Admission into the Master’s degree program is competitive. Well-qualified applicants possess a strong academic record—and often have work experience—in the field of national security and foreign affairs. Applicants without significant undergraduate coursework in international relations or related fields—such as government, history, political science, economics and philosophy—may be required to complete additional specific courses and/or additional reading. A student currently or previously enrolled at the Institute in any of its programs is not guaranteed admission to the Master’s program.

Application requirements for the M.A. program

1. A completed on-line application.

2. Current Resume (which is to be uploaded to the on-line 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. 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 that do not use the standard U.S. GPA and credit format must be certified by a transcript evaluation service approved by NACES (Nat’l Association of Credential Evaluation Services). View the full list of approved members:

4. 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.

5. Personal Statement (which is to be uploaded to the on-line application): Please describe (1) your reasons for applying to the Institute and what you hope to accomplish with your studies here; (2) your intended program of study; and (3) your short and long-term career goals. (250-500 words)

6. Admissions Essay (which is to be uploaded to the on-line application): There are two general approaches to foreign policy that have long been characterized as “idealism” and “realism” – the first being guided by moral and political ideals, and the second by vital national interests. What are the positive and negative aspects of each of these approaches and to what extent are the two approaches mutually exclusive? (500-1,000 words/2-3 pages)

7. Three recommendation forms: Academic Recommendation, Academic or Professional Recommendation, and a Character Recommendation. These forms are sent automatically to your recommenders upon completion of your on-line application. 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.

8. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required. However, applicants may submit the results of the GRE if they believe their scores will help improve their application and scholarship chances. LSAT scores may also be submitted. IWP’s GRE institutional code is 5474. See the GRE website more information about the exam.

9. $100 non-refundable application fee.  The fee must be paid in U.S. currency or check, international money order, credit card, or an international checkin U.S. funds drawn on a bank in the United States. The application fee is waived for those attending open houses, making scheduled private visits, or meeting with IWP personnel at graduate school fairs.

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.

Matriculation Fee

All students admitted to the Institute (regardless of program) must pay a non-refundable $500 matriculation fee to secure their admission. This fee is due upon acceptance of admission and is credited toward the first semester’s tuition balance.

Application Deadlines

Students may apply for admission to any semester (fall, spring, or summer).

Please click here to visit our application deadlines page.


Mr. Jason Johnsrud, Vice President of Student Affairs and Admissions Coordinator
E-mail:; Phone: 202-462-2101