Master Diplomacy Strat Affairs


MDSA 4370: Global Health

The study of global health requires the examination of predominant health issues and current health policy from the local to international perspectives and analysis. The increasingly open flow of resources, including human capital, and the potential of the catastrophic impact of epidemics and pandemics has transformed health from a domestic to a multi–national concern and challenge. Emphasis will be on the international health regime characterized by the institutional rules, norms, and organizations that address global health. Specifically, this course examines and discusses topics in health– and organization–related issues, including a current survey of global health problems, surveillance of diseases and injuries, basic methods for outbreak investigation, international health policies and treaties, and introduction to organizational theories relevant to global health.

MDSA 5301: Introduction to Diplomacy and Strategic Policy

This seminar is intended to provide a deeper, graduate-level analysis of the art and practice of diplomacy, and the statecraft fundamental to the formulation and successful pursuit of persuasive strategic policy. The nature of leaders and their leadership, the psychology which underpins the proclivities of individual leaders, and their ability to communicate persuasively to both domestic and international influencers will be a course focus. We will examine the practical dimensions of diplomacy as practiced in the 21st century: the “special” role of the US; changing diplomatic practices; the growing need to manage public, social media; the increasingly powerful influence of non-state actors; the impact of revolutionary and post-colonial states; the need for moral leadership and innovative concepts such as the “responsibility to protect”; and, finally, alternatives to diplomacy as appropriate means for mediating relations between an ever-growing number of groups and states in a more complex world. The course will utilize a largely case study method, taking a deep dive into 4-6 major issues. One to two will be watershed historical events, to examine how diplomatic tools were used in support of an overall strategic policy. How was strategic policy developed, how was diplomacy used to advance that chosen strategic policy, and what blowback was experienced? Another 3-4 case studies will analyze seminal, central current issues; students will prepare both a strategic policy and negotiations talking points, among other activities. How could or can the strategic policy and diplomacy be deployed for a better result?

MDSA 5302: Analytics in Strategic Affairs

This course is designed to introduce students to the basic quantitative methodology in the social sciences and to teach them research design from the conception of an idea to the analysis and interpretation of data.

MDSA 5303: Advanced Seminar in Diplomacy and Strategic Studies

This course provides an in-depth investigation into one of the essential topics in Diplomacy and Strategic Studies. The potential topics are theories of politics, economics, diplomacy, and/or strategic studies in the decision-making process that generates foreign policy. In addition, students will be exposed to a broad range of contemporary diplomatic events and puzzles in which the United States and other nations have encountered in the past, is facing currently, and will envision in the near future. The key essence of this course is to facilitate a strong understanding of these issues and develop a number of strategic approaches to manage or even resolve them through theoretical and practical perspectives provided in this course. Students are expected to acquire substantial knowledge of a specific topic in Diplomacy and Strategic Studies after finishing this course.

MDSA 5351: Comparative Political Systems

An overview of the worlds political cultures, systems, behavior, and institutions. The objective is to develop a background with which to assess and explain differences in political culture, governmental structures and political behavior, and to appreciate the effects these factors have on international relations.

MDSA 5352: International Politics

Theories of international politics and the decision–making process that generates foreign policy. An examination of the role of power in the modern world and the utility of force in conflict resolution versus the multilateral, collaborative approach. An introduction to the way current international politics is increasingly related to the world economic situation with special attention to the role of multinational corporations, international trade and finance.

MDSA 5354: International Political Economy

This course examines the interrelationship between political and economic factors in international relations. Theoretical perspectives on the relationship between international economics and politics, trade policies, trends in integration of political and economic systems, the role of multinational corporations and economic organizations in the modern world.

MDSA 5355: Intercultural Issues

A survey of world cultures, the factors distinguishing them from one another and the impact that cultural differences have on international relations. Special emphasis is placed on current cultural issues of major concern to the international community.

MDSA 5357: Regional Study of Europe

An interdisciplinary survey of Europe, focusing on the geographic, historical, cultural, economic and political factors most affecting the role of this region in the international community today.

MDSA 5359: Regional Study of Latin America

An interdisciplinary survey of Latin America, focusing on the geographic, historical, cultural, economic and political factors most affecting the role of this region in the international community today.

