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Certificate in International Studies

  • Campus: Washington DC
  • Program Duration: Accelerated; One Semester | Part-Time is available

Contact Us

Office of Non-Degree Programs 
555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
+1 (202) 663-5671 
[email protected]

Program Overview

The Certificate in International Studies allows you to design your own curriculum to either focus your studies in a particular policy area, region of the world or experience a broader overview of international relations

Program Duration

You will have the option to complete the four-course certificate either full-time or part-time. Accelerated certificate students enroll full-time in the fall or spring and complete all four courses in one semester. Part-time certificate students can enroll in the fall, spring, or summer term and can complete the four courses in any time frame.


  • Theories of International Relations
  • 3 electives from any area of study in the course catalog (excluding language courses)

Featured Courses

Gain expertise in foreign policy, conflict resolution, human rights, energy policy, strategy, or regional studies.


Theories of International Relations

This course surveys a variety of broad theoretical approaches to analyzing the international political and economic situation. You will examine approaches to the study of power, ideology, state interests, peace and war, international law, and equilibrium.

The course will present a critique of liberal, conservative and Marxist conceptions of international politics; and introduces grand theory, political and economic interpretations of systems structure and the values that shape perspectives in international politics.


Climate Change: Science, Economics and Politics

The purpose of this course is to explore solutions to a class of new and urgent global threats associated with climate change and its impact on the “iron triangle” of energy, water, and food security.

The course will also focus on the new nexus of climate change, physical infrastructure, global security, global financial and economic stability, and resilient and sustainable economic development. The course will be based on the best current scientific understanding of the ways in which economically important activities affect the physical and chemical properties of the atmosphere. It will assess the ways in which global warming due to the atmospheric buildup of greenhouse gases may affect agriculture, forestry, fisheries, human health, urbanization, and coastal zone development. Our discussions will highlight the ways in which global warming may exacerbate intra- and inter-regional tensions; inflame economic and geopolitical rivalries; and complicate the challenges associated with achieving the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals. We will examine how strategies to catalyze new public-private investment partnerships and to enhance inter-regional and international cooperation could increase resilience, adaptive capacity and security. Finally, we will assess the role of sustainable and resilient infrastructure investments in assuring the inclusive and equitable economic growth of nations in the face of the dynamic and multi-dimensional challenges that already confront the international community.


International and Comparative Political Economy of Developing Countries

The main aim of the course is the study of the main international and domestic factors behind the economic and political development and under-development of the countries in the world that are not identified or categorized as ‘advanced’ or ‘mature’ capitalist economies.

While the focus of the course is on countries that are not considered rich or developed (most countries in the regions of Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East), we will refer to and use material throughout the course that also covers the rich countries and emerging market ones inasmuch as: 1) they were once underdeveloped or have developed recently, and this experience sheds light on those that have not managed to develop or ‘catch up’; and 2) their own growth and development has been in many cases a cause why others have remained undeveloped (i.e. colonialism, imperialism, dependency). The main analytical tools for the study of the international component come from concepts, theories, case studies, and data from the sub-field of International Political Economy (IPE). In turn, the main tools for the study of the domestic component of developing countries come from the sub-field of Comparative Political Economy (CPE). Hence, the course identifies key overlapping international and domestic factors that have led some countries to be poorer, less developed and more vulnerable than the advanced or mature capitalist ones.


The Human Face of Battle

This course examines the experience of war from the viewpoint of the frontline soldier, sailor, airman or Marine. The course will seek to understand what makes young men and women both fight and protect their comrades in the face of grave risks to personal survival, and look at how policy decisions made safely in national capitals translate into deadly combat tasks for young men and women in combat under fire.

The class use works of fiction and nonfiction in literature and film to reflect on the enduring nature of war throughout modern history. Understanding what our societies ask of soldiers in battle is essential for future policymakers to make responsible decisions on how and when to use military force.

Featured Faculty

Study with world-class experts who are renowned for their scholarship, influence, and networks.

Francisco González

Associate Professor of International Political Economy and Latin American Politics

Marsha Olive

Adjunct Lecturer

Adam Szubin

Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence

Advance Your Career

As a certificate student, you will have access to Global Career services including career fairs, professional skills courses and the Handshake platform to view and apply to job postings from employers recruiting at John Hopkins SAIS. Accelerated certificate students also gain access to career coaching.

  • Amazon
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Embassy of Greece
  • Embassy of Indonesia
  • Embassy of Norway
  • Ernst and Young
  • Gartner
  • The Federal Reserve
  • Inter-American Development Bank
  • McKinsey and Company
  • National Geographic
  • Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • S&P Global
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • State Department
  • United States Marine Corps
  • United States Navy
  • World Bank Group

Build Your Network

Strengthen and build the skills and network needed to work effectively in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors of international affairs.

Johns Hopkins SAIS students on an energy trek

Certificate students can take part in career treks and experiential learning opportunities to grow your network both inside and outside the classroom.

Johns Hopkins SAIS students outside the State Department

The school's strategic location provides students with invaluable networking opportunities.

photo of Nathanael

Enriching Professional Experiences with Academic Insights

"Gaining the skillset to actively analyze the reports, projects and institutions that I am a part of at the Board has been incredibly rewarding and has made me a better researcher in my professional role."

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A Valuable and Flexible Opportunity to Gain Expertise in International Relations

"Due to the flexibility of the certificate program, I have been able to easily manage a full-time career and my studies."

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Program Information

Learn more about the requirements to complete the Certificate in International Studies and visa sponsorship for international students.


There is one required course: Theories of International Relations. The other three courses can be taken from any area of study in the course catalog (excluding Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and language courses).

Learn More

Visas for Non-US Applicants

The school is able to sponsor F-1 visas for international applicants enrolling in the accelerated certificate program in the fall or spring term or enrolling full-time in the summer term, which is the equivalent of two classes.