Executive Master's in International Relations

The first advanced degree in international relations offered by a major research university in cooperation with a leading global think tank.

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At a Glance

Course Date

August 26 – December 17, 2024


To be Announced


To be Announced

Registration Deadline

July 1, 2024


CSIS and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University have partnered to deliver the Executive Master's in International Relations (EMIR) degree program in Washington, D.C. The first cohort was admitted in January, 2018 and consists of a diverse group of professionals working across intelligence, health, cyber, education, environment, defense, and foreign policy fields.

This first-of-its-kind degree allows working professionals in the nation’s capital to benefit from the academic strengths of the #1-ranked graduate school in public affairs in the U.S. and the policy know-how of one of the world’s leading international security think tanks. Students learn from Maxwell faculty, CSIS scholars, and guest lecturers drawn from the senior ranks of government and business communities, while developing their own solutions to real-world policy challenges.

In addition to building a rigorous academic foundation, degree candidates spend one semester working directly with CSIS policy experts to complete an intensive capstone project aimed at addressing international policy challenges. Students simultaneously participate in professional development workshops to hone critical skills such as data analysis, negotiation, and public speaking. They also have an opportunity to work with CSIS’s award-winning production studio to build a multimedia product that showcases their research findings and policy recommendations.



Core Courses
  • Comparative Foreign Policy
  • CSIS Capstone in International Affairs
  • Leadership and Strategy in Global Affairs

Selected Courses
  • Central Challenges in National Security Law and Policy
  • Challenges in Crisis and Disaster Management
  • Conflict and Security in Cyberspace
  • Geopolitics of Energy
  • International Trade and Economic Negotiations
  • Public Management of Technology Development
  • Statecraft and Smart Power in the Digital Era
  • U.S. Defense Strategy, Military Posture, and Combat Operations
  • U.S. Intelligence Community: Governance & Practice

Regional Course

Regional courses will focus on new trends, development and security issues, and policy priorities in: China, Russia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Latin America

Professional Skills and Workshops
  • Advanced Analytical Writing
  • Data Analysis
  • Data Visualization
  • Delivering Policy Briefs

The CSIS Capstone Experience

In their final semester of the Executive Master's in International Relations, students will have the opportunity to embed themselves with CSIS and work directly with policy experts on capstone projects designed to showcase their capacity for cogent analysis of real-world problemsWorking teams of master’s candidates will conduct research and craft actionable policy analysis and recommendations, based on current policy challenges that are confronting the international community. Students will work directly with senior scholars and CSIS’s award-winning multimedia production studio, the Andreas C. Dracopoulos Ideas Lab, which will help each team produce a final multimedia product to accompany their research and policy recommendations.

Students will also complete professional development workshops on data collection and analysis, analytic writing, and presentation to support the development of their projects and help prepare them for personal career advancement. CSIS faculty and media advisors will mentor and guide students throughout the duration of their projects.

EMIR candidates who successfully complete the capstone project will be able to:

  • Understand complex and fast-changing 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 data-driven analysis and creative visualization tactics.
  • Communicate findings effectively orally, in writing, and across a range of digital platforms.


Applicants should meet the following criteria:

  • Mid-career professionals with at least 7 years of professional experience.
  • Individuals seeking to advance their careers in intelligence, security, or international affairs without having to leave their job.
  • Professionals looking for an academic experience, including the opportunity to work side by side with top policy experts, refine practical skills, and showcase their ability to contribute to new policy solutions.
  • Individuals from various professional backgrounds, including those with service in government, embassies, research institutions, private corporations, NGOs, and professional associations.

How to Apply

To apply, please submit the following documents through the application link:

  • Completed Syracuse University graduate school application
  • Resume
  • Personal statement
  • Official transcripts
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores (optional)

Applications are accepted year-round, with three separate deadlines for priority consideration: July 1 for fall entry, November 1 for spring entry, and May 1 for summer entry.

Prospective students who apply by July 1, 2024 will receive priority consideration for the upcoming fall semester. Later applications will be considered on a rolling basis. The fall semester begins August 26, 2024.


For immediate questions about applying to the program, please contact Samantha Clemence at saclemen@maxwell.syr.edu.