Two focus areas—International Organization (IO) and United Nations Studies (UNS)—provide students with a roadmap of the international organizations that inform public policy and global action across borders.


UN Studies

This focus area centers on the role of the UN as a multilateral organization with the mission of promoting peace and security worldwide. The curriculum includes theories of international organizations, management of the UN system, and functional areas such as peace operations and development coordination.


  • Expose students to the complexity of a multilateral organization
  • Educate students about the UN and its “human face” through courses, research opportunities, and fieldwork 
  • Give students access to the UN and its agencies through programming and initiatives, including trips to the Security Council, high-level panels with UN staff, working lunches with UN Ambassadors, and networking opportunities such as “A Day at the UN.”
  • Create networks for students to connect with alumni with UN interests and backgrounds
  • Connect students with professors in the focus area, such as through brown-bag lunches 

The UN Studies focus area is designed for students who wish to learn about the role that the UN and its many departments, funds, and agencies play in international affairs. UNS will give students the opportunity to engage with the UN in a number of ways, whether through hands-on courses, research opportunities, speaker series, panels, or other dynamic programming.

Career Paths

Graduates of the IO/UN specialization go on to work for various UN agencies, departments, and programs (visit and for other international organizations agencies such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Union, among others.


Curriculum & Courses

Both the IO and UNS focus areas require that students complete one of the following courses (3 points): Governance and Management in the UN System (INAF U8560) or United Nations and Globalization (INAF U6352). 

The IO focus area will require two electives on global governance, while the UNS focus area will require two UN-relative electives in the areas of human rights, security, or development.

View full curriculum

Specialization Requirements

Students must complete a three-point core course in United Nations & Globalization or Governance and Management in the UN System, and at least two elective courses (at least six points) from among those approved for their chosen focus area.


What kind of programming within UN Studies can students participate in?

A robust series of programming and initiatives are offered to students, including trips to the Security Council, high-level panels with UN staff, special guest events such as “Voices from the Field,” the Annual IO/UNS retreat, simulations, working lunches with UN ambassadors, and networking opportunities such as “A Day at the UN.”