Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions


MGA 60001

Foundational Seminar I: Integral Human Development

(3 credits)

Clemens Sedmak

This multidisciplinary course explores Integral Human Development as a conceptual framework for understanding, practicing, and evaluating development, peacebuilding, human rights, governance and institutional reform, sustainability, global health, and related professions. It will begin by examining the provenance, meanings, and resonances of the term in multiple religious as well as secular traditions. We will test the concept’s relevance through case studies chosen to illuminate the relationship between “animating worldviews” and aspirational or mission statements, on the one hand, and the concrete outcomes of development-related projects, on the other.

MGA 60002

Foundational Seminar II: Ethics, Leadership & Change

(3 credits)

Ray Offenheiser & Caroline Hughes

This course encourages students to think systematically about the process of effecting change, the role of individuals in promoting change as leaders or facilitators, and the ethical issues that confront change promoters in the context of global crises, campaigns, and policy responses to diplomacy, peace, and development challenges. Students will be challenged through group processes, individual reflection, and journal writing to build self-awareness of the values that guide their notions of leadership and to construct a vision of leadership for themselves that might serve as a baseline for their performance in a range of future professional roles. The central theme of the course interrogates how individual actors located in a variety of organizations can lead and facilitate change in ways that help poor and marginalized groups to secure conditions for human dignity and flourishing. Students will be introduced to theories of leadership as well as a range of models of leadership and change. They will be encouraged to think critically about the underlying assumptions of such models. Key questions include, what does it mean to ?help?? What are the mechanisms by which change takes place? What kinds of ethical questions do leaders and facilitators of change confront? How should leaders approach such questions? They will be encouraged to critically discuss, from an ethical perspective, ideas of leadership, authority and power; questions of inclusion, reflexivity, representation and intervention; and the relationship of individual agency to structural constraints. In the second half of the course, students will work in groups to discuss practical and ethical strategies for action, in relation to particular issues drawn from real world contexts of policy and practice relating to peace and development challenging involving marginalized populations.

MGA 60003

Economics of Growth & Development

(3 credits)

Lakshmi Iyer

This course will provide an introduction to modern macroeconomic concepts. It will train students to interpret economic statistics and to understand how fiscal, monetary, trade, and exchange rate policies affect the economy. We will discuss how countries can achieve long-run economic growth and how countries can harness the benefits of globalization while managing the risks. The course will be primarily taught using case studies, will require students to actively participate in class discussions, and will emphasize the role of quantitative analysis and contextual factors in understanding economic policy.

MGA 60004

Global Actors & Institutions

(3 credits)

Tamara Kay & Susan Ostermann

The course will focus on the interests and strategies of social actors and institutions — including states, civil society, social movements, and global governance institutions — in relationship to processes of globalization and transnationalism. We will analyze the dilemmas these actors and institutions face, and how they develop strategies and attempt to resolve those dilemmas. Ultimately, we will examine the possibilities for social change in an increasingly globalized world. The course is designed to get students to think analytically about how power is produced and reinforced in a global system, and how social actors and movements try to undermine it, work with it or transform it in order to create social change. This course is required for all MGA students.

MGA 60006

Integration Lab I: Innovative Approaches for Complex Global Challenges

(2 credits)

Steve Reifenberg & Tracy Kijewski-Correa

This course introduces innovative approaches such as design thinking, systems thinking, negotiation, and implementation science; leverages the intersections of the three concentrations in the Master of Global Affairs; and examines global challenges through the foundational lens of Integral Human Development. The course’s reflective approach and emphasis on self-discovery launches students’ personal and professional journey as they build their unique Keough experience.

MGA 60007

Integration Lab II: Preparing for the Field

(2 credits)

Steve Reifenberg & Tracy Kijewski-Correa

Working closely with the organization serving as their Global Partner and with their assigned GPE Mentor, students begin to plan a Global Partner Experience (GPE) that addresses an identified problem or opportunity.  Through this course, students will develop in-depth understanding of their GPE topic, gain insights into the culture, history, and context of their proposed field sites, and formulate a plan to accomplish their fieldwork. ND faculty will share frameworks, methodologies, and perspectives that teams may apply to their GPE based on field placement and context. These activities will draw upon concepts introduced in two other courses offered this semester: Research Design (qualitative and quantitative methods) and Global Actors & Institutions. By the end of this course, students will develop and present a GPE Proposal outlining their work plan and budget, including the fieldwork component.

