District of Columbia Graduate International Business Programs & Schools

International business graduate programs—at the certificate, master’s degree, and doctorate degree levels— may help professionals develop an advanced grasp of the challenges and opportunities arising from globalization. Graduates may be prepared to understand and manage multinational corporations and international organizations, as well as navigate the complexities of cultural differences, international law and more. International business graduate programs combine courses in theory with practical case studies and research to help students quickly apply lessons to the real world.

What Is International Business and Why Study It?

International business basically comprises of the commercial and economic transactions made by businesses, governments, nonprofits, and other organizations across borders and between countries. Commercial transactions might include goods, services, or resources. Economic transactions might include capital, skills, people, and more.

So why study international business?

As you can see, international business is an incredibly broad and expansive field. And an increasingly important one. National and regional economies throughout the world are increasingly globalized; multinational enterprises and organizations continue to emerge and expand; and more and more governments, nonprofits, and other entities transact resources such as goods, services, and human capital across borders. The result is a more globalized business world dependent on the skills and knowledge of highly trained international business professionals.

To participate in international business, professionals may need to know about different countries’ legal systems, political systems, economic policies, accounting standards, labor standards, living standards, environmental standards and cultures. They may also need to be familiar with different foreign exchange markets, tariffs, imports and exports regulations, trade agreements, climates, education systems, and languages.

International business graduate programs cover many of these topics, as well as sometimes allow students to focus on specific applications or business activities. This could help profesionals develop the of skills and knowledge they need to succeed in this increasingly globalized world.

What International Business Graduate Programs Are Available?

International business graduate programs offer certificates as well as master’s and doctorate degrees. Certificate programs may be perfect for professionals who simply want to gain some knowledge or skills in international business, while master’s and doctorate degree programs help professionals develop in-depth knowledge of the field and establish or enhance their international business and academic careers.

Because international business graduate programs typically appeal to business professionals, many programs offer evening and weekend programming and online, hybrid, or on-campus options. Through their programs, students might engage in submersion programs, intensive language programs, study abroad programs, or mentorship programs. They may also find options to pursue a hybrid program that combines a Master of Business Administration with a Master of International Business or a Doctorate of Business Administration with a Doctorate of International Business. While every program is unique, below is a brief overview to help narrow down the options.

International Business Master’s Programs

Masters level programs may be the most popular type of international business graduate degree. There are four kinds of master’s degrees in international business that students might pursue.

  • Master of Science in International Business (M.S.)
  • Master of Art in International Business (M.A.)
  • Master of International Business (M.I.B.)
  • Master of Business Administration in International Business (M.B.A)

MS, MA and Master of International Business Degrees

The M.S., M.A., and M.I.B. degrees are similar in that they focus primarily on international business. Through core coursework, students typically study the foundations of international business. Through elective coursework, students may specialize their knowledge in a particular area of international business or perhaps study international business as it relates to a particular region of the world.  

In many cases, students pursue an international business masters degree over the course of one to two years of part time, fulltime, or intensive study. To graduate, students might need to write and defend a thesis, take a comprehensive exam, or complete another type of capstone project. They might also need to do an internship or work with a mentor in the field.

MBA in International Business Programs

The M.B.A. in International Business usually emphasizes foundational business principles, theories, and applications through its core curriculum. Then, through elective coursework, students might pursue general or specific knowledge in international business. Basically, students in M.B.A. programs make business their general area of study while taking elective courses in international business.  

Students typically pursue an M.B.A. international business masters degree over the course of one to two years of study. They might participate in internships (at their business school or in a study-abroad opportunity) and conclude their programs by writing a thesis, taking a comprehensive exam, or completing another type of capstone project. In some cases, students need to have proven business experience to apply for M.B.A. programs. 

As we mentioned above, some international business graduate programs offer a dual master’s degree in business administration and international business. Programs like these typically require students to complete both M.B.A. and M.I.B. core and elective curricula. Follow up with individual international business masters programs to learn more.

International Business Doctorate Programs

Doctorate programs in international business typically come in one of two forms: he Doctor of Philosophy in International Business (Ph.D.) and the Doctor of Business Administration in International Business (D.B.A.).

Ph.D. programs in international business typically emphasize the subject through core and elective curricula. D.B.A. in international business programs, in contrast, typically emphasize general business subjects in their core curricula and international business through their elective curricula. In either type of program, students might plan their course of study and research project with an advisor. Note that Ph.D. programs in international business tend to be research-intensive; D.B.A. programs less so.

In many cases, students pursue a doctorate degree in international business over the course of four to six years. They might conclude their programs by taking a qualitative or comprehensive exam, writing and defending a dissertation, or participating in an internship. In some Ph.D. programs, students might have the option (or requirement) to train and work as student teachers or research assistants.

International Business Graduate Certificate Programs

Certificates may be the shortest and most focused international business graduate programs. International business certificate programs help professionals develop or extend their knowledge in international business. Through core and elective curricula, students typically study a variety of areas across international business or dive into one particular component. Depending on the program, students may pursue a graduate certificate in international business over the course of three months to one year of fulltime study.

Some certificates in international business may function as stand alone credentials. Others may act as introductions or add-ons to another masters program. Contact individual schools to learn more.

What Courses Might I Take in International Business Graduate Programs?

Not too surprisingly, every international business graduate program offers a distinct curriculum based on the goals of the program. No matter the level at which you study international business, you’ll likely take a set of core classes to learn key theories, practices, and applications in international business. Additionally, you’ll select a set of elective classes based on your interests and passions to help you study components of international business in depth.

In international business certificate programs, students commonly take one to two core classes about a subject’s key theories and principles and three to four elective classes to enhance the core work and allow students to gain the knowledge they want. However, some programs require students to take a larger percentage of core classes. It just depends. Some examples of core and elective subjects include international business strategy; international trade and policy; international marketing, finance, accounting, or management; international economics, and international business in regions of the world such as East Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America, to name a few.  

In M.A., M.S., M.I.B., and non-D.B.A. doctorate programs, students might study core subjects such as international accounting, marketing, operations, negotiations, entrepreneurship, and business policy; global economics, microeconomics, and macroeconomics; global business strategy; international business ethics and law; globalization; business mathematics; financial management; cross-cultural management and leadership; and research methodologies. In international business Ph.D. programs, students might study research methodologies in greater depth and also study statistics, research surveys, econometrics, and other related subjects. Ph.D. students may also be expected to read widely in their field, including classic studies as well as the latest research, as they develop a strong understanding of the field.

Through elective coursework, students might specialize their knowledge in areas such as international marketing, finance, project management, entrepreneurship, sustainability, or general management. Depending on the program, they might also study a language or international business as it relates to specific regions of the world.

In M.B.A. and D.B.A. programs, students might study core subjects such as (non-international) marketing, finance, operations, management, economics, entrepreneurships, business ethics and law, and research methodologies (though potentially not to the extent they would in non-business administration programs). Through elective coursework, students might study a variety of the international business courses mentioned above or study a particular components of international business in depth.   

Every international business graduate program will design their curriculum slightly differently. Therefore it's best to follow up directly for a full course list.

How Can I Find International Business Graduate Programs?

If you’re interested in studying international business through a graduate degree program, we encourage you to jump right in! Just below you’ll find a list of certificate, master’s degree, and doctorate degree programs in international business. There you can read descriptions of programs, find details, and connect with programs directly. If you want to refine your search, you can do so using our search tool on the left. You can search by program level (International Business Masters, Certificate, or Doctorate), format (Hybrid, Online, or Campus), or location (city, state, and country). Once you find the international business graduate programs of your choice, click the link and contact the program. Your future graduate school awaits!

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