Application Requirements

To apply to one of our programs, applicants are required to submit the following:

  • Completed online application form
  • Current résumé/CV
  • Statement of purpose
  • Official transcripts from all academic institutions from which you earned credit
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • $55 application fee

Applications are now being accepted for the following start date:

September 2024
June 10, 2024
July 8, 2024

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Take the next step in your career and begin your application to International Relations Online today.

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Your résumé/CV allows the admissions committee to review your background and previous experiences. We encourage you to be detailed and thorough in preparing your résumé and to include internship and volunteer experience in addition to traditional full-time work experiences.

Personal Statement

Your personal statement is an integral part of your application to the School of International Service and is a space where we get to know you on a more individual basis. Please review the three admission essay questions below and answer all prompts.

Prompt 1: Overview [400 words]
Please share the story of how your background, experiences and academic interests have led you to pursue graduate school at this time and in this field. What has prepared you for this endeavor and what unique skills, experiences or perspectives would you bring to SIS?

Prompt 2: Program [400 words]
The field of International Affairs is broad, and SIS has a wide range of degree options reflecting that breadth. Please tell us (1) why you are applying to the specific program you have chosen and (2) how you think this degree will serve your academic and professional aspirations.

A substantive answer to this prompt should consider the following: how does this program connect to issues/problems that you would like to impact; what curricular opportunities (e.g. courses/concentration options, study abroad, skills-building, etc.) are you most interested in, and why; who are the faculty you’d like to work with, and why.

Prompt 3: Values [400 words]
The professional field of International Affairs continues to be limited by its lack of diversity, especially–but not only–racial, ethnic, and gender diversity.  SIS is committed to making the field more closely resemble the diversity of our population by training our students to recognize inclusion as a key to identifying innovative solutions for the global challenges we face. With this aspect of SIS’ mission in mind, please respond to one of the following questions: 

  1. How would your understanding of the global challenges of social inequality and inequity inform your studies at SIS, your role in the SIS community, and your future work? 

  2. How have you engaged  with racial/ethnic diversity in your past school or work environments, and/or how do you envision yourself contributing to a more inclusive workplace in graduate school and your future career?


All applicants to the School of International Service’s (SIS) graduate programs must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution by the date of anticipated enrollment. Applicants are required to submit transcripts from all institutions attended, including community colleges and transfer credits.

Many schools issue transcripts electronically, either through their own Web services or through vendors. If this option is available through the institutions you attended, please specify that your transcript(s) be sent to or select American University International Relations Online if listed as an option through a vendor. This will expedite the delivery of your transcript(s) and the completion of your application.

If you wish to mail your transcripts, the sealed, official transcripts from U.S. institutions should be sent directly to:

American University
Application Processing Center
International Relations Online
PO Box 30096 001-002
College Station, TX 77842

Students who completed degrees at institutions outside the United States are required to submit a transcript evaluation (and a translation, if applicable) in addition to original transcripts. Please contact your admissions counselor for specific information about acceptable transcript evaluation services.

Please note: To be considered an official transcript, the transcript must be sent directly from your institution(s) or through an electronic transcript vendor retained by that institution. Transcripts submitted by enrolled or prospective students are considered unofficial documents, even if they are in a sealed envelope provided to you by the issuing university.

Letters of Recommendation

All applicants to SIS graduate programs are required to submit two letters of recommendation to support their application. Letters of recommendation should evaluate your suitability for graduate study in international affairs. SIS prefers letters from former or current professors, who can attest to your academic performance and qualifications; and from supervisors, or people with direct observation of your professional qualifications. Letters from friends or peers are not recommended.

MAIR Economics Preparation

If you are interested in applying to the MAIR program, it is highly recommended that you have previous microeconomics and macroeconomics course work prior to enrolling in the program. However, prior economics course work is not a prerequisite for admission to the program. Students who have not previously completed approved economics course work will be required to take SISG-773 Introduction to Economic Theory. Registration and sequencing of this course, if applicable, will be coordinated between the student and academic advising.

Application Fee

The application fee for SIS graduate programs is $55. The application fee is waived for:

  • Active duty members or veterans of the U.S. military
  • Active or returned Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Teach for America, and LanguageCorps volunteers
  • First-generation college students 

If the application fee is paid off-line, the check must be sent, payable to American University, to the following on-campus address:

International Relations Online
Attn: Matthew Meekins  
School of International Service  
American University  
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW  
Washington, D.C. 20016 

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International Applicants

International students are vital to the International Relations Online and the School of International Service’s community, and we encourage professionals outside of the United States to apply to our program. All international applicants, regardless of their country of citizenship or location, will be evaluated equally to applicants who are U.S. citizens. This applies to the Master’s in International Relations and Executive Master of International Service.

Please note there are additional application requirements for international applicants.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit scores from an English language proficiency exam.

Our online international relations graduate programs accepts Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and Pearson Test of English (PTE) scores. The SIS Institution Code for TOEFL score reporting is 3313 and there is no department code.

IR Online’s minimum scores accepted are as follows:

ExamSIS CodeMinimum Score
TOEFL Internet-based test
TOEFL computer-based test
TOEFL paper-based test

This requirement can be waived for applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited university whose sole language of instruction is English and is located in a country in which English is the official language. For information regarding official country languages, visit the CIA World Factbook, find the continent and country on the map, and open the “People and Society” section.

Transcript Evaluation

In addition to submitting original transcripts, applicants who earned degrees at higher education institutions outside of the United States are required to submit a transcript evaluation and a translation, if applicable. Translations must come from recognized bodies such as universities, embassies, overseas EducationUSA advising centers, or other certified translation agencies. Please contact your admissions counselor for specific information about acceptable transcript evaluation services.