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Global Theory and History

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Global Theory and History
Starr Lee, Senior Academic Program Coordinator
1740 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Suite 503
Washington, DC 20036
+1 (202) 663-5714


Examine the intersection of political economy, culture, diplomacy, and military strategy to understand changes in the foreign policy of nations through the Global Theory and History programming. Gain the historical context to understand modern themes of statecraft including great power competition, nuclear deterrence, shifting alliances, globalism, and cooperation.

Become an Expert

Investigate the most complex problems in statecraft using case studies, data sets, and lively debate of strategic decisions that changed the course of history. Combining quantitative and qualitative methods, you will develop practical skills to inform both the design and analysis of policy. Conduct research for a capstone paper or undertake an internship experience.


Featured Courses

Gain a holistic understanding of world politics and the skills to identify the big questions that have challenged the diplomat and policy-maker since the origin of the modern state system.


News Media and International Affairs

This course examines the relationship between various media, traditional print and broadcast as well as new electronic and social media, on the conduct of international relations.

Students will enhance their understanding of how governments respond to and deal with an ever-changing media world. From each historical experience, whether the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-80, Somalia in 1992-93 or current developments in the Middle East and Asia, practitioners in both journalism and government try to draw lessons. The seminar will include full-ranging discussions, based on course readings and led by the professor as well as guest lecturers in media and government.


Democracy in Crisis

Around the world, from Italy to Brazil, and from Hungary to the United States, populist candidates are fundamentally changing the political landscape.

In this course, students examine the nature of populism; investigate whether populism poses an existential threat to liberal democracy; explore the causes of the populist rise; investigate the ways in which populism is a response to demographic change; and discuss what strategies might allow non-populist political actors to push back.


SAIS Women Lead Practicum

Gain real-world experience through projects that advance women and contribute solutions to issues of global importance.

The practicum will provide you the opportunity to partner with public, private, and non-governmental organizations and gain professional experience through projects that advance women and contribute solutions to issues of global importance. You will work on a team with other students and an external client to produce reports, policies or programs. You will also be expected to participate in a research assignment during Winter Break (travel may be required). Upon your return, your team will proceed to analyze, interpret, and present results of findings to the school's community and clients.


Psychology and Decision-Making in Foreign Policy

This course examines humans’ cognitive biases and other dynamics that produce often surprising, suboptimal outcomes in international politics.

A major purpose of the course is to think broadly about ways in which these approaches can help inform theoretical work done by political scientists and policy analysts to provide more nuanced understandings of otherwise confounding cases of foreign policy-decision-making.

Learn From the Best

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

Charles Doran

Andrew W. Mellon Professor of International Relations, Director of Global Theory and History, Director of Canadian Studies, Director of International Political Economy

Lisel Hintz

Assistant Professor of International Relations and European Studies

Mark Gilbert

Professor of History and International Studies

Matthias Matthijs

Associate Professor of International Political Economy

In the News

Geopolitics, sport, soft power: Soccer and the Arab Gulf.

David Ellwood wrote for USC Center on Public Diplomacy’s CPD Blog, 6/23

Divide, beat, and rule: Trump, Erdogan, and mass protest.

Lisel Hintz cited in Middle East Online, 6/11

The Brexit car crash: Using E.H. Carr’s “What is History?” to explain the result.

Justin Frosini and Mark Gilbert wrote for London School of Economics, 6/4

COVID-19 and national responses, part 1 of 2: Asia and Europe.

Kent E. Calder and Matthias Matthijs cited in MultiBriefs, 6/3

Makes sense to draw Turkey-U.S. parallels today.

Lisel Hintz interviewed on Ahval podcast, 6/2

A new approach to social sciences, humanities in a time of crisis

Nina Hall wrote in University World News, 5/7

Rising U.K. death toll from coronavirus draws scrutiny

Matthias Matthijs quoted in The Wall Street Journal, 4/30

Advance Your Career

Gain the intellectual framework and analytic skills necessary to enter a variety of roles across the public, private, multilateral, and nonprofit sectors.

Advance Your Career

Recent Internships

  • Africa Center For Strategic Studies
  • American Chamber of Commerce, Shanghai
  • Ministry of External Affairs, India
  • UN Women
  • US Department of Commerce
  • World Bank Group

Recent Employers

  • Apple Inc.
  • Foreign Policy
  • Gartner
  • International Monetary Fund
  • Ipsos
  • McKinsey & Company
  • Permanent Indian Mission to the United Nations

Build Your Network

Join a diverse, accomplished, influential community of scholars, practitioners, alumni, and students working across sectors in 140 countries around the world.

Johns Hopkins SAIS students in front of Lincoln Memorial

The school's strategic locations provide students with invaluable networking opportunities.

Johns Hopkins SAIS students

Students experience hands-on learning through study trips, internships, and a range of practicums in which they help a client solve real-world problems.

Developing Expertise Through Global Theory and History

Miller wanted to continue his studies focused on international relations after studying international relations theory at the London School of Economics (LSE).

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Finding Solutions in a Complex World

"As an advocate for gender equality, I was able to weave the theme of Gender Studies into my graduate work without being confined to a strict set of courses or disciplines."

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Check back soon for upcoming events.

Beyond the Classroom

Experience the study of history and global theory up close through study treks, networking, and unmatched access to leading experts in the field.

World-Class Events

Hear groundbreaking research from leading scholars at our weekly seminars. Recent sessions have explored topics including controversies over government whistle-blowers disclosing classified documents to the media, and psychology and decision-making dynamics in foreign policy.

Networking Events

Network with alumni and professionals and organize student-led events exploring topics related to history and international relations theory outside the classroom.

Careers in Diplomacy Club

Open doors to the diplomacy profession by connecting with colleagues across the school. Network with alumni and practitioners, gain job seeking advice, and game plan for the foreign service exam.

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Student Government Association

Serve as the liaison between the student body and administration, offering ideas for programming at the school and selecting guest speakers for the faculty research seminar series.