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FP Guide

2022 Applying to Graduate School in International Affairs

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Carnegie Mellon University, Institute for Politics and Strategy

Where Real Expertise Meets Real-World Experience

When students arrive at the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Politics and Strategy (IPS), they have more than lectures and classes ahead of them.

Throughout a two-year master’s program, students get practical experience applying what they are learning outside the classroom. Some spend time in Washington, DC, or overseas completing a required internship in their concentration area. The program culminates with students writing a publishable thesis, built on coursework in research methods and by working with a faculty adviser. The program blends academic study with real-world experience to produce graduates who are prepared to excel in a shifting landscape.

That readiness starts during the application process, IPS Graduate Program Manager Kelly Voss says.

“IPS welcomes applicants from diverse academic, professional, and personal backgrounds, and seeks those dedicated to making an impact in our ever-changing political world,” she says. “Our admissions process is holistic in that we consider all aspects of the application equally, to determine an overall fit between your background and goals and our culture, curriculum, and community.”

“I always tell prospective students to give us as much information as possible in their application. Take advantage of everything optional. We want to get to know you outside of just your GPA and undergraduate coursework. We want to know what drives you.” –Kelly Voss, Graduate Program Manager, Institute for Politics and Strategy, Carnegie Mellon University

Last year, IPS students worked with the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, the US Department of State, and the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance, among others. Voss says the school is looking for students who thrive in these types of dynamic environments, and she encourages applicants to provide as much information about themselves as possible.

“We want to know what drives you,” she says.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHT | The Vital Role of Security Education


Both master’s degree programs at IPS offer concentrations that allow students to focus on security. The MS in International Relations and Politics offers an international emphasis, while the Master of Information Technology Strategy has an information security concentration. “War has been a constant in many of our lives, and that unfortunately does not look like it will change soon,” Voss says. “But what is changing is the political landscape of war, expanding into the cyber realm.”

In particular, students have the opportunity to analyze the role of cyber warfare and cybersecurity in international politics. “Cyberattacks by nation-states and their proxies have the potential to reshape how wars are fought in the 21st century,” Voss says. “As such, the complexity and policy challenges of cyber engagements are immense and without precedent.”

Graduate Degree Program Options
Master of Information Technology Strategy (MITS)
Concentration options:
• Data Analytics
• Information Security
• Politics and Strategy
• Software and Networked Systems

MS in International Relations and Politics (MS IRP)
Concentration options:
• American Politics
• Comparative Politics
• International Relations
• International Security

Deadlines for Fall 2023
Application: For MS IRP, February 1, 2023; for MITS, January 15, 2023
Financial Aid/Scholarships: February 15, 2023

Standardized Exam Scores: Standardized tests such as the GRE or GMAT are not required for admission. If an applicant’s native language is not English, TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English tests are required.

Recommendation Letters: Two recommendations are required, one from a source who can attest to the applicant’s academic abilities and another who knows the applicant from a professional setting. Applicants may submit a third recommendation.

Application Checklist: