American University School of International Service

School of International Service, American University
Type Private
Established 1957
Parent institution
American University
Dean James M. Goldgeier
Academic staff
100+ (full-time)[1]
Students 1,600 (undergraduate)
800 (graduate)
Location Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Campus Urban
Affiliations APSIA

The School of International Service (SIS) is American University's school of advanced international study in the areas of international politics, international communication, international development, international economic relations, peace and conflict resolution, global environmental politics, and U.S. foreign policy.

The School of International Service was created when AU's Hurst Anderson was urged by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to create a school of practitioners prepared for foreign policy beyond the U.S.–Soviet rivalry. Since 1957, SIS has prepared thousands of graduates to represent their country in the global arena by "waging peace" and employing the hallmarks of thoughtful diplomacy.

SIS is the largest school of international relations in the United States, enrolling more than 2,000 students from over 150 countries.[1][2] The school makes extensive use of the academic and governmental resources offered by the university's location in Washington, D.C.

Foreign Policy, in its 2015 rankings of top international affairs programs, ranked the school's master's and undergraduate programs as 8th- and 9th-best in the world, respectively.[3] SIS is also consistently ranked in conjunction with American University's School of Public Affairs as a leading program in the country by U.S. News & World Report's college and university rankings.[4] SIS is also a full member of The Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs.[5]


The founding of schools of international affairs was urged by President Dwight D. Eisenhower during the height of the Cold War. His initiative called together thirteen University presidents, including AU's Hurst Robins Anderson, encouraging them to create human-focused international affairs programs dedicated to preparing practitioners for foreign policy beyond the U.S.–Soviet rivalry. In response, SIS was founded with the mission to establish a school based on service to the global community. In 1958, the school admitted its first full-time class, replacing AU's Department of International Relations. The class consisted of 85 students representing 36 countries.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy, Jr. delivered the Commencement titled A Strategy of Peace, in which he announced the development of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and his decision to unilaterally suspend all atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons as long as all other nations would do the same. The speech was unusual in its peaceful outreach to the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, and is remembered as one of Kennedy's finest and most important speeches.

In 1967, SIS added its International Communications program, the first such program offered by an American university. In 1981 SIS inaugurated the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies to address concerns that American universities lacked an appropriate venue for exploring the greater Muslim-Western understanding. In the 1990s, SIS established dual degree programs with Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan and Korea University in Seoul, Korea. In 1991, SIS added the Center for the Global South, followed in 1995 by the addition of the Mohammed Said Farsi Chair in Islamic Peace, and in 2000 with a joint program on National Resources and Sustainable Development with the United Nations University for Peace. New degree options implemented in 2010 include the Global Scholars Program, a concentrated three-year B.A. program, an M.A. program in Social Enterprise, and, in partnership with the U.S. Peace Corps, a Master's International degree combining a Peace Corps assignment with SIS academic work.

In 2004, plans were initiated for a new, 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m2), academic building on the quad of the university's campus, which was completed in spring 2010. It is a LEED Gold-certified building, featuring 3,230 square feet (300 m2) of photovoltaic solar panels, low-flow faucets to reduce water consumption, and the first building in Washington, D.C. to feature three solar water heating systems. Designed by architect William McDonough, the new building is intended to reflect the school's commitment to advancing ecological stewardship, preserving transparency and human dignity, and working for social justice.

SIS publications

Clocks and Clouds is American University's undergraduate journal of international affairs.

The Journal of International Service is American University's graduate journal of international affairs.

Intercultural Management Quarterly is published by the Intercultural Management Institute, which provides customized training for effective communication, negotiation, and leadership across cultures.

Undergraduate academics

The School of International Service offers a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. The School also allows undergraduate students to earn a minor in International Studies as well as undergraduate certificates in either European Studies and International Studies.

Graduate academics

Master's degrees

The School of International Service offers the following master's degrees:

SIS also offers several combined degrees:

The School also has programs with Ritsumeikan University, Korea University, and Sookmyung University. Information on dual-degree, semester, or summer/intersession study abroad programs are available.

Ph.D. program

The Ph.D. program at SIS prepares students for careers as teachers and scholars at universities and research institutes in the private and public sectors. Ph.D. field concentrations include Development Studies; Global Environment; Global Governance & International Organizations; Peace & Conflict Resolution; Political Violence; Security; Technology, Culture & Social Change; and United States Foreign Policy and National Security.

Executive master's degree

In this program, experienced international affairs professionals are able to broaden their knowledge, enhance their intellectual development, expand their professional effectiveness, and strengthen their international leadership skills and knowledge. One can construct an individually tailored program of study from among the school's eight disciplines:

Graduate certificates

SIS Graduate Certificate Programs:

Research and learning centers


  1. 1 2 "About the School of International Service". School of International Service website. American University. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  2. "American University". US News Best Colleges 2012. US News & World Report. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  3. Maliniak; et al. (3 Feb 2012). "The Best International Relations Schools in the World". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  4. "Best Public Affairs Programs". US News & World Report. 2008. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  5. "American University Profile". Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA). Archived from the original on 22 November 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.

External links

Coordinates: 38°56′10″N 77°05′17″W / 38.9361°N 77.088°W / 38.9361; -77.088

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