Foreign Service Leadership Program

Scope and Sequence of Foreign Service Leadership Program

Graduate Written Communications (ONLINE) 

Course Description:

In this 3 credit hour required course, students are exposed to key writing skills necessary for success in Graduate School and beyond.  Students are taken from the basic level of writing excellent sentences to structuring clear paragraphs and writing effective essays.  Aside from essay writing which prepares students for all professional writing, aspects of technical writing will be covered including resumes, memos, concept papers and reports. The course culminates in a required Research Paper.  A Power Point Presentation summarizing the critical content of the Research Paper is mandatory at the end of four weeks of rigorous, skill-building, accelerated course. In fulfillment of required regular attendance/participation, students will respond to prompts given by the instructor within a group chat.


MFSL 601 INTROD TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Since the Post-World War Two period, the international system has undergone unprecedented changes. In this introductory course, a survey of various areas and issues in international relations will be conducted. This includes major non-state actors such as inter-governmental organizations (e.g. the United Nations), non-governmental organizations (NGOS such as Amnesty International) and multinational corporations and their roles; their modes of interaction in the political, economic, social and cultural arenas; and assessment of the tremendous political changes and their consequences on the global system and for the global environment.


The Language Program is intended to equip graduate students in the Master of Foreign Service Language Program with basic communication skills in few international languages such as French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, and Arabic.

MFSL 603 Research Methodology in International Relations This course introduces the student to general perspectives in conducting scientific research with emphasis on methods directly related to International Relations. It will discuss methods used in comparing a small number of cases, such as process-tracing and case study analysis. It will also examine some of the tools applied in qualitative research, including interviewing, content and discourse analysis. The course will provide an understanding of a wide range of methodological tools and methods and their use in existing research and publications. It will enable the student to choose the most appropriate approach to conducting a research project.


MFSL 604  International Organizations The course acquaints the students with international and regional security organizations, their genesis, organizational set-up and their functions and efficacy. Also, the challenges faced by these organizations in the larger context of the changing international scenario will be the focus of the course. Attempt will also be made to highlight the recent efforts at restructuring these organizations. Topics to be covered include the evolution of international organizations; the UN System and the changing context of global politics; challenges to the UN System (reform and restructuring); international and regional Security Organizations (role in peace-keeping and peace-making); Select regional security and economic organizations and their efficacy in changing global order (ECOWAS, etc.); the role of international organizations in human rights and environmental issues. 



MFSL 605 THEORIES IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS This course will examine alternative theories and frameworks for understanding post-cold war developments, and test these theories against emergent reality. It will provide students with conceptual tools necessary to better comprehend the fundamental forces, processes and actors, that influence the international system. It will introduce students to principal theoretical debates and analytical tools that will facilitate the full study of International Relations. Both mainstream theoretical traditions and pertinent critical perspectives will be examined. Topics will include major theories of IR (realism, liberalism, constructivism, etc.); global conflict and cooperation theories (balance of power, regime stability, etc.); and theories in international political economy.

MFSL 606 International Political Economy/International Economic Relations

This course introduces students to the complexities and dynamics of current global politics and international relations. It will study how and why international economic policies are formed, and how international factors influence domestic policy-making. Prior work in economics is helpful for navigating this course. It will cover topics such as approaches in IPE; international economic institutions (NAFTA, GATT, the IMF, EU, ECOWAS, and Mano River Union) and problems; political economy of regionalism; non-state actors in IPE; Contemporary IPE concerns; foreign trade, capital flows, monetary policy and exchange rates, issues in globalization, and international organizations and institutions such as NAFTA, GATT, the IMF, and the EU.

MFSL 607 Theories in International Development The course introduces students to the main concepts and theories of international development, development cooperation and related policies.  It discusses major developmental challenges in a globalized world as well as provides examples of developmental interventions. Topics include structuralism, dependency theory, basic needs theory, neoclassical/liberalist theory, post-development theory, sustainable development theory, human development theory, ecological modernization theory, and world systems theory.

MFSL 701 Liberia in Global Affairs

The course will provide an understanding of Liberia’s role in contemporary world affairs. It will offer a historical perspective on the evolution of the country’s global view and its interaction in world affairs since independence. The major focus of the course is on Liberia’s perceptions and policies towards global and regional issues especially since the end of World War II. Topics include perspectives on the evolution of Liberia’s global view since 1847; Liberian perceptions and policies towards the US since 1944; relations with Western Europe (trends and prospects); emerging postures and policies towards US, China, and India; role of Liberia in the UN, AU, ECOWAS, and Mano River Union; postures and policies on major global issues.    


