The Schar School Launches a First-of-Its-Kind Certificate in Illicit Trade Analysis

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Originally published on June 15, 2020

This fall, the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University will launch the first graduate certificate course in the U.S. to study the global problem of illicit trade.

The Graduate Certificate in Illicit Trade Analysis will take students on a fast-moving, five-course dive into the intersection of national security, international trade, law enforcement, and social science. The certificate program will tackle subjects such as smuggling and human trafficking, transnational crime and corruption, global trade relations, transportation operations and logistics, and trade and regulatory compliance, among other issues that cost nations billions of dollars every year, not to mention the amount of countless lives lost.

“The new Graduate Certificate in Illicit Trade Analysis is the first of its kind in the United States,” said Professor of Public Policy Kenneth Reinert, director of the Master’s in International Commerce and Policy program. “It connects the international commerce and policy program to the important work of the Schar School's Terrorism, Transnational Crime, and Corruption Center, including the ongoing research activities of its director, Louise Shelley.” 

Shelley, a Schar School professor, is one of the country’s most highly regarded experts in the field of transnational crime and corruption. Her books, including 2018’s Dark Commerce: How a New Illicit Economy is Threatening our Future (Princeton University Press), confront all aspects of illicit trade and terrorism, including emerging technology and sustainability as an international security issue.

"The rise of illicit trade has only been recently recognized as a global problem but it costs the international community billions of dollars,” said Shelley. “George Mason University has been at the forefront in teaching and engaging in scholarship and outreach on this underrecognized problem. As a university that focuses on innovation, we are seeking to address new international problems and provide capacity to focus on a global challenge that undermines health, economies, and political stability around the world."

Illicit trade is an expanding field related to trade compliance, international security, and law enforcement, Reinert added. “Students in the certificate program will either be employed in or aspiring to be employed in enforcement agencies, international organizations, private sector associations, and research institutes.”

The Graduate Certificate in Illicit Trade Analysis program will admit its first cohort of students for the fall of 2020 semester. This program does not require GRE or GMAT test scores for admission. To learn more about the Schar School’s programs and how to apply, sign up for information through our request form or contact the Schar School’s Office of Graduate Admissions at