School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA)

Master of Arts in International and Comparative Politics

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Why Choose the International and Comparative Politics Program?

You want ...

  • to change the world by first understanding it better.
  • a program that produces difference makers.
  • a program that is tailored to your area of interest.
  • a program that is flexible to your time, availability, and commitment level.


The International and Comparative Politics (ICP) M.A. requires a minimum of 32 credit hours of approved coursework, including ...

  • 9 credit hours of core requirements
  • 15 credit hours in the student’s major field:
    • Area Studies
    • Global Gender Studies
    • Intelligence Studies
    • International Organizations
    • Peace and Security
  • 0-6 credit hours of methodology (students must demonstrate proficiency in either advanced foreign language or quantitative analysis)
  • 8 credit hours of thesis or project research

Students tailor the program to meet their interests. Students are encouraged to include education abroad opportunities

The program is completed with a thesis or applied project, done in close consultation with program faculty.

Students may pursue practicum credit, including internships, in conjunction with this capstone.


  • Admission to this program is competitive.
  • Applications are reviewed in the spring for fall admission.
  • Students usually need two years to complete the program.
  • Applications are done through the Wright State Graduate School.
  • Your application will include the following ...
    • essays
    • letters of recommendation
    • transcripts
  • The priority deadline for all materials is March 1.
  • Qualified applicants will be interviewed by phone or in person.
  • Decisions will be announced by April 15.
  • Contact the program director, Dr. Laura Luehrmann (, with questions.

Success Stories

Joshua Cummins, who has degrees in history and international and comparative politics from Wright State, received first-hand lessons on the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar during a fellowship.

Meet Our Alumni

Pablo Banhos (2016 Recipient)

BA, International Studies and Political Science, 2006 MA, International & Comparative Politics, 2009

Pablo Banhos earned a Bachelor of Arts in both Political Science and International Studies, as well as a Master of Arts in International and Comparative Politics.

While at Wright State University, Banhos started his career in higher education philanthropy which set a solid foundation for where he is now.  As Director of Major Gifts at Ohio Wesleyan University, Banhos leads a team of seven fundraising professionals who build relationships with alumni, parents, and friends of Ohio Wesleyan with the goal of securing philanthropic support for the students, faculty, staff, and programs. Banhos’s most recent notable accomplishments include raising nearly $10 million for Ohio Wesleyan and providing leadership to an Advancement team which has currently raised $105 million toward a $200 million comprehensive campaign goal.

Because of donor generosity at Wright State University, Banhos was able   to achieve his dream of swimming and receiving an education from an American university. His personal accomplishments at Wright State and beyond make him an enthusiastic higher education professional who raises money to provide a similar education for deserving students. Banhos, his wife, and his one-year-old son reside in Columbus.

Alex G. Elkins (2016 Recipient)

BA, Political Science, 2007 MA, International & Comparative Politics, 2013

Alex Elkins is making significant contributions as both a lead analyst at one of our country’s most important intelligence agencies as well as ranking as one of Political Science’s most popular adjunct instructors.

Alex currently serves as a Senior Analyst and Team Lead in the Space Programs and Projections Flight, National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.  There, he is responsible for leading and coordinating research, analysis and the production of accurate and actionable intelligence concerning foreign space programs and capabilities for the US Department of Defense, military leaders, policy makers, and the US Intelligence Community. 

Alex has received multiple awards and commendations at NASIC, including being named the Rookie Analyst of the Year (2011), as well as multiple “Civilian of the Quarter” commendations.  Around the community, he is very generous with his time and skills, including serving as the Co-Chair of the Wright State Model United Nations Alumni Board and a Director at the Dayton Model United Nations Conference. 

Alex completed his B.A. in Political Science from Wright State in 2007 and in 2013 he earned his M.A. in International and Comparative Politics. As a student he was a delegate to Wright State’s National Model United Nations Program, and he participated in numerous education abroad opportunities, including in Japan, Germany, Poland and China.  

Sara Hoff (2015 Recipient)

MA, International & Comparative Politics

Sara Hoff completed her MA at Wright State University in International and Comparative Politics in 2009 and earned her PhD in International Studies from Old Dominion in 2014. 

