International Organizations


About The Field

The theory and practice of international organizations is a dynamic and increasingly important dimension of world affairs. The field is at the intersection of international law and politics, and its core approach is inter-disciplinary. Students are given the opportunity to study the norms and rules that govern international relations and the institutions where those rules are formulated and implemented. In addition to survey courses on international organizations in general, course offerings cover substantive areas of international activity in which institutions play a central role, such as peace operations, human rights, the environment, and international trade.

Students who specialize in the field acquire:

  • basic knowledge of the nature and functions of international institutions – both formal organizations and less formal arrangements;
  • an understanding of the role institutions play in the development of international law and policy; and
  • an ability to think critically about the significance of international organizations to contemporary world affairs.
  • Career opportunities for those who specialize in the field include inter-governmental organizations, government agencies and non-governmental organizations. The field is also helpful for positions in private sector firms that interact with international organizations and related government offices.


    Below is a representative portrait of curricular requirements for this Field of Study. Core requirements are subject to periodic updates and modifications; current Fletcher students should refer to the Registrar's course bulletin and to Fletcher Connect for definitive requirements in a given academic year.

    The International Organizations Field of Study requires the completion of a minimum of three course credits from the list of electives below.

    Core Requirements for the Field

    We encourage you to download our course catalog to get a better understanding of Fletcher, our curriculum, and our students.


    Cornelia Schneider Fletcher
    Rahul Bhatnagar, The Fletcher School
    Devon Cone Fletcher
    Cornelia Schneider
    MALD 06
    United Nations Development
    Chief of the Access to
    Justice Project

       Read Connie's story

    Rahul Bhatnagar
    MIB 11
    The International Trade
    Centre - New York, NY

    Read Rahul's story

    Devon Cone
    MALD 08
    Child Protection Specialist

       Read Devon's story

    Outside the Classroom

    • Baseball in The Time of Cholera: Haiti, The UN, and Cholera Accountability
    • Effective Multilateralism: The Experience of Chemical Weapons Elimination in Syria
    • Future Opportunities & Challenges for Evaluation in the UN
    • Charles Francis Adams Lecture: Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety, II
    • Charles Francis Adams Series/International Security Studies Program: “NATO: Current and Future Challenges”
    • NATO Parliamentarians Visit
    • Diversity and Inclusion in International Organizations
    • The Institute for Human Security: "R2P's Unfinished Journey: the Lingering Promise of Prevention"
    • US and the UN in Difficult Times
    • US Arctic Research Commission
    • Climate Change and Energy: Europe Takes the Lead
    • Representing the European Union to the United States of America during the Portuguese EU Presidency
    • Enlargements of the European Union: Past and Future
    • Making and Keeping Peace in Darfur
    • UN Women - New York City, NY
    • UN Office of Sustainable Development - Seoul, Republic of Korea
    • UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations - New York City, NY
    • World Bank - Washington, DC
    • NATO Defense College - Rome, Italy
    • UNDP - Amman, Jordan
    • UN Peacebuilding Support Office - Washington, DC
    • European Parliament - Brussels, Belgium
    • UN-ACT - Bangkok, Thailand
    • UNRWA - Amman, Jordan
    • "Advocating for Security Sector Reform in the Review of Peace Operations: Strategy and Analysis for United Nations Security Sector Reform Practitioners"
    • "Kuwaitis, Withouts, Illegals, Comorans: Citizenship, International Law and the Bidun"
    • "The Evolution of the Definition of Protected Groups in the Crime of Genocide"
    • "The Evolution of Head of State Immunity"
    • “The Politics of the EU's Extraterritorial Border Control and the Implications for the Asylum Regime"
    • “Cyber-Insecurity: Why the Race for Cyber Dominance Will Hinder the Development of an Effective International Framework for Managing Cyber Threats”
    • “Creating Obstacles to Peace: The International Involvement in Darfur”
    • "Achieving Complex National Security Missions: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Design and Management of Collaborative Institutions"
    • "Resuscitating 'the Forgotten Sector in a Forgotten State': Catalyzing Improved Health Outcomes in Guinea-Bissau through the Millennium Development Goals"
    • "One For All and All For One: Intra-Organizational Dynamics in Humanitarian Action"
    • "Never Again? The Failure of the International Community and the Media During the Rwanda Genocide"
    • "NGO Mission and Staff Perception: A Case Study of the Finca del Niño"
    • "Farm Animal Welfare and WTO Law: Assessing the Legality of Policy Measures"
    • "Additionality of the Clean Development Mechanism: Insights from Central American Case Studies"
    • "Farm Animal Welfare and WTO Law: Assessing the Legality of Policy Measures"
    • ASEAN Society
    • European Affairs Society
    • Fletcher Humanitarian Action Society
    • Fletcher United Nations Club
    • Human Rights Project
    • International Law Society

    A Fletcher education is highly customizable, and each student may decide on a different academic trajectory to suit his or her own professional and academic goals. To get a better sense of how these individual curricular decisions can play out, we asked recent students in their final semester to talk about their goals, their classes, and the decisions made during their Fletcher career. Meet Mumtaz:

    Pre-Fletcher Experience

    Diplomat with the Foreign Service of Pakistan, with diplomatic assignments in Paris, Geneva and Washington DC.

    Field of Study

    International Organizations

    Capstone Topic

    Implications of the Use of Drones on the Notion of State Sovereignty

    Post-Fletcher Professional Goals

    I will continue to work in the Foreign Service for some time but I eventually intend to go consultancy.

    Read about Mumtaz's curricular path.

    Learn From The Experts: Fletcher Faculty

    Ian Johnstone, Professor of International Law at Tufts Fletcher School"Fletcher regularly offers introductory and specialized courses in international organization topics each year, such as the international legal order, human rights, international criminal justice, and sustainable development diplomacy. Institutional issues arise in many of our issue-area courses, including conflict resolution, human security, and humanitarian affairs."

    Ian Johnstone, Professor of International Law

    Other faculty with expertise in the field:

    Carolyn Gideon Tufts Fletcher School <Michael Glennon Tufts Fletcher School Alan Henrikson, Lee E. Dirks Professor of Diplomatic History and Associate Professor at The Fletcher School Joel Trachtman Tufts Fletcher School David Wirth Tufts Fletcher School
    Carolyn Gideon Michael Glennon Alan Henrikson Joel Trachtman David Wirth