Top International Affairs Graduate Schools

Read about three schools with nationally ranked international politics graduate programs, and find out what degree options they offer for international affairs students. Review the typical characteristics of a school with a strong program related to international affairs and explore a list of ten additional top graduate schools. Schools offering International Relations and Sustainability degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look for in Top International Affairs Schools?

Look for established relationships with non-profit and for-profit organizations as well as government agency stakeholders in international affairs. Also consider job placement statistics for recent graduates, study abroad opportunities and the experience or non-academic careers of faculty members. The best instructors will be those who have first-hand experience in the field, such as diplomats or former heads of government agencies.

What Are Three Top International Affairs Graduate Schools?

Columbia University in New York, NY

Columbia University was ranked fifth in the U.S. News & World Report 2017 international politics graduate program category. As a School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) student, you can study economic and political development, international finance and economic policy, international security policy, urban and social policy or economic and political development.

There are seven regional institutes operated by SIPA. These institutes serve the specialized interests of students and faculty alike by organizing educational conferences, hiring guest speakers and coordinating research and study abroad initiatives. Examples include the Institute of African Studies and the Center for Iranian Studies.

SIPA research centers, like the Center for International Conflict Resolution, also provide research and study abroad opportunities. In addition to traditional master's and doctorate programs, dual degree programs may be arranged on an individual basis. Graduate degrees include:

  • Master of International Affairs (M.I.A.)
  • Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) in Economic Policy Management
  • M.P.A. in Environmental Science and Policy
  • M.P.A. in Development Practice
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Sustainable Development

University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI

U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Michigan fifth in 2017 for its international politics graduate programs. The University of Michigan offers breadth of resources and flexible, self-directed options to prepare you for an international affairs career. At the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy (Ford School), you'll develop skills in program evaluation, management, quantitative analysis and economic policy. You'll have access to research opportunities through the Ford School's International Policy Center. Due to program flexibility and individualization, many custom joint or dual degree options are possible. The core graduate degrees are:

  • Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)
  • Master in Public Policy (M.P.P.)
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy
  • Ph.D. in Political Science - International Relations and World Politics

Princeton University in Princeton, NJ

Princeton, an Ivy League university, placed number one in the U.S. News & World Report 2017 rankings for international politics. As a Wilson School master's candidate, you'll select a concentration in international relations, development studies, domestic policy or economics and public policy. A joint Master of Public Administration/Juris Doctor (J.D.) program is offered in conjunction with the Columbia, New York and Stanford university law schools.

You'll have access to specialized centers and research institutes, such as the Center for International Security Studies, and a full schedule of special events and lectures. The Donald E. Stokes Library for International and Public Affairs, one of Princeton's libraries, houses the Ansley J. Coale Population Research Collection and the Office of Population Research.

The Wilson School awards the following graduate degrees:

  • Master in Public Affairs (M.P.A.)
  • Master in Public Policy (M.P.P.)
  • Ph.D. in Public Affairs

Top International Affairs Graduate Schools

College/University Institution TypeLocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
Harvard University4-year, Private Cambridge, MA$47,000
Yale University4-year, Private New Haven, CT$42,000
New York University4-year, Private New York, NY$45,000
Stanford University 4-year, Private Stanford, CA$51,000
University of California--San Diego 4-year, Public La Jolla, CA$13,500
Ohio State University 4-year, Public Columbus, OH$12,000
University of Wisconsin--Madison 4-year, Public Madison, WI$12,000
University of Chicago 4-year, Public Chicago, IL$59,000
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 4-year, Private Cambridge, MA$55,000
University of California--Berkeley 4-year, Public Berkeley, CA$14,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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