2021 Applying to Graduate School in International Affairs
Public Service Fellows and Scholars Programs Teach Skills for Tough Challenges
The health, economic, and societal challenges of 2020 are a reminder that “we need public servants who have the skills to make pragmatic decisions at a moment’s notice,” says Martina Leinz, director of executive education, recruitment, and outreach at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
Johns Hopkins SAIS prepares future leaders by offering broad training combined with a focus on specific regions and functional areas, such as Africa and law and diplomacy. “They are developing the skill set that is applicable to any situation—how to make sound decisions, build consensus, work with our allies,” Leinz says.
The Public Service Fellows and Scholars programs include the MA in International Relations (MAIR) and Master of International Public Policy (MIPP). Successful applicants will demonstrate an interest in international relations, through work, research, volunteering, or military service abroad. For the MIPP program, applicants are expected to have at least seven years of professional work experience. MAIR applicants need “the academic preparation, quantitative aptitude, leadership, and foreign language ability to thrive in our rigorous program,” Leinz says.
All students from all backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to apply to the MAIR and MIPP programs. Special consideration will be given to applicants who demonstrate financial need.
“The clearer you are in describing your objectives and why it is you wish to pursue the degree at our school, the better,” Leinz says.
Application System Adapts to Pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some undergraduate colleges have offered pass/fail ratings to allow students to focus more on learning than on grades. SAIS has decided to accept pass/fail grades in most cases, to accommodate applicants. The school also made GRE and GMAT tests optional for all but PhD candidates, and has no plans to change that policy. Furthermore, increasing the number of virtual “visits” has given prospective students more opportunities to engage with faculty, admissions staff, students, and alumni.
In the past, academic merit was the primary factor that SAIS considered in awarding scholarships, but now, the school also considers financial need (the difference between cost and ability to pay).
Graduate Degree Program Options
Public Service Fellows and Scholars programs:
• MA in International Relations (MAIR)
• Master of International Public Policy (MIPP)
Other programs at the Washington, DC, campus:
• MA in Global Policy
• MA in Global Risk (online)
• MA in International Economics and Finance
• MA in Strategic and Intelligence Studies
• MA in Sustainable Energy (online)
• Graduate Certificates in International Studies, International Development, and International Economics
• Doctor of International Affairs
• Doctor of Philosophy
Deadlines for Fall 2022
(Application and Financial Aid/Scholarships)
Early Notification: For MAIR and MIPP programs, November 1, 2021
Regular Decision: For MAIR, January 7, 2022; for MIPP, February 1, 2022
Standardized Exam Scores: The GRE and GMAT are optional for the MAIR and MIPP programs. Test scores, if submitted, are considered in a holistic review of applicants. Non-native English speakers also are asked to submit either TOEFL or IELTS test scores.
Recommendation Letters: Two letters of recommendation are required, but applicants have the option of submitting a third. Recommendations should be written by individuals who are able to discuss the applicant’s qualifications for graduate study and a career in international affairs.
Application Checklist: Each program has its online application checklist, which can be found at
- 2021 Applying to Graduate School in International Affairs
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- American University, School of International Service
- Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies
- Yale University, Jackson Institute for Global Affairs
- Arizona State University, Thunderbird School of Global Management
- University of Notre Dame, Keough School of Global Affairs
- Texas A&M University, Bush School of Government & Public Service
- Princeton University, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs
- Carnegie Mellon University, Institute for Politics and Strategy
- University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy
- Temple University, Klein College of Media and Communication