MDSA 5360: Regional Study of East Asia

An interdisciplinary survey of East Asia focusing on the geographic, historical, cultural, economic and political factors most affecting the role of this region in the international community today.

MDSA 5366: The American Foreign Policy Process

The foreign–policy–making process and factors influencing U.S. international behavior since 1945. Special emphasis on foreign policy issues affecting United States’ interests in the coming decade.

MDSA 6351: Latin American Economic Development

This course provides students with the skills on how to use basic economic principles to understand some of the most pressing issues facing our societies, such as unequal distribution of wealth and resources, future of work, impact of climate change, wealth creation, and innovation, among others. Students will gain hands-on training in understanding and using data to measure economic and policy effectiveness.

MDSA 6358: Contemporary Mexico

This course is an introduction to the political and economic trends underway in Mexico. The political sphere includes features of the current political system, electoral processes, the evolution of nongovernmental organizations and the relation of the Mexican government with civil society, business and labor sectors. The economic sphere focuses on Mexico’s role in NAFTA and regional integration, and the bilateral relationship of Mexico with the United States.

MDSA 6359: Latin America Cultures: Diversity, Paradoxes and Transformation

This course examines how the interplay of cultures affects our daily lives and how values and beliefs can shape cultural regions. While the course will cover broad theory, particular focus will be on Latin America. The key question is: who is the Latin American? This course will review and deconstruct the paradigm of Latin American character and how it impacts and is impacted by the church, work relations, family, race and gender. The influences of particular historical, geographic and socio–economic forces in Latin American build an image of a coherent cultural region. This is an image, however, full of intra–regional diversity. To what extent then does the cultural ideal type accommodate this diversity? Mexico, Brazil and Argentina will be examined for answers to these questions.

MDSA 6360: Perspectives on Modern China

This course presents the history of modern China from 1860s to today. The course begins with China's forced opening to the West after the Opium Wars and concludes with China's transition at the start of the 21st Century. While emphasizing the chronological record of China's development, discussion also focuses on the changing images of China at home in the West over one and a half centuries. Reliance upon text material is accented by frequent use of film to bring these images and events to life.

MDSA 6361: Global Energy

This course explores the political, social and economic issues surrounding the global exploration, supply, and consumption of energy. The politics of energy examines the national, multinational, and transnational actors that compete for energy resources. The relationship between energy and security is investigated with special attention to the Middle East, China, India, and the United States. The social consequences of the search for and use of fossil fuels is examined, as well as the economics of fossil fuels, biomass, and renewal energy resources. Considerable attention will be granted to studies forecasting future supply and demand, as well as the cost benefit analysis of alternative energy sources.

MDSA 6364: International Law

Beginning with the customs and sources of international jurisprudence, this course introduces essential legal terminology and distinctions focusing on the lawful exercise of power of nations. Relevant topics include international organizations and methods of dispute resolution, especially armed conflict, human rights, global environmental law, and law of the sea, air, and space.

MDSA 6366: International Security

This course exposes students to a focused look at security studies of peace and war, with application to understanding the source and nature of conflicts over time. State and systemic security is approached from a perspective broader than traditional conventional security by examining economic, health, and environmental challenges to states.

MDSA 6369: Seminar in International Development Studies

This course sees individuals as active agents of change in any given society. Through an integrated analysis of economic, social and political activities involving a variety of institutions and many interactive agencies it seeks to understand and analyze the roles and interconnections between certain crucial instrumental freedoms and their prospects for development. In part, these include economic opportunities, political rights, social facilities, transparency guarantees, and protective security. Course format will present opportunities for exploring development, including a formal debate on the role of societal arrangements.

MDSA 6371: International Human Rights

This course introduces the theoretical, legal and policy issues of importance in human rights discourse. Students will be provided a solid grounding in the key texts, documents and literature on the subject and will be equipped with a knowledge and understanding of the fundamental legal, political and nongovernmental organizations which underpin human rights practice. Emphasis will be international in nature and will focus on the international rules and institutions that address human rights. No prior knowledge of the law or any particular legal system is required.

