Career Tracks

Alongside the core international relations curriculum, MAIR students pursue studies in one of five career tracks, developing subject-matter expertise in an ever-changing field. The five career tracks draw on the interdisciplinary strengths of the Maxwell School, providing a deeper understanding of how to address complex global challenges.

Development and Humanitarian Assistance

The international community has made great strides over the past few decades in reducing poverty and improving livelihoods around the world. Despite this progress, exemplified by the success of the UN Millennium Development Goals, there remains much to be done to alleviate human suffering and create the conditions for economic opportunity.

To confront a world with a growing population, affected by man-made and natural disasters, the Development and Humanitarian Assistance career track prepares students to support international development and humanitarian operations. Students completing this career track will have the skills and knowledge needed to develop and implement new approaches to address these challenges.

This track draws on the Maxwell School's experience in program management and evaluation, pairing this with technical skills in program and project design, as well as the cultural and regional understanding needed to ensure that relief programs are contextually appropriate to the target environment.

The broad range of course offerings focus on health, education, environmental sustainability, state-building and democratization, social change, economic growth, humanitarian assistance, and the political and cultural context of development and humanitarian operations.

Governance, Diplomacy and International Organizations

Nation-states make up the foundation of the international system, even as the influence of non-state actors, including corporations and armed opposition groups, on international affairs grows.

Understanding these new international policy realities requires comprehension of the state's role and the power against the rising power and influence of these non-state actors.

In a world where diplomatic and policy analysis remains a key competency, the Governance, Diplomacy, and International Organizations career track provides students with the skills and training needed to comprehensively understand interaction between states, the role of leaders and leadership within international and transnational organizations, and the analysis of these behaviors in a comparative context.

This track draws on the Maxwell School's long history of leadership training and international policy to confer competencies essential to advancing international understanding and organizational operations. This includes negotiation and conflict resolution, cultural awareness, political leadership, and organizational management. Other important skills include diplomacy and foreign policy, and substantive knowledge of regions and inter-state relations.

International Political Economy:  Finance, Trade and Migration

With fast-moving global markets and international trade, it is vital to understand the monetary and financial associations between nation-states and other international economic actors.  In addition to an understanding of international financial connections, the International Political Economy career track provides the skills needed to understand the workings on international markets and transnational economics development agencies.

Students in this track develop an understanding of the role of internationalization in interest rates, the value of currency and securities, and the economics performance of nation-states and supranational actors.  Students also master the political economy of international trade and multi-national business, as well as gain an in-depth understanding of the linkages between private-sector capital concerns and broader-based political and social issues.

Peace, Security and Conflict

The post-Cold War and post-9/11 world forced a change in thinking about the dynamic relationship between peace, security, and conflict. Security is critical to stability and development, but security alone does not resolve conflict or create peace.

New developments endangering stability can emerge rapidly, forcing actors to confront complex and unfamiliar challenges while continuing to address historic tensions. Changes to power relationships can create new anxieties. New technologies pose increasing threats to security while providing opportunities to promote broader peace. The rise of non-state actors also forces governments and international organizations to adapt their strategies to better address human security and understand conflict drivers.

Those interested in careers in security studies, conflict management, and peacebuilding must understand how these new challenges affect the international environment.  This understanding allows for the development of more effective policies by nation-states, international agencies, and non-governmental organizations to address threats to international peace and security.

Regional Concentration

Those with a strong interest in a particular country or region may choose to pursue a career track with a regional specialization to expand their area expertise. Through this enhanced understanding, professionals can best structure development programs, assess conflict drivers, and anticipate developments in a country or region.

Students pursuing a regional concentration may also count six credits of related graduate language study towards a regional concentration in Africa, East and South Asia, Europe and Eurasia, Latin America, and Middle East and North Africa.

Students seeking to develop regional expertise may also pursue several certificates of advanced study, including:

Maxwell’s Global Programs are another key component of a regional career track.