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FP Guide

2021 Applying to Graduate School in International Affairs

American University, School of International Service

Students Advance Mission to Wage Peace

Examine where students at American University’s School of International Service (SIS) work after graduation, and the pull toward public service is hard to ignore. Scores of government and international agencies are represented, from the US Department of State to the World Bank Group.

This school takes seriously the charge of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, that Americans must “wage peace.”

“Successful candidates come to SIS knowing our institutional commitment to service and social justice,” says Jia Jiang, director of graduate enrollment management. “While everyone may work toward this commitment through different academic or professional lenses—some through human rights and poverty alleviation work, others through public and cultural diplomacy, and still others through foreign policy and global security—all of them understand the big picture of who we are and what we care about.”

Located in Washington, DC, SIS offers about 20 degree programs that allow its students to tailor their education, drawing on the resources of the nation’s capital and more than 20,000 alumni. The school also has its own unique resources. For example, SIS faculty members spearhead the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy, which is dedicated to assessing the social, legal, ethical, and political implications of carbon removal practices.

“Successful candidates come to SIS knowing our institutional commitment to service and social justice. While everyone may approach this differently, all of them are connected in the common purpose of improving the lives of the larger communities around them.” –Jia Jiang, Director of Graduate Enrollment Management, School of International Service, American University

“About 75 percent of SIS master’s degree students have a broad range of post-college work experience,” Jiang says. “But we have also had many career-changers who bring creative and valuable perspectives from a non–international relations space, who help inform our field. This diversity of experience is what enriches our classroom and is imperative to how we solve our global challenges together.”


Degree Options Reflecting the Breadth of International Affairs
SIS students can tightly focus their education around interests and ambitions. For example, it is one of few schools to offer a dedicated MA in Global Environmental Policy, which explores the intersection of justice, ecological well-being, and humane governance. The signature MA in International Affairs: US Foreign Policy and National Security combines studies in defense, intelligence, and security with foreign policy, but also offers concentrations in diplomacy, cybersecurity, terrorism and political violence, and transnational security.

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: 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 Policy and Analysis
• 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
SIS 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 2022
Application and Financial Aid/Scholarships:
Priority deadline for two-year master’s programs: January 15, 2022
Priority deadline for Executive Master of International Service program: March 15, 2022
Priority deadline for online master’s programs: June 13, 2022
Final deadline for PhD program: December 15, 2021

Standardized Exam Scores: The GRE is not required for master’s applicants, but is required of all PhD applicants. The TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or Duolingo is required for all non-native English speakers.

Recommendation Letters: Two are required for the master’s programs, and three are required for the PhD program.

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