The Master’s in International Policy (MIP) at the University of Georgia (UGA) offers advanced training for students who wish to pursue non-academic careers in a variety of arenas, including international, governmental, and non-governmental organizations; the diplomatic corps; federal agencies, such as the foreign service and the intelligence community; and foreign policy making, strategic trade, and other international policy fields. This is thus distinct from SPIA’s existing M.A. and Ph.D. program (offered jointly with Political Science) that trains students for teaching and research careers at the university level. There are two tracks within the MIP program: the concentration in International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) and the General Track (General).

Program Of Study: Isn Concentration

MASTER’S IN INTERNATIONAL POLICY / Nonproliferation and International Security Concentration

The classes offered in the timetable below are mandatory classes to be taken by all ISN MIP students. Prior to the completion of the degree program, MIP students must demonstrate competency in a foreign language that is the equivalent to two years of study at the undergraduate level.


ISN Concentration Course Descriptions

Foundations of International Policy
This course examines the foundations of policy formation, policy-making, policy implementation, and policy evaluation in an international/U.S. foreign policy context. In particular, the class will examine how various forces (political, economic, social) affect key areas of international policy. Some of the major questions will be: What are the most important actors and institutions shaping policy? How do these actors and institutions affect policy? How effective are various groups and actors in making and implementing international policy? The class will touch upon various types of policy – including foreign, security, trade, development, and environmental – and discuss how individuals, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, national government bodies, and other actors affect policy and its implementation.

Research Methods in International Policy
The goal of this course is to help students understand how we study politics and policy and to provide guidance in conducting original research. The course will provide students with a general understanding of what science is and a foundation in the logic and practice of systematic political inquiry. In addition to discussing general questions about the philosophy of science, we will cover fundamental issues such as arriving at a research question, theory building, hypothesis development, variable measurement, and identifying and dealing with confounding factors. We will then move to quantitative analysis; topics covered will include statistical inference, bivariate relationships, and multivariate relationships. Students should leave with an understanding of how to conduct his or her own research and a solid foundation for reading scholarly literature in political science and international policy.

Pre-Seminar in International Relations
This course seeks to survey various theories and approaches to International Relations, and to provide a foundation for subsequent and more focused study. While we will examine the larger theoretical frameworks in the field (e.g. realism, liberalism, constructivism), we will also apply these frameworks to specific empirical domains (e.g. constructing effective institutions, deterrence, the causes of war). By the end of this course, students will (1) have a good working knowledge of the major academic theories and empirical debates in the subfield of international relations, (2) be able to critically evaluate theoretical (and to a lesser extent empirical) claims contained in international relations scholarship, which includes writing detailed, focused critiques that summarize and synthesize the arguments of scholars in the field, and (3) be prepared for advanced study in the discipline.

Politics of Trade and Security
This course addresses the fundamental questions surrounding the intersection of strategic trade and national and international security. It is a course that draws upon both comparative and international politics; and, it addresses both the domestic and international dimensions of power, politics, economics and security. The above dynamics and relationships are made complex by a host of factors. For example, there are tensions between the trade and security interests of states. These tensions are played out in the domestic as well as multilateral and international arenas. In addition, much of international trade today involves “dual-use” technology having both military and civilian applications. Dual-use, high technology trade complicates the trade and security interests of both states and businesses. Hi-tech trade can have both costs and benefits for states. In addition, contemporary trade relationships involving states and markets have implications for a range of security threats, including national competitiveness, conventional arms proliferation and the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The course will address several themes, including: Economic and technological globalization – how is globalization, the rapid spread of science and technology, and issues of comparative advantage and commercial competition affecting state interests and policy? Sovereignty – who has power and what are the power relationships in these trade and security issues among states, businesses (e.g., multinational corporations), and international institutions? Politics, trade and security policy – how are the competing interests of groups and states played out in certain policy areas such as export controls and nonproliferation?

Nuclear History and Security Policy
This course introduces students to major themes and debates in the contemporary study of nuclear security, from a historical and international perspective. Nuclear policy is a vast subject area and every week, students will be introduced to one aspect of a range of topics that will be covered throughout the 15-week course. It will not only address the academic debates, but it will also look at contemporary policy debates. This way, students will be exposed to both theory and policy. The course will provide students with a broad overview of international nuclear safeguards and security policy.

