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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.

Apply here for Spring 2019


CSIS and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University have partnered to deliver a new 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. Enrollment for spring 2019 is now open, and classes begin January 14.

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.

Download Program Brochure

Degree Overview

  • Duration – Students complete their degree in as little as 18 months.
  • Schedule – Classes are held in the evening and in short intensive sessions that accommodate working professionals.
  • Curriculum – Courses combine academic insights, case studies, and simulations, with practical skills and pertinent research.
  • Faculty – Maxwell professors, CSIS scholars, and guest lecturers drawn from the senior ranks of government and business communities lead interactive seminars.
  • Location – Classes are held at CSIS headquarters in Washington, D.C.
  • Access – Students have full access to the online and in-person resources of Syracuse University and CSIS.
  • Capstone Project – Students work with CSIS experts and CSIS’s award-winning production studio to develop actionable analysis accompanied by a multimedia product that addresses a current policy challenge.

Who should apply?

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

Application Requirements

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

Curriculum Highlights

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

Regional Courses
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 & Workshops
  • Data Analysis
  • Data Visualization
  • Advanced Analytic Writing
  • Delivering Policy Briefs

Please visit the official Maxwell School website for a full overview of the degree program, course descriptions, admissions instructions, tuition and financial aid information, and all other student services.

Download Program Brochure

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 problems . Working 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.

For more information, please contact: