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Global Governance, Politics, and Security

Global Governance, Politics, & Security Program

Program Overview

Our students have a passion for international service and enter our program plugged into global networks and a wealth of information, ideas and innovations. The Global Governance, Politics and Security Program (GGPS) at American University’s School of International Service (SIS) leverages these strengths by grounding them in job-ready skills and a deep knowledge of global history and the diverse political and economic systems that have defined and are redefining global governance and security. The GGPS curriculum combines specialized knowledge with professional experience and the methodological training necessary to turn their individual passions into rigorous analysis in the service of practical action and a meaningful career.

All GGPS students take two core courses surveying the history, theory and practice of global politics to understand the analytical big picture before delving into their chosen field of expertise. Our History of Global Politics arms students with an appreciation for the political, institutional and economic forces that have shaped the past and present security landscape and regional and global governance arrangements. In Global International Relations Theory, students learn the central analytical concepts and lenses through which policymakers understand contemporary developments in international affairs. They also review the state of knowledge on fundamental issues such as the causes of international cooperation and conflict, the influence of ideas and institutions, the role of non-state actors, the impact of technological change, the effects of regionalism and globalization, the evolving nature of military and economic power and changing conceptions of identities and interests.

These foundational courses prepare students to pursue a specialization in the field of global governance or global security. Students begin their specialization by taking either Foundations in Global Governance or Foundations in Global Security. Foundations of Global Security examines the theory and practice of security from the use of coercive force in statecraft to sources of conflict and political violence to military strategy to non-traditional security threats like cyber-security, terrorism and transnational organized crime. In Foundations of Global Governance, students are exposed to the different governing arrangements, from treaties and formal organizations to informal practices, at the regional and global level that governments and non-governmental actors use to address collective problems related to human rights, security, energy and the environment, public health, economic development and international markets.


Concentration in Global Governance or Security

While core courses provide the analytical ‘big picture’ and help students find the right concentration, it is the coursework in their field of concentration that gives them a long-term advantage in their career. GGPS students hone their expertise in Global Governance or Global Security by selecting courses from an extensive list of electives and approved concentration courses. Many of these courses are offered by GGPS-affiliated faculty such as David Bosco who has authored two widely-acclaimed books on global governance and Boaz Atzili, one of the country’s leading experts on border stability and violent conflict. Other courses are taught by faculty from other SIS programs, many of whom are established practitioners or prominent researchers in fields such as regional studies, human rights, peace and conflict resolution, U.S. foreign policy, corporate social responsibility, global environmental politics and international communication. Drawing from these possible courses, our students develop an individualized curriculum that meets their personal passions and professional and intellectual needs. While some students prefer to become well-rounded global security or governance specialists, others have sought to tailor their concentration by seeking out courses on, to give just a few examples, human rights governance, regional governance in Asia, transnational crime and security and development.


Job-Ready Skills

To ensure all students have job-ready skills, the GGPS program also insists students gain language training, professional experience and job-ready skills to turn specialized knowledge into practical action. This insistence makes our students stand out in job interviews and have immediate impact in their organization. Students have the opportunity to participate in skills institutes and our signature practicum as part of their program of study. Skills Institutes are intensive weekend workshops that provide students with hands-on experiential learning in topics such as diplomatic tradecraft, international project management, grant writing and proposal development. Distinguished scholar-practitioners and professionals in the field design these workshops and provide GGPS students with skills they can highlight on their resume and call on in their future work.

The practica program at SIS is designed to give second-year students real world experience in project management and consulting. Students who choose this option work in teams to support the work of actual clients such as U.S. and international government agencies, non-profit organizations and businesses conducting policy and program analysis. Students draw on their substantial research, as well as qualitative and quantitative skills, to prepare final oral and written analysis and recommendations. Other students choose to develop their research skills by working with a faculty member to design and implement a project as their ‘Substantial Research Paper’ or Master’s Thesis. Regardless of which professional development option a student pursues, all students can access the myriad career services offered by SIS to make contacts, get internships and ultimately start a successful career. Indeed, career and alumni services can help students take advantage of an extensive SIS alumni network in addition to the networking opportunities afforded by the program’s Washington, DC location.

We believe that GGPS students are defined by both their breadth and depth of knowledge and their professional training. These qualities make them well equipped to thrive in global governance and security where complex problems will require innovative and practical solutions grounded in an understanding of global history and political and economic systems.

Please visit our website for more information. Our Director and Program Coordinator would be pleased to answer any additional questions you may have about our innovative program.

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