To earn the MA in International Affairs at Northeastern University you must successfully complete 36 credit hours of credit in the prescribed curriculum. The curriculum consists of two required core classes, methods and public policy courses.
After fulfilling these requirements students may take their remaining free electives from a list of pre-approved courses. Among free electives students may take a thesis or a capstone.
In total, the IAF degree requires 36 semester hours, or 38 semester hours with co-op. Current and prospective students should refer to the 2020-2021 Graduate Catalog for a description of the MA in International Affairs curriculum.
Concentration in Sustainability and Climate Change Policy
This graduate concentration is available to students in the Master of International Affairs (MIAF) program in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. It is designed to enable MIAF students to develop deeper insights into the policy dimensions of these intertwined but conceptually distinct realms of inquiry and action, and in both domestic and international domains. The concentration is comprised of three of the following courses:
Explores the science of sustainable food production around the world and examines the issues related to nutrition and hunger, food safety, and food production. Discusses issues such as population growth, climate change, and sustainability, which are presented as thematic topics. Also discusses issues such as soil health, genetically modified (and engineered) foods, water use, governmental food guidelines, and human health. Pulls focus on the thematic topics from scientific literature but also includes additional sources of information, such as gray literature, media coverage, documentaries, and popular nonfiction. Explores local examples of sustainable agriculture, including incentives in food security and sustainability in New England.
Provides an overview of the various aspects of urban sustainability planning. Examines sustainability as an urban planning approach with both ecological and social justice goals. Covers sustainable planning and offers students an opportunity to understand it within the context of smart growth and the new urbanism. Focuses on the two areas in which cities can reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions—the built environment and transportation. From there, the course examines planning efforts to reduce demand on water and sewer systems and to create employment in renewable energy and other “clean-tech” occupations. The course ends by placing urban initiatives in the context of state and national policy.
Serves as an introduction to climate change and development processes in developing countries. Exposes students to key debates in the fields of climate change and international development. Offers students an opportunity to learn about the approaches to climate adaptation, the relationship between adaptation and development, and concepts of resilience and transformation. Using a comparative case study approach, explores the importance of the local context; the intersections of politics, economics, and culture; ecology and human-environment relationships; and the role (and challenges) of finance and development assistance. Climate impacts threaten to reverse many of the development gains of the last century, and the most vulnerable are likely to be the most impacted by climate change. At the same time, opportunities exist to ensure climate-compatible development pathways.
Introduces the theory, methods, and tools of dynamic modeling for policy and investment decision making, with special focus on environmental issues. Makes use of state-of-the-art computing methods to translate theory and concepts into executable models and provides extensive hands-on modeling experience. Topics include discounting, intertemporal optimization, dynamic games, and treatment of uncertainty.
Explores the renewable energy transition with an emphasis on social innovations in energy systems, climate resilience, and the interconnections among technology, policy, and social change. The transition away from fossil fuels toward more efficient, renewable-based energy systems includes much more than a technological substitution; this transition also involves social, institutional, and cultural change in how individuals, households, communities, and organizations relate to and use energy. The emerging concept of energy democracy provides an innovative lens to explore the transformative potential of the renewable energy transition. Explores tensions associated with systemic vs. incremental change, centralized vs. decentralized systems, and infrastructural lock-in vs.flexibility through semester-long team projects in which students contribute to existing, ongoing, local energy transition initiatives.
Introduces methods and tools of ecological economics, an interdisciplinary field that draws on theories, concepts, and tools from the physical, life, and social sciences; unites the relevant aspects of different disciplines; and generates new knowledge that can serve as a basis for investment and policymaking that is responsive to biophysical constraints on economic processes. Illustrates the use of ecological economics with empirical applications. Offers students an opportunity to apply ecological economics to a variety of environmental issues.
Explores key environmental challenges from an international perspective. Provides a history of international environmental politics, as well as discussion of contemporary issues. Presents key paradigms for understanding environmental challenges, and aims to equip students with the analytical tools to look critically at important debates, understand the role of different actors, and assess policy options from multiple perspectives. Focus areas include natural resource management, multi-stakeholder negotiations, and climate change. Themes addressed throughout the course include the role of science in environmental policy, tensions between environment and development in international environmental politics, and the scale and complexity of international environmental governance.
Explores the public policy dimensions of the contemporary food system. Utilizes scholarly readings and case studies to assess the role of governing institutions and political actors in shaping the food supply; the effects of energy, transportation, and urban policies on food access; the ecological dimensions of food production; impacts of international trade regimes on global food trade; and the potential impacts of climate change on food security. Compares the United States and other nations and explores alternatives to the dominant food system. Seeks to engage students in applied policy analysis of specific food system issues.
Offers an integrated introduction to the intersection between environmental science and policy. Organized around the two central themes of sustainability transitions and climate resilience. Connects theoretical frameworks, including sociotechnical systems and coupled socioecological systems, to key science-policy issues related to transitioning to a more sustainable future and responding to a changing climate.
Type of Program