and appreciating the different and diverse perspectives presented to them. The policy studies and research initiatives we include in our degree programs are taught in over seven languages by scholars with different perspectives. Fortunately, we have a very diverse campus community: almost 30 percent of our students are international. Besides learning from open-minded professors, students truly enjoy learning from each other in the classroom.
What specific skills can the Middlebury Institute provide to its students while allowing them to remain flexible in their career paths?
We train our students in communication, public speaking, negotiation, qualitative and quantitative research methods, and much more. We know that we cannot teach students every skill they will need in their jobs, now or later; therefore, we put great emphasis in the classroom on knowing how to collaborate with others, learn continuously, and think critically. The goal is always to provide students with the skills and tools to be flexible and passionate throughout their professional life.
As the pace of global change continues to accelerate, how important is it for international professionals to nurture skills and capacities that move beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries?
Global problems and solutions are remarkably similar in their underlying economic, political, and organizational structure. They are multifaceted problems that require interdisciplinary research to understand them, and multisector collaborations to nudge them in positive directions. To work effectively in a global context, professionals must cultivate both broad and deep disciplinary knowledge, as well as hard and soft analytical and communication skills. Given economic globalization, international professionals must also be familiar with the basics of global markets and the global political economy. In some fields, such as sustainability management and international education management, the demand for savvy international professionals is propelling whole new disciplines, creating a blend of traditional business, finance, science, policy, and management studies.
What advice do you have for the aspiring international professional who wants to make a difference? What tools will this student need to have an impact in their field in the years ahead?
Three sets of tools are key. The first is collaboration and cooperation. Professionals in, for example, the impact investing field, must continually hone their capacity to work with, listen to, learn from, and negotiate with people from a range of professional, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Language and intercultural competence can be especially useful, as can studies in the analytics of governing common resource spaces.
Second is a spirit of entrepreneurship: proactive innovation, creative problem solving, flexibility, and adaptation. Many young professionals want to establish their own businesses or organizations, while others work in large companies and government and intergovernmental agencies. All are seeking new solutions to deepening problems. Development and environmental organizations are also increasingly seeking new business models to deliver sustained social benefits. Entrepreneurial innovation is essential.
Third is steely commitment: a capacity and willingness to treat obstacles as learning opportunities. Cross-cutting interdisciplinary knowledge enables professionals to more effectively search for and manage technical, analytical, and organizational solutions.
How should graduate programs adapt to ensure they remain both fundamentally sound and relevant in addressing emerging global challenges?
One effective adaptation we’ve embraced at the Middlebury Institute is to create opportunities for students to merge traditional disciplines through joint degree programs—for example, combining an MBA with an environmental science or policy degree. More than a “green” MBA, this type of joint degree program equips students with traditional and emerging business skills as well as breadth and depth in the economic and scientific challenges of global resource management. Another adaptation is to provide structured and supervised opportunities for students to apply academic concepts in real-world, on-the-job contexts. Whether working as consultants for clients, developing their own businesses, or conducting publishable field research, students encounter actual global challenges—and the practical, day-to-day solutions that they demand. These immersive learning opportunities, combined with skillful mentoring by both professional and academic supervisors, often create a natural bridge to professional positions after graduation.
You have likened the process of teaching to “co-creating knowledge” through collaboration. How would you describe your teaching philosophy?
Every day that I teach, I learn. My approach is to create opportunities for engaging in feedback-rich, hands-on problem solving for real-world clients so that students learn about the strengths as well as the limitations of conventional tools, theories, and practices. I’m convinced that in a global era characterized by rapid change, professors who prepare leaders must cease to “teach.” Instead, we must become facilitators and choreographers of diverse learning experiences that enable our students to work collaboratively.
Your career as a practitioner in the international arena has included work with a wide range of international organizations, and you founded the Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows program in 1985 for returning volunteers. How does your work inform your teaching?
Development practice is about demonstrating commitment to public service by working on issues in the developing world. It’s hard to teach development practice without being actively engaged as a practitioner in the field. It’s one thing to read about new trends and policies. It’s very different to work alongside others in confronting trends or applying policies.
