IAL Courses

Program Requirements

The MA-IAL program requires 30 credit hours to be successfully completed prior to graduation. The program has four required courses, for a total of 12 credit hours, that are to be completed at various stages of the program. The four required courses are listed below:

  1. IAL 501: Principles of Character-Driven Leadership
    • Must be completed within the first two semesters of enrolling in the program.
    • To be offered every Fall semester
  2. IAL 502: The Making of U.S. National Security Policy
    • Must be completed within the first two semesters of enrolling in the program.
    • To be offered in both the Fall and Spring semesters.
  3. IAL 503: Applied International Leadership: Case Studies
    • Should be completed prior to the final semester of study
    • To be offered every Spring semester
  4. IAL 560: Capstone
    • Must be taken during the last semester of study

The remaining 18 credit hours, 6 classes total, are elective courses to be selected by the student. Any IAL 3-credit class will fulfill the requirement of an elective. Select courses from other programs will be considered on a case by case basis. Please consult with the academic advisor on any advising questions.

Course Descriptions

Please find descriptions of courses to be offered throughout the program:

IAL 501: Principles of Character-Driven Leadership, 3 credit hours

Principles of Character Driven Leadership provides the student with the core concepts of character driven leadership defined as the commitment to do the right thing, the right way for the right reasons. The course focuses on values--individual, organizational, and national--along with ethics, culminating with a clear understanding of leadership. Students will explore the “leader in me” by examining the values that they embrace and the causes that they believe in, along with understanding “the environment I lead in” and the criticality of comprehending where they lead and who they lead.

IAL 502: The Making of U.S. National Security Policy, 3 credit hours

IAL 502 explores the mechanisms through which policy is formulated and takes students through case studies to examine the realistic process of developing and implementing U.S. national security policy. IAL 502 outlines the origins and current structure of America’s national security architecture.  Using actual policy decisions, students will exercise the process of analysis, decision-making and translating into action, elements of the country’s national security agenda.  The course will also include intensive analysis of the intent and outcome of such critical policy decisions and the leadership exercised by the participating decision-makers.

IAL 503: Applied International Leadership: Case Studies, 3 credit hours

IAL 503 builds on the theoretical and practical foundation of the character-driven leadership curriculum conveyed in IAL 501. During the semester, students will engage with faculty and with each other in multiple in-depth applied leadership scenarios, examining various aspects of leadership in international settings. The semester will culminate in individual student presentations analyzing a complex international leadership challenge. Case studies and scenarios in international settings with real-world choices and dilemmas that require group decision-making and leadership in a pressure-filled, crisis situation to achieve a peaceful and successful outcome.

IAL 504: U.S. Diplomacy in Action - the Embassy Country Team, 3 credit hours

Led by a former U.S. Ambassador, students constitute an U.S. Embassy Country Team for a specific country and manage a reality-based diplomatic agenda. Students will be assigned the actual roles of Embassy team members, and together with their “Ambassador” will practice how U.S. foreign policy is developed and executed in the field and for the final written and oral project will develop and present new, creative programs for promotion of U.S. interests to improve the bilateral relationship with the country.

IAL 505: Key Issues in Today's Global Economy, 3 credit hours

IAL 505 is a project focused course that will analyze select elements of the international economic system from the perspective of both business and government decision makers. Students will learn about international trade, investment, and finance, including financing for development; the role of innovation in the U.S. and other countries; the new digital marketplace, privacy, and intellectual property rights; sustainable development and green economic development; and international energy and health issues. Students will emerge from the course with a strong background on the international economic system and sharpened analytical skills. A basic understanding of economics prior to entry in the class is strongly encouraged.

IAL 508: Transatlantic Relations: Does Europe Still Matter?, 3 credit hours

IAL 508 projects forward the directions the U.S. and Europe are moving. The students will be challenged to analyze and consider “over the horizon” trends and opportunities, but also the risks of conflict and how to mitigate and solve challenges. Case studies will present “Character-driven leadership” by U.S. and European leaders as they manage issues of cooperation and competition.

IAL 509: Western Hemisphere: Good Neighbors, Tough Challenges, 3 credit hours

This course will explore the opportunities and challenges facing the United States in its relationships with its regional neighbors, including Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and South America. The lectures and readings will consider how the region’s social, cultural and economic history shapes its relations with the U.S. and the rest of the world.

IAL 511: Human Rights and Realpolitik, 3 credit hours

This course will explore the origins of the human rights movement, watershed moments, and contemplate what may be next. The course is based on the foundation that respecting human rights is not simply the right moral choice, but one that has an economic and national security implications: that the world is more prosperous and more secure when freedom and rights are universally afforded.

