LinkedIn tracking pixel

Welcome to The Institute of World Politics (IWP), an independent graduate school founded to fill a major national need: to supply professional education in statecraft, national security, intelligence, and international affairs that no other school offers and that few people acquire except through an entire career of on-the-job experience.

IWP is the only school whose curriculum covers all the arts of statecraft – the instruments of national power. The Institute offers a Doctoral Program, seven M.A. degrees in its Master’s Degree Program, 18 Certificates of Graduate Study, and a Continuing Education Program.

Contact an Admissions Officer

Preparing you for a career in national security and international affairs

Today, America and other nations dedicated to preserving decent civilization are facing grave threats to peace, security, freedom, human rights, and prosperity. Addressing these threats requires extraordinary leadership that is knowledgeable about international realities and skilled in navigating a dangerous global strategic environment.

IWP has succeeded in educating and then placing its students in positions of significant responsibility both in government, the private sector, and relevant non-governmental organizations.

Graduate Employment Facts→

A faculty of scholar-practitioners

A group of IWP faculty members stand together at an event.

Almost all of our faculty members are scholar-practitioners with both academic credentials and high-level experience in the subjects they teach.

These include ambassadors, senior intelligence officials, military officers, presidential advisers, and senior congressional staff members.  Many courses have occasional guest lecturers, many of whom are prominent figures in government and the broader policy community. Several of the faculty occupy senior positions in government but continue to teach at the Institute as well.

The Institute offers more hours of contact between students and professors than most other schools in related fields.  Its relatively small size enables professors and students to get to know each other better and to have more in-depth discussions, enhancing the learning experience and permitting students a greater opportunity to inspire their professors to write them more credible recommendations and make enthusiastic efforts to help them find professional opportunities.

Unique degrees in foreign policy and national security

A stack of rolled up diplomas, each tied with blue and gold ribbons.

IWP’s curriculum is designed to prepare students to be effective leaders in statecraft, national security, and foreign policy. It includes the study of all the instruments of power and how these instruments are integrated at the level of grand strategy.

These include: the arts of war, peacemaking, and diplomacy; public diplomacy; strategic influence and political action; economic strategy; intelligence and counterintelligence; cyber strategy; the exercise of intangible instruments of power such as moral leadership, will-power, courage, rhetoric, etc.; and the integration of such elements into overall national strategy.

The curriculum has six major components, including the study of: the various elements of statecraft, history and culture, American political philosophy, the Western moral tradition, economics, and moral leadership.

More about the Curriculum→

Doctoral program in national security

IWP’s Doctorate of Statecraft and National Security is designed to educate national security professionals. In contrast to most Ph.D. programs, it avoids extreme specialization in favor of broad-gauged understanding of the integrated use of the instruments of national power to achieve the ends of policy.

More about the Doctoral Program→

Master’s degrees in national security and international affairs

IWP offers seven professional Master’s degrees designed for students who are pursuing a career in the national security, intelligence, or other international affairs fields:

Graduate certificates in national security and international affairs

The Institute offers the following Certificates of Graduate Study programs:

More about Certificates of Graduate Study→

Continuing education courses

The Institute welcomes applicants who demonstrate a serious interest in the study of national security and international affairs but do not need a certificate or degree. Students have the option of enrolling in individual courses for credit or as auditors (non-credit).

More about Continuing Education→

IWP is in Washington, D.C. and Reston, Virginia

Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol behind reflecting pool at dusk.

Our location in Washington, D.C. – just blocks from the White House and minutes from the Pentagon, State Department, and other related agencies – enables the Institute to maintain an extensive network of current and former senior government officials, and corporate and NGO executives, who serve on our faculty, as guest lecturers, and employers of our graduates.

Students may also take classes at our campus in Reston, Virginia, a convenient location just off the Dulles Toll Road with free parking for students.

Our student body

Three IWP students sitting at a conference table taking notes.

The Institute’s student body includes recent graduates of colleges and universities from the United States and around the world and a mix of mid-career professionals from government, the armed forces, industry, and foreign embassies and governments, whose various perspectives enrich the classroom experience.

IWP has special relationships with several U.S. government agencies and the U.S. Armed Forces, which send their personnel to the Institute for study in degree programs, certificate programs, fellowships, and internships.  The U.S. Naval War College has approved all of the Institute’s courses as eligible electives for its students.  IWP is the only academic institution outside the U.S. Army War College that has been authorized to teach strategy to the Army’s corps of strategists.  The U.S. Army has also qualified IWP as one of only a few academic institutions eligible to host colonel-ranked officers as Senior War College Fellows, where a tour at IWP substitutes for attending the Army War College.

