U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security Program Concentration

The United States Foreign Policy and National Security concentration prepares International Relations Online students for careers in the areas of foreign and national security policy. Courses focus on the formulation and implementation of foreign policy; defense, intelligence, and national security; and the economic, historical, political, social, and strategic underpinnings of United States foreign policy.

Sample Learning Outcomes 

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

  • Understand the approaches to understanding U.S. foreign and national security policy making.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the major institutions and policy processes involved in making U.S. foreign and national security.
  • Understand theories, paradigms, and debates about the relationship between dynamics internal to a state and that state’s foreign and security policies.
  • Leverage theories and concepts from global security, domestic politics, and policy analysis to understand, influence, and predict state behavior.
  • Understand the historical context of United States foreign policy and how different interests shaped American foreign policy.

Watch a sample of the course content from this concentration.

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Specialized Courses

In addition to core courses, students who select the U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security concentration will take the following courses:

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.

The Making of United States Foreign Policy: Institutions and Processes

This course introduces the institutions and processes involved in making U.S. foreign, defense, and intelligence policy. The course provides a brief overview of the foreign and national security challenges facing the United States and focuses on the institutions, decision-making processes, and politics of U.S. foreign and national security policy making. Students will study the State and Defense departments, the intelligence community, the White House, interagency processes, Congress, and outside participants in the policy process.

The United States as a World Power Since 1898

The United States as a World Power Since 1898 introduces the history of U.S. foreign relations in the 20th century and beyond. Students taking this course will assess continuity and change in U.S. foreign relations as well as how ideas of racial superiority, economic factors, geography, and non-state actors influenced U.S. foreign relations in these years.

Careers in U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security

The U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security concentration prepares 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, officers, administrators, teachers, program/project managers, and others.

Students may work within this field in areas such as:

  • Foreign policy making
  • Security and intelligence
  • Department of State work
  • Education, advocacy, and research

The School of International Service also offers the following programs from International Relations Online: Master’s in International Relations and International Service for Experienced Professionals, as well as an on-campus master’s degree, the International Development Program, in Washington, D.C.

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