You are here: Master of Arts in International Affairs: United States Foreign Policy and National Security

Then US Secretary of State John Kerry looks over meeting notes and across the packed room at the United Nations General Assembly Hall

Gain knowledge and skills for a lifetime of foreign policy challenges

The United States Foreign Policy and National Security (USFP) Program will prepare you to be an effective international affairs practitioner. We have designed the Program to enable students to step into a variety of jobs that demand the knowledge and analytic skills of a professional with expertise in US foreign and national security policy. Our graduates work in the intelligence community, the White House, executive branch agencies such as the State and Defense Departments, the Congress, private sector consulting firms, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, and international organizations.

Rooted in the wealth of resources the School of International of International Service provides, the USFP Program has a cohesiveness that enables students to find meaningful ways to collaborate with and learn from other students, establish contacts with alumni, and develop lifelong friendships.

The USFP program requires 39-42 credit hours of graduate coursework that can be completed in two years (full-time) or up to six years (part-time). Students study the historical underpinnings, institutions and processes of US foreign policy; complete a rigorous course of study that features programmatic flexibility with a large number of concentrations through which they can pursue specialized interests; gain experience through practicum opportunities and internships; and learn from faculty experts with international reputations as practitioners or scholars.

Explore more about the USFP degree

Degree and admission requirements

Our faculty is a mix of scholars involved in cutting-edge research and practitioners who have held senior positions in government, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations. All are distinguished by their commitment to teaching excellence and engagement with students.

Meet the USFP faculty

USFP offers a master’s degree at a top-ten international affairs school located at the epicenter of global affairs. Strategically located in Washington, DC, the USFP Program brings the nation’s capital into the classroom. The combination of a large faculty all of whom are actively engaged with the city’s various institutions, alumni committed to supporting current students, and student organizations that support inclusiveness and outreach, gives you access to a wide-ranging network of individuals and organizations that will benefit you during your time in SIS and long after.

Top Employers

  • US government, such as the State Department, US Congress, and Defense Intelligence Agency

  • Private sector, such as Booz Hamilton, SAIC, and Creative Associates

  • Think tanks and NGOs, such as Brooking Institution, Atlantic Council, and National Endowment for Democracy

Working toward a safer world

I studied US foreign policy and now I get to do it.

I manage foreign assistance programs in North, West and East Africa that help partner countries prevent illicit diversion of conventional weapons. These programs further U.S. security policy. Looking at the big picture, it’s motivating to know that my work fosters positive diplomatic relationships and greater security for those partner countries and, in turn, for the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

When you should apply to the USFP program depends on what semester you want to start taking classes and whether you are a domestic or international student.

Application deadlines for the USFP program are as follows:

  • Fall semester (all applicants): January 15
  • Spring semester (domestic applicants): October 1
  • Spring semester (international applicants): September 15

View required application materials

Missed a deadline but still interested in applying? Email the SIS Graduate Admissions office.

USFP graduates go on to exciting careers in government, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations.

Recent USFP graduates have found jobs at employers including the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Endowment for Democracy, and Accenture. Within six months of graduation, 89% of graduates are working or continuing graduate studies.

Looking for more information or help? SIS has a dedicated career development center to assist current students and alumni.

The School of International Service offers merit-based aid in the form of scholarships and fellowships at the time of admission. SIS also has partnerships with a number of organizations like the Peace Corps and Pickering Fellowships that provide qualified individuals with funding.

Financial aid for prospective students

United States Foreign Policy and National Security program students may choose to research other relevant fellowship opportunities.

Fellowship opportunities

Need-based aid is available through AU Central Office and generally takes the form of a federal low-interest loan package.

Federal loan and work study information for graduate students

Still have questions? Send us an email at usfp@american.edu.