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FP Guide

2022 Applying to Graduate School in International Affairs

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American University, School of International Service

‘Waging Peace’ Since 1957

When President Dwight D. Eisenhower broke ground on American University’s School of International Service (SIS) during the Cold War, he charged its faculty, students, and future alumni with a simple mission: Wage peace. Sixty-five years later, that’s still a core part of the school’s DNA.

Today, more than 25,000 SIS alumni work on social justice issues and in public service roles at prominent institutions worldwide, ranging from the US Department of State to non-governmental organizations, to help build a more peaceful global community. Service is not just in the school’s name—it’s central to its spirit.

“Students come to SIS with a great degree of intentionality,” says Jia Jiang, senior director of graduate enrollment management. “They’re not just here to get a degree—they want to do a lot of good for the communities around them, and they’ve done deep research about the program and the school to make sure it’s the right choice for them.”

“Our most compelling candidates know our commitment to service, and they’re intentional in telling a meaningful story about their interests. It’s the mindset they bring to the application process that makes them different. Everyone may take on a different issue, but they’re all connected in the purpose of improving the communities around them.” –Jia Jiang, Senior Director of Graduate Enrollment Management, School of International Service, American University

SIS offers nearly 20 graduate degrees and programs, including dual degrees that enable students to combine coursework, with law or business, for example, to get a complete picture of how global issues intersect. With their graduate experience taking place in Washington, DC, students at SIS have elevated access to sought-after internships and research opportunities.

“This is an interdisciplinary field,” Jiang says. “About 75 percent of our students have a broad range of post-college work experience. There is space for people who didn’t get their undergraduate degrees in social sciences or international relations to come here and do something different. That diversity of experience enriches our classrooms and is core to our mission as global citizens.”

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHT | Studying Natural Resources as a Source of Peace


The one-of-a-kind MA in Global Environmental Policy (GEP) program studies the international dimensions of environmental policy at a time when climate change, environmental peacemaking, and justice are more relevant than ever. Among many topics, students and faculty examine the politics of natural resources and look for ways to use resources like water as a source of peace rather than conflict. Along with its sister program in Costa Rica, called Natural Resources in Sustainable Development, the GEP program gets to the heart of one of the core issues affecting international affairs today.

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: 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 Economic Relations
• MA in International Economic Relations: Quantitative Methods (STEM)
• 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.

Application and Financial Aid/Scholarship Deadlines for Fall 2023:
Priority deadline for on-campus two-year master’s programs: January 15, 2023

Priority deadline for on-campus executive master’s program: March 15, 2023

Priority deadline for online master’s programs: Rolling

Final deadline for PhD program: December 15, 2022

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. Ideally, letters should come from individuals who have close knowledge of the applicant’s academic and/or professional work and can elaborate on their past performance and potential to succeed in graduate school.

Application Checklist: