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  • Locations: Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.25 Language of Instruction: English
Housing: Hotel Number of Credits Offered: 6
Eligible Population: 01 Freshman, 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior Type of Program: Faculty-led
Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:
Switzerland Boat

International Security Studies in Switzerland

International Security Studies provides students with an introduction to international security affairs from a global perspective.  The course examines the achievements and failures of some of the world's most important economic, political, humanitarian and security organizations from an interdisciplinary perspective. The courses offer students an intellectually stimulating, innovative and diverse program of study in a safe environment, with maximum exposure to the cultural and political life of contemporary Switzerland, Europe and the world of international diplomacy.  The structure of the program revolves around regular coursework and relevant study visits.  The interdisciplinary course is organized into modules in various areas of study including economics, political science, international relations and international law. Class meetings are held three to four days a week, with one or two days reserved for on-site visits allowing students to see the day-to-day operations and meet with senior representatives of major international organizations, such as the United Nations, Conference on Disarmament Affairs, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross (all based in Geneva), as well as the European Court of Human Rights in nearby Strasbourg, France, NATO in Belgium, and the International Criminal Course at the Hague among others.

Program Details

Seeking Approval for the Following:


Students will enroll in six credits: a common core and an elective.
The core class is GOVT 398 - International Security in Global Perspective.  Students will also choose from one of four elective courses:

  • Global Affairs (GLOA) 480 – Global Affairs Study Abroad
  • Conflict Analysis and Resolution (CONF) 385 – International Field Experience
  • History (HIST) 387 – Topics in Global History (satisfies Mason core requirement in global understanding)
  • Criminology (CRIM) 405 – Law and Justice around the World


This program is open to all undergraduate students including students who do not attend George Mason University


Double or single occupancy in dormitories and double or triple occupancy in hotels while on excursions

Program Cost: $5,700.

  • Tuition (6 credits)
  • Accommodations
  • Most in-country transportation
  • Partial meal plan (20 meals)
  • Lectures
  • Pre-Departure Orientation
  • International Emergency Insurance
Not Included:
  • Round-trip airfare
  • Other transportation
  • Other meals
  • Personal spending
  • Optional excursions and performances

Program Itinerary*

Day 1           Students arrive in Fribourg;
Orientation The academic/administrative orientation will be on Sunday evening at around 17:30-18:00
Day 2       History of Conflicts; The Geneva Conventions
Day 3 State of International Law on War; War Crimes Tribunals, Truth and Reconciliation Commissions
Day 4       Norms, War and Moral Theory; Workshops
Day 5 Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, Nuclear Arms Treaties; Modern Debates and Political Discourse 
Day 6 Geneva Study Visit
Day 7 Mid-term Exam
Day 8 Free Day
Day 9 Strasbourg Study Visit
Day 10 Brussels Study Visit
Day 11 The Hague Study Visit
Day 12 Site Visits
Day 13 Basic Overview of Human Security, Responsibility to Protect; Workshop on Intervention
Day 14-15           Free Days
Day 16 Fundamentals of International Diplomacy; The Role of the UN in Peace and Conflict
Day 17 Swiss National Defense Policy- Diplomacy and Defense; Afternoon site visit
Day 18 Diplomacy Workshops; Review Session
Day 19 Final Exam; Farewell Dinner
Day 20 Independent Study (Term Papers Due)
Day 21 Students depart for the U.S.

*Instructor reserves the right to modify the course schedule as needed

Contact Information

Program Officer

Denise Elles-Mdahuar

Academic Director

Andrew ArmstrongAndrew Armstrong

Andrew Armstrong is a PhD candidate in Political Science. He teaches courses in International Relations, International Security, and American Politics; all of which involve tasteful puns, shameless propaganda, political humor, and candy. His research focuses on media's role shaping public understanding of complex issues like nuclear proliferation, climate change, and national elections. Prior to George Mason Andrew worked for the world's largest market research firm, designing and managing custom studies in over forty countries.

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2017 05/02/2017
Rolling Admission 07/02/2017 07/22/2017

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed

This program is currently not accepting applications.