MGA 60008

Integration Lab III: Analysis & Strategy

(2 credits)

Steve Reifenberg & Tracy Kijewski-Correa

This course supports the Global Partner Experience (GPE) teams in the systematic work of analysis and synthesis as they produce their GPE Products. Many of the approaches introduced in i-Lab I will be revisited in this course to deepen student expertise through the introduction of additional tools relevant to the data and analyses required for their GPE. Teams will produce a high-quality, professional GPE Product by the end of the semester, based on the interests of the Global Partner. The product might be a consultancy report evaluating and recommending improvements for a particular policy or program, or an analysis and series of recommendations to scale a successful programmatic initiative. Each student will also produce individual research and reflective pieces about his or her own experience and learning, as a member of a team, in a foreign land, on a new project. Therefore, this course facilitates synthesis of their deep twelve-month engagement with a Global Partner across multiple dimensions: as an educational and reflective experience for the students, as well as a contribution to a critical issue for the Global Partner through their GPE Product.

MGA 60009

Integration Lab IV: Amplifying Impact

(3 credits)

Steve Reifenberg & Tracy Kijewski-Correa

The final i-Lab works to integrate learning across the two years of the MGA program, and project it forward into students’ professional futures. Students having completed their twelve-month Global Partner Experience (GPE) will develop the capacity to communicate their work to diverse audiences, in multiple formats, to amplify its impact. Topical areas from students’ GPEs will be mined to identify policy challenges that larger, interdisciplinary teams from the three concentrations can assemble around. This experience is then enhanced by the opportunity to share findings and engage with policy and advocacy organizations and other governmental and non-governmental actors.

MGA 60101

Foundations of Peace Studies

(3 credits)

Ann Mische

This course is designed to provide a cross-disciplinary examination of violence and peace issues so that students will have a firm grounding in the more serious concepts, methods, frameworks, and findings that peace research scholars, policymakers, and activists employ in dealing with war and violence. The course also provides opportunities to read and write about various issues that are distinctive in their own right, but which also have particular relevance to the task of strategic peacebuilding. Operationally, the first half of the course will examine the various schools of thought, controversies, and key concepts, theories and methods that have guided the development of the interdisciplinary field of peace studies. The second half of the course examines critical issues that are significantly tied both to peace research and to peacebuilding practice.

MGA 60102

Strategic Peacebuilding & Reflective Practice

(3 credits)

Susan St. Ville

In this course we will examine the “violence of everyday life”, the inequalities and sources of suffering created by taken-for-granted structures such as bureaucracy, security, nation, color and creed (to name only a few). We will ask questions about how structures constrain and damage peoples’ lives, the relationship of these structures to poverty, and the non-violent and violent reactions that result. How do physical walls perpetrate and perpetuate violence? Why does resource richness cause poverty and war? What is the lived experience of systematic inequality? When does everyday hopelessness become explosive violence? Students will examine how violence is both culturally mediated and understood, and will learn to recognize the symptoms and anticipate the consequences of oppression, neglect, and resistance around the world.

MGA 60011

Developing a Peacebuilding Practice I

(2 credits)

Susan St. Ville

This course is designed for students in the International Peace Studies concentration of the MGA. It incorporates foundational readings and skills that are important for peacebuilding practitioners.  During the first semester, students participate in the matching process that determines where they will serve as interns during the second year of the program.  In addition, students begin to define the research topic they will pursue for their Peace Studies capstone project.

MGA 60012

Developing a Peacebuilding Practice II

(2 credits)

Susan St. Ville

This course is designed for students in the International Peace Studies concentration of the MGA. The course prepares students for the field experience they will undertake during the summer and fall. Students will begin discussions with internship partners, build knowledge of the cultural settings and context for the field placement, and develop skills in teamwork and organizational dynamics. Finally students will refine a research question and proposal, which will guide their research in the field and capstone in the fourth semester.

