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Maxwell School
Maxwell / Maxwell in Washington / EMIR

EMIR in DC

Courses & Timetable


The Executive Master's in International Relations in Washington, D.C. (EMIR in DC) is a 10-course, 30-credit degree.  Designed with working professionals in mind, the program can be completed in as little as 18 months.  In addition to courses offered in Washington, students may take part in many additional offerings, either in Syracuse or in other parts of the world.  Maxwell offers a variety of short-term courses that plug easily into the EMIR format.  Take a look at course listings on campus and around the world

The list below provides an illustrative timetable and a DC course list reflective of an 18-month time frame.  Semester courses meet once per week for 2.5 hours, and are offered in the evening beginning at 6 p.m.  Summer courses meet twice per week in the evenings.  Maymester and January intersession courses are intensive and assume full-time attendance for 7-10 days.


Spring 2018 semester - two mandatory evening courses (6 credits)

  • PAI 895  |  Executive Education Seminar: Leadership and Strategy in Global Affairs  |  O'Keefe
  • PSC 783  |  Comparative Foreign Policy  |  Bonham

Maymester 2018 - pick one intensive course (3 credits)

  • PAI 700  |  Challenges in Crisis and Disaster Management  |  Griffin & Hermann
  • PAI 703  |  Current Policy Issues in US-Latin American Relations  |  French

Summer 2018 - pick one evening course (3 credits)

  • PAI 700  |  Who Will Rule the 21st Century  |  O'Hanlon

Fall 2018 semester - pick two evening courses (6 credits)

  • PAI 702  |  Development in Africa: Challenges, Constraints & Strategies  |  Freeman
  • PAI 715  |  National Security & Defense Transformation  |  Keagle
  • PAI 715  |  Issues in Global Economic and Financial Security  |  Das Gupta
  • PAI 715  |  Global Sustainability & Public Policy  |  Kimble
  • PAI 715  |  International Trade and Economic Negotiations  |  Caplan & Fekete
  • PAI 715  |  Statecraft and Smart Power in the Digital Era  |  Green & Schneider
  • PAI 738  |  US Intelligence Community: Governance & Practice (via VTC)  |  Murrett

January 2019 intersession - pick one intensive course (3 credits)

  • PAI 700  |  Public Management of Technology Development  |  O'Keefe
  • PAI 730  |  Central Challenges in National Security Law and Policy  |  Banks

Spring 2019 semester - pick two evening courses (6 credits)

  • PAI 708  |  Issues in Public Diplomacy  |  Schneider
  • PAI 709  |  Public Diplomacy Research Consultancy  |  Schneider
  • PAI 715  |  Comparative Economic and Security Challenges: Middle East, Asia, Europe, Russia  |  CSIS faculty
  • PAI 715  |  Intelligence, Legal, and Policy Dimensions of Cyber Security  |  CSIS faculty
  • PAI 730  |  US Defense Strategy, Military Posture & Combat Operations, 2001-Present (via VTC)  |  Murrett

Summer 2019 - one mandatory course (3 credits)

  • PAI 996  |  Master's Application Project: Capstone Workshop in International Affairs  |  CSIS faculty

Course titles and timing may vary.


Course descriptions


PAI 895  |  Executive Education Seminar: Leadership and Strategy in Global Affairs  |  O'Keefe  |  spring

Objectives are to establish an understanding of the schools of leadership thinking, especially current trends, to practice requisite skills, and to plan for additional learning and development through assessment and action planning. Course readings focus on leadership theory and practice and their application in the changing organizational environment in a global workplace.

PSC 783  |  Comparative Foreign Policy  |  Bonham  |  spring

A survey and critique of approaches to understanding foreign policy decision-making from the perspective of the practitioner who must deal with problems of individual choice, small groups, bureaucratic politics, and organizational constraints in the conduct of foreign policy. Case studies and simulations are used to provide first-hand experience in policy decision-making in the United States and other countries.

