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FP Guide

2022 Applying to Graduate School in International Affairs

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Rice University, School of Social Sciences

A Personalized Approach With Real-World Experience

Rice University’s School of Social Sciences takes personalized education to a level seen at very few graduate schools. The proof is in the numbers: only 20-25 students are admitted to the Master of Global Affairs program each year.

“We purposely keep it small,” says Mark P. Jones, the program’s faculty director and a professor in the Department of Political Science. “It’s very much in the model of Rice. Rice is small, personal, and private. So when you put all those things together, you have a university that’s focused on the person as an individual and a program that’s tailor-made for each individual student.”

That is only one factor that makes Rice’s two-year program unique. Every cohort is a mixture of mid-career professionals—including some in the military—and students coming fresh from undergraduate studies. Many are foreign nationals. Students of color are a majority in every cohort.

“We work with students as individuals. Rice’s guiding principle is to always do what’s in the best interest of the student.” –Mark P. Jones, Master of Global Affairs Program Faculty Director, School of Social Sciences, Rice University

Jones says that work or internship experience can help with admissions, but the primary mark of successful applicants is “a drive to improve themselves.”

Another unique element of the program is a focus on real-world application. The Master of Global Affairs program is taught jointly by the university’s School of Social Sciences and the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice’s world-renowned on-campus think tank. The result is a focus on applied knowledge.

Students are required to complete a capstone research project in their second year, as well as an internship. While many do so in Texas, where the school is located, others go abroad. “They are not just learning for learning’s sake,” Jones says. “They’re learning to apply their studies to the world of action.”

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHT | World-Class Think Tank, Right on Campus


Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy is a nonpartisan think tank. It was established by James A. Baker III, former Treasury Secretary, US Secretary of State, and White House Chief of Staff, after he left public service in 1993. In the University of Pennsylvania’s most recent think tank report, the Baker Institute ranked first among all university-affiliated think tanks in the world, and its Center for Energy Studies maintained its standing as the top energy and resource policy think tank in the world.

Faculty from the Baker Institute teach one-third of the classes in the Master of Global Affairs program and supervise half of the capstone projects that students complete to graduate, says Jones, who is also a political science fellow at the institute.

“You learn…cutting-edge research on public policy, international relations, and international conflict, but you learn it in a way that is applied to real-world issues,” Jones says. “We apply it to actual elections, actual public policy decisions, and actual business case study scenarios. Our location in the heart of Houston, Texas, is the nexus of international business and the nation’s third-largest consular corps. Students are engaging with global leaders and understanding the immediate impact of international relations around the world.”

Graduate Degree Program Option
• Master of Global Affairs

Deadline for Fall 2023
Application: February 15, 2023

Standardized Exam Scores: The GRE is recommended, but not required. Students with superior quantitative skills as evidenced by prior coursework or relevant work experience do not need to submit GRE scores. (Rice GRE code: 6609)

Recommendation Letters: Three letters of recommendation are required.

Application Checklist: https://mga.rice.edu/admissions