My recent international work has included projects with the International Committee of the Red Cross, Save the Children, Freedom from Hunger, three USAID contractors, and the Carter Center. In most of the assignments I undertake, I bring back a new tool, technique, or case study to incorporate into my teaching. Equally important are the career connections I make for current and former students as they move from their graduate education into the world.
How do you see Institute graduates making an impact in the international arena?
Middlebury Institute alumni are present, often in leadership roles, in every major development organization. They work in field offices, regional offices, and headquarters. They work for governments, NGOs, UN organizations, the World Bank, and social enterprises they have created.
In the past week, I’ve been in contact with probably two dozen alumni, which is not unusual. One is director of the Peace Corps in Panama. His career began with a job I helped him secure ten years ago at Save the Children. Since then, he’s been a country director for Plan International and for Save the Children as well as a mentor to some of our more recent graduates.
Another joined Pact after graduation, partly because of a connection that I was able to make for him. Since that time, his career has skyrocketed. Until recently he was the global director for Pact’s capacity development work. Now he is the Aga Khan Foundation’s global advisor for civil society.
Yet another alumna, an evaluation and learning associate at a Middle East–based NGO, told me that she draws on her training at the Institute almost every day and offered to make herself available to current students for mentoring and career advice.
These examples, from just a single week, are representative of how Middlebury Institute graduates are able to go out into the world and have an immediate impact as emerging leaders in their fields.
Dr. William Potter is the Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies and Founding Director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey.
The Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey offers professional master’s degrees with an international focus. Located in Monterey, California, our campus community represents over 43 countries and 40 native languages. Our alumni, students, and faculty work together to be the solution around the world.
Middlebury Institute faculty are leading experts on topics ranging from nuclear nonproliferation to international development to social enterprise. With a student to faculty ratio of eight to one, our faculty personally guide students through their academic and professional development. For our MA in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies specifically, faculty and researchers at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) and Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program (MonTREP) train students to analyze, prevent, and respond to terrorist threats and to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
What is unique about the Middlebury Institute’s MA in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies?
The specialized focus of this master’s degree enables us to offer in-depth professional training that programs covering international affairs more broadly cannot match.
Students have the opportunity to acquire paid on the-job training from faculty and researchers at CNS and MonTREP. CNS, founded nearly 25 years ago, with offices in Monterey, Washington, DC, and Vienna, is the largest nongovernmental organization dedicated to education about the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. MonTREP focuses on the study of violent extremist groups and policy tools for addressing global terrorism.
Our program also offers opportunities to intern at international organizations and U.S. governmental agencies and to network with international policymakers. In 2013, for example, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave a major address at the Middlebury Institute and praised our nonproliferation and disarmament programs. MonTREP also hosted its second annual student-run conference in March 2014, focusing on counterterrorism in Africa.
How does your program prepare students for their future careers?
Our interdisciplinary program combines policy, science and technology-related knowledge, technical skills, and foreign language proficiency. Our new research center, the Monterey Cyber Security Initiative, also addresses the rapidly growing field of cybersecurity.
Furthermore, faculty members, including myself, have pioneered the use of simulation pedagogy. Students gain valuable professional experience by participating in semester-long treaty negotiation simulations, alongside current diplomats. Last fall, students assumed the roles of delegates to the 2014 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee Meeting and negotiated a final document. Several students were subsequently given the opportunity to participate as delegates to the “real world” NPT meeting in New York in April-May 2014.
What types of careers do Middlebury Institute alumni pursue?
Many of our alumni—literally hundreds—now work on nonproliferation and terrorism issues for U.S. and other national governments, international organizations, research centers, and private enterprises around the world. Perhaps the best-known CNS alumnus is Ambassador Yukiya Amano, the current Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
This growing cadre of professionals is a tangible result of the Middlebury Institute’s commitment to educate the next generation of nonproliferation and terrorism specialists. So widespread is their influence that in Washington, Tokyo, Vienna, Beijing, and many other cities, they are affectionately known as the Monterey Mafia.