PAI 996  |  Master’s Application Project: Capstone Workshop in International Affairs  |  CSIS faculty  |  summer

This is the capstone course and a core requirement for the EMIR degree. Students complete substantive research projects while embedded in one of the thematic or regional programs at CSIS.  Students will work directly with CSIS experts on capstone projects designed to hone and showcase their capacity for both cogent analysis of real-world problems and effective policy communication.  Based on interest, working teams of master's candidates will conduct research reports to craft actionable policy analysis and recommendations on a complex issue area.  Since valuable policy recommendations may be lost if they are not communicated well, teams will also learn to transform their policy analysis into an online project that communicates their results with clarity, creativity, and compelling multimedia storytelling.  Professional development workshops on data collection, analysis, analytic writing, and presentation will be covered to support students in the development of their projects and to help prepare them for personal career advancement.  Project teams will receive mentorship and guidance from CSIS faculty and media advisors throughout the duration of their projects.  A final oral presentation and a written report to CSIS and the faculty advisor are the major course requirements.  EMIR candidates who successfully complete the capstone project will be able to:

  • Understand complex and fast-changing international security and foreign policy issues;
  • Analyze complex data sets to discern key patterns and trends;
  • Formulate insightful analysis of an issue area and design appropriate policy recommendations or compare likely repercussions of different policies;
  • Craft compelling policy narratives combining cogent analysis and creative data visualization;
  • Communicate findings effectively both orally and across a range of multimedia platforms;
  • Collaborate effectively on diverse teams to produce a high-impact product.

PAI 738  |  US Intelligence Community: Governance and Practice, via VTC  |  Murrett  |  fall

This course examines the evolution of the US Intelligence Community since its inception in 1947 through the present day. Key phases and specific events will be explored, including efforts during the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam Conflict, the Church Committee, the Balkans Conflict, pre- and post-9/11 operations, the 9/11 and WMD Commissions and the legislative overhaul mandated by Congress in 2004.  The course also will review governance and oversight of the intelligence community by the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, and students will study the functional elements of intelligence tradecraft (human intelligence, signals intelligence, imagery analysis, etc.), and engagement with international counterparts. The class will participate in case studies that students will evaluate, provide briefings for, and make recommendations in regard to, both in terms of analysis- and intelligence-driven decision-making on policy and operations.

PAI 730  |  US Defense Strategy, Military Posture & Combat Operations, 2001-Present, via VTC  |  Murrett  |  spring

This course examines the Defense Strategy of the US and its allies and its implementation by military forces from 2001 to the present. Students will study national-level strategic guidance from the National Command Authority, and understand how national security is carried out by the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Combatant Commanders and subordinate units.  International security dynamics and military posture related to terrorism and proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass effect also will be examined. Students will participate in specific case studies of planning and execution of combat and humanitarian assistance operations with allied forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, Haiti, the Far East, Colombia, and on the high seas.

PAI 715  |  National Security and Defense Transformation in the 21st Century  |  Keagle  |  fall

U.S. national security strategy and policy face great challenges in the 21st century. Political, military, legal, and economic factors will affect both strategy and policy. This course will assess those factors and their effects on possible solutions to those challenges. The course approaches national security from both military and government-wide perspectives and addresses the executive branch, the congressional, and the global environments.  The professor emphasizes a practitioner's approach to issues and will use lectures, readings and original source documents, class discussions, and guest speakers from the national security community.  Students will deliver short written papers, mostly in the form of one-page memos, and will undertake group assignments leading to oral class presentations.  The primary focus is on contemporary issues and events, but the instructive value of history is also prominent throughout the course.  For students who wish to take this course, prior knowledge of or study in national security is strongly recommended but not required. This course will help students with foreign policy and security studies concentrations prepare for the evolution and challenges of coming years.

PAI 715  |  Issues in Global Economic and Financial Security  |  Das Gupta  |  fall

This course examines trends in global economic & financial security and ways to enhance it. The focus is on ways to ensure global monetary and financial stability, including through appropriate regulation to reduce the incidence of financial crises and asset price bubbles. Other critical issues, including food & energy security and the role of finance in promoting development, are also discussed. Although this is a policy course, students should expect to learn a good deal of economics and finance in the process of learning about these issues. These will be important intellectual tools as the future policy discussions on economic security and development will likely continue to focus more and more on finance and thus require more knowledge of finance than in the past. This course will be less narrowly technical, more policy and political economy oriented, but nonetheless appropriate for students concentrating in global markets, development, finance and trade. 

