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How America's Fletcher School Teaches 360 Degree Thinking

America's oldest school of diplomacy offers a one-year International Affairs Master of Arts degree program to mid-career professionals interested in honing leadership skills.
BY Braingain Staff Writer |   13-01-2016

In 1993, when the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University sent its first class of 21 into the world, the straightforward hope was that most of them would become professional diplomats. Many did and some still do. However, America's first graduate school of diplomacy is now bringing an international education to global leaders in government and the private sector.

Fletcher, which has a worldwide reputation for serious and demanding scholarship, offers mid-career professionals a one-year Global Master of Arts  Program (GMAP). A Fletcher education is not cheap: the GMAP cost for the 2015-2016 academic year is $70,800. Tuition and fees normally increase by 3 to 5 percent each academic year, notes the school website.

The popular program offers students a 360-degree view of the world while they continue to work in it.

"Every GMAP class is a microcosm of the ever-changing global environment," Deborah Winslow Nutter, founding director of GMAP, Fletcher’s signature hybrid residency and internet Master’s program, told the "Diplomat" magazine.

"There are currently more than 450 GMAP graduates, roughly half of them non-American, living and working in over 85 countries around the globe. As one can imagine, the international Fletcher network — which includes such notable alumni as the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs — is formidable indeed."

The curriculum not only includes courses in international financial management, trade, finance, security, law, country risk analysis but also weighs in on how these fundamental issues affect each other.

"We call this a 360-degree perspective, a broadened horizon with a nuanced understanding of each of the factors. This is a perspective critical for the key decision makers in today’s world. The cross-sector experience, having participants from the private, public and NGO world work and study together, provides an indispensable perspective and knowledge," says Nutter.

The coursework is demanding, especially when toggled with work responsibilities. Students enroll in eight internationally focused courses covering leadership and management, politics, negotiation, trade, economics and investment, finance, business and economic law, security studies and transnational social issues.

In addition, a thesis requirement encourages students to explore specific issues more deeply.

Program Highlights

  • It's a one-year International Affairs M.A degree program.
     
  • It's a combined residency and Internet-mediated international affairs degree program for mid and senior level international professionals.
     
  • With three 2-week residency sessions (two at Fletcher's campus and one at an international location) and 33 weeks of Internet-mediated study, GMAP is a hybrid program which allows professionals from around the world to earn a M.A degree in International Relations without interrupting their careers or relocating.
     
  • According to the school website, the GMAP cost for the 2015-2016 academic year is $70,800. This includes tuition, room and board for the three residency sessions, a MacBook Air laptop and software, and all course books and educational materials. It doesn't include travel to and from the residency sites, visa fees, or Internet service provider costs during non-residential portions of the program.
     
  • The program has limited scholarship aid available based on an applicant's need and merit. The schools says priority is given to applicants coming from developing parts of the world.
     

India-based Josy Joseph, who was part of the GMAP class of 2007, says he chose the program to sharpen his work skills: "With its profound academic sweep, excellent faculty and outstanding classmates, GMAP's 360 degree inter-disciplinary international affairs and business curriculum was just perfect for sharpening the tools of journalism."

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