Hoff was born and raised in Düsseldorf, Germany, and has lived in California, Ohio, and Seoul, South Korea. Her master's thesis explores identity politics and feminism in Iran. Her PhD dissertation comparing the European Union, Germany, and Iran examines the intersection between historical memory and present-day international responsibility in Germany’s recent foreign policy behavior. 

Recipient of the prestigious Presidential Management Fellowship, Hoff is currently serving as a Fellow with the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the independent statistical research arm of the Department of Energy.  She is currently on a five-month rotation with the Department of Energy’s Office of European and Eurasian Affairs where she conducts analysis on international energy policy and trade issues and their impact on U.S. national security, foreign policy, and trade policy objectives. Hoff currently resides in Washington, D.C.

Kathleen Davis-Siudut (2014 Recipient)

'07 M.A. International and Comparative Politics

Currently living in Washington, D.C. with her husband and daughter, Kathleen Davis-Siudut has spent the past 10 years working in the fields of human trafficking and sexual assault, ranging from policy advocacy to direct victim assistance. She has authored reports on human trafficking; provided subject matter expertise to local, national, and international government entities and nongovernmental organizations; and served on federal and state taskforces, developing specialized training and curriculum, consulting on public and private sector projects and strategic plans, and drafting legislation. 

Davis-Siudut’s master’s project, titled “Human Trafficking and Its Presence in Ohio,”  was based on extensive interviews across the state and country, including an assessment of current Ohio statutes, examination of contributing factors, and extensive discussion of current anti-trafficking legislation and efforts in Ohio. She has assisted with two Ohio legislative bills on human trafficking, providing testimony to both the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House of Representatives.  Further, Davis-Siudut estimates that she has trained and educated more than 3000 Ohioans on human trafficking and worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to train military leaders from 45 countries.  Additionally, she developed curricula now studied by law-enforcement recruits for the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy.

Having worked for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Polaris Project, Davis-Siudut currently works for the United States Marine Corps’ Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program.

Foday Sulimani (2013 Recipient)

'07 M.A., International and Comparative Politics

Foday Sulimani defended his thesis, “The False Promise of International Institutions in Building Stable Democracies in Third World Countries” in the Spring of 2007.  He examined Ghana and Mauritius to understand how aid programs might be used more effectively to promote successful political transitions.  His thesis was selected by the WSU Graduate School as the university’s entry into the state-wide competition for the best Master’s thesis completed during Academic Year 2006-2007. 

After graduation, Foday served as a research associate at the Kettering Foundation, an internationally-recognized non-governmental organization dedicated to the promotion of civil society.  At the Foundation, Foday served on a variety of research projects and worked closely with international fellows. He was the Editor for the Foundation’s International Civil Society Consortium for Public Deliberation, and wrote articles and research memos appearing in multiple publications.

Foday currently serves as a Management and Program Analyst in the United States Department of Homeland Security, serving on the quality control team within the Overstay Analysis Unit.  His duties include applying immigration laws to traveler compliance, reviewing biometric information and applications, conducting interviews related to potential overstay cases, and training junior analysts. Foday     also holds a B.A. in International Relations and Development from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, Freetown.  He currently lives in Landover Hills, Maryland with his wife and two children. 

Ronald D’Allessandris (2010 Recipient)

'03 M.A. International and Comparative Politics

Ronald D’Allessandris is Chief of Staff (CS), Air Force Security Assistance Center (AFSAC), Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. He is responsible for all executive support functions on behalf of the AFSAC Command Section. He manages the center facilities and supports the Commander’s execution of the center’s safety and security programs. Mr. D’Allessandris also manages the deployment readiness for military members assigned to AFSAC.

In total, Mr. D'Allessandris has over 44 years professional experience in Foreign Military Sales (FMS), Program Management, Personnel Management, Research and Development (R&D), Avionics Maintenance and Medical Laboratory Technology. He began his military affiliation in 1966 upon enlistment in the USAF. His experience in aerospace photography/electro optical repair was gained in Texas, the Republic of Vietnam, Florida and Japan. He held supervisory positions in the medical laboratory technology field in Illinois and Alaska. He was then assigned to WPAFB as Superintendent of the Toxic Hazards Division of the Air Force Medical Research Laboratory. His final assignment prior to retirement was as First Sergeant with the Aeronautical Systems Division (ASD), WPAFB, OH.

