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  • Locations: Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.5 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
Click here for a definition of this term Area of Study: Government and International Policy, Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Criminology Law and Society, Global Affairs, History Click here for a definition of this term Study Abroad Host: Global Education Office
Click here for a definition of this term Fulfills Mason Core Requirement: Yes Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:

International Securities Studies

Switzerland, Summer 2021

International Securities Swiz
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 Highlights

  • Based in picturesque Fribourg, students will be provided with an introduction to international security affairs from a global perspective.
  • Provides a solid foundation into the central theoretical concepts of international security, as well as an appreciation of historical and current issues in the field.
  • Coursework will help students hone their analytical, presentation, and writing skills. 
  • Travel to France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
  • Site visits include the Council of Europe, NATO, the United Nations, International Criminal Court, the Maginot Line, and a Swiss mountain fortress.
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This program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students including students who do not attend George Mason University.


Students will enroll in two courses for a total of 6 credits

Course Options

All students will enroll in:

  • GOVT 398 - International Security in Global Perspective

Students will also choose from one of four elective courses:

  • GLOA 480 – Global Affairs Study Abroad
  • CONF 385 – International Field Experience
  • HIST 387 – Topics in Global History (satisfies Mason core requirement in Global Understanding)
  • CRIM 485 - Study Abroad
  • CRIM 490 - Special Topics

Program Dates

July 1-21, 2021



July 1       Students arrive in Fribourg
Orientation The academic/administrative orientation 
July 2   AM The Geneva Conventions - Joanna Bourke(University of Fribourg)
PM State of International Law on War - George Dvaladze (Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights)
July 3 Modern Debates and Political Discourse: Arms Control for Emerging Technologies –Trevor Thrall
July 4  Geneva Study Visit to: UN Conference on Disarmament Affairs(Departure: 06:30)
July 5 AM Metz - (Departure 08:00)(overnight stay)
PM Terrorism, Civil War, Regional Security Issues - Trevor Thrall
July 6 AM Brussels - (Departure 08:00)(overnight stay)
PM NATO study visit: 14:00
July 7 EU Parliament study visit, Session on the ICC (overnight stay)
PM Mid-term Exam
July 8 Site visits - Hackenberg Fortresss, Maginot Line, Return to Strasbourg (overnight stay)
PM Council of Europe
July 9 AM Fundamentals of International Diplomacy - Fabian Grass (Federal Department of Foreign Affairs), Artem Rybchenko, (Ambassador of Ukraine)
PM Swiss National Defense Policy - Diplomacy and Defense - Robert Diethelm (Swiss Armed Forces)
July 10 AM The Role of the UN in Peace and Conflict - Joshua Niyo (Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights)
PM Diplomacy, Human Security, Responsibility to Protect, Intervention Workshops - Trevor Thrall
July 11 AM Neutrality and the UN Charter - Sandra Caluori (Federal Department of Foreign Affairs)
PM Swiss Fortress Festung Vitznau Study visit (Departure 13:30)
July 12 AM History of Conflicts - Trevor Thrall (George Mason University)
PM “Post-Conflict Mechanisms” Rahel von Arx (Swisspeace Foundation)
July 13 AM Review session for final exam
PM Independent study
July 14    Workshops and final deadline for submission of materials
July 15 Final Exam
July 16 A.M. Review session for final exam
P.M. Independent study
July 17-19 Free Days
July 20 Final Exam
July 21 Students depart for the U.S.
* 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.

Program Cost

Summer 2021: $5,535

The Program Cost for study abroad courses is assessed separately from Mason tuition and fees. This means separate charges will be 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.


  • Tuition for 6 credits
  • Accommodations
  • Partial meal plan (20 meals)
  • Most in-country transportation
  • International emergency medical insurance.

Not included: Airfare*, passport and visa fees, some meals, other transportation,  personal spending, 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 and/or costs associated with arriving prior to the start of the program.
When the time comes to purchase airfare, GEO will recommend the purchase of Flight Interruption and Cancellation Insurance. The “Green Light for Flights” email will provide additional information about this insurance.

Program Payments

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. All payments and charges are reflected in the student’s Mason Student Account.

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 March 20, 2021. 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 April 10, 2021. 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 Office of Financial Aid is unable to assess if a student will have aid available for summer until mid to late February. The "Intent to Use Financial Aid" and "Intent to Use VA Benefits" forms are available in the MasonAbroad application system once the office of financial aid can review aid for this program. 

* Students must be enrolled at least half-time for federal loans and the majority of grant funds. Please refer to the Financial Aid Website for a definition of half-time for undergraduate and graduate students:

Withdrawal and Refund Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Withdrawal and Refund Policy.

Payment Instructions

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 are welcome to apply:

Application Deadline:

March 10, 2021


Application requirements:*

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. The Office of Financial Aid is unable to assess if a student will have aid available for summer until mid to late February.

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.

Application instructions:

Academic Director

Name Trevor Thrall
Phone 703-993-3724

GEO Program Administrator

  Paul Locascio
Name Paul Locascio
Phone (703) 993-2154

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.