MGA 60103

IPS Capstone

(3 credits)

Rashied Omar

The course will provide structured assignments and writing group work to aid students as they produce their individual capstone projects. Students will be expected to continue to consult with their Field Research Advisor as well as with the capstone course instructor during the writing process. The final paper will represent a significant portion of the course grade and will be graded jointly by the seminar instructor and the Field Research Advisor.

MGA 60201

Foundations of Sustainable Development

(3 credits)

Sandra Polanía-Reyes & Ray Offenheiser

This course provides a cross-disciplinary examination of issues central to sustainable development, providing students with a firm grounding in the concepts, methods, frameworks, and findings of the field. The class will critically engage with the work of development scholars and practitioners on the measurement and determinants of sustainable development. We will examine efforts by policymakers, international organizations, and practitioners to promote human wellbeing in an inclusive and sustainable manner, with an emphasis on critical issues connected to research and practice. The course also provides opportunities to read and write about issues and areas that are distinctive in their own right, but which have particular relevance to sustainable development.

MGA 60202

Quantitative Methods for Global Affairs

(3 credits)

Tom Mustillo

This course will address core concepts of statistics, including probability theory, sampling, estimation, hypothesis testing, linear and non-linear regression analysis, and linear and non-linear optimization. The course emphasizes hands-on data analysis, effective data visualization, and interpretation for global policy analysis.

MGA 60203

Applied Microeconomics

(3 credits)

Margaret Triyana

This course uses the tools of economic analysis to illustrate how markets work to allocate goods and services in an economy, and to understand the circumstances under which market forces may or may not lead to socially optimal outcomes. Students will discuss when and how governments should intervene in market processes, and analyze the consequences of policies such as taxes, subsidies and price controls. Course assignments include exams, problem sets, policy memos, in-class quizzes and a policy analysis project. This class requires no prior exposure to economics.

MGA 60204

Policy Evaluation

(3 credits)

Kasey Buckles

This course aims to train students to become informed consumers and producers of empirical research. Students will learn many different methods to identify the causal effects of policies and compare their strengths and weaknesses. These methods include randomized controlled trials, regression analysis, panel data methods, instrumental variables and regression discontinuity. Students will also learn to present the results of policy research to multiple audiences. Students will gain experience working with real data on several smaller assignments and a policy evaluation paper, in addition to a midterm and a final exam.

MGA 60206

Climate Change & Environmental Policy

(3 credits)

Lakshmi Iyer

This course will feature several topic-based modules taught by environmental policy and climate change experts from Notre Dame and around the world. The goal is to introduce students to the effects of climate change on integral human development, to examine the effectiveness of different policy options and to highlight the barriers to the implementation of appropriate policy solutions. During the weeks when we do not have a guest speaker, we will either do readings in preparation for the guest speaker or have discussion sessions focused on the material taught by the guest speaker.   Students are expected to do class presentations before each guest session, come prepared with questions for each guest speaker, complete short required reflections after each guest module and write an end-of-semester essay on one topic module.

MGA 60301

Foundations of Global Affairs

(3 credits)

Gary Goertz & Sara Sievers

This course provides a cross-disciplinary examination of issues central to global affairs, with a particular grounding in theories of international relations. It will provide students with a firm foundation in the concepts, methods, frameworks, and findings of the field, as well as practical examples of real-world policy and practice. The course will examine the various schools of thought, controversies, and key concepts, theories, and methods that have shaped the modern global system; it also will examine the critical role that evidence-based policymaking plays in the field of global affairs, across and within countries.

MGA 60303

International Economics for Global Affairs

(3 credits)

Maximilian Goedl

Building on the first-year macroeconomics and microeconomics courses, this class will focus on areas of international trade, global finance and economic development of particular importance to students of global affairs.  It will examine the economic exchanges (goods, services, human capital, ideas, technologies) among countries in the information age, as well as the international institutions and/or informal mechanisms by which they are governed.  It will also build on the international political economy course to examine the larger contexts within which these economic exchanges function in practice. The course will blend conventional economics with case studies to teach and apply core economic concepts, with the clear intent of drawing these ideas into the everyday world of the global affairs practitioner.


MGA students may enroll in Keough School elective offerings or enroll in additional cross-listed courses across the University (subject to approval by academic advisor). Elective courses may not be offered every semester.