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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English Number of Credits Offered: 3
Eligible Population: Graduate Type of Program: Faculty-led
Click here for a definition of this term Area of Study: Public Policy and Management, Government and International Policy, Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Global Affairs, History, International Security Click here for a definition of this term Study Abroad Host: Schar School of Policy and Government
Minimum GPA (Graduate): 3.0 Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:

Regional Security: Korea and Northeast Asia

South Korea, Summer 2020

Korea Banner 2
This course will be of particular interest to ISEC students, and others with an interest in Asian political and security issues. Classroom lectures and seminars will take place on the Mason-Korea campus, led by Mason faculty and a series of guest lectures from Korean scholars and practitioners.  The course will provide some historical and cultural context, with an emphasis on the contemporary security environment and likely challenges that will affect US national security decisions in the near future. A major focus of the course will be on Korean peninsula security issues, exploring diverse points of view and policy preferences on how to handle North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities, and their impact on the security interests of all regional players.  The course will also deepen students’ understanding about South Korea’s politics and policymaking on regional security, and other issues of national priority for the country.  In field trips outside the classroom, students will visit the Demilitarized Zone between South Korea and North Korea, and call on diplomats and international NGOs in Seoul for conversations about regional issues.  
Prior to leaving the US, students, will be expected to participate in sessions on the history and culture of Korea and complete assigned readings.  A research topic for each student will be identified during the trip, with some short assignments while in country. The course will be completed upon return to the US, with a research paper submitted within one month of the trip. 
Course goals 
  • To familiarize students with the strategic security environment of Northeast Asia
  • To deepen understanding of security challenges facing the Republic of Korea
  • To gain knowledge of the interests of outside powers, including the US, China, Russia and Japan, on the security of the Korean peninsula
  • To be exposed to the history, political institutions, and culture of the ROK
Sponsored by Schar School of Policy and Government
One Additional Opportunity Sponsored by the Schar School’s Center for Security Policy Studies
The week prior to this course, from May 31 to June 7, the Schar School's Center for Security Policy Studies (CSPS) will host an in-depth study of the 1950-1953 Korean War. Participants will spend seven days visiting battlefields, monuments, museums and cultural heritage sites from Busan to Seoul. This immersive experience will foster a deep and nuanced understanding of the “Forgotten War” by providing a firsthand, on-the-ground perspective as to why the Korean War unfolded the way that it did; how the fighting reshaped the Korean Peninsula, East Asia and the Cold War; and why it continues to reverberate across Korean society, politics and culture to this day. 
It will also provide an important lens through which participants can discuss and debate contemporary security issues, including crisis management nuclear proliferation, reunification, and the likely character of future wars. This tour is only open to George Mason University graduate students. Although it is not part of the "Regional Security: Korea and Northeast Asia" study abroad program, students enrolled in that course can apply separately to participate in this war travel as well.  Additional information and application instructions will be available at  in December 2019. Email Jordan Cohen at for more information. 
Sponsored by Schar School of Policy and Government


Open to GMU graduate students, may consider graduate students from other universities with academic director approval.


  • ITRN 702: Special Topics in Study Abroad

Program Dates*

June 7 - June 14, 2020


Program Itinerary*

Day 0: Individual Departure for Seoul, South Korea

June 7: Arrival to Seoul and Inchon
  • Walking tour of Inchon. Late afternoon class, introductory lecture, and welcome/orientation. Group dinner.

June 8:  Tour of the Demilitarized Zone
  • Dinner discussion on N/S relations

June 9: Inchon (GMU campus)
  • Lectures on Korean politics, institutions, how national security policy made (lecturers from Schar, Mason-Korea faculty, and outside experts)

June 10: Seoul
  • Visits in Seoul: National Assembly with Defense and Foreign Affairs Committees, and with the 
  • Embassy Visits (US, Chinese and/or Japanese)

June 11: Inchon (GMU campus)
  • Lectures on regional security, war and peace scenarios, deep dive on current denuclearization efforts, unification and peace initiatives

June 12: Inchon (GMU campus) 
  • Interaction with currently serving US military in Korea
  • Student presentations on topics on regional security

June 13: Cultural time – (Free time)
  • Festive, farewell event

June 14 – Program Concludes
  • Individual Departure from Seoul (Inchon) 

*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 2020): $4,000

Please review the information below to see the program fee details.

  • Tuition (3 credits)
  • Accommodations 
  • In-country travel to all program activities
  • All lectures and seminars
  • Some meals
  • International Emergency Insurance
Not Included:
  • Round-trip airfare
  • Other transportation
  • Some meals
  • Personal spending

Program Payments

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."

Non-Mason Students: Non-Mason students must be admitted to the University and assigned a student number prior to making payments. Please submit the "Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form" during the application phase in order to begin this process.

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

Application Deadline:

April 14th, 2020


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:

Contact Information

Program Director

Michal McElwain Malur

Academic Director

Ellen Laipson
Director of the Master's in International Security degree program
Director of the Center for Security Policy Studies at the Schar School of Policy and Government 

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2020 04/14/2020 ** Rolling Admission 06/07/2020 06/14/2020

** 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.