PAI 715  |  Global Sustainability and Public Policy  |  Kimble  |  fall

This course offers an overview of the concept of sustainability and its application in economic, environmental, social and development spheres from the perspective of policy practitioners.  It examines the issue through the perspective of three planetary ecosystems – water, land and air – and explores associated public policy issues – urbanization, globalization, depletion of ocean resources, land-based sources of marine pollution, deforestation, climate change and national security.  Drawing on a policy thinking tool developed for this class, the seminar will assess the evolution of international legal frameworks and related concepts since 1970 and apply the tool to identifying and analyzing current and future policy options at the local, state, national and global level. This course provides business and finance, economic development, national security as well as environmental majors a command of key concepts, analytic tools, and professional literacy for addressing sustainability issues across a range of disciplines.

PAI 715  |  International Trade & Economic Negotiation  |  Caplan & Fekete  |  fall

This course looks at a variety of different types of negotiations concerning economic issues, including multilateral trade and investment negotiations, bi- and pluri- lateral trade negotiations, and negotiations aimed at the settlement of specific disputes. We will discuss the influence of domestic politics, and the role of international organizations and non-governmental stakeholders such as NGOs, labor, multinational corporations, and domestic interest groups. The course is particularly useful for those considering careers in international trade, business, markets and finance.

PAI 715  |  Statecraft and Smart Power in the Digital Era  |  Green & Schneider  |  fall

This course examines new approaches to the practice of statecraft in an era of rapid global change. Globalization, including accelerating digital communication, is upsetting traditional international order and institutions, and changing the pace and intensity of decision making. Nation-state governments, while still the primary actors, must adjust to new sub-national, regional and transitional forces and players in a far more complex global arena.  As digital communication brings publics into politics and policy far more than ever before, this course helps participants better understand and prepare for these and other current challenges for smart power. Features guided classroom discussion, presentations by officials and outside experts, and in-class exercises such as a resource allocation/strategic planning session (somewhat akin to one of the major elements of the PMF and FSO oral exams) as well as policy simulations. The course's emphasis on policy, institutional and professional concerns, will be particularly relevant to those seeking employment in public service, NGOs, public policy think tanks and consulting firms.

PAI 715  |  African Conflicts: Causes and Consequences  |  Freeman  fall

A half-century after most African nations gained their independence, the continent continues to be a disproportionate generator of conflict and instability. Simultaneously its global importance grows, due to external preoccupations with energy security, anti-terrorism efforts, emigration, and disease.  Despite these complex dynamics, the international community’s engagement with Africa continues to be largely focused on crisis management and humanitarian assistance.  This course will explore the underlying reasons – historic, political, economic and cultural -- for Africa’s chronic weakness and dependency, as well as the West’s often myopic response to these pressing problems. It will take a close look at some of the most destructive developments in the post-colonial period, including state collapse, genocide, and HIV/AIDS.  We will then seek to better understand the manifestations of crisis in Africa and how to more effectively tailor our responses. To that end, we will delve into the world of humanitarianism, from its traditional charitable manifestations to more recent trends such as humanitarian intervention, R2P, and reconciliation.

PAI 708  |  Issues in Public Diplomacy  |  Schneider|  spring

This is a course about the public dimension of major contemporary challenges, and the role of communication, media and culture in public policy. The course will examine institutional and professional communication issues, while helping participants gain needed skills and launch their careers.  The course will mix brief introductory remarks with discussion, class exercises and student presentations. Officials and NGO experts with special expertise will participate from time to time.  We will make a special effort to explore your career opportunities.

PAI 709  |  Public Diplomacy Research Consultancy  |  Schneider  |  spring

The Research Consultancy (Re/Con) seeks to advance professional experience of participating Maxwell-Newhouse graduate public diplomacy students in their specialized fields. The experience will add significant research and consulting skills in a problem-solving exercise. Each student or team will address the substantive policy issues and institutional concerns of a sponsoring organization. A major report with findings and analysis, and recommendations will result. 