Job Skills/Preparation Training Workshop
This course will cover the necessary components in securing a job in the policymaking/implementation sphere, specifically in the area of non-proliferation. The training seminar will include sessions on resume development, cover letter construction, policy writing, effective presentation skills, the security clearance process, and the dos/don’ts/expectations about approaching employers in the non-proliferation community. In addition, the training seminar will include visits from external speakers from different offices within the U.S. government (e.g., State, Defense, Energy, CIA, National Nuclear Security Administration, etc.), foreign governments, international organizations, policy implementing organizations, the private sector, and others to offer career advice and recruitment for MIP students from their respective institutions.

International Perspectives on Nuclear Non-Proliferation
This course examines nuclear non-proliferation from an international perspective in three distinct areas: (1) the global nuclear order/disorder, (2) the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, and (3) nuclear weapon states’ national nuclear doctrines over the years. It begins by introducing the issue of global nuclear order and disorder, and then discusses the global nuclear non-proliferation regime paying specific attention to international and regional perspectives, reservations, and responses to the regime. The most substantive part of the 15-week course will be a week-by-week overview of every nuclear weapon state’s national nuclear doctrines throughout the years. The course will address both the academic debates and historical and contemporary policy debates surrounding these issues. This way, students will be exposed to both theory and policy.

Technical Background for WMD Non-proliferation Policy Practitioners
This course will introduce students to the technology behind various types of WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction) and the associated technical requirements for an effective WMD non-proliferation policy. Specifically, it will explain why certain items are controlled and the challenges associated with maintaining such controls. The unique aspect of this course is that it will offer a STEM-based understanding of the issue area, an increasingly essential component in the competitive government/NGO job market.

Qualitative Research Methods in International Affairs 
The focus of this graduate course is the theory and practice of qualitative field research.
The aim is to provide students with the tools to design, implement, and critically evaluate research in political science that draws mainly on qualitative fieldwork. The first part of the course will address the ethics of fieldwork, and the negotiation of identity, relationships, and power that inevitably pervade such work. Next, we will examine key techniques for collecting and analyzing ethnographic data, focusing especially on participant-observation and interviewing. We will also read important works in political science, anthropology, and sociology that demonstrate excellent leveraging of qualitative fieldwork data in the study of political phenomena. The course will introduce students to some of the major debates in political science around the integration of quantitative and qualitative research methods, some of the epistemological differences between these two approaches, and the contribution of various qualitative methods to the discipline more broadly. In addition to the course’s readings, students will also practice first hand qualitative field research techniques by designing and executing their own research project in the Athens or Atlanta area.

International Non-proliferation Regimes
This course explores the role that international non-proliferation institutions and regimes play in combating the spread of weapons. The past several decades have seen a growth in participation by states in formal and informal organizations and arrangements, international treaties, and regional and bilateral arrangements designed to prevent weapons proliferation, including the spread of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons along with means for their delivery. We will take a critical look at these institutional efforts to control nuclear, chemical, biological and conventional weapons, as well as efforts to regulate trade in dual-use items. Students will have a chance to think critically about the effectiveness of these efforts and the role that international non-proliferation organizations and institutions play in addressing the problem of weapons proliferation. Students will gain an appreciation for the breadth of non-proliferation organizations and regimes, while developing expertise on a smaller number of organizations. We will also explore common institutional challenges that many international efforts to control the spread of weaponry face.

The Human Factor Role in (CBRN) Security
This course will introduce students to the role of the human factor in organizing and maintaining security as it relates to nuclear, chemical, biological, and radiological weapons and materials. Specifically, it will analyze the role of people as actors who feel the impact of security breaches. The course will assess the societal and psychological impact of security breaches, analyze the role of risk communication, and understand the public’s role in maintaining effective security.

MIP Capstone Paper
The capstone paper allows students an opportunity to pursue either an independent study or a team project on any issue area relating to international security and non-proliferation. The student(s) is responsible for identifying his/her research topic and will work with a faculty member either from CITS or IA, who will serve as the capstone paper’s project mentor. The capstone paper should be 15-20 pages in length and must be completed by the midpoint of the final semester. Each student or student team will be required to take an oral exam of the capstone paper with the project mentor after the submission of the paper.

Course Sequence

The MIP program of study must contains a minimum of 36 credit hours (12 classes): 10 substantive plus two research methods classes.

Download the MIP Timetable

Prior to the completion of the degree program, MIP students must demonstrate competency in a foreign language that is the equivalent to two years of study at the undergraduate level.

Graduation Requirements:
MIP students are required to: (1) complete all courses offered in the ISN concentration, (2) complete a capstone paper, and (3) demonstrate competency in a foreign language that is equivalent to two years of study at the undergraduate level.

