Curriculum

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The Master in International Affairs is an intensive two-year programme that offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of global governance and provides students with a sound understanding of the actors, policies and processes that are shaping international affairs today.

The programme combines training in quantitative and qualitative research methods with courses that offer perspectives from the Institute’s core disciplines, including Anthropology, Sociology, History, Law, Political Science and Political Economy.

The programme also includes applied research seminars or capstone projects where students work with one of the Graduate Institute’s partner organizations, as well as skills workshops that provide them with the professional tools necessary for effective analysis and ethical decision-making.

If you are currently studying at the Graduate Institute, check the 2016-2017 Course Catalogue


In the fall of 2017, the Graduate Institute will introduce a new Master in International Affairs.

This new programme is comprised of introduction courses, major and minor specialization tracks, free electives, courses aimed at developing professional skills - including workshops, a capstone project, and an internship - as well as a thesis.

To earn a Master in International Affairs, students must complete a total of 120 credits over four semesters.

In the first and second semesters, students complete a total of 30 credits of compulsory introduction courses.

Before the second semester, they will choose a major and minor out of three specialization tracks: Global Security, Trade & International Finance or Environment, Resources & Sustainability. In the major, students have to take one core course and 18 credits worth of electives, while in the minor, students have to take the core course and 12 credits worth of electives.

 

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The Master in International Affairs is an ambitious study programme composed of a number of courses, seminars, workshops and a thesis. The curriculum consists of the following courses.

 

  1. Core Introductory Courses

    Introduction courses are compuslory and include two method courses (one on quantitative and one of qualitative research methods), one course on Global Governance, and two-out-of-three introduction courses on International Policy Analysis, Power and Bureaucracy, and Gender and International Affairs. These courses lay the groundwork in terms of concepts, theories and methods that are the basis for the subsequent specializations. They are to be completed during the first and second semesters and account for six credits each – 30 in total.
  2. Specialization Track Courses

    Starting in their second semester, students choose among three specialization tracks, which include Global Security, Trade & International Finance, and Environment, Resources & Sustainability. The last track is offered in both the Master in International Affairs and the Master in Development programmes, which reflects the Graduate Institute’s unique resources in these areas. The specialization tracks consist of a core course and a number of disciplinary and interdisciplinary electives specific to the track. Students must achieve 24 credits in the major and 12 credits in the minor.
  3. Free Electives

    Students are also required to take courses from a broad range of free electives, which are either specific to one of the subject areas taught in the interdisciplinary Master programmes or are offered by the five disciplinary departments. Students must achieve a total of 6 credits worth of free electives.
  4. Professional Skills

    The courses aimed at developing professional skills consist of workshopsan internship and a capstone project. The skills workshops are highly interactive modules that put students into real-life decision-making, crisis management and negotiation situations. This experience provides them with the critical practical and professional tools to become effective decision-makers. Each skills workshop accounts for three credits.  

    The capstone projects are applied research seminars that will enable students to work closely with one of the partner institutions of the Graduate Institute and expose them to real-world development issues, while enabling them to build networks within International Geneva. The duration of the capstone projects extends over the second and third semesters, and they are completed in the fall semester of the second year. They account for nine credits.  

    Students also have the opportunity to complete an internship in between the second and third semesters, working with an institution or company whose mission and activities are relevant to the curriculum. Students must work at least 100 hours and submit a final report at the end of the internship. The internship will appear on the transcript of results and replace one three-credit elective class.
  5. Thesis

    The Master thesis is a piece of independent and original research carried under faculty supervision. Students are expected to demonstrate command of the literature related to their research question, as well as of the relevant theories, concepts and methods. The thesis is the culmination of the two-year Master in International Affairs programme and can be of use in students' forthcoming academic and/or professional activities.