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Study governance abroad

An in-depth guide to studying governance as an international student.

Governance degrees abroad

Governance programs focus on the operations and interactions of governments and international organizations around the world. It’s a multidisciplinary subject that mixes politics, international relations, and diplomacy with economics, public policy, and sociology.

You’ll study theories and concepts of governance and will be challenged to apply them to real-world scenarios. You’ll also critically examine the challenges faced by public sectors today, and evaluate how issues like global trade, migration, climate change, and terrorism are being managed.

The value of studying governance abroad can’t be underestimated. Seeing the different interests, trends, and difficulties of governments across the globe will provide you with an international perspective that’s vital for success in today’s interrelated world.

Governance program structure

It’s possible to study governance at the bachelor’s level, but it’s normally only offered as part of a combined program. Typical combinations include governance with economics, public policy, legal order, and diplomacy. Bachelor’s courses last a minimum of three years, or four years if you complete a sandwich year.

You can major in governance as part of your four-year US undergraduate degree, but this is only offered at a handful of universities. You’ll take liberal arts courses for the first two years of your program, before focusing on governance-specific modules for the remaining half.

Studying governance as a master’s degree is by far the most popular and widely available option. To enroll, you must have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, but the specific requirements will vary between institutions. You can study full-time over one year or part-time over two.

After finishing your Master’s you might consider pursuing a research-based MPhil or PhD. These usually require between four and seven years of extra study.

Your class schedule will mainly consist of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and group workshops. You’ll be assessed through a range of written and practical assessments including exams, essays, and presentations, and debates.

Each university will offer a different range of elective modules depending on its cultural context and the research interests of its faculty. However, this list gives you an idea of the core units delivered at most institutions:

  • Theories of governance
  • Governance and public-policy making
  • Fundamentals of governance - diplomacy, negotiation, and lobbying
  • Research methods for governance studies
  • Globalization and global governance
  • Comparative politics and governance
  • Concepts and controversies in international governance
Governance program structure

It’s possible to study governance at the bachelor’s level, but it’s normally only offered as part of a combined program. Typical combinations include governance with economics, public policy, legal order, and diplomacy. Bachelor’s courses last a minimum of three years, or four years if you complete a sandwich year.

You can major in governance as part of your four-year US undergraduate degree, but this is only offered at a handful of universities. You’ll take liberal arts courses for the first two years of your program, before focusing on governance-specific modules for the remaining half.

Studying governance as a master’s degree is by far the most popular and widely available option. To enroll, you must have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, but the specific requirements will vary between institutions. You can study full-time over one year or part-time over two.

After finishing your Master’s you might consider pursuing a research-based MPhil or PhD. These usually require between four and seven years of extra study.

Your class schedule will mainly consist of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and group workshops. You’ll be assessed through a range of written and practical assessments including exams, essays, and presentations, and debates.

Each university will offer a different range of elective modules depending on its cultural context and the research interests of its faculty. However, this list gives you an idea of the core units delivered at most institutions:

  • Theories of governance
  • Governance and public-policy making
  • Fundamentals of governance - diplomacy, negotiation, and lobbying
  • Research methods for governance studies
  • Globalization and global governance
  • Comparative politics and governance
  • Concepts and controversies in international governance

Alternative political science degrees

How to study governance abroad

  1. University & program search

    Find the right program for you and your career aspirations
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Our team of advisors is ready to support you at every step of your study abroad journey.
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Governance study abroad programs

Governance undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in governance

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    International Studies: Global and Comparative Governance - BA American University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    50,542 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 50,542 USD

    Start date
    August, January
    Show program overview about International Studies: Global and Comparative Governance
  • false

    Public Policy and Governance - BA St. Francis Xavier University, Canada

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    16,249 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 20,436 CAD

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Public Policy and Governance
See all bachelor's degrees in governance

Certificate in governance

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    Collaborative Governance - Cert California State University, Sacramento, USA

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    16,800 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,800 USD

    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about Collaborative Governance
  • false

    Political and International Governance - Cert University of Regina, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    14,312 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 18,000 CAD

    Start date
    September, May, January
    Show program overview about Political and International Governance
See all undergraduate certificates in governance

Governance graduate programs

Master's in governance

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    American Indian Studies (Tribal Leadership and Governance) - MSc Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    24,318 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 24,318 USD

    Start date
    August
    Show program overview about American Indian Studies (Tribal Leadership and Governance)
  • false

    Commerce with Governance Fraud and Risk (12 subjects) - MComm Charles Sturt University, Melbourne, Australia

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    18 months
    Annual tuition fee
    24,313 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 31,936 AUD

    Start date
    November, July, March
    Show program overview about Commerce with Governance Fraud and Risk (12 subjects)
  • false

    Commerce with Governance Fraud and Risk (16 subjects) - MComm Charles Sturt University, Sydney, Australia

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    18 months
    Annual tuition fee
    24,313 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 31,936 AUD

    Start date
    March
    Show program overview about Commerce with Governance Fraud and Risk (16 subjects)
  • false

    Corporate Governance & Leadership - MSc University of Northampton, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    18,888 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 13,750 GBP

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Corporate Governance & Leadership
  • false

    Corporate Governance and Law/Grad.CG - LLM University of Portsmouth, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    22,391 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,300 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Corporate Governance and Law/Grad.CG
See all master's degrees in governance

Doctorate in governance

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    Human Rights, Society, and Multi-Level Governance - PhD University of Nicosia, Cyprus

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    5,355 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 4,500 EUR

    Start date
    September, June, February
    Show program overview about Human Rights, Society, and Multi-Level Governance
See all doctorates in governance

Future governance careers

As a governance graduate, you’ll be set for a fast-paced and fascinating career. Your knowledge and skills will be transferable across an array of sectors, including government ministries, global agencies, international aid charities, and NGOs.

Here are some of the roles you’d be best prepared for:

  • Policy advisor
  • Government research officer
  • Politician
  • Diplomatic service officer
  • Public affairs consultant
  • Foreign service officer
  • Political risk analyst
  • International aid/development worker

Most universities have a careers office that can help you find relevant work experience and polish your interview skills. It’s worth dropping by to have a chat about your ambitions and to see how they could support you.