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FP Guide

2020 Applying to Graduate School in International Affairs

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Virginia Tech, School of Public and International Affairs

Opportunities Available for Students Who Can Bridge Knowledge and Policy

Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) seeks applicants eager for the opportunity for service in today’s tumultuous world and willing to translate ideals and theories into practice. Successful applicants demonstrate the kind of commitment that reflects the university’s motto: “Ut Prosim,” which means “That I May Serve.” 

“Given the urgency and complexity of the problems spurred by the pandemic, including economic uncertainty and political turbulence, the world needs leaders who can think strategically, multinationally, and across disciplines,” says Ariel I. Ahram, associate professor and chair of SPIA’s Government and International Affairs program. “Real-world experience is paramount. SPIA students are positioned to bridge the gap between theory and policy.”

Typically, half of SPIA’s graduate students attend full-time and half are working professionals who attend part-time—a combination that is integral to the success of the school. SPIA students embrace the breadth of Virginia Tech, working closely with the university’s Department of Political Science and its Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology, whose programs focus on the challenges of cybersecurity, autonomy, and resilience for the national security community.

“Today’s most urgent challenges, including the global public health emergency, demands for social justice, and climate change, defy traditional academic frameworks. To meet these challenges, we need to draw from across the natural and social sciences. Our Master of Public and International Affairs and PhD in Planning, Governance, and Globalization do just that.” –Ariel I. Ahram, Associate Professor and Program Chair, School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech

In March 2021, SPIA will offer its inaugural National Security Executive Leadership Program, an intensive one-week professional development opportunity designed for mid-level national security professionals. Professors and policy experts, from uniformed services and federal agencies, will offer interdisciplinary instruction in the national security apparatus, instruments of national power, the appropriations process, gaming and simulation, and critical decision-making.

Zoom Information Sessions

During the pandemic, SPIA offers rolling admissions; one-on-one counseling by e-mail, phone, or Zoom; and an online graduate student checklist. This fall, the school will continue its new Zoom information sessions, which enable prospective students to talk directly with the school’s program chairs.
)))SPIA has implemented several measures to ensure the physical safety of the school community, including the conversion of its traditional seminar classes into hybrid courses, with some sessions conducted face-to-face and others conducted live via Zoom. Also, the university regularly posts online updates for graduate students related to COVID-19 and teaching assistantships, among other topics.

Graduate Degree Program Options
• Master of Public Administration
• Master of Public and International Affairs
• Master of Urban and Regional Planning
• PhD in Planning, Governance, and Globalization
• PhD in Public Administration and Public Affairs
The school also offers more than 10 Graduate Certificates, including Homeland Security Policy, Middle East Politics and Society, and Security Studies.

Deadlines for Fall 2021
For domestic students, August 1, 2021; for international students, April 1, 2021
Financial Aid/Scholarships: Priority for FAFSA, March 1, 2021; regular for fellowship consideration, July 15, 2021

Standardized Exam Scores: The GRE is optional; the TOEFL/IELTS is required for international students, if applicable.

Recommendation Letters: Three are required. At least one should be from someone who knows the applicant from an academic setting. Also helpful are letters from community leaders, religious or spiritual leaders, professors, and work supervisors.

Application Checklist: https://graduateschool.vt.edu/admissions/getting-started-as-a-student/new-student-checklist.html