Courses, Immersion and Mentoring

Study Plan



The courses are taught by faculty members (professors and lecturers) and integrate at least two disciplinary approaches from the five represented at the Graduate Institute (anthropology and sociologyeconomicshistorylaw, international relations/political science).

Dedicated tutors offer assistance and guidance to students, both to help them get the most out of their courses and to facilitate the transition to their new study environment.

Curriculum (30 ECTS)

The curriculum (30 ECTS) is composed of:



I. Two substantive courses

2 class hours/week per course run over 14 weeks, 6 ECTS/course

1. UNITED NATIONS: A GLOBAL HISTORY, Prof. Jussi Hanhimäki, International History and Politics

Why was the UN founded? How has it changed over the course of its 75-year history? Where might it be heading? By analyzing the evolution of the United Nations' role in global affairs this course aims to find answers to these broad questions. It surveys the historical and political contexts that shaped the birth, behavior, and performance of international organizations in the 19th and early 20th centuries; the transformation of the League of Nations into the United Nations; the impact of the Cold War and decolonization on the UN's goals and effectiveness; and the changing role of the UN in the post-Cold War era. We will examine the functions of the different parts of the UN system and analyze the evolution of UN policies and practices against the patterns of change and continuity in international affairs.

28 hours (2h/14 weeks), equiv. 6 ECTS


2. THE ROLE OF LAW IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, Prof. Andrea Bianchi, International Law

International law is a discursive practice used in international relations to deal with legal claims. It is best conceived as a language used by a group of people interacting in a social practice. This basic international law course is designed to acquaint students with the main concepts and principles of contemporary public international law. It will cover, among others: the nature and function of international law; customary international law; treaties; general principles of law and soft law; the role of States, international organizations, NGOs and individuals in the international legal system; jurisdiction of States to prescribe and enforce law; foreign sovereign immunity and diplomatic immunities before municipal courts; obligations of States under international human rights law; use of force and the UN collective security system. The course will also consider the relationship between international law and municipal legal systems as well as international law enforcement mechanisms. Particular emphasis will be placed on discussing actual cases with a view to ascertaining how the main actors of international law behave. Ultimately, the goal is to train students to speak competently the language of international law and to teach them how to argue and interact in the different professional settings where the language of international law is spoken.

28 hours (2h/14 weeks), equiv. 6 ECTS


II. TWO courses at the MA-level

2 class hours/week per course run over 14 weeks, 6 ECTS/course

Choose two courses from a large range of themes (international law, political science, international economics, history of international relations, anthropology and sociology of development). Check out the course catalogue (some courses are subject to prerequisites)

Examples of master courses chosen by our students:

Autumn Semester

Peripheral Visions: The Birth and Evolution of Japanese Imperialism (1850-1937)
Transnational Legal Processes
Migration and Development
Political Economy of Contemporary China
Poverty and Inequality

Spring Semester

Economic Development of Resource-Rich Countries
Gender and International Affairs
Internet Governance: the Role of International Law
Medical Anthropology II: Contemporary Approaches to Biomedicine, Technology and Global Health
Global Migration Governance


III. French Language Course *

2 hours/week run over 10 weeks, 6 ECTS (from beginner to intermediate levels)

*Alternatively, students with an advanced level of French can take an additional course in another discipline.


IV. Visits to International Organisations as well as discussions with their representatives

(workshop series)

This workshop series features speakers from the United Nations, World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, UN High Commission for Refugees, International Committee of the Red Cross, US Mission in Geneva, Doctors without Borders, etc., to discuss current issues and present organisational challenges, including professional trajectories.

Supervision, Coordination and resources

An experienced team of academic and administrative staff supervise the programme and provide students will full support. In addition, advanced PhD students are also available to assist students on a daily basis.

Students benefit from multiple resources at the Institute, including various conferences and events taking place on campus. 

Immersion and Mentoring

Experience the world of international affairs in Geneva through our unique immersion programme, which combines visits of several international organisations and discussions with high-level practitioners in small groups.


MENTOR: AnDREA biswas tortajada

PhD, International Relations / Political Science
Autumn 2022 Semester Mentor

Andrea Biswas Tortajada





Andrea is a third year PhD student who took the decision to embark on this intellectual adventure after a long academic hiatus that took her to the underbelly of the UN system, the private sector, the government of Gujarat, and the research community in Mexico, Colombia, India, Singapore, Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Switzerland. She has a double major in Political Science and Economics from the University of British Columbia and a Masters in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her main areas of interest and work include all things human rights and enhanced human dignity, especially areas related to corporate social responsibility, responsible sourcing, rural generational relay, youth employment, women's empowerment, and the long-term viability of agricultural communities. Her professional and personal energies are poured into ensuring the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Outside school, Andrea is greatly involved in improving food security for vulnerable communities in Geneva, promoting women’s rights, and is a competitive strength athlete and sports coach.





  • Activity: Discussion about working with UNHCR, focusing on the Rohingya crisis

  • Speaker: Deputy Director Division of Programme Support and Management

World Health Organisation

  • Activity: Discussion about the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children

  • Speaker: Senior Advisor Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children

World Trade Organisation

  • Activity: Discussion about the work at WTO, followed by Q&A session

  • Speaker: Dispute Settlement Lawyer

World Economic Forum

  • Activity: Discussion about the work at WEF, followed by Q&A session

  • Speaker: Delegates from WEF

Bank for International Settlement

  • Activity: Presentation of the activities of the Bank for International Settlements

  • Speaker: Administrators from the Bank

ICRC Museum

  • Activity: Visit permanent and temporary exhibitions