Mr. D'Allessandris worked as Senior Logistician for Information Systems and Networks Corporation, Dayton, OH for several years before re-joining the USAF as a civilian in 1989. He then served as Deputy Program Manager, FMS, at ASD's F-16 Systems Program Office, WPAFB, OH. There he was responsible for directing and executing projects and programs for acquisition by foreign countries of the F-16 weapon system, valued in excess of four billion dollars.

First arriving at the AFSAC in 1992, Mr. D’Allessandris served as Command Country Manager for the Saudi Arabian Programs. He was later promoted to Chief, Arabian Programs Branch, where he assisted in the development and execution of international agreements with numerous foreign customers in support of US national security. He supervised the Command Country Managers and their supporting staffs in providing "cradle-to-grave" support management for 11 countries, for weapon systems including the F-15, F-16, AWACS, C-130, including communication equipment and computer systems. The logistical support provided to these countries exceeded $1.5B in annual sales.

Mr. D'Allessandris left the AFSAC for a two-year assignment as Acquisition Support Leader in the Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC), WPAFB, OH. He was responsible for developing and establishing processes used by the Acquisition Program Managers in ASC to accomplish contractual, financial and technical aspects of programs throughout their designed phases of the acquisition cycle.

He returned to the AFSAC in 2003 serving first as Chief of Strategic Planning and then Director of Staff. Prior to his appointment as AFSAC/CS, Mr. D’Allessandris served as Director, 555th International Support Squadron, 555th, International Group. He was responsible for implementing and maintaining processes to ensure appropriate visibility, accountability and priority for all USAF FMS cases.

Expanding his professional experience to the field of education, Mr. D'Allessandris developed and team-taught a course, "The Politics of Homeland Security," while at Wright State University. The course is currently offered in both the Political Science Department and in the Applied Behavioral Science Master's Degree Program.



  • 2003 M.A., International Relations/ Comparative Politics Wright State University
  • 1985 B. S., Business Management Park College
  • 1983 A. S., Business Management Park College
  • 1983 A. A. S., Resource Management Community College of the Air Force


  • Defense Systems Management College, Advanced Program Management Course - 1995
  • Level III - International Affairs Professional
  • Level III - Program Management
  • Level I - Acquisition Logistics


  • 2008 – Present, CHIEF OF STAFF DIRECTOR - Air Force Security Assistance Center (AFSAC), WPAFB, OH
  • 2005 – 2008, DIRECTOR 555TH International Support Squadron, International Group, Air Force Security Assistance Center (AFSAC), WPAFB, OH
  • 2004 – 2005, DIRECTOR OF STAFF Air Force Security Assistance Center (AFSAC), WPAFB, OH
  • 2003 – 2004, CHIEF, STRATEGIC PLANNING Air Force Security Assistance Center (AFSAC), WPAFB, OH
  • 2001 – 2003, ACQUISITION SUPPORT LEADER Aeronautical Systems Center/AE, WPAFB, OH
  • 1989 - 1992, DEPUTY PROGRAM MANAGER, FOREIGN MILITARY SALES. (FMS) Aeronautical Systems Division (ASD) F-16 Systems Program Office (SPO) WPAFB, OH
  • 1986 - 1989, SENIOR LOGISTICIAN Information Systems and Networks Corporation, Dayton, OH
  • 1982 - 1986, FIRST SERGEANT, AERONAUTICAL SYSTEMS DIVISION Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, OH
  • 1978 - 1982, SUPERINTENDENT, TOXIC HAZARDS DIVISION Air Force Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory (AFAMRL), WPAFB, OH
  • 1975 - 1978, LABORATORY MANAGER USAF Hospital, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska
  • 1972 - 1975, SUPERVISOR, BIOCHEMISTRY BRANCH USAF Hospital, Chanute AFB, Illinois
  • 1966 - 1972, RF-4C AEROSPACE PHOTOGRAPHIC/ELECTRO OPTICAL REPAIRMAN 18th Armament and Electronics Maintenance Squadron, Kadena AFB, Japan 46th Tactical Fighter Squadron, McDill AFB, Florida 460th Avionics Maintenance Squadron, Tan Son Nhut, Republic of Vietnam 67th Avionics Maintenance Squadron, Bergstrom AFB, Texas