Meet our students and alumni

Our mission and raison d’être

A wooden gavel with a golden IWP seal sits on top of blue cloth.

Raison d’être

The Institute was founded to fill a major national need for professional education in statecraft and national security affairs that in our estimation has not been filled satisfactorily by any other institution of higher learning. More about IWP’s History and Purpose→


The Institute of World Politics is a graduate school of national security, intelligence, and international affairs, dedicated to developing leaders with a sound understanding of international realities and the ethical conduct of statecraft, based on knowledge and appreciation of the founding principles of the American political economy and the Western moral tradition. This mission is outlined in more depth below.

Real global politics and international relations

A group of flags from different countries wave in front of a white building and blue sky.

IWP promotes realism about the world, preparing students to deal with the world as it really is rather than the way they wish it to be.

Many people in the field of foreign affairs harbor idealistic notions about the nature of man, regimes, the international system, and the possibilities of foreign policy – notions that too frequently cross into utopianism and wishful thinking. Such attitudes often result in excessive reliance on treaties, international organizations, appeasement of adversaries, or isolationism to achieve peace. They can also produce unrealistic expectations that foreign cultures can easily be shaped into Western-style democracies.

In light of these tendencies, IWP prepares its students to deal with the realities of the world.

Mastering the arts of statecraft

IWP helps students develop the skills they need to deal with the realities of the world. This means skill in the conduct of the arts of statecraft and their integration into national strategy. These arts include:

  • traditional diplomacy (including peacemaking, conflict resolution, multilateral diplomacy, and adversarial diplomacy);
  • public diplomacy (including cultural diplomacy, exchanges, humanitarian and other forms of foreign assistance, moral suasion, information policy, strategic influence, and counter-propaganda);
  • intelligence and counterintelligence;
  • economic statecraft (including trade, development aid, finance, technology security, energy policy, sanctions, defense industrial infrastructure policy, etc.);
  • corporate statecraft (including the use of public-private partnerships);
  • cyber statecraft;
  • military strategy (including deterrence, military display, and various forms of warfare); and
  • various forms of non-violent conflict (including political action, psychological strategy, and political or ideological warfare).

Harmonious use of the arts of statecraft

Each of these instruments of power is analogous to an instrument in an orchestra and must be played in harmony with the others. The good “music” of our overall foreign policy, then, is impossible without strategic integration. Hence, IWP emphasizes the capacity to think strategically so as to detect and understand threats and political-strategic opportunities; to prevent, manage, mitigate, resolve, and prevail in international conflicts; to match the ends and means of policy; and to do all this in ways that minimize the necessity of using force. When a nation resorts to force, it is often a sign of the failure to use the nonmilitary instruments of power.

IWP’s curriculum stresses the optimal ways of achieving a whole of government approach and unity of effort among government agencies.

Understanding why we conduct national security policy

IWP seeks to inspire in our students a proper understanding of why we conduct national security policy: to protect our civilization of political and economic liberty, rule of law, self-government, inalienable individual rights, and our country’s vital national security interests.

One cannot effectively represent or defend a country that one neither understands nor appreciates: indeed, informed and morally-ordered patriotism is the principal pillar of a nation’s defense posture.

Hence, IWP teaches the founding principles of America’s political economy and Constitutional order and how they distinguish a free republic from various forms of tyranny.

Moral leadership and applied ethics in foreign policy

The Institute attempts to cultivate a capacity for moral leadership among its students.

This involves studying the foundations of Western moral philosophy and applied ethics so as to cultivate those personal and civic virtues that make possible the ethical and prudent use of the instruments of power. It also involves instilling a spirit of service to a cause higher than oneself.

The ethos of IWP thus produces exactly the kind of leaders that any organization seeks: those who are dedicated not to careerism but to accomplishing the mission of the organization for which they work.

Our philosophy on international studies

A hand waves the American flag in front of the White House.

As a professional school specializing in the art of statecraft, The Institute of World Politics teaches the use of the various instruments of power. The Institute, however, recognizes that power, like liberty, can be misused and abused, and therefore its use must be accompanied by responsibility. As Theodore Roosevelt observed, “To educate a man in mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” Thus, the Institute’s educational philosophy is guided by a recognition that education in ethics and civic virtue is a necessary prerequisite to the responsible conduct of statecraft.

The Institute’s philosophy proceeds first from a recognition that peace and security are the essential prerequisites for all functions of civil society, and that nothing in our public life –- neither domestic governance, commerce, the exercise of civil liberties, nor organized charitable work -– is possible without them.

