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FP Guide

2021 Applying to Graduate School in International Affairs

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Schools Seek Applicants with Passion and Defined Career Goals

International affairs graduate programs are looking for applicants who have a passion for public service and who can articulate how the program will help them achieve their long-term goals, according to admissions experts at leading schools in this FP Guide.

In application essays, candidates should clearly describe their career objectives, including which global issues or regions they want to focus on, and tie them to the specific degrees offered at the targeted school.

“Do your research, start the process early, and be specific. Attend an open house, get the information you need about the program, and think critically about how it applies to your long-term goals,” says Travis Major, graduate admissions director at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government.

Programs also want to see candidates who demonstrate a commitment to succeed in their careers despite personal or professional challenges or financial barriers, such as those faced by first-generation or lower-income students. One way of demonstrating this commitment is work experience in international affairs—which can range from study abroad to professional experience in the field.

George Mason University, Schar School of Policy and Government 
The Best Applicants Have Their Eyes on the Horizon

American University, School of International Service
Students Advance Mission to Wage Peace

Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies
Public Service Fellows and Scholars Programs Teach Skills for Tough Challenges

Yale University, Jackson Institute for Global Affairs
Flexible Program Puts Students in the Driver’s Seat

Arizona State University, Thunderbird School of Global Management
Wanted: Applicants with Passion and Varied Perspectives

University of Notre Dame, Keough School of Global Affairs
Range of Countries Represented in Program Emphasizing Fieldwork

Texas A&M University, Bush School of Government & Public Service
Bush School DC Seeks Students with Passion for Public Service

Princeton University, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs
Number 1 Admissions Priority is a Commitment to Public Service

Carnegie Mellon University, Institute for Politics and Strategy
Where Real Expertise Meets Real-World Experience

University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy
Broad Student Body Brings Curiosity and Engagement to Programs

Temple University, Klein College of Media and Communication
Boutique Program Seeks Activists to Harness Media for Social Change


Top Photo: Carnegie Mellon University, Institute for Politics and Strategy

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