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FP Guide

Graduate Programs for Aspiring Global Leaders

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University of Michigan, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

Small School, Big Resources and Global Opportunities

With just 264 master’s degree students and 38 doctoral candidates, the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy offers a rigorous curriculum that ranks second nationally in public policy analysis; a small, personalized graduate learning environment; and the vast resources of the much larger University of Michigan.

Between the school’s two internationally focused research centers—Weiser Diplomacy Center and International Policy Center—students are given opportunities to engage with high-profile leaders from the foreign policy community and top scholars, travel the world with their classmates, and practice what they learn in the classroom through simulations, competitions, and the Ford School’s award-winning student-initiated research program.

“We offer students the opportunity to tailor their classroom, internship, and research experiences to build the skills and knowledge needed for a career of impact,” says Peter Vasher, director of career services at the Ford School.

“You get a rigorous public policy curriculum, you are part of this intimate community, and you are part of a world-class university.” –Peter Vasher, Director of Career Services, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

Immersive for-credit experiences, such as annual travel courses, provide opportunities for Ford School students to analyze a country’s economic, social, political, health, and/or environmental policy challenges before meeting with representatives and experts on the ground. Approximately one quarter of graduate students focus on international issues during their required summer internship. Recent hosts include the United Nations, German Marshall Fund, China Development Research Foundation, NASA, and the World Bank.

One defining feature of the Ford School is the breadth of opportunities it provides for students to engage with leading practitioners outside the classroom. The Ford School was selected by the US Department of State to host the region’s Diplomat in Residence, a position held by a career Foreign Service officer to provide professional advice and guidance to students.

Students also tap into the experience of practitioner faculty, like Ambassador Susan D. Page, former Foreign Minister Kamissa Camara, and retired Ambassador Daniel Shields, to help them navigate hypothetical scenarios for the International Model NATO conference, Diplomacy Lab, and the US Army War College International Strategic Crisis Negotiation Exercise.

The Ford School is the only policy program in the United States that offers leadership coaching to all master’s students from a global network of certified executive leadership coaches. “Our goal is to help students build their skill set as global leaders,” Vasher says. “Coaching is an opportunity typically reserved for senior business leaders, but we see it as an important investment in the careers of our students.”

Alumni Help Graduate Students and Networks Globally

The University of Michigan’s distinctive “M” logo can be found around the world. Its expansive alumni network of more than 600,000 is spread across 181 countries, and alumni regularly gather for networking and social events.
>>>Many alumni participate in career-support programs for current Ford School students. For example, the alumni-in-residence program brings in select Ford School alumni to work with students on professional-development activities, such as resume reviews, mock interviews, career conversations, and office hours.
>>>The Ford School provides a host of additional career services, such as employer information sessions, luncheons with Ford School alumni, and small-group peer sessions, where students share experiences and support each other as they navigate their internship and job searches.

University of Michigan, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
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