MSFS core requirements provide a broad, multidisciplinary education in international relations along with the applied analytical skills needed for professional practice. Multidisciplinary breadth is essential for careers in an integrated and evolving international system; professional skills are required for initial employment and longer-term effectiveness. Maintaining the correct balance between these objectives determines the central learning dynamic of the core curriculum.


International Finance

Major topics covered include: theories of balance of payments determination (definitions and concepts of equilibrium); foreign exchange markets (relationships to the balance of payments in spot and forward markets); price and income approaches to balance of payments adjustments; monetary approach to balance of payments adjustments; Euro-currency markets; monetary integration; and the international monetary system (not required for MSFS/MA in Economics).

International Trade

Major topics include: comparative and absolute advantage (opportunity cost); production, trade, and consumption; equilibrium in the international market (the general equilibrium approach); trade and factors of production; and modern theories of trade. The course also covers commercial policy, US foreign policy, contemporary issues of the WTO and international economic development, including trade problems of developing countries (not required for MSFS/MA in Economics).

Students who believe core economics courses are redundant for them may request waivers. A grade of B or better in equivalent courses is necessary but may not be sufficient. Waived courses must be replaced by an elective.


Globalization of Inter-societal Relations

The purpose of this course is to illuminate the evolution of relations among the world’s peoples in all their political, social, cultural and economic variety. It examines the formation of wealth and power and the uses of wealth and power within and among societies, primarily over the last millennium. It gives closer attention to the political and ideological competitions of the last century and concludes with historical perspectives upon current international issues (not required for MSFS/MA in History).

International Relations

International Relations: Theory and Practice

This course is a graduate-level introduction to contemporary theories and problems in international relations. The objectives of the course are first, to introduce students to the dominant theoretical frameworks for understanding international political life; second, to assess the explanatory power of these theories in the study and practice of international politics; and third, to use that knowledge to engage with the most pressing contemporary policy debates in the field, including international security, the global economy and other key issues. In conjunction with this, students are expected to develop the critical analysis, persuasion and communication skills needed for their professional success.


Analytical and Statistical Skills

This second-semester course covers basic data management and statistical skills needed to determine the accuracy of reported data, understand research methods, evaluate appropriate techniques and engage in an informed dialogue on quantitative measurements. Required skills include the ability to interpret mathematical models (formulas, graphs, tables); represent mathematical information symbolically, visually, numerically and verbally; and use arithmetical, algebraic, geometric and statistical methods to solve problems and check answers in order to attain optimal results. Students who receive high marks on a diagnostic test taken in the fall may waive out of this requirement. Required second-year workshops and other elective courses are designed to apply such skills in the student's chosen concentration area (not required for MSFS/MA in Economics, MSFS/MPP or MSFS/MBA).


MSFS students are required to take a workshop in their chosen concentration area during the fall of their second year. Workshops are action-oriented; they emphasize identifying the basis for decision-making and assessing the impact of proposed measures. Participants examine international policies from an operational perspective focused on analyzing and solving problems by employing techniques such as policy briefings, speech writing, budget analysis and public expression (students may register for only one workshop in their 2-year program).