Meritorious Civilian Service Award - 2002
Performance Awards 1990 to present
Outstanding Graduate Student Award (WSU) - Applied Behavioral Science Program 2003

Morgan O'Brien (2008 Recipient)

'07 M.A. International and Comparative Politics

Morgan O'Brien joined the Master of Arts Program in International and Comparative Politics during September 2002, while the degree was still under the auspices of the Applied Behavioral Sciences (ABS) Program.thesis, "Religious Pluralism in Turkey and Mauritius," examined the interesting intersections of religion and politics in these two states, completing a study with broad comparative appeal.

Morgan currently serves for the Department of State as a public affairs officer in the Press and Public Diplomacy section of the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York.July 2007, he was an Air Force officer in the public affairs and personnel career included service in Dayton, Ohio; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Baghdad, Iraq; Doha, Qatar;Al Kharj, Saudi Arabia; Kigali, Rwanda and throughout the Gulf Coast during the Hurricane Katrina relief.stationed in Dayton, he was an assistant wrestling coach at Chaminade-Julienne Catholic High School.

Morgan is a 2001 graduate of the University of North Carolina, earning a degree in Russian Language and Political Science.with his wife, Jill, he now resides on his native Long Island.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What materials do I have to submit in my application packet?

    Please follow all guidelines established by the WSU Graduate School. 

    In addition to these requirements, the ICP program also requires a Statement of Purpose and a 500-word essay discussing a topic in international relations or comparative politics that interests you. After your application is submitted, you will also be asked to set up an admissions interview to complete the process.

  • Why do I have to write an essay?

    This writing sample is one of the most important aspects of your application materials and provides the admissions committee a good sense of both your interests and your abilities. You should treat this essay as a piece of academic writing and use some of the best sources available on your topic of interest. While no one will count every word in your essay, please try to keep it within approximately 500 words. The topic of the essay is less important than the quality of the text.

  • What is the admissions interview?

    The program director meets with each applicant (preferably in person, although telephone interviews may be arranged when necessary) after the student’s complete application has been received. This provides an opportunity for both the program director and the applicant to address any remaining questions about the program and application process, and to discuss the application materials in more depth prior to the meeting of the ICP Admissions Committee.

  • Do I have to take the GRE or any other admissions tests?

    The ICP program does not require the submission of any admission scores, including the GRE or other such exams.

  • Who should compose the letters of recommendation?

    The ICP program requires three letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to your academic and intellectual skills. Preferably, these letters should be written by faculty members who know your academic work. For students who have been away from their college or university for a number of years, it is acceptable to submit letters of recommendation from supervisors who are able to address the potential of the applicant. Seek your letter writers in a strategic fashion so that the combined package of letters can address your range of skills and abilities.

  • What is the “priority deadline”?

    Each year, the program posts a priority deadline of the March 1. Students who have submitted a complete application packet to the Graduate School by March 1 will receive first consideration for the next academic year. The priority deadline is also the deadline for students to submit applications for graduate assistantships and scholarship support (these applications should be sent directly to the ICP program office in the Department of Political Science).

  • Can I apply after the priority deadline in March?

    Students can request consideration after the priority deadline, but their chances of receiving an outright offer of admission are diminished after this date. The best applications received after the priority deadline are often placed on the waitlist, and students will be notified if a position opens up for them.

  • How many applicants are admitted to the ICP program each Fall?

    Each year, depending on resource and faculty availability, the admission committee aims to admit between 10–15 new students as part of the incoming cohort.

  • Can I begin the program in Spring semester?

    The ICP program only admits students to begin the program during Fall Semester, when two of the core seminars are offered. Exceptions can be made for cases in which a student has been accepted for Fall Semester and would like to participate in an education abroad experience the summer prior to beginning the program.

  • Can I receive credit for study abroad?

    As a program that focuses on international relations and comparative politics, we strongly encourage students to take advantage of academic programs in countries around the world, either sponsored directly by Wright State University (“Ambassador Programs”), or through one of our consortia of education abroad programs. Please meet with your thesis chairperson or the ICP Program Director to confirm the applicability of individual programs to your program of study, and consult the University Center for International Education for current opportunities.

