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University of Kent, Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS)

 

“We truly are an international academic community,” says Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels, academic director of the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS). Students from all over the world are drawn to the school’s culturally diverse campus in Europe’s capital city to pursue graduate work in international affairs.

“We welcome students from 45 countries across the globe, and our faculty members represent 12 different nationalities,” says von Koppenfels. Her own academic research interests focus on the concept of diaspora and the transitional engagement of migrants—from refugees who were forced out of Syria to U.S. citizens who choose to reside in Europe.

“Our teaching philosophy is highly interactive. Students enter into debate and become critical thinkers—not only in the classroom, but also at the many events, conferences, and workshops that characterize the international nature of Brussels.” –Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels, academic director, Brussels School of International Studies

BSIS is a multidisciplinary graduate school in Brussels offered by the U.K.-based University of Kent. Its master’s degree programs bring together the disciplines of politics, international relations, law, and economics to provide opportunities for in-depth, interdisciplinary analysis in the areas of international conflict, security, development, migration, political economy, and law.

“BSIS is grounded in an interdisciplinary spirit,” says von Koppenfels. “Our teaching philosophy is also highly interactive. Students enter into debate and become critical thinkers—not only in the classroom, but also at the many events, conferences, and workshops that characterize the international nature of Brussels.” Students have opportunities for internships, research, and networking at the European Union, NATO, and many other international organizations and NGOs based in Brussels.

The school’s seven MA programs and five PhD degrees are offered by the University of Kent’s School of Politics and International Relations, one of the U.K.’s most dynamic institutions for the study of politics and international relations. Its two LLM programs are offered by one of the U.K.’s leading law schools, the Kent Law School of the University of Kent.

BSIS offers a friendly, cohesive, culturally diverse community of about 250 students. There is extensive opportunity for interaction with faculty and among students in the different MA, PhD, and LLM programs. Another option is to take courses leading toward a graduate certificate or diploma in their chosen specialty.

The MA program requires one year of study, with extended options available. Students may enroll beginning in either September or January.

Extended options include the Two Capitals Exchange, which allows MA students to spend their first year in Brussels and then broaden their international perspective by studying in either Washington, D.C., or Beijing. In Washington, D.C., students pursue an additional master’s degree from Virginia Tech’s Alexandria, Va., campus.

Each year, two BSIS students are selected for the exchange with Beijing. They spend either a year or a semester studying at China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU), China’s top foreign affairs institute.

In her own academic research, von Koppenfels is interested in the concept of diaspora and the transitional engagement of migrants—from refugees forced out of Syria to U.S. citizens who choose to reside in Europe. “If a population is welcomed, they are going to react positively,” she says. “If a population is welcomed grudgingly, partially, or not really welcomed at all, it’s no surprise that people want to withdraw into the community that they feel comfortable in.”

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