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.
- 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.
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
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
||Students arrive in Fribourg
Orientation The academic/administrative orientation
||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)
||Modern Debates and Political Discourse: Arms Control for Emerging Technologies –Trevor Thrall
||Geneva Study Visit to: UN Conference on Disarmament Affairs(Departure: 06:30)
||AM Metz - (Departure 08:00)(overnight stay)
PM Terrorism, Civil War, Regional Security Issues - Trevor Thrall
||AM Brussels - (Departure 08:00)(overnight stay)
PM NATO study visit: 14:00
||EU Parliament study visit, Session on the ICC (overnight stay)
PM Mid-term Exam
||Site visits - Hackenberg Fortresss, Maginot Line, Return to Strasbourg (overnight stay)
PM Council of Europe
||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)
||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
||AM Neutrality and the UN Charter - Sandra Caluori (Federal Department of Foreign Affairs)
PM Swiss Fortress Festung Vitznau Study visit (Departure 13:30)
||AM History of Conflicts - Trevor Thrall (George Mason University)
PM “Post-Conflict Mechanisms” Rahel von Arx (Swisspeace Foundation)
||AM Review session for final exam
PM Independent study
||Workshops and final deadline for submission of materials
||A.M. Review session for final exam
P.M. Independent study
||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.
Summer 2022: Coming Soon!
Summer 2021: $5,535
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.
- Application deposit
- Tuition for 6 credits and mandatory fee
- Partial meal plan (20 meals)
- Most in-country transportation
- Pre-departure orientation
- International emergency medical insurance
- Visa fees
- Some meals
- Other transportation
- Personal spending
- COVID-19 testing in the U.S. before departure
- COVID-19 testing while abroad
- 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. 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.
The full program fee is charged to your Mason Student Account. Students pay the Global Education Office (GEO) Program Fee as advertised in two payments (Application Deposit + Final Payment.)
Application Deposit: $200 non-refundable Application Deposit must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.
Final Payment: The final balance payment is made through the Mason Bill+Payment system. Payment is due according to the Mason Payment Schedule. The amount due is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $200 you will have already paid, the Application Deposit
- You can make your final payment in the Mason Bill+Payment system even if you do not see the GEO program charge on your student account.
- George Mason University applies payments to outstanding charges first. If you have an outstanding balance from a previous semester your payments will first go to paying that charge. You will still be responsible for the GEO charge.
In most cases, financial aid (federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans) can be used to finance study abroad. It is the student’s responsibility to check with the Office of Financial Aid to review their financial aid package. The Office of Financial Aid is the only office that can determine your aid eligibility.
Meeting with your financial aid officer prior to applying to study abroad will help you understand if, how much, and when your aid can be used to study abroad.
Confirmation of your financial aid award may not be available until registration and billing for the term in question is final. If aid eligibility changes, or the amount of aid disbursed is lower than anticipated, students are responsible for all remaining account balances or risk late fees, holds on their accounts, and program dismissal.
To assist students in the processing of their financial aid, GEO will communicate with the Office of Financial aid those students who plan to utilize financial aid for their specific study abroad program through their application with GEO. Please note there is no guarantee to students that their aid can be utilized for their specific study abroad program.
If you plan to use federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans to finance your study abroad you must:
- Mark “Yes” to “Do you plan to use Financial Aid to finance your program (federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans)?” in your profile in MasonAbroad.gmu.edu.
*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: https://www2.gmu.edu/admissions-aid/financial-aid/eligibility.
VA Benefits: The Veterans Administration determines if a program is eligible to receive VA benefit payments based on the participants VA education program. Use of benefits is dependent on type of benefit and type of program. If you plan to use VA benefits to finance study abroad contact your program officer at MasonLed@gmu.edu to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form." You will complete that form with Mason’s Office of Military Services. To contact Military Services be sure to email them directly at Military@gmu.edu.
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 are welcome to apply:
March 10, 2022
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.
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.