IAL 560: Capstone, 3 credit hours

Offered in the Spring and Fall semesters as appropriate, this course serves as the culminating experience for the Masters’ Degree in International Affairs and Leadership.  In consultation and with the approval of the instructor, students research and identify a specific international affairs leadership challenge they will present at the conclusion of the degree program. The capstone product should be a visually rich 20-minute oral presentation that shows analytical rigor and defends a tangible strategic plan for achieving impact and positive change. The oral presentation must be accompanied by written back-up material that substantiates and defends the student’s policy analysis and proposal for action.

IAL 598: Congress in US Foreign Policy: Does politics still stop “at the water’s edge?”, 3 credit hours

The 2015 invitation by the congressional Republican leadership to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s to address a joint session in order to openly oppose the Obama administration’s nuclear negotiations with Iran is considered an important demonstration the polarization of congress had moved squarely into the realm of foreign policy.

“Does politics still stop at the water’s edge? The role of Congress in US foreign policy,” is an in-depth look at the legislative branches’ influence on the development and execution of US foreign policy. The class will study the behind the scenes, day-to-day interactions between the two branches as well as the traditional tools afforded Congress under the Constitution including the authorization/appropriations process, ratification of treaties and confirmation of nominees and how these tools are utilized in today’s hyper-partisan political environment. Students will hear from academics, former and current executive and legislative branch staff, embassies and the special interests that influence Congress’ thinking on foreign policy with coursework emphasizing the preparation of briefing memos, speeches and op-eds.

IAL 598: Special Topics: Diplomacy - Preventing Genocide, 3 credit hours

This course will focus on the role of diplomacy and “soft power” in preventing war crimes, atrocities, crimes against humanity and ultimately Genocide. Using the history and experience of the Holocaust and murder of six million Jewish people during World War II, the students will also examine other tragic events in the 20th and 21st century where the ultimate human rights violations were perpetrated – death of innocents. Victims of these crimes include civilians during war or civil war, i.e. military conflict or innocents as a result of hate, prejudice and persecution of minorities. Course objectives are to position students to explain US interests in preventing Genocide and violations of human rights, the international political system and laws and frameworks in place to prevent these tragedies. Students will be challenged to explain the interaction between the U.S. Government, U.S. Congress, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at both the “grass-roots” community engagement level and at the strategic level involving other governments, regional organizations and multilateral agencies such as the United Nations. Case studies and a reality-basis simulation exercise will deepen students’ skills of communication, analysis and leadership working in a group to solve an emerging problem and crisis using the diplomatic toolkit of non-military means to stop an emerging crisis before atrocities and Genocide occur.

IAL 598: Special Topics: Religion and Diplomacy, 3 credit hours

Religion matters – to individuals, to international governments, and to diplomacy. An oft-overlooked component of statecraft, religion has an understated influence in international affairs. Failure to understand or even acknowledge its impact on the Diplomatic, Informational, Military, and Economic (DIME) elements of national engagement, is to do so, as renowned strategist Douglas Johnston has asserted, at our peril, or at least to our disadvantage. The purpose of this course is to prepare current and future leaders (diplomatic, military, and political) to respond to religiously-charged situations and to enable students to identify religious elements, analyze the theoretical and practical considerations of religiously challenging circumstances, and derive possible resolutions.

IAL 598 Special Topics: The Holocaust and WWII Today

Students will explore the Holocaust as history, but also the remaining unresolved issues of the Holocaust such as justice and restitution for Holocaust survivors and their families. The importance of remembrance and education about the Holocaust and the lessons of the Holocaust for the future will also be discussed and evaluated and related to other current Genocides anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination, bigotry and hatred and the importance of preventing future reoccurrence of these tragedies.

IAL 598 Special Topics: The Dark Side of Foreign Policy

The United States faces constant, yet dynamic, national security threats at the hands of a myriad of foreign actors. America’s vast national security apparatus must simultaneously protect the nation’s critical infrastructure, its borders and ports of entry, its intellectual property, and its citizens and allies. From al Qaeda and ISIS to Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, America must vigilantly defend itself against terror plots, cyber hacks, nuclear weapons development, and nation state aggression.

Behind many of these international threats are the crimes that fund them or advance their mission. This course explores the nexus between international criminal activity and national security threats to America and its allies. The course will explore the link between international drug trafficking and foreign terrorism, the role of transnational organized crime and corruption in destabilizing governments, the ransomware and cyber hacks increasingly used to disrupt the U.S. economy, and more.  

This course will also provide an overview of the federal and international agencies charged with disrupting these international crimes and the pivotal role this plays in America’s international diplomacy.

IAL 598 Special Topics: International Negotiations – Trust but Verify

Students will learn through and conduct reality-based exercises on how to negotiate cross-cultural international agreements. Learning blocks include how to conduct win-win negotiations, how to understand and navigate cultural differences and messaging, and how to set negotiating goals and measure success. Case studies and scenarios will be exercises from government, business and NGOs.