Founded in 1990, the Institute began offering summer courses in 1992 and expanded to a year-round program in 1994. In 1998, the Institute began offering Certificates of Graduate Study, and in January 2001 the school launched its Master of Arts degree program. The Institute’s first Master’s degree candidates received their diplomas in November 2002.
From 1991 until 2005, the Institute was affiliated with Boston University. During that time, however, the two institutions were entirely separate and the Institute’s Master of Arts degrees and certificates were awarded solely by The Institute of World Politics. This affiliation concluded on December 31, 2005 when the Institute became wholly independent of the University.
The Institute of World Politics is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). IWP was first accredited in 2006. MSCHE has accredited IWP through the 2021-2022 academic year. According to MSCHE (3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, 215-662-5606), accreditation "attests to the judgment of the Commission that an institution has met the following criteria:
• That it has a mission appropriate to higher education;
• That it is guided by well-defined and appropriate goals, including goals for student learning;
• That it has established conditions and procedures under which its mission and goals can be realized;
• That it assesses both institutional effectiveness and student learning outcomes, and uses the results for improvement;
• That it is accomplishing its mission and goals substantially;
• That it is so organized, staffed, and supported that it can be expected to continue to accomplish its mission and goals; and
• That it meets the eligibility requirements and standards of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education."
On June 24, 2009, the Institute’s application for Title IV status was granted by the U.S. Department of Education, allowing its students to participate in federal student aid programs. In addition, on June 18, 2009, the Institute was approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs for the use of education benefits by qualified students. As of August 2015, the Institute further solidified its commitment to our veterans by joining the Yellow Ribbon program which provides supplemental assistance to 100% benefit-eligible post-9/11 recipients through a mutual partnership between IWP and the Department of Veterans Affairs. It allows eligible veterans to attend our Master's degree program on a full-time basis, with no out-of-pocket tuition costs.
In late 2017, IWP was approved by MSCHE and the District of Columbia's Higher Education Licensure Commission (HELC) to offer its first doctoral degree program, which launched in the spring 2018 semester: a Doctor of Statecraft and National Security (DSNS). The DSNS, which is analogous to a DBA (Doctor of Business Administration), is tailored towards national security professionals as opposed to those who wish to pursue a teaching career. It is the first program of its kind in the United States.
The Institute is a participating member in the following organizations: American Council on Education (ACE), American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA), National Military Intelligence Association (NMIA), Association for Intelligence Officers (AFIO), and the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association International (AFCEA International).
The Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt educational institution, and is licensed by the District of Columbia Education Licensure Commission. It is supported solely by tuition and donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals. Contributions to the Institute are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.