Global Security Program Concentration

The Global Security concentration introduces International Relations Online students to the causes and dynamics of peace and security to prepare them for roles in preventing, managing, and resolving conflict. Students will grapple with issues such as grand strategy, alliance formation, defense planning, civil-military relations, and war termination as well as conflict interventions that mitigate violence and prevent escalation.

Sample Learning Outcomes 

Upon completion of this concentration, students will have met a number of learning objectives, including the ability to:

  • Understand core theories, paradigms, concepts, and debates about the causes and dynamics of conflict at the intrastate, interstate, regional, and global levels of analysis.
  • Recognize and analyze the degree to which state policy is a result of rational choice versus biases that arise from bureaucratic, psychological, partisan, and/or ideological influences.
  • Analyze how different understandings of peace and security inform policy choices and ways of thinking about patterns of conflict.
  • Interpret and evaluate the causes of conflict, violence, and war in order to develop policies, programs, and forums that prevent, manage, or resolve violent conflict.
  • Identify the range of conflict-prevention activities and their place on the spectrum of conflict.

Watch a sample of the course content from this concentration.

 

Specialized Courses 

In addition to core courses, students who select the Global Security concentration will take the following courses:

Causes of War

What factors and conditions explain patterns of peace and conflict in a global system of political, social, and economic actors competing for power, influence, and advantage? To answer this question, this course introduces core concepts, paradigms, and seminal debates from broadly defined security studies. Students will establish a foundation for investigating the causes and dynamics of conflict at the interstate, regional, and global levels of analysis. By integrating theory and practice, students can contextualize and assess the strategies actors employ to advance their interests as well as the underlying structural and configurational constraints shaping how these actors make decisions.

Security From Inside the State

How do politics, organizations, and policy processes inside states create conditions for peace and conflict? To what extent do regime type, the perceptions of leaders, and past history influence a state’s security goals in the international system? In this course, students will answer these questions by understanding and applying core concepts from security studies, domestic politics, and foreign policy. In other words, this course uses characteristics from inside a state as a tool for understanding security relations between states and their abilities to identify, prevent, and resolve conflict.

Conflict Assessment and Prevention

Some see international conflicts and crises as essential events, the outcomes of which determine subsequent geopolitical arrangements. However, the humanitarian and other costs of such conflicts have helped give rise to the concepts and operations of conflict prevention. In order to better prevent conflict, experts have developed methods of assessing its likelihood, causes, and dynamics.

This course explores the methods and challenges of preventing the outbreak of armed conflict. Students survey contemporary approaches to the assessment of conflict: Conflict assessment frameworks used by different organizations incorporate a variety of theoretical assumptions and empirical tools in order to gain a better understanding of the causes of violent conflict. The course also explores challenges of predicting the outbreak of conflict through the exploration of the early warning concepts and instruments, and it examines the challenge of moving from early warning to preventive action. Students also consider cases of successful and unsuccessful prevention as practiced by national governments, NGOs, civil society organizations, the United Nations, and regional political organizations.

 

Careers in Global Security

The Global Security concentration prepares MAIR students to apply the skills they learn—including research, communication, assessment/evaluation, and quantitative analysis—in think tanks, nonprofits, consulting firms, international organizations, and government agencies. Potential career paths include positions as consultants, analysts, administrators, teachers, program/project managers, and others.

Students may work within the field of global security in areas such as:

  • Conflict resolution
  • Foreign policy
  • Security and intelligence
  • Energy and environmental sustainability
  • Education and research

The School of International Service also offers offers the following programs from International Relations Online: Master's in International Relations, Executive Master of International Service, and Social Enterprise Master's, as well as an on-campus Global Governance, Politics, and Security Master’s Degree Program in Washington, D.C.