Optional Degree Concentrations

Thursday, 15 May 2014

The optional degree concentrations that are offered with the Master’s program in International Relations and Diplomacy at AGS give you the opportunity to gain more in-depth knowledge in specific geographic areas and demonstrate a specialization that may boost your employability.

Degree concentrations available

  • African Studies

  • Asian Studies

  • European Studies

  • Middle Eastern Studies

Each concentration is headed by a professor with strong expertise in the area. See faculty section below.

Career paths

The degree concentrations are especially designed for students wishing to work or advance their careers in NGOs, intergovernmental organizations, governmental agencies or corporations (multinational, regional, local) working in the particular area of the concentration. The career paths include, but are not limited to: development, cooperation, journalism, business, humanitarian aid, and academia.

Additionally, these degre concentrations are a relevant option for students who prepare to conduct doctoral or other scholarly research in the area.

They are also open to students who simply have an interest in the area.

Overview of the degree concentration track

The Concentrations tailor the M.A. in International Relations and Diplomacy curriculum around a particular geographic area of study, by including the components below. Throughout this process, students can meet with the concentration advisor to receive guidance in connecting these different components and in conducting their research.

1. Coursework

If you opt for a degree concentration, you will be required to complete the two courses that are offered in the area of the concentration as part of your selection of seven electives within the Master’s curriculum.

These courses look at the area of concentration through an international relations lens including political, social and economic contexts and perspectives.

Below are the courses offered for each degree concentration (please click on each title to read the course description)

  • African Studies:

IRD-EA-640 : Contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa

IRD-EA-641: The Scramble for African Resources

  • Asian Studies

IRD-EA-660 : South Asia: Geopolitical Developments Since WWII

IRD-EA-661 : East Asia: Geopolitical Developments Since WWII

  • European Studies

IRD-EA-670 : European Foreign Policies

IRD-EA-671 : The European Union and the World

  • Middle Eastern Studies

IRD-EA-630: A History of the Modern Middle-East

IRD-EA-631: Conflict in the Modern Middle-East

2. Reading list and related research activities

You will be provided with a selection of the canon of works in the area of concentration, which you will be required to read, with your concentration advisor's guidance. These books are made available at AGS.

Given AGS'S privileged location, we encourage the students enrolled in a degree concentration to take advantage of the numerous resources that Paris has to offer:

  • Cultural centers and museums related to the area (Musée du Quai Branly, Musée Guimet for Asian Studies, Institut du Monde Arabe for Middle-Eastern Studies, Musée Dapper for African Studies, etc.)

  • Research centers and libraries (CERI, CEAN, BNF, Documentation Française, etc.)

  • Cycles of conferences, the majority of which can be attended at no or minimal cost with an AGS student card (Sorbonne, College de France, UNESCO, Sciences Po, OECD, Académie Diplomatique Internationale, etc.)

  • Diplomatic missions (possibility to request interviews with diplomats posted in Paris)

The concentration advisor is available to support you in taking advantage of these numerous resources.

3. Area-specific thesis topic

In addition to the area coursework, you will be expected to select a subject related to the area of concentration as a topic for your research thesis.

For example, some of the theses completed by students enrolled in the African Studies concentration include a study of the role of Chinese oil interests in South Sudan, the causes of the civil war in Ivory Coast, and the rise of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine in Rwanda.

4. Optional internship

In addition to the three degree concentration components listed above, students are encouraged to do an internship in a field related to the area of concentration. Note that this is an option which may, if you choose to pursue it, be added to the various requirements of the degree concentration in order to incorporate a pratical experience component to the specialization. This is additionally an opportunity to make relevant professional contacts for the future. AGS may provide internship placement support, although it is important to note that the student is ultimately responsible for finding their own internship.

More about internships

5. Final examination

To complete your degree concentration, you will take a comprehensive oral examination with the degree concentration advisor at the end of the Master's program in order to ensure that you have acquired the required set of concepts, theories and competencies in the subject that are provided by the program. The required coursework, reading list, and area-specific thesis are designed to enable you to pass this exam successfully.

Students who complete all of the degree concentration requirements (coursework, readings, area-oriented thesis, and degree concentration exam) receive a Certificate of Concentration in addition to the Master of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy diploma.


African Studies Concentration

Douglas Yates, Ph.D.Douglas Yates, Ph.D.

The African Studies concentration is headed by Professor Douglas Yates, whose expertise extends to two areas: he is a world-renown specialist of African politics and the politics of the oil industry; he is the author of several books on the subject, including The Scramble for African Oil: Oppression, Corruption and War for Control of Africa's Natural Resources (London: Pluto Press, 2012), and has participated in the democracy promotion program of the US Department of State's Africa Regional Services. Professor Yates also has expertise in French and European politics and international relations, with a twenty-five year experience teaching various aspects of this topic.

See full profile

Asian Studies Concentration

Ambassador Dominique Dreyer, Ph.D., Associate Professsor at AGSAmbassador Dominique Dreyer, Ph.D.

The Asian Studies Concentration is headed by Ambassador Dominique Dreyer, a Swiss diplomat who spent twenty-four years of his thirty-five-year diplomatic career in Central and East Asia. Among other assignments, Professor Dreyer was Minister at the Embassy of Switzerland in Japan (1988-1992), and Ambassador of Switzerland to China, Mongolia and the People's Democratic Republic of Korea, based in Peking (2000-2004) and to India, Nepal and Butan (2004-2008).

See full profile

European Studies Concentration

The faculty in the European Studies concentration is comprised of two professors with complementary profiles: a scholar and a diplomat.

Ambassador Michael EinikAmbassador Michael Einik

The Concentration track is headed by Ambassador Michael Einik, a Paris-based senior-level US diplomat with a twenty-year diplomatic experience in Europe. Among his various assignments, he was US Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia (1999-2002), Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Bucharest, Romania (1995-1999); US Consul General in Croatia/Slovenia (1988-1992) and Section Chief/Energy Officer at the US Embassy in Moscow, USSR (1984-1987).

See full profile

Douglas Yates, Ph.D.

The course on "The European Union and the World" in the European Studies Concentration track is taught Professor Douglas Yates, Ph.D., who heads the African Studies Concentration (see above) and also has expertise in European politics.

See full profile

Middle Eastern Studies Concentration

The faculty in the Middle Eastern Studies Concentration is comprised of an Iranian-born scholar and an Israeli-born journalist of international affairs, bringing complementary perspectives on the topic.

Mariam HabibiMariam Habibi, Ph.D.

The Concentration is headed by Professor Mariam Habibi, Ph.D., a historian who was born in Tehran and educated in the UK and in France, where she obtained her Ph.D. in History at Sciences Po in Paris. Habibi specializes in the history and politics of the Middle Eastern politics as well as 20th Century French history with an emphasis on immigration, colonialism, and Islam. Parallel to her faculty position at the American Graduate School in Paris, she also teaches in the study abroad programs in Paris of Columbia University and the University of California.

See full profile

Joav TokerJoav Toker

The course on "Conflict in the Modern Middle East" in the Middle Eastern Studies Concentration track is co-taught by Professor Joav Toker, a journalist of international affairs who specializes in this topic. Born in Israel, he did his graduate studies at Columbia University in New York before moving to Paris, where he has resided for the past 20 years, serving as European correspondent for the Israeli National Television as well as covering Middle Eastern affairs for European media, notably the French TV5 Monde.

See full profile


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