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Candidates for the Doctor of Statecraft and National Security (Professional) (DSNS) must have a Master of Arts degree from an accredited institution in an appropriate area of study.

Candidates will complete an essay that indicates preparation for this demanding course of study. Those without an IWP M.A. may be required to take additional courses.

All Doctoral applications will be reviewed by the Doctoral Admissions Committee. Top applicants will be interviewed by this same panel prior to being accepted to the program.

Application requirements for the Doctoral program

1. A completed Doctoral Application for Admission.

2. Current Resume (which is to be uploaded to the application). Your educational background (colleges and universities attended), work experience, and any special skills that may enhance your application credentials should be included in this resume.

3. Personal Statement (which is to be uploaded to the application). Please describe (1) your reasons for applying to the Doctoral program at IWP and (2) your short and long-term academic and career goals. (250-500 words)

4. Admissions essay – 15 pages (which is to be uploaded to the application).

This essay is designed to assess your ability to pursue advanced graduate studies in statecraft and national security. The essay will be evaluated both in terms of content and style. How well do you make your argument? How well do you support it with research? How do you address counterarguments?

Essay question:

The goals of U.S. foreign policy have remained constant since the foundation of the Republic: to ensure the safety, prosperity, and liberty of the American people. But the means of achieving these ends have changed according to the circumstances.

How effective has U.S. foreign policy been over the past 20 years? How competently has the United States wielded the instruments of national power? What are the main threats and challenges facing the United States today, in the near future, and in the more distant future? If you were advising U.S. policy makers, what steps would you take to improve the likelihood that the United States will achieve its goals?

Describe the steps you would take and assess the associated costs and risks.

5. Official academic transcripts from all institutions attended. Transcripts must be mailed or emailed directly to the IWP Admissions Office ( from your home institution(s). A minimum of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution is required.

International Applicants: International transcripts must be official copies. Transcripts that are not in English must be translated into English using a professional service. Also, international transcripts must be certified by a transcript evaluation service approved by NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services). View the full list of approved members:

6. Three recommendations: Academic Recommendation, Academic or Professional Recommendation, and a Character Recommendation. Recommenders must send letters directly to Individuals writing letters on your behalf should have known you for at least one year. The Academic Recommendation should be one of your current or former professors, while the Character Recommendation cannot be from a family member.

7. TOEFL scores (for international applicants only). The results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language are required from students whose first language is not English, except for those who have completed a bachelor’s degree at an accredited English language institution of higher learning or have demonstrated fluency in English in an interview at the Institute. For those taking the TOEFL, a minimum score of 600 (paper-based exam) or 95 (Internet-based exam) is required. TOEFL scores should not be more than two years old. The institutional code for The Institute of World Politics is 9022. Go to for more information. IWP may also accept results from the IELTS exam.

8. Admissions interview. Upon receipt of the application, the IWP Admissions Committee will work with top applicants to schedule a time for an admissions interview.

The Application for Admission and supporting documents must be in English and received no later than the posted deadlines. As a general rule, incomplete applications will not be processed (rare exceptions may be made depending on which element of the application is missing). Late applications may be processed according to the ability of the Admissions Committee.

Deadlines for Admissions Applications

Application deadlines for upcoming semesters are as follows:

Fall 2023: April 15, 2023
Fall 2024: April 14, 2024

Matriculation Fee

All students admitted to the Institute (regardless of program) must pay a non-refundable $600 matriculation fee to secure their admission. This fee is due upon acceptance of admission and is credited toward the first semester’s tuition balance.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Tim Stebbins, Senior Vice President for Graduate Recruitment
E-mail:; Phone: 202-462-2101