Current Deadlines

The Capstone Project must be a written project. The parameters of the project are flexible and are agreed upon by the major professor and student.

Friday, January 20th: Final date to 1) apply for graduation on Athena and 2) submit your program of study form to the Graduate School.

Monday, April 10th: Final date for your major professor to indicate to Emily that you have completed the capstone project and that all graduation requirements have been met. Students are responsible for communicating this deadline to their major professor.

Monday, April 24th: Final date for the Graduate Office to submit an official letter to the Graduate School that qualifies you for a May graduation. This means that your major professor has approved your capstone project and given final graduation approval to Emily.

Financial Assistance

Graduate Research Assistantships at CITS

The Center for International Trade and Security offers graduate research assistantships to two outstanding graduate students interested in international trade and security issues. Two assistantships are awarded each academic year.

CITS/UGA provides graduate research opportunities in the fields of non-proliferation, strategic trade controls, CBRN security and related areas through a set of assistantships. Graduate research assistants at the Center are involved and incorporated into all of the funded programmatic activities of the Center.

Many former CITS graduate research assistants have gone on to tenure-track faculty positions, fellowships and employment with the US government, the International Atomic Energy Agency, large high-technology manufacturers, trade-oriented consulting firms, and policy implementers in DC and abroad.

The graduate research assistantship offers a stipend and tuition waiver. However, students are liable for their graduate fees.

All MIP ISN students are encouraged to apply for the two available CITS GRA positions. To apply to the CITS GRA position, please submit:
• A cover letter explaining your interest in the program (250-500 words)
• A résumé or curriculum vitae
• An official transcript
• A writing sample on a topic relating to non-proliferation, strategic trade controls, or CBRN security  (no more than 2 pages, double-spaced)

For Fall 2017 intake, please submit your completed application to MIP Program Director Dr. Sara Kutchesfahani and CITS/UGA Business Manager Ms. Karen Cruz.

Applications for Fall 2017 intake are due by 5:00PM on May 27, 2017.

The program may also be able to nominate students for the Graduate School’s Regents Out-of-State tuition waiver, which waives the out-of-state portion of a student’s tuition.  Out-of-state applicants are automatically considered for these waivers when they apply to the program.

Admitted applicants are not, however, automatically considered for other scholarships offered through the Graduate School. Click here to see a list of the fellowships, scholarships and grants available through the Graduate School.  If you see one that may apply to your situation and have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the MIP graduate advisor, Emily Smith or the MIP Program Director, Dr. Sara Kutchesfahani.

How To Apply


We will begin accepting applications for Fall Semester 2017 on September 1, 2016.

Applications for fall semester must be completed and ready for review by March 1st of the year for which you are applying (e.g. fall 2017 applications must be completed by March 1, 2017). No late applications will be considered for admission.

Spring 2017 Deadlines (for Fall 2017 admission)
March 1st: Application deadline for ALL Fall 2017 admissions.

Please read and follow these instructions carefully to avoid any delay in our handling of your application. Two offices handle each application, and it hinders rather than expedites the application process to send incorrect or unnecessary documents to either address.

In addition, please read the admissions requirements and application instructions published by the Graduate School.

I. Send these materials to the UGA Graduate School:

1. Application ($75 fee for domestic students, $100 for international students)
Submit the application and fee online.

2. One unofficial transcript from each institution of higher education attended, except the University of Georgia. University of Georgia transcripts are on file. You may upload transcripts through the application portal or mail them directly to the UGA Graduate School.

3. Official GRE general test score report:

4.  International Applicants see additional requirements:

Office of Graduate Admissions
The University of Georgia Graduate School
210 South Jackson Street
Athens, Georgia 30602-1777
Fax: 706-425-3094

On the Web:

II. Send these materials to the Department

1. Personal Statement

2. Curriculum Vita (Resume)

3. Three letters of recommendation, at least two of which are academic. The most convenient way for recommenders to submit letters of recommendation is through the online application process. List the names of recommenders in the fields on page three of the application along with their e-mail addresses. We will send them a link to access a secure page where they can submit your recommendation quickly and easily via the Web. If your recommender prefers to send the letter as a hard copy or an email, it should be sent directly to the academic department on the form provided here. You must fill out and sign the top portion.
Form available online.

Graduate Office
Attn: Emily Smith
312 Candler Hall
The University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602

All application materials can be emailed here.

For further information about graduate programs or for answers to questions about your application, please email Emily Smith at


How does the MIP differ from the MA in Political Science and International Affairs?

