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Advisement Guide

Welcome to our graduate program leading to a Master of Arts in International Affairs (MAIA) degree. This guide is intended to answer general advisement issues and provide information related to academic work in the program. It should not be viewed as a replacement for actual contact with an academic advisor.

For questions related to your specific needs, please contact Dr. Cristian Harris, MAIA Program Coordinator, at or by phone 706-867-3251 or Dr. Craig Greathouse, MAIA graduate advisor, at or by phone at 706-867-3504.

On-Line Program

The MAIA program is a fully on-line program. Students are not required to physically attend any classes on campus. Faculty, however, are located on the Dahlonega campus of the University of North Georgia. Students are free and encouraged, though not required, to arrange meetings with any faculty currently teaching in the program. This is a distinctive feature of the MAIA program. We do not “farm” out classes to contract faculty.

The on-line approach to instruction requires a great deal of self-discipline on the part of students. While the on-line delivery method provides students with a great deal of flexibility, all courses in the program will require weekly coursework in the form of postings, bulletin board participation, or position papers in addition to exams and formal paper assignments. Deadlines are established and posted for each activity. These deadlines are strictly adhered to.

One of the most important elements to successfully completing a course is to remain in constant contact with the faculty in the program. As we never get to see you “live” for the most part, the only way we can help you is if you let us know. During the course of a semester you need to remain in regular contact with your course instructor. If there is a problem or an issue, you need to let the faculty member know. Otherwise, we cannot help if there is an issue.

Your most important contact is the MAIA graduate advisor, Dr. Craig Greathouse. His job is to help you deal with any issues related to the program and to ensure that you successfully complete the program. He will contact you several times during the semester to provide general information and advising. But if you have any other questions, concerns, problems, or issues please do not hesitate to contact him. You can also contact either Dr. Cristian Harris, the MAIA Program Coordinator or Dr. Dlynn Armstrong-Williams, Head of the Department of Political Science & International Affairs.

Course Preparation

Admission to the program does not require students to have any prior class work in international affairs. Students are, however, assumed to have some knowledge of the foundational aspects of the discipline. The faculty compiled a reading list to serve as a primer on international affairs. Students needing this basic knowledge, or just seeking a refresher, should have these readings completed prior to the beginning of the semester.

Readings Prior to Class

Students whose primary academic background was not in international affairs are strongly encouraged to review three books prior to the beginning of their first class. Though not exhaustive and in-depth, these texts cover foundational material in international affairs. Course work in the program assumes that each student is familiar with basic themes, concepts, and theories in international affairs. All three books are available on Amazon and many other online book outlets. The texts are:

Suggested Course Load

Students should not attempt to enroll in more than nine hours of courses in any given regular semester. Students may opt to take fewer hours. Students enrolled in nine hours are considered full time. Because the summer term is shorter, it is suggested that students take no more than three hours of coursework. Students can complete all degree requirements within a two year time period without taking more than nine hours in any term.

One of the most important decisions that students will make once they enter the program is how many courses to take in a given a semester. Most of the classes in the MAIA are three credit hour classes, the only exception being the Capstone which is a six credit class. For students working full time it is not recommended to take more than six credit hours. While this may lengthen the program, enrolling in fewer courses allows the student to focus more on the courses they are taking. Please contact the MAIA graduate advisor for a more specific discussion about the class time commitments in the program.

See the Degree Requirements

Suggested Course Sequence

While students may enroll in the program at any time during the year, the program coursework is sequenced for a fall initial start. Students should enroll in foundational courses for their first year and specialization courses their second year. If you begin either in the summer or spring terms the MAIA graduate advisor will work with you on your course selections. The chart below outlines the optimal schedule to complete the program as quickly as possible.

Term Suggested course load
Year 1: Fall POLS 7014 - Foreign Policy Process
POLS 7011 - Theory of International Relations
Spring POLS 7105 - Global Governance
POLS 7013 - Research Methods for IA
POLS 7201 - International Security Issues
or POLS 7240 - Special Topics
or POLS 7241 - Special Topics
Summer POLS 7200 - Leadership and Organizational Theory
Year 2: Fall POLS 7100 - Theories of Comparative Politics
POLS 7012 - Theory of International Political Economy
POLS 7230 - National Security Policy of US
Spring POLS 7015 - International Affairs Capstone (6 hour course)
POLS 7240 - Special Topics
or POLS 7241 - Special Topics


Banner is the University of North Georgia’s administrative portal which students and faculty use to enter grades, register for classes, and deal with other administrative issues. To enter Banner, you need to have your student id number which will be issued to you once you are accepted. Students will be able to use Banner to register for classes.

Desire2Learn (D2L)

D2L is the program that the University of North Georgia uses to conduct online courses. The link to D2L is found at the base of the University homepage. By clicking on the D2L link it will take you to the portal for D2L. This portal tells you how to log on and provides access to the help desk if you experience problems with D2L. For the MAIA all of the courses you will be taking will be done through D2L. Your username and password for D2L is the same as your username and password for email.

One important thing to remember when going into D2L is to turn off your pop-up blocker in your web browser. Many of the pages in D2L occur as pop-ups so you need to be able to see them during the course of your sessions.


While we understand people have personal email accounts, while you are in this program you are going to need to use and regularly check the university email address which will be assigned to you. When faculty send out email announcements, we will send them to your university email account. If you’re not using this account you will miss important information about either the class or the program.

“Within a week of your acceptance at the University of North Georgia you will be provided with a campus email username. This username and password is also used to log into all computers on campus, as well as D2L. The username and password follow a basic structure:

  • Username - Your first initial, middle initial, first 4 letters of your last name, last 4 numbers of your student (900) number.
  • Password: A lower-case "s", an exclamation point (!) and your birthday in DDMMYY format (note: day first!)”

The university uses plagiarism detection software. In most cases major written assignments will be uploaded to The process is very easy to do and is to ensure that the work submitted by students is in fact their own work.


The MAIA faculty takes the issue of plagiarism very seriously. The general definition for plagiarism is the use of someone else’s work without giving full credit thereby claiming it as your own. This can mean cutting and pasting sections from a source (including internet sources), taking a work from another source, or employing someone else to write your work. These are only examples of plagiarism and DO NOT constitute the entirety of what might be considered plagiarism. To help you better understand what constitutes plagiarism, please consult this web site: Help With Understanding Plagiarism

Each faculty member has their own specific policies related to plagiarism. Be sure to carefully read and understand the individual faculty member’s policies.


Given the online nature of the program access to a physical library may be limited; therefore you will need to remotely access the materials from the University of North Georgia’s library. Directions about how to access the University library including its databases and full text articles can be found on the library’s website.

If you have any issues about getting into the library collection you can contact the library directly, get live help from a reference librarian, or you may contact the MAIA graduate advisor.

Books for Class

The booklist for each class will be sent 6 weeks prior to the class being taught. This will provide students with an opportunity to procure the books for the class prior to the class beginning. You can also access the booklist at the bookstore’s website.

TAP Policy

TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) is a financial assistance program allowing employees of the University System of Georgia to enroll in courses and degree programs within the USG with reduced or no costs. No direct reimbursement for the costs associated with administering the program is provided by the employing institution to the host institution. Due to the high start up costs and limited enrollment space available, the number of TAP recipients is limited to no more than 10% of the students enrolled in the MAIA program.

Contact Information

Program Coordinator

Dr. Cristian Harris

MAIA Graduate Advisor

Dr. Craig Greathouse

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