PAI 702  |  Development in Africa: Challenges, Constraints, and Strategies  |  Freeman  |  May

As the Developed World falters over its financial difficulties, many eyes are turning to the third world for resources, markets and solutions. In a real sense, Africa is the "last frontier." With this in mind, this intensive one week graduate seminar provides an overview of Africa and Development through the eyes of practitioners and scholars from the US and Africa who have devoted considerable effort to trying to affect development on the continent and speculating on what more it will take to make Africa prosperous.  Beginning with an overview, the course proceeds through traditional development sectors (agriculture, health and education), newer perspectives and drivers (private sector, ICTs, democratization and China), and the three "C" barriers (corruption, conflict and climate change). Lively exchanges over the role of outsiders and the efficacy of aid as well as Africa's growing role in the outside world, balance more traditional development perspectives. The final conclusion includes a panel of African Ambassadors in DC who are quite outspoken in their views of what needs to happen for African countries to ensure a better future for their people.

PAI 703  |  Current Policy Issues in US-Latin American Relations  |  French  |  May

This one-week intensive seminar in Washington provides students with a detailed introduction to the contemporary relationship between the U.S. and Latin America.  The Maymester program offers students the opportunity to discuss current policy issues with current and former practitioners, scholars, and non-governmental organization representatives concentrating on Latin America and its relationship with the U.S.  Students will supplement discussions of current regional affairs with readings on the historical context of the relationship.  The seminar will challenge common approaches and assumptions, address themes and events currently in the news, and explore possible responses to major social and political changes.  The seminar will provide participants context and substance from which to draw to answer questions about the current and historical relationship between the U.S. and Latin America; is U.S. policy “interventionist” or “neglectful?”  How is the so-called Latin American "new left" different from the old?  Is “participatory democracy” a legitimate alternative to representative democracy?”  How do U.S. narcotics, terrorism, and immigration policies shape relations with Mexico and Latin America’s perception of the U.S.?  Will normalization with Cuba have any real impact?  Why did the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas and the “Washington Consensus” fall out of favor?  Do the problems in Venezuela and Brazil, and the election of a center-right government in Argentina, indicate a regional political shift or merely local politics as usual?  What are the OAS, ALBA, UNASUR, and CELAC, and how do they fit together in regional integration efforts?  Can the region escape the boom-and-bust effects of commodity-based economies? 

PAI 700  |  Challenges in Crisis and Disaster Management  |  Griffin & Hermann  |  May

There is no place on earth immune from the effects of crises and disasters.  Leaders around the world struggle to protect their populations in an uncertain time of weather events, terrorism, and political instability.  Such events can emerge within any domain, have human and/or natural origins, and be of variable duration and scope.   How we anticipate, respond, and learn from crises and disasters often makes the difference between catastrophe and resilience.

This course examines the struggles that policymakers, disaster managers, and citizens face during crisis and disaster situations.  It identifies the reasons why these events are so difficult to plan for and to manage.  It also explores best (and worst) practices in forecasting, preparing for, managing, communicating, and learning from crises.  The course is held in Washington, DC in order to facilitate students interacting with persons experienced in managing crises and disasters at the local, national, and international levels and in government as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.  In the course, students will cover such topics as understanding risk, leadership and decision-making, vulnerability and resilience, preparedness and mitigation, and how institutions respond.  Students will apply what they are learning to a case study of a crisis/disaster, engage in simulation exercises, and visit where such management occurs.

PAI 700  |  Who Will Rule the 21st Century  |  O'Hanlon  |  summer

This seminar examines the economic success, military strength and rise and fall of great powers within the international system to help students assess the emerging power structures of the 21st century and determine how they think the United States as well as other countries can best adapt to—or alter—the tectonic shifts that are already evident and only likely to intensify.

PAI 730  |  Central Challenges in National Security Law and Policy  |  Banks  |  January TBD

Using a series of case studies that jump off the front page, this course examines critically the hardest US national security law and policy challenges of the decades ahead. Topics include: decisions to intervene and what laws apply if we do intervene in humanitarian crises, insurrections, or civil wars; dealing with the “Arab Spring;” dealing with Iran and North Korea, related to nuclear weapons; anticipating and controlling new technologies in warfare and surveillance; managing civil/military relations in protecting the homeland; countering cyber threats to our infrastructure and cyber-attacks waged by nation states, such as China and Russia; managing public health as a national security issue; resource depletion and global warming as a national security issue.


Contact us to request further information.