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FP Guide

2019 Applying to Grad School in International Affairs

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Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)


Successful applicants to Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) bring valuable experience and a collaborative spirit to the program. In return, the school offers diverse degree and course options, instruction from influential thought leaders, an impressive alumni network—and the chance to study internationally.

“Learning beyond the classroom is a hallmark of the Johns Hopkins SAIS experience,” says Sidney T. Jackson, assistant dean of global enrollment and recruitment. “Through study trips, practicum projects, summer internships, and extracurricular activities, students are encouraged to apply what they have learned in the classroom to address complex, real-world scenarios.”

For example, students in the Energy, Resources, and Environment program completed a practicum with global reinsurance provider Swiss Re to analyze the economic consequences of climate-related disasters in agriculture-dependent communities. The outcome: the students proposed solutions to protect the financial stability of farms after crop loss and to lessen the financial burden on the public sector.

“Learning beyond the classroom is a hallmark of the Johns Hopkins SAIS experience. Through study trips, practicum projects, summer internships and extracurricular activities, students are encouraged to apply what they have learned in the classroom to address complex, real-world scenarios.” –Sidney T. Jackson, Assistant Dean of Global Enrollment and Recruitment, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

In addition to the opportunity to study at our campus locations in Washington, DC, Europe, and China, students can gain hands-on, global experience through study trips, consulting projects, summer internships, and career treks. A career trek allows students to visit companies and attend networking receptions to meet some of the school’s 20,000 accomplished alumni. The school hosts between 20 and 30 career treks a year around the world, to help students learn about career paths in a range of industries—from asset management to political risk to think tanks. One recent example was an energy career trek to Houston and Austin, Texas, to explore careers in the oil-and-gas and renewable-energy sectors.

A new program this year, the Doctor of International Affairs, fills a gap in higher education: an advanced research degree for those who want to pursue a practitioner role rather than an academic one.

The school also recently added faculty in areas of strategic importance, such as global health and development, cybersecurity, energy and sustainability, human rights, and migration, to grow its program offerings and ensure that its graduates are well positioned to lead the response to vital global challenges, Jackson says.

The admissions committee views previous work experience as a way to measure motivation and to ensure an engaging classroom experience. The committee also considers previous academic performance; international exposure from having worked, studied, volunteered, or traveled in other countries; career aspirations; and overall fit with the school’s community.

Candidates should submit at least two letters of recommendation that address their interpersonal and communication skills, character, maturity, aptitude for leadership, and ability to succeed in a competitive graduate school environment. For candidates who are employed, the committee prefers that at least one recommendation come from an immediate supervisor.

Graduate Degree Program Options
Master of Arts (MA)
• MA in International Affairs
• MA in International Studies
• MA in Global Risk
• MA in International Economics and Finance
• MA in Global Policy (for experienced professionals)
• Master of International Public Policy (for experienced professionals)
• MA in European Public Policy (pending endorsement by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC))
• Doctor of International Affairs (for experienced professionals)
• Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
There are also dual and cooperative degree programs with partner institutions.

Deadlines for Fall 2020
Early Notification: November 1, 2019
Regular Decision: Varies by program (https://sais.jhu.edu/admissions)

Standardized Exam Scores: GRE or GMAT optional for most degree programs. TOEFL or IELTS required for non-native English speakers. 

Recommendation Letters: Two required

Application Checklist: https://sais.jhu.edu/admissions

Visit the Request Info page to receive more information.