The Survey of International Organizations provides students with the history, functioning, and significance of key international organizations in today’s fast changing global environment. The course examines past achievements and failures of some of the world’s most important economic, political and humanitarian organizations from an interdisciplinary perspective. An understanding of the history of Europe, especially post World War I, the creation of the League of Nations and later, the United Nations, and the stages of European integration, is critical to understanding the challenges facing international organizations, member-states, and civil society today and is contained in our readings, lectures, and discussions. The goal of the course is to equip participants with an understanding of how history, norms, laws, civil and intergovernmental organizations shape the current international system. Analytical tools help students assess both the future role of international organizations in the 21st century and their past and present effectiveness in addressing important global challenges, including global warming, pandemics, poverty, human rights and migration, and conflicts.
Explore the goals, functions, and significance of international organizations and laws, while grappling with critical questions:
- What is the future of regional integration with Brexit?
- How are international organizations and civil society protecting and providing services during the highest levels of displacement on record?
- Will there be a trade war or will the World Trade Organization structure prevail?
- Will nuclear deals lead to disarmament?
- What is the future of Europe and the refugees?
Your participation will influence what the answers will be by helping create solutions, talk with decision makers, civil servants, and non-profit leaders.
- Based in Fribourg, a lively university town and one of the largest medieval towns in Switzerland. With over a mile of fortified walls and preserved remnants of turrets and bastions, it is a fascinating pedestrian friendly city, surrounded by water on three sides, with bridges that divide the French speaking from the German speaking sides.
- Two full-day trips to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland for meetings at the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), The Office of Disarmament Affairs, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN High Commissioners for Human Rights, and the World Trade Organization.
- Overnight trip to Strasbourg, France, in the quaint area with canals and cobbled lanes where visitors can sample Alsatian culture and cuisine.
- Briefings at the European Parliament, European Court of Human Rights, the Council of Europe, and more in France.
This program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students, including students who do not attend George Mason University.
Students should have taken at least one course in International Relations, Government Studies, Global Affairs, Conflict Resolution, Political Economy, or a similar class prior to participation in this program.
Undergraduate students must have a minimum GPA of 2.25.
Students will choose one 3-credit course during the application process.
- Global Affairs - GLOA 480: Study Abroad in Switzerland
- Conflict Analysis and Resolution - CONF 385: International Field Experience
- Government - GOVT 398: Study Abroad in Switzerland
- Economics - ECON 492: Study Abroad in Switzerland
- Prerequisites for ECON 492: must have completed at least one of these courses with a 'C' or higher: ECON 103, 104, or 385.
- History - HIST 387: Topics in Global History
- Integrative Studies - INTS 399: Study Abroad
- Integrative Studies - INTS 595: Special Topics
- Conflict Analysis and Resolution - CONF 695: Selected Topics- Survey of Intl Orgs
*Subject to change. Course offerings will be finalized by the application deadline.
January 1 - 15, 2022
||Arrive in Fribourg. Program and class orientation.
||Academic Information Session
||Guest lectures at University of Fribourg. Topic: International Law and Human Rights
||Guest lectures at University of Fribourg. Topic: NGOs and Global Governance
||Guest lectures at University of Fribourg. Topic: International Economics
||Day trip to Geneva. Tour of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and The International Labour Organization (ILO)
||Guest lectures at University of Fribourg. Topic: The European Union
||Guest lectures at University of Fribourg. Topic: The European Union
||Train to Strasbourg, France. Tour EU institutions: European Parliament & European Court of Human Rights. Overnight in Strasbourg.
||Tour and visit to the Council of Europe. Evening train to Fribourg.
||Program end and departure for US.
* Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.
Winter 2022: Coming Soon!
The Program Cost for study abroad courses is assessed separately from Mason tuition and fees. This means separate charges are put on your student account for this course, a study abroad tuition charge and a study abroad program fee charge which together equal the published Program Cost for this course.
Included: Tuition for 3 credits, shared rooms at University of Fribourg, hotel accommodations in Strasbourg, three meals a day during week and two meals a day on weekends , guided tours and excursions as described in itinerary, train transportation from Switzerland to France, international emergency medical insurance.
Not included: Airfare*, passport and visa fees, some meals, personal spending, COVID-19 testing in the U.S. before departure, COVID-19 testing while abroad, vaccinations, required textbooks and/or course materials.
*Note: This program does not include a group flight. Information regarding arrival times and location will be sent out to all participants after the application deadline. Do not purchase airfare until you receive the "Green Light for Flights" notice from the Global Education Office via email. The notice will include information on the arrival/departure airports, flight times, and where to meet the group. Students who fail to follow the guidelines GEO sends out will be responsible for applicable costs of changing their flights.
When the time comes to purchase airfare, GEO will be recommending the purchase of Flight Interruption and Cancellation Insurance. The “Green Light for Flights” email will provide additional information about this insurance.
Students on MasonGEO programs must pay the advertised program cost in order to participate. This cost will be made in three payments (Deposit + First Payment + Final Payment). Students using financial aid can provide additional paperwork in lieu of deposit and final balance payments.
Application Deposit: A non-refundable program deposit $200 must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.
First Payment: A non-refundable payment of $1000 must be received by October 20th. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee. Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.
In the event that a student’s financial aid or VA Benefits is estimated to cover the entire costs of the study abroad program, the entire charge will be posted to their student account, since that is where the aid will be applied. In this case students do not pay their first payment through MasonAbroad. However students must submit their “Intent to Use Financial Aid” form by the first deposit deadline.
Final Payment: The final balance payment is due by November 10th. This is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $1200 you've already paid (Deposit + First Payment). Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.
Financial Aid and VA Benefits: Students who intend to use financial aid or VA benefits to fund their program fees (partially or in full) must have the "Intent to Use Financial Aid" or "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form" completed and on file with the Global Education Office by the First Payment deadline. The "Intent to Use Financial Aid" form is available in the MasonAbroad application system once you have started your application for this program. If you are using VA Benefits please contact your program officer to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form."
Withdrawal and Refund Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Withdrawal and Refund Policy.
For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:
GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students on this program are welcome to apply:
October 10, 2021
Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.
Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.
Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.
Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.
Intent to Use Financial Aid Form: For Mason students only. If you use financial aid, this form must be completed by your financial aid counselor and submitted by the 1st payment deadline.
Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:
Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.
Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.
* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.