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Defense, Diplomacy, and Meeting Tomorrow's Threats Today

The SIS Department of Foreign Policy and Global Security (FPGS) produces new knowledge on international policy and security challenges and trains the next generation of leaders to navigate those challenges effectively. We are a multidisciplinary hub for research and teaching, comprised of a diverse group of renowned scholars and practitioners. In our community, we examine the policies of the United States, other countries, and global and transnational actors, as well as the determinants of security at all levels, from sub-national to global. We are particularly proud of our focus on emerging security challenges, such as cyber threats and disinformation.

Our expertise also spans all areas of foreign policy practice, including diplomacy, defense, economic statecraft, foreign aid, and intelligence. In our classes and research, as well as through our events with prominent speakers, we advance understanding of modalities of international cooperation and geopolitical competition as well as the dynamics of peace, war, conflict, and political violence.

Dr. Eric Novotny Honored with Life-time Achievement Award

Dr. Eric Novotny receives life-time achievement award from SIS, along with the Washington College of Law and the Atlantic Council, for his profound impact on cyber policy and education. Watch this tribute video to hear about Dr. Novotny's lasting impact on the lives of students, alumni, faculty, and peers. 

Dr. Eric Novotny receives life-time achievement award from SIS, along with the Washington College of Law and the Atlantic Council, for his profound impact on cyber policy and education.  

Eric's legacy and influence are foundational now just to SIS but to the cyber world. His insights have shaped legislation and regulation around the globe as well as here in Washington, D.C. Whether collaborating with researchers or advising private sector and government decision makers, he has been a champion for evidence-based policy that emphasizes rigorous research and analysis.  

Eric taught at the School of International Service almost continuously from 1986 until 2022. Eric worked alongside AU colleagues with the Internet Governance Lab as well as with the Washington College of Law Technology, Law and Security Program, and the Atlantic Council’s Cyberstatecraft Initiative to make cyber a core part of SIS’s future. Eric believes that it’s not enough for students just to learn about cyber threats and the policies to counter them. That was not what the world needs; what is needed is ethical, well-rounded analysts with a holistic understanding of privacy issues, of governance issues, of strategy and of geopolitical context. These students know analytical methods and how to champion evidence-based decision making.    

Supporting careers in foreign policy: number 1

in the US for Boren Fellows and currently home to 13 fellows from the Rangel and Pickering programs.

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Our Programs

The undergraduate thematic area and graduate programs in the Department of Foreign Policy and Global Security focus on national policies, global and transnational actors, and security at all levels, including emerging security challenges such as cyber threats and disinformation.

Master's degrees

International Affairs Policy and Analysis (IAPA) provides students with the skills they need to tackle the international and foreign policy problems that they care about. This program blends the analytical rigor of traditional international affairs with a consolidated set of hard policy and management skills. As such, the curriculum offers significant flexibility. Students self-design a specialization drawing from courses across subfields of international affairs and select a Professional Competency Track composed of skills-based courses.

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The United States Foreign Policy and National Security program presents courses on defense policy; intelligence; the formulation and implementation of foreign policy; and the social, political, economic, strategic, and historical underpinnings of U.S. foreign policy. It is a rigorous course of study that combines considerable programmatic flexibility with the benefits of specialization in a concentration you select.

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International Studies Track

The international studies track is designed for you if you are currently enrolled or have recently completed a master's-level program in international affairs or a related field at a partner institution. You’ll benefit from cross-continental academic experiences that augment your educational and personal development. Graduates from the program are conferred a dual degree from SIS and the partner institution. 

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Undergraduate thematic area

The Foreign Policy and National Security Thematic Area features course offerings on U.S. foreign policy, war and diplomacy, and both national and global security concerns. The gateway course for this Thematic Area is Analysis of U.S. Foreign Policy (SISU 230), which aims to provide students with an understanding of broad historical trends and traditions in U.S. foreign policy; the ability to assess the main theoretical perspectives relevant to the field of U.S. foreign policy; the ability to identify the key actors, institutions, and political processes involved in the making of U.S. foreign policy; the capacity to analyze selected contemporary policy issues; and an opportunity to demonstrate research, analytical, writing, and presentation skills.

Gateway Course

SISU 230 Analysis of U.S. Foreign Policy (multiple sections available)

Thematic Area Courses

*Course offerings vary by semester. Alternative and/or additional options may be available.

  • SISU 318 The "Revisionists": Chinese and Russian Politics and Foreign Policy
  • SISU 330 Intelligence and National Security
  • SISU 330 Negotiating Global Challenges
  • SISU 330 Mexico and North America
  • SISU 330 Technology and War
  • SISU 330 U.S. Grand Strategy
  • SISU 330 Endogenous Forces in the Formation of American Foreign Policy
  • SISU 330 Critical Diplomacy