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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 a) basic knowledge of the nature and functions of international institutions – both formal organizations and less formal arrangements; b) an understanding of the role institutions play in the development of international law and policy; and c) 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.

Students should refer to the Registrar's Field of Study Guide for definitive field requirements in a given academic year.


Current Students and Alumni

Pulkit Aggrwal

Chief of Staff, CEO's Office, India Health Fund
Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD)
Class Year: 2018

Moriah Graham

Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD)
Class Year: 2020

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"
Research Centers
Student Groups
  • ASEAN Society
  • European Affairs Society
  • Fletcher Humanitarian Action Society
  • Fletcher United Nations Club
  • Human Rights Project
  • International Law Society
Annotated Curriculum

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.