The Master in International Affairs is composed of a number of different courses, including introduction courses, courses linked to the specialization tracks, Free Electives, professional skills courses, and a thesis:

Introduction Core Courses


Global Governance


Nico Krisch - Thomas Biersteker

This course provides an introduction to the structures, actors and processes that drive global governance. It provides an historical context for international governance by tracing earlier attempts at global cooperation. The course analyses different contemporary fora of regulation, ranging from formal international institutions and courts, to transnational governance networks and multi-stakeholder initiatives. It explores the ways in which these fora establish and maintain authority, their varying relations with governments and transnational actors, and the challenges they face from competing institutions, political mobilization and domestic political processes, as well as litigation. The course also focuses on questions of accountability and legitimacy at a time when international governance is increasingly subject to contestation and critique due to its growing impact.


International Policy Analysis


David Sylvan

This course offers a survey of the major issues in the choice, execution, and assessment of public policy in international relations. Topics covered include the range, nature, actors, and stakeholders of particular types of policy organizations (state agencies, multi-state entities, nongovernmental organizations); issues connected with planning, the recommendation process, decision heuristics, and voting schemes); the implementation of policies and the command and control thereof (e.g. via personnel rules and/or budget allocations); and criteria (range of participation, costs, metrics of effectiveness) by which policies are assessed and either continued or recast.


Gender and International Affairs


Lisa Prügl

This course introduces students to major theories and themes pertaining to gender and international affairs. It begins by outlining the basics of gender theory and its intersections with post-colonial, critical race and masculinity studies.  It then explores a number of topics in more detail, including gender and global inequality, gender violence, masculinity and war, sex trafficking, reproductive rights, and gender mainstreaming in international organizations. Historical and contemporary case studies will be drawn upon from around the world.  


Power and Bureaucracy



This course provides an overview of formal and informal organizational structures and practices, as well as discussions on the behaviour of individuals and groups in these settings. Based on the Weberian analysis of bureaucracy, power, authority and legitimacy, topics covered in this course will cover a wide range of areas, including leadership, motivation, team dynamics, internal politics, hierarchy, control and coordination, rewards and incentives, routines, practices, culture, and identity.  


Introductory Method Courses

Quantitative Methods



This course is an introduction to statistical methods intended for students in the Master in International Affairs and Master in Development Studies programmes. The course will focus on applications of core statistical ideas to real-world problems, including random variables, probability distributions, estimation and hypothesis testing. After taking this course, students will develop a deeper understanding of fundamental statistical concepts commonly used in international policy contexts. They will be able to apply these concepts to exercises and master the implementation of a number of important statistical tools on a computer using specific software.


Qualitative Methods



This course aims to equip students with an understanding of qualitative approaches together with the practical skills to design, develop and evaluate these methods in interdisciplinary contexts. It introduces students to the foundations of qualitative research methods and a range of tools for undertaking and assessing qualitative research analysis and findings in development studies and applied settings.


Specialization Tracks

Please visit our separate page on the Specialization Tracks.


Free Electives

Please visit us soon for a list of Free Electives offers in 2017-2018. For the Free Electives of 2016-2017, please visit the Course Catalogue.



Please read the Guidelines for Master Dissertations for more information about the thesis.