Frequently Asked Questions

We appreciate your interest in APSIA member institutions and hope this FAQ provides readers with useful answers to often-asked questions about the member schools and their programs. For additional information, please contact any of the individual APSIA member schools.

Click on one of the Frequently Asked Questions in the sections below to jump to that FAQ answer.

Frequently Asked


Career Services

Does APSIA provide rankings of their programs?

The diversity of APSIA member schools’ graduate programs and degrees makes any effective ranking system unhelpful. All APSIA schools have a commitment to professional graduate education and training in all areas of international affairs, and each has a high degree of success in placing graduates in professional careers.

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Does APSIA have info about undergraduate programs?

APSIA is an association of professional graduate schools. While many of our member institutions have undergraduate programs alongside their graduate programs, APSIA does not compile data or information about undergraduate programs of study in international affairs. Information about undergraduate study at any of our member schools can be found by visiting their program websites.

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What is the difference between full member schools and affiliate member schools?

Full members of APSIA have undergone a rigorous review process and meet the following qualifications required for full APSIA membership:

  • an educational program of high academic quality;
  • a substantial and demonstrated commitment to the study of international affairs;
  • a basic commitment to graduate professional training;
  • and significant autonomy within a major university, e.g., as one would expect to find with a Law School or graduate Business School.

Affiliate members of APSIA have undergone a rigorous review process and meet some but not all of the above requirements.

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What can I study at an APSIA school?

Although there is a great deal of heterogeneity among the APSIA schools and no two APSIA schools offer precisely the same curriculum, APSIA programs have core or distribution requirements that provide students with a broad educational foundation in international relations theory, policy analysis, oral and written communications skills, macro and micro economics, management, and/or quantitative methods/statistics.

Beyond this general foundation of knowledge, the APSIA schools enable students to specialize or concentrate in either functional subjects, such as international conflict resolution, international trade and finance, environmental issues, and foreign policy, or in regional areas such as Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Russia/Central Eurasia.

Every school also provides some type of capstone experience — a comprehensive exam, thesis, internship, or independent study project—that enables students to integrate the various components of their education.

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Are there study abroad programs?

Most APSIA schools offer resources and opportunities for students to study or intern overseas. Some APSIA schools have overseas campuses and others participate in exchange programs with a variety of institutions. However, the majority of APSIA students have already participated in study abroad programs during their undergraduate careers.

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What is the student body like at an APSIA school?

APSIA schools enroll a very diverse group of students with respect to age, socioeconomic background, nationality and knowledge. Thirty-seven percent of all students are over 25 years of age. Most have worked, volunteered or studied abroad and speak at least one foreign language. Students come from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. For the profile of our most recently enrolled class, please visit our student profile page.

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What kind of academic majors do APSIA schools look for?

No particular academic discipline is required for admission. Students’ undergraduate majors range from art history to engineering to political science. However, strong research, oral and written communication, and analytical skills are important. Many schools may also require course work and/or preparation in a foreign language and economics.

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How do I apply?

There is no centralized admissions process for APSIA schools. Prospective applicants should check the admissions requirements and deadlines for each member school. Generally, schools are looking for academic excellence as well as a commitment to the field of international affairs. No single factor is most important in the application process, as all elements are considered to contribute to the applicant’s overall profile.

All APSIA schools require at least one personal statement. (Additional essays are required by some programs.) The application should include recommendation letters from faculty or employers who are best able to assess motivation and preparation for graduate study. Most schools will require standardized exams such as the GRE, TOEFL or GMAT. Tests should be taken well in advance of admissions deadlines. Other admissions requirements include official transcripts from colleges and universities attended, an application fee, and in many cases, a resume.

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When should I apply?

Application deadlines vary. Some schools admit for Fall only, and others accept applications for the Spring semester. Fall deadlines range from early January to early March but most occur on or before February 1, especially for consideration for financial aid. Applicants should contact the individual schools to get accurate deadline information.

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Do I have to take the GRE?

The general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required by most schools; the subject GRE test is generally not. Policies regarding the use of the GRE vary considerably among the institutions and even among programs in particular schools. Most APSIA schools do not have minimum GRE score requirements for admissions consideration.

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Is financial aid available?

Financial aid is available in the form of fellowships, loans, work study, and research and teaching assistantships. Scholarships and fellowships are often awarded on a dual basis of merit and need. Loans and work study awards are made on a need basis. Most of these funds are disbursed by either the federal or state governments or are federally insured. A graduate education is an investment and students are encouraged to begin saving and seeking external sources of funding as early as possible. While financial aid packages are available, it is rare to receive enough aid to cover the entire cost of a graduate education.

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What can I do with a degree from an APSIA school?

Education at an APSIA school opens doors to careers in public service, private enterprise and not-for-profit organizations worldwide. Graduates of APSIA schools hold executive and managerial positions in:

  • banking and financial
  • institutions
  • colleges and universities
  • consulting firms
  • cultural and educational exchange organizations
  • development assistance programs
  • federal, state and local governments
  • international organizations
  • media outlets
  • non-governmental organizations
  • policy research centers
  • private voluntary organizations
  • trade associations
  • transnational corporations

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How do APSIA schools help with career guidance?

APSIA schools offer extensive career resources for their students. Career activities may range from resume and interviewing workshops, internships, alumni/ae panels and networks, career trips to major cities, on- and off-campus interviews and presentations from employers, computer and resource centers, and individual career counseling.

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