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FP Guide

2020 Applying to Graduate School in International Affairs

American University, School of International Service

Service and Social Justice Drive the Mission in Washington, DC

When American University broke ground on its School of International Service (SIS) in 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was on hand to make remarks. The 34th president, once an Army general, spoke often in those days about the need to “wage peace.”

That idea still thrives at SIS, which offers 20 graduate programs centered around the mission of service, many of which also focus on social justice.

“Our mission very much comes from our history,” says Jia Jiang, director of graduate enrollment management. “The history is waging peace. It’s about promoting cross-cultural understanding, collaboration, and dialogue before we think about dramatic actions. Waging peace versus war is always the harder thing to do. What this means for our students today is to strive to be advocates for social justice and to help build a more equitable society, through the skills and purpose that they’ve learned during their time at SIS.”

“Successful candidates come to SIS knowing our institutional commitment to service and social justice. While everyone may work toward this commitment through different academic or professional lenses, all of them understand the big picture of who we are and what we care about.” –Jia Jiang, Director of Graduate Enrollment Management, School of International Service, American University

SIS’s international development program, one of the oldest in the world, sits at the critical junction of social justice, poverty alleviation, and increasingly, public health.

The school also has continued to innovate. In international affairs, SIS is home to one of the few global environmental policy programs in the United States. The program helps graduates navigate the intersection of justice, ecological well-being, and humane governance.




Adapting to COVID-19

SIS has made several changes to accommodate admissions applications as the pandemic continues.
)))A series of online events across time zones will help applicants in the United States and abroad connect with the school. Applicants who attend virtual open houses this fall are eligible for an application fee waiver.
)))For students who choose to take some courses pass/fail this year due to COVID-19, those grades will not negatively impact the review of their SIS application. SIS also will accept unofficial electronic transcripts for review, wherever appropriate.

Graduate Degree Program Options
• MA in Ethics, Peace, and Human Rights
• MA in Global Environmental Policy
• MA in Intercultural and International Communication
• MA in International Affairs Policy and Analysis
• MA in International Affairs: Comparative and Regional Studies
• MA in International Affairs: Global Governance, Politics, and Security
• MA in International Affairs: International Economic Relations
• MA in International Affairs: Natural Resources and Sustainable Development
• MA in International Affairs: US Foreign Policy and National Security
• MA in International Development
• MA in International Economics
• MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution
• MA in International Relations (online)
• MS in Development Management
• MS in International Relations and Business (online)
• Executive Master of International Service (on campus or online)
• PhD in International Relations
The school participates in the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and the matching program for the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.

Deadlines for Fall 2021
(Application and Financial Aid/Scholarships)
Priority for master’s programs:
January 15, 2021
Final for PhD program:
December 15, 2020

Standardized Exam Scores: The GRE is not required for master’s degree applicants, but it is required for all PhD applicants. International applicants whose native language is not English must submit results of standard English proficiency tests, such as the TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or Duolingo.

Recommendation Letters: Two are required for master’s programs, and three are required for the PhD program. Ideally, letters should come from individuals who know the applicant well and can elaborate on their past academic performance and potential to succeed in graduate school.

Application Checklist: https://www.american.edu/sis/admissions/required-materials.cfm