MFSL 702 Foreign Policy Analysis

The course will focus on the intentions and actions of (primarily) states aimed at the external world and the response of other actors (again, primarily states) to these actions. It will examine the key concepts and schools of thought in foreign policy analysis, concentrating particularly on the process of decision making, the internal and external factors which influence foreign policy decisions, the instruments available to foreign policy decision makers and the effect of changes in the international system on foreign policy. It will combine a discussion of these theories with their application to the Liberian foreign policy from 1944 to present.

MFSL 703 International / World Politics

The course introduces the historical and contemporary situations in global politics. It will identify the principal actors in the global system and the international organizations and institutions that exist to resolve international problems. It will discuss how conflict is generated in the international system, and describe how the international system deals with conflict. It will describe how the assumption of the primacy of states and national interest has shaped attempts to understand the behavior of states and the nature of international relations. It will also discuss the legacies of colonialism and the main drivers of political and economic development in the world today. It will identify continuing structures of inequality and domination in the world today and the new global movements and strategies of resistance and emancipation that have evolved in response.


MFSL 704 International Law

The course is designed to give the students a foundation in International law, with a view to help them understand the nature, development, and basic principles of international law, having a bearing on International Relations. It covers the general principles of international law; the laws of peace and armed conflict; international economic and trade laws; international environmental law; international maritime law; and international diplomatic law. Discussions will include immunities from jurisdiction, jurisdiction over persons, international agreements and peaceful settlement of disputes. Others include the legal nature of war crimes, humanitarian law, and collective measures through the United Nations.


MFSL 705 Negotiation and Diplomacy

This course traces the origins of organized diplomacy and distinguishes between the practice of diplomacy which involves the management of relations between independent states and that of negotiation which encompasses the processes, tactics, and strategies of international affairs. It provides students an opportunity to explore the basic tools of modern diplomacy and its impact on international politics.  It provides a comprehensive overview of contemporary international diplomacy as an art, science, craft, practice, and institution and of how it is conducted through the process of negotiation. Topics will include the nature and development of diplomacy; diplomatic practice, methods and techniques; types of diplomacy (with special emphasis on multilateral diplomacy); diplomatic privileges and immunities; the role and function of diplomats; the diplomat as foreign affairs professional; and the contribution of diplomacy toward maintaining world order.  Veteran local and international diplomatic experts and officials may be invited to address key diplomatic issues.

MFSL 706 Conflict and Conflict Resolution

This course examines international conflict and cooperation, forms of strategic interaction and causes of war and prevention of conflict and conditions and efforts toward attaining peace.  Topics include war and conflict (nature, forms and causes of conflict; technology and war); approaches to security (arms control and disarmament; civil-military; confidence building measures, conflict resolution and conflict management; peace research and peace movements


MFSL 707 Diplomatic Management and Leadership

This course is designed for careers in diplomacy that require management and leadership skills as well as competence and expertise in etiquette and diplomatic protocol, written communication and chairing effective meetings. It will cover how diplomats can engage in public diplomacy, strategy planning, international negotiations or even crisis management. It will enable students to better set priorities, delegate, motivate and develop individuals and teams to become top performers and communicate objectives and goals. It will also focus on effective time management. Students will understand the definition of leadership and the components that make leadership successful. They will also understand emotional intelligence and be able to identify their personal strengths and weaknesses as future leaders. Finally, they will learn how to build up, manage, and adapt personal style and behavior to a wider range of leadership situations.


MFSL Internship for Professional Orientation The course will provide the student with an opportunity to explore career interests while applying knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in a work setting. The experience will help students gain a clearer sense of what they still need to learn and provide an opportunity to build professional networks. It will also provide the opportunity to gain practical experience within the work environment, acquire knowledge of the field in which the internship is done, and develop and refine oral and written communication skills.


MFSL 709 MA Thesis / Project

The project includes a study of research methods and provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their competence in applying the concepts and skills acquired during the taught part of the program.  The project may be a solution to a practical problem or a piece of research.  The project must be relevant to the particular award the student will receive.