MDSA 6374: Seminar in Middle East Studies

This course complements INST 3363 (Regional Study: North Africa and the Middle East) by examining the dynamics, debates, and crises that mark the modern Middle East. Topically it includes women and gender in the Middle East; the economics of oil; water as a scarce and contentious resource; Muslim fundamentalism; the Arab–Israeli conflict; the politics of armament. Topics rotate from semester to semester. It will strengthen methods and analytical capabilities for understanding the complexities of current affairs in this strategic world region.

MDSA 6376: Contemporary Taiwan

This course is a survey of the contemporary history, politics, economics, and external relations of the Republic of China on Taiwan, known to most of the world as simply Taiwan. While founded on mainland China in 1912, the Republic of China we know today has been shaped largely by events after 1949. On the verge of total defeat near the end of China’s civil war, the Nationalist government reestablished itself on the island of Taiwan. Since 1949, Taiwan has transitioned from abject poverty to one of the wealthiest societies in the world; from fascism to liberal democracy; and from near universal diplomatic recognition to nearly complete diplomatic isolation. This course will explore the immense challenges faced by Taiwan’s people and government and investigate the manner in which such an imperiled island managed such a fascinating process of change. Highlighted as well is the prominent role played by the United States in guaranteeing the regional security necessary for Taiwan’s ascendance.

MDSA 6377: Government-Business Relations in the Developing World

This course explores the country risks businesses and non–profit organizations face in the developing world, including government instability, the lack of government capacity, insecurity, dysfunctional legal systems, corruption, human rights violations, poverty, poor infrastructure, and a low level of social services, including poor education and health care. Examined will be how such entities evaluate these risks before entering a country and how they manage these risks once on the ground. The course also analyzes the ethical issues encountered in doing business in developing countries.

MDSA 6379: Cyber Warfare

This course overviews the growth and scope of cyber warfare and its impacts on national power in the domains of government, diplomacy, international law, international commerce/economic power, social media/privacy, science/technology, and civil society. It traces the evolution of conflict from traditional information gathering to the development of cyber weaponry with destructive capabilities and the use of those capabilities to advance national foreign policy interests. Through the use of case studies and selective readings from a variety of sources (government policy directives, cyber security industry studies, and defense related academic papers), the course guides students through the emergent quality of the broadening scope of cyber conflict and the multifaceted response to the challenge. Ultimately, students are confronted with the impact of the ongoing threat as they interface with cyberspace in their day-to-day interactions. The goal is for a deeper understanding of the scope and complexity of the cyber domain and the global conflict that is raging out of view.

MDSA 6381: International Security in East Asia

This course will provide a broader understanding of security and geopolitics in East Asia. With the rise of China and the nuclear threat from North Korea, the security dynamics within and beyond East Asian states is of critical importance to both the United States and the world. To better comprehend such complex security dynamics in East Asia, this course will review the historical progress of diplomatic and security related interactions between East Asian countries, and their relations with the United States as well. After a profound understanding of the history is acquired, this course will guide students to analyze the current events and potential changes in this region and derive policy implications and strategic proposals for the East Asian countries and the United States.

MDSA 6391: Internship in MDSA

Work experience in business, government, media or private, not–for–profit agencies in the MDSA field. To be arranged with the director. Consent required: Department. Course offered Pass/Fail basis only.

MDSA 6393: Special Topics in Diplomacy and Strategic Studies

Special Topics courses cover varying topics relevant to diplomacy and strategic affairs and are designed to be taught by past or current practitioners or content specialists. Such courses will provide theoretical and technical coverage of regional, country, and/or topic-based content from semester to semester. Special Topics courses allow students to pursue deeper examination of particular issues and areas of their interest. The key essence of these courses is to complement the student’s contextual understanding of the prescribed curriculum of the MDSA Program.

MDSA 6399: Capstone Project

This course is project-based course and the capstone experience for the MA Diplomacy and Strategic Affairs Program. Through hybrid instruction, the course combines synchronous seminar and asynchronous directed research in small teams. Drawing from, and applying, prior course work, students will develop, research, and present on a topic of relevance to the resolution of a key issue/problem in diplomacy and strategic affairs. The capstone will produce a white paper and presentation suitable for presentation to practitioners and/or scholars in the field.