Master of Arts in Diplomacy

Diplomacy Program Curriculum

Norwich’s Master of Arts in Diplomacy program is a 36-credit degree program comprising six courses, each of which is approximately 11 weeks in length. The first three courses constitute the core curriculum; the remaining three courses are focused on the concentration area of your choice: international terrorism, international conflict management, or international commerce. Students master one course at a time, so as to create a strong foundation of knowledge and context for future topics. The program culminates in a required one-week residency and a graduation ceremony at Norwich University in June.

More information about program requirements is available in our course catalog.

Core Curriculum

For the first course of the program, students have the option of choosing from either Theory and the International System or The History of Diplomacy in the International System. Click on the links for a description of the individual course topics.

  • Theory and the International System • GD510 6 credit hours

    You will review the basic theories that govern international relations and political science. The course also traces the historical evolution of diplomacy within the international system, providing a sense of its progression and an awareness of the milestones of diplomatic interaction within that system.

  • The History of Diplomacy in the International System • GD511 6 credit hours

    This course provides a comprehensive overview of diplomacy, international relations, and world order in the context of the modern state system from 1648 to the present. The international political environment is introduced through studies in foreign policy decision making, combining history and political science in an analytical framework of historiography and international relations methodology.

  • Law and the International System • GD520 6 credit hours

    You will explore the structure of the international system as defined by its rules and guidelines. The course presents an introduction to international law terminology and its history and theory. Laws surrounding conflict, war, war crimes, and the rising areas of international law, environmental law, and laws concerning humanitarian intervention will be explored. Of special interest will be laws pertaining to human rights.

  • Economics and the International System • GD530 6 credit hours

    You will explore the international economic system, examine the impact of modernization within the system, and investigate the controversy over the concept of globalization and the debate of free trade versus protectionism. You will become familiar with the international financial network and its institutions. Special attention will be given to Third World development issues and the concept of economics as a tool of diplomacy and military power.

International Commerce Concentration

To complete the international commerce concentration within the diplomacy program, students take the following courses:

  • Global Commerce and the International System • GD544 6 credit hours

    This course focuses on internal and external environmental conditions affecting commerce in a global environment. You will evaluate the role of private-sector commerce in the international system and explore the impact of economics, law, politics, and culture on multinational commerce endeavors. You will also analyze country-specific data and internal organizational factors that influence managerial decision making in multinational organizations. You will gain an understanding of the global commerce environment and enhance your ability to function effectively across borders.

  • Cross-Cultural Management in the International System • GD554 6 credit hours

    This course focuses on fundamental topics in human resources management as they pertain to globally active corporate, nonprofit, and governmental organizations. You will build skills in managing intercultural human resources differences; selecting, evaluating, and compensating employees in international assignments; training and developing expatriate employees; dealing with culture shock; and the effects of repatriation. You will be asked to apply the concepts of conflict management, resolution, and avoidance to specific work situations.

  • Global Corporate Diplomacy • GD564 6 credit hours

    The capstone course addresses the dependence of international commerce upon public goodwill, the development of which is the function of corporate diplomacy. You will develop the knowledge, competencies, and tools for implementing strategic communications in order to deal effectively with international constituencies, including the government, the news media, the Internet, and NGOs. Special emphasis will be given to developing and applying analytical skills to shape public opinion, build corporate reputation, and deal with crisis in a cross-cultural environment.

International Terrorism Concentration

To complete the international terrorism concentration within the diplomacy program, students take the following courses:

  • Terrorism: Introduction and State-Sponsored Terrorism • GD542 6 credit hours

    This course examines how states have used terrorism as a tool in managing their international relations and evaluates actions that the international community has taken to deter state-sponsored terrorism. Case studies will complement theory and allow for comparative analyses of various actions taken by the international community and the results achieved to date.

