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Requirements | Global Theory and History

Learn about the requirements for the Global Theory and History program. 

Master of Arts (MA) Requirements

Students concentrating in Global Theory and History must complete 24 credits of applicable coursework and a program capstone. 16 credits must be Global Theory and History courses.

The remaining eight credits must be divided between two different programs below:

For SAIS Europe Students

Global Theory and History concentrators studying at SAIS Europe must complete at least three concentration courses in Washington DC. Global Theory and History concentrators in a Dual Degree program or with Advanced Standing must complete only two concentration courses in Washington DC.

  • 3 Global Theory and History (or cross-listed) courses (12 credits)
  • Passing Theories of International Relations as one of the two core requirements is highly recommended.

For additional requirements, click here

Capstone

Global Theory and History concentrators must complete one of the following capstones:

  • A 20-page research paper whose focus and subject matter has been approved by the director
  • A 20-page written report that draws conclusions about international relations or international political economy based on an internship undertaken while at the school
  • Successful completion of the course Contemporary Theory of International Relations (SA.600.702). Note: students must select the paper option to use this course as a capstone
  • MA Oral Exam (to compete for honors – if eligible)

These requirements must be completed in addition to the requirements for your degree program.

Master of International Public Policy (MIPP) Requirements

MIPP students can add an affiliation in Global Theory and History to their degree plan. At least three of your eight courses must be Global Theory and History courses to complete the affiliation requirement.

These requirements must be completed in addition to the requirements for your degree program.

Learning Goals

Global Theory and History concentrators will examine the “big ideas” that preoccupy the policy-maker and the scholar of international relations. For example, the program will pose and attempt to answer such questions as:

  • Are alliances dead?
  • What is the meaning and significance of “hegemony” and has it ever existed in the central international system?
  • How do international political economy and security meet in a fuller understanding of foreign policy?
  • Will nuclear proliferation face constructive limits
  • Is major war obsolete or inevitable?

By looking at the large questions of international relations, the student obtains a holistic understanding of world politics. As tools to help understand these questions, knowledge of both theory and history is made comprehensible to the concentrator in this program. Students will leave with a better grasp of both policy-making and policy analysis.

  1. Students will be able to identify the big questions that have perturbed the diplomat and policy – maker since the origin of the modern state system;
     
  2. Consider how international political economy underpins security policy and international political strategy;
     
  3. Exhume matters of culture, religion, and media relations as they affect foreign policy making;
     
  4. Examine the issues that daily confront statecraft in fashioning an overview of how policy ought to be shaped and explicated;
     
  5. Draw upon the ideas of scholars of international relations and of historians to determine how both mistakes and constructive solutions have affected decision-making;
     
  6. Use case studies, theoretical argument, historical and empirical evidence, and pragmatic judgment to deal with some of the thorniest problems ever faced in statecraft; and
     
  7. Pull all of this analysis together to make sense out of future world order.