The MA offered jointly by the Departments of Political Science and International Affairs is an academic degree intended to train students for teaching and research careers at the university level. The MA is considered a precursor to a Ph.D.

The MIP, however, is a non-academic degree intended to prepare students to enter directly into international policy careers. Examples of possible placements include: governmental and non-governmental organizations, the diplomatic corps, federal agencies such as the Foreign Service and the intelligence community, and other foreign policy making fields.

The MIP also accepts students who wish to study additional topics with faculty in the Department of International Affairs. Applicants who wish to pursue this option should first consult with the Graduate Coordinator in the Department of International Affairs to assure that their interests align with the strengths of the faculty.

What is the MIP’s Focus?
MIP students explore scholarly and practical questions related to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation, national and international security, and strategic trade controls. Courses address questions such as:

• Given a global economy with porous borders between nations, what are the best means to control the proliferation of WMDs?
• To what extent do states reconcile their desire to maintain a nuclear arsenal with the international community’s efforts to reduce the nuclear threat?
• How do nations form their nuclear weapons strategies?
• What role do other forms of WMDs, including chemical, biological, and radiological weapons, play in the development of national and international security policy?

Are assistantships or other financial aid available?
For more information, please see the “Financial Assistance” section.

Are there minimum requirements for GPA, GRE, etc.?

The minimum undergraduate GPA standard for admission to the Graduate School at the University of Georgia for applicants who do not have a prior graduate degree is 3.0.

It is highly recommended that applicants have at least a combined score of 1100 (old scale) or 300 (new scale) on the GRE. As with GPAs, the average GRE score of students admitted into our graduate program varies from year to year.

The minimum TOEFL score for admission to the Graduate School at the University of Georgia is 80, with no subscore lower than 20. It is highly recommended that international applicants have a combined score of at least 90.

The minimum IELTS score for admission to the Graduate School at the University of Georgia is 6.5 overall band score with no lower than 6.0 on any band.

Can I schedule a visit to see the department and campus?
Certainly. Contact Emily Smith at or (706) 542-1633 to set up a visit. If you have particular faculty in mind that you’d like to meet with, please let her know.

Is the program available on a part-time basis?
Although the MIP is not designed for part-time students, it is possible for students to take less than a full course load, thus extending their time in the program.

Are courses offered on the evenings and weekends for working professionals?
The graduate course schedule is not created for working students. Depending on the semester, there may be a course or two offered on weekday evenings, but this is not a guarantee. There are no courses offered on weekends.

Are any MIP courses offered outside of Athens?
All MIP courses are taught on the UGA campus in Athens, GA. No online or distance-learning courses are available.

How long does the program take to complete?
The MIP requires 36 credit hours to complete. Full-time students should complete the program in four semesters, or two academic years.

Can I enroll in a dual degree program (e.g. MIP and JD)?
The MIP is not currently part of any dual degree program. Students may, if they’d like, enroll in two degree programs concurrently, but must take all courses required for both programs. For example, if a student enrolled in both the MIP and JD programs, it would take two years of coursework to complete the MIP and three years of coursework to complete the JD.

Is there an AB/MIP program available to current undergraduates at UGA?
Yes. The MIP has joined with the UGA Honors Program to offer the AB/MIP joint degree program. This unique program allows undergraduate honors students to simultaneously complete a Master’s of International Policy degree while completing their undergraduate degree. For more information, please contact Dr. Sara Kutchesfahani.

Is the MIP a good fit for military personnel and defense professionals?
Now, more than ever, it is important for military officers and other members of the defense community to understand how WMDs and WMD-related materials proliferate between nations or fall into the hands of non-state actors. Graduates of the MIP program can interpret non-proliferation policy within the larger context of the global defense landscape. More importantly, MIP graduates gain the expertise necessary to identify and address field-level WMD threats as they occur in the modern battlespace.

The MIP program is an excellent fit for active duty personnel participating in the U.S. Army’s Graduate School Incentive Program, Advanced Civil Schooling program, or equivalent programs from the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and reserve components. The University of Georgia is a military-friendly campus which offers a variety of resources for current military and veterans alike.

Forms and Student Information
After Graduation

The MIP program trains students in international policy analysis and implementation and prepares them for careers in the private and public sectors.
Recent graduates have taken jobs at:

  • CRDF Global
  • Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited
  • National Nuclear Security Administration
  • Savannah River National Laboratory
  • The Carter Center
  • United States Navy
  • United Technologies Aerospace Systems
  • University of Calgary