  • Where can I find out more information related to study abroad opportunities?

    Stop by the University Center for International Education (UCIE), in E 190 Student Union, for more information on Study Abroad Programs.  You can also set up an appointment to meet with Ms. Megan Trickler at (937) 775-5745. Watch for brown bag presentations and other programs offered by this office!

  • How long will it take me to complete my M.A. degree?

    Students who take 3 courses per semester can usually complete the required coursework in one to one and a half academic years. After the required coursework is completed, students begin working on their master’s thesis or master’s project. While it is quite difficult to predict how long it will take each individual student to complete the thesis or project, in practice, it takes at least 9-12 months of full-time writing on the thesis, after the defense of the thesis proposal, to complete, review and revise (in consultation with the faculty committee), a quality thesis.

  • Can I participate in internships?

    The real-world experiences that are fostered through internships – both in the United States and abroad – are superb preparation for a variety of careers in international affairs. Students in the ICP program have pursued a variety of internships, in England, Costa Rica, Japan, and throughout the United States. We definitely encourage these experiences, and work closely with WSU’s Office of Career Services to promote these opportunities.

  • What opportunities are there for assistantships and scholarships?

    A limited amount of student scholarships and assistantships are available for ICP students. Visit the Graduate Assistantships and Scholarships webpage for more information.

  • I already speak multiple languages – will I have to study another new language for this degree?

    Students who believe they have achieved the required level of proficiency in a modern language will need to demonstrate that proficiency in order to receive a waiver from the methodological requirement of the degree. In these cases, such students will be strongly encouraged to continue advanced study of modern language (when applicable), or to enroll in the quantitative analysis option of the methodological component of the degree.

  • Can I take courses outside of the Department of Political Science?

    Many of the topics and issues of importance in international relations and comparative politics straddle the lines of academic boundaries that universities establish. Therefore, we strongly encourage students to pursue related coursework in departments outside of Political Science, and as a policy, students can include two approved courses from other departments as part of their formal program of study. ICP students also have the option to pursue a dual degree with ICP and the Master of Public Administration program, as discussed below.

  • What languages can I study at Wright State University?

    Currently, Wright State University regularly offers upper-level classes in the following languages:  Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. For more information, please contact the Department of Modern Languages at (937) 775-2641.

  • Can I join this program and continue to work full-time?

    We have a number of students who participate in our M.A. program while maintaining a full-time work position outside of the university. While this can present some challenges during the busiest semesters of the graduate program (especially the first semester of study), a number of students have found creative ways to manage their time and believed that their graduate study enhanced work in a related career.

  • Can I combine this M.A. degree with any other degree programs at Wright State?

    Students are able to combine their M.A. work in the International and Comparative Politics program with additional coursework in other graduate programs on campus. Some students complete two M.A. degrees at one time. We also offer a formal dual degree option with the M.A. Program in ICP and the Master of Public Administration Program, the MPA. Students who are interested in this dual degree will need to apply separately to both degree programs. After acceptance into both programs, the program directors will arrange for a joint meeting with the student in order to map out the program of study for the student. At that point, the dual degree student will need to designate with one of the programs, either the ICP MA or the MPA degree will be primary, and which will be secondary. This designation will determine which methodological requirements the student will take, and will detail the number of required electives in each program. For more information on the MPA program, please call (937) 775-3867, or visit the MPA website.

    We also work closely with the Women’s Studies program, and have had a number of students pursue the Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies while completing their M.A. degree. For more information on these options, please call (937) 775-4818, or visit the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies website.

    Students who are considering work within the NGO and nonprofit sector should consider the Nonprofit Administration and Leadership Certificate, offered through the WSU Department of Urban Affairs and Geography. For more information, please call (937) 775-3650 or visit the Non-Profit Administration Certificate page.

    Another program of interest to many ICP students in the program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), offered through WSU’s Department of English Language and Literatures. A number of ICP students have earned the Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) through their participation in an intensive summer certificate program. For more information, please call (937) 775-2268 or visit the TESOL Concentration page.


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