  • International Terrorism by Non-State Actors • GD552 6 credit hours

    This course examines the phenomenon of transnational terrorism by non-state actors. Ideology, psychology, and strategies of major transnational groups are addressed to provide an understanding of their long-term goals and operations. You will examine the relationship of terrorist groups, WMD proliferation, and organized crime, as well as possible future trends in terrorist operations. Case studies of key groups will provide comparative analysis.

  • International Response to Transnational Terrorism • GD562 6 credit hours

    This course surveys the strategies and policies that have been deployed by states to combat transnational terrorism. You will examine the development of international law as a tool against terrorism, diplomatic and multilateral approaches in dealing with cross-border issues, and government policies designed to improve internal and multinational coordination and cooperation. Differences and commonalities among states in their approaches to terrorism are highlighted in order to examine best practices.

International Conflict Management Concentration

To complete the international conflict management concentration within the diplomacy program, students take the following courses. For the last course of the concentration, students have the option of choosing from either Military Intervention and Conflict Management in the International System or Human Rights and Conflict in the International System.

  • Conflict Avoidance, Prevention and Containment in the International System • GD540 6 credit hours

    This course addresses the multiple schools of debate concerning the causes of conflict and war. You will investigate the increasingly controversial area of peacekeeping and peacemaking, and examine transnational forces, including NGOs, that use diplomacy as a tool to avoid conflict in the international system. The concept of multilateral peace enforcement will be reviewed in order to examine best practices.

  • Conflict Resolution and Post-Conflict Reconstruction in the International System • GD550 6 credit hours

    You will examine the do’s and don’ts of negotiating peace, its hazards, unexpected consequences, and lessons learned. Topics include the increasingly important area of recovery from atrocities through trials, truth commissions, and amnesty. You will also explore post-conflict governing, reestablishing the rule of law, the dominance of civil society, and the institutions of governance, as well as the politics and cultural impact of rebuilding, including the economic and financial costs.

  • Military Intervention and Conflict Management in the International System • GD560 6 credit hours

    You will examine conflict in all its forms, including aspects of covert operations, psychological warfare, special operations, and limited warfare. The course also explores multinational coalitions and conflicts and the renewed emphasis on terrorism, including the use of chemical, biological, and nuclear agents. You will review special cases of civil war and collapsed state conflicts. You will also investigate the impacts of modern warfare, most notably on the environment.

  • Human Rights and Conflict in the International System • GD561 6 credit hours

    In this course, you will probe the complicated connections between the protection and enforcement of human rights norms and the roots, unfolding, and termination of armed conflict. Borrowing from the fields of peace building, conflict resolution, diplomacy, and law, the course builds upon the themes of conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction developed in previous courses. You will explore how human rights abuses increase the likelihood of violent conflict and how a respect for the political, civil, economic, and social claims of individuals may repair and restore affected societies.

Elective Course in Diplomacy and Communication

An elective course, Diplomacy and Communication, is available for students to take as the sixth course in the diplomacy program. This elective is offered in each of the diplomacy concentrations.

  • Diplomacy and Communication • GD567 6 credit hours

    This course examines the role of communication in diplomatic endeavors. The historical influence of communication is considered along with the evolving theoretical basis that has informed diplomatic communication. In addition to examining the role communication has played throughout the history of diplomacy, key challenges related diplomatic communication will be considered. These include cultural challenges, the evolving nature of communication technology, the movement towards transparency, and the development of public diplomacy.

Optional Thesis Track

The thesis track is available for students who wish to have the traditional thesis experience with faculty mentorship and a culminating research paper, which is often the basis for a future publication. Outside of the degree completion requirements, students can choose to add this thesis after all six courses are completed. Pending program director approval for candidacy acceptance, your thesis will have a formal board of examination, supervision, and research process.


The final academic requirement for the diplomacy program is a week-long residency at the beautiful and historic Norwich University campus in Vermont. Students have the opportunity to meet with fellow students, faculty, and program staff in both formal classroom and informal settings. Norwich covers the cost of all meals and accommodation on campus. Academic recognition ceremonies and commencement cap off the week, and family and friends are encouraged to attend.