International Affairs Graduate Schools with Program Summaries

Graduate students in international affairs already hold a bachelor's degree and typically enroll in either a Master of Arts (M.A.) or Ph.D. program, depending on their goals. Students evaluating international affairs graduate schools consider degree programs offered, areas of specialization, opportunities for international experience and program requirements.

There are many schools across the country with graduate programs related to international affairs. Courses typically cover world policy and administration, and students often have the option to choose a concentration that fits their career interests.

Top 10 Graduate Schools for International Affairs

Here's a list of the some of the top schools offering applicable programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition 2015-2016*
Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts 4-year, Private Master's, doctorate $41,832
Stanford University Stanford, California 4-year, Private Master's $45,729
Princeton University Princeton, New Jersey 4-year, Private Master's, doctorate $43,450
Columbia University New York, New York 4-year, Private Master's $42,280
University of California - San Diego La Jolla, California 4-year, Public Master's, doctorate In-state: $11,220, Out-of-state: $26,322
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, Michigan 4-year, Public Master's In-state: $20,638 Out-of-state: $41,688
New York University New York, New York 4-year, Private Master's $38,592
Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio 4-year, Public Master's, doctorate In-state: $11,560 Out-of-state $31,032
Yale University New Haven, Connecticut 4-year, Private Master's $38,700
University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, Wisconsin 4-year, Public Master's In-state: $10,728 Out-of-state $24,054

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Prospective students looking for international affairs graduate schools may want to consider:

  • Schools can have different areas of specialization, which can include regions, such as the Middle East or Asia, or topic areas like security policy, trade, political economy and journalism.
  • If looking for professional work in international affairs, an M.A. is probably the way to go, whereas if you seek the chance to conduct and publish research, a Ph.D. may better suit you.
  • Some schools might have joint programs, including M.A. and MBA or M.A. and Juris Doctor (J.D.) programs, for those interested in business and law, respectively.
  • Look at what study abroad, internship and international travel opportunities a university affords its students.

Master's Degree Overview

A master's degree program in international affairs takes 1-2 years to complete, depending on requirements. Examples of common courses include public administration, international politics, quantitative methods and foreign policy. Some programs require an international experience, a field experience or a thesis project.

Students in a graduate international affairs program gain an understanding of international politics and policy. When selecting a school, students should have a focus in mind and find out if they will have opportunities for research or direct experiences.


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