Following from this, the Institute believes that current and fu­ture leaders must be educated so as to have deep understanding of the nature of peace. The Institute’s curriculum discourages utopian views of peace. It recognizes that the achievement of peace requires an understanding of the structure of human communities and how such structure must take into account the realities of human nature – especially the human capacity to commit wrongs against one another. It is for this reason that laws are needed in human affairs, as well as instruments of coercion to enforce those laws both domestically and internationally. In a culture that has largely abandoned the serious study of tragedy and the human frailties that underlie it – in both history and literature – the Institute teaches that the conduct of statecraft must take these realities of the human condition into account.

However much this realism in assessing the worst side of hu­man nature is necessary for effective efforts to achieve peace, on its own it can produce an excessive focus on the instruments of force while ignoring other tools of statecraft. Thus, a truly realistic view of hu­man behavior must include a proper recognition of the best side of that nature: man’s capacity for truth, justice, mercy, forgiveness, and that love of neighbor that transcends the requirements of justice. It is this view that will incline the integrated strategic thinker to incorporate diplomacy and other in­struments into national strategy before resorting to coercion.

The Institute recognizes that opposing concepts of human na­ture and the perfectibility of man also lie at the root of different po­litical philosophies, and that the American system is explicitly based on the concept, articulated by James Madison, in Federalist 51, that “if men were angels no government would be necessary.”

Proceeding from this premise of a moral quality to human na­ture, the Institute’s curriculum is based on recognition of the necessity for education in natural law, i.e., what C.S. Lewis has called “The Law of Decent Behavior,” deriving from the Western, Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian moral tradition. Thus, the Institute, above all, is dedicated to, and encourages, the search for truth. This means that the Institute rec­ognizes that there is such a thing as truth and that truth is not relative. It thus recognizes the existence of historical facts that are true regardless of the perspective of observers of those facts.

A corollary to this principle is that the Institute is dedicated to, and cultivates, the understanding of objective moral standards and believes that justice and respect for human rights, as prerequisites for peace and security, cannot logically exist without the existence of these underlying standards.

Another corollary of this perspective is the recognition of the intrinsic dignity of the human person, no matter what his or her background or condition. The Institute believes that recognition of this inherent dignity militates against treating other human beings either as cogs in the wheel of some ideological system, as faceless enemies, or as less-than-human objects that can be manipulated, exploited, or destroyed.

In light of this recognition of ethical standards and human dig­nity, the Institute cultivates personal and civic virtue as part of its larger mission of moral leadership. Such virtues include: honor, integrity, courage, fortitude, loyalty, reliability, determined dedication to mission, modesty and humility, perseverance, and prudence. This concern for character development and moral leadership stands in contrast to a national cul­tural trend where questions of virtue and honor are overshadowed by utilitarian formulae for success.

The school’s curriculum is also based on the premise that rep­resentative democracy with equality before the law is rare in human history, that it is worth defending, and that statecraft in service of de­mocracy requires special educational preparation that is distinct from education in service of non-democratic forms of government.

Another underlying premise is that one cannot effectively defend a country and civilization that one neither understands nor appreciates. Hence, the Institute ensures that its students are educated in: the American founding principles of representative democracy, including human rights and the rule of law; the principles of Western political economy, particularly those that explain economic success; the underlying historical and philosophical bases for those principles; and the role of those principles in U.S. foreign policy. While the Institute is an American school, dedicated first to the education of Americans, it encompasses within its vision the mission of educating non-American students to be effective in the defense of “decent civilization” even if it is not American or Western.

Finally, the Institute attempts to cultivate a spirit of service and civic duty among its students. It teaches that there are two kinds of people: those who are dedicated to achieving the mission of their organization, and those who are careerist and concerned principally about self.  Since any organization with a coherent purpose seeks personnel whose priority is to serve that purpose, it will place priority on hiring and promoting those who place mission above selfish interests.  Thus, IWP seeks to inspire its students to recognize that there are causes higher than oneself, and that service to others and to a cause such as peace with freedom and justice is an honorable and ulti­mately fulfilling career path.


IWP is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, or MSCHE (3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, 215-662-5606). IWP has institutional accreditation and not programmatic accreditation. The Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt educational institution, and is licensed by the District of Columbia Education Licensure Commission. In addition, IWP is certified to operate from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

Certified to Operate in Virginia by SCHEV

IWP has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.


Learn more about IWP’s mission, raison d’être, unique atmosphere, curriculum, and history.