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Program Information

The International Comparative Education master’s program at Stanford GSE addresses educational practice in a rapidly changing global context and in a wide array of countries. Students examine problems from comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives, including economics, history, political science, and sociology. 

The master’s program offers two tracks: International Comparative Education (ICE) and International Education Policy Analysis (IEPA). The tracks run jointly and concurrently, and matriculated students have the option to switch from one program to the other as their interests evolve.

If you are interested in the doctoral program in International Comparative Education, please visit this PhD program page.


This 12-month program (September through August) provides an interdisciplinary overview of the major theoretical and empirical issues in education, development, and policy. Students also complete specialized coursework and reading in their areas of professional interest, and have the flexibility to take courses outside the GSE. With a focus on research methods, the program culminates in a publishable-quality research paper. 

Curriculum and coursework

Students begin with core courses, including an introduction to international and comparative education, economics of education, and research methods. The master’s seminar series provides advising as well as peer and faculty support as students develop their master’s papers. 

By winter quarter, students have room to take 1-2 electives, and this number increases in spring quarter. In summer quarter, students workshop and finalize their papers. Students are encouraged to take classes throughout the GSE that relate to their interests, and also are free to take classes in the schools of business, law, and engineering, as well as in humanities and sciences. 

For specific requirements and offerings, please visit the Master’s Handbook.

Master’s paper

Rigorous research is at the heart of the ICE/IEPA master’s program, and students produce high-quality research papers with the possibility of publication and other avenues for reaching a wide audience and affecting policy.  

Work on the master’s paper begins the summer prior to students’ arrival on campus. Students read a collection of articles written by core ICE faculty, as well as recommendations for developing ideas for their projects. Throughout their four quarters on campus, students are supported and guided by faculty, staff, and cohort members as they develop their ideas, carry out research, and write. Students also have the option of working in pairs to co-author their papers.

View past master’s papers

Graphic with Master's paper timeline

More information

Still have questions? Visit our FAQ page.

Christine Min Wotipka

ICE/IEPA Master’s Program Director

Caroline Stasulat

Associate Director of Degree Programs

Student Voices

Hear from our students about why they chose to study international education at Stanford, what their learning journey has been like, and what advice they would give to future ICE/IEPA students.

See more Student Voices

What you need to know

Admission requirements

To learn more about requirements for admission, please visit the Application Requirements page.

Financing your education

To learn more about the cost of the program and options for financial support, please visit Financing Your Master’s Degree on the admissions website.

Contact admissions

For admissions webinars and to connect with the admission office, see our Connect and Visit page.

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