U.S. Foreign Policy Summer Program

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Study the complex factors that shape U.S. foreign policy

At the Elliott School’s U.S. Foreign Policy Summer Program, participants from the United States and the world study the complex factors that shape U.S. foreign policy. This five-week-long program features lectures led by GW Faculty, leading scholars and experts from government offices, think tanks, international organizations, nonprofit organizations, and the media.

In addition, students in the U.S. Foreign Policy Summer Program also participate in briefs and visit institutions that shape U.S. foreign policy, such as foreign embassies, the Pentagon, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank, etc. 


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"The summer program was an excellent deep dive into the roles of various actors in formulating U.S. foreign policy and promoting the U.S. national interest. The class comprised a good mix of young students and more experienced practitioners of public policy. A key strength of the program was the quality of guest speakers who were all intimately involved in shaping U.S. foreign policy, be they from the public or private sector."

Mitchel Lee

Singapore Foreign Affairs Officer & visiting student from The Rajaratnam School of International Studies in NTU (Nanyang Technological University)


Course Overview

This US Foreign Policy Summer Program is taught by Professor of Practice and Director of the Leadership, Ethics and, Practice Initiative (LEAP), Christopher A. Kojm. The course examines the substance and process of U.S. foreign policy. It delves into the process of formulating and conducting U.S. foreign policy, the history that informs it, the political culture that sustains it, the ideas and interests that drive it, and the people and institutions responsible for it.

Contact [email protected] for questions or chat with us during office hours!

In this course, students will:

  • interact with leading scholars, officials, and members of advocacy groups to gain an understanding of the many influences and perspectives that influence U.S. foreign policy
  • acquire an appreciation of the institutional context in which policy is made and implemented
  • work on developing the skills needed for policy-related careers, particularly analytical skills and oral and written communication skills.
  • apply the information from class discussions, guest lectures, and outside readings to their participation in simulation exercises and drafting of policy memos.

Course Schedule

The format of the course is a five-week seminar, meeting virtually twice a week from 5:10 pm EST to 7 pm EST. The daily schedule will combine guest lectures by experts and lectures by the instructor, class discussions, a simulation, and conclude with a final paper.


Session I - May 17 - June 27, 2021

-Monday's and Wednesday's (advanced undergrads may only do this session)

-Tuesday's and Thursday's 

Session II - June 28 - August 8, 2021

-Tuesday's and Thursday's 


View a recording of the U.S. Foreign Policy Summer Program Information Session with professors and program alums.

Academic Credit

This program includes a two-week, three-credit course called “IAFF 6521: U.S. Foreign Policy in a Global Era” held in the heart of Washington, D.C. Upon successful completion of the program, participants earn academic credit from The George Washington University and will be able to order official transcripts that reflect credit awarded for non-degree, visiting student status through this system.

Admission to the U.S. Foreign Policy Summer Program at the Elliott School is competitive. Every year, the program welcomes mid-career professionals and foreign service officers from abroad.

For this reason, only graduate students and advanced undergraduate students are eligible to apply. See below for additional eligibility requirements:

  • Graduate students, graduates, and professionals should have at least a bachelor’s degree and some work experience,
  • Undergraduates must have at least junior standing (60 credits of college-level course work complete) as well as some experience in the field. The program does not accept first or second-year college students, nor high school students.

The program encourages applications from people with backgrounds in fields related to international affairs. International participants contribute an important dimension to the study of foreign policy and the program welcomes applications from abroad. 


After receiving their acceptance letter, students will have two weeks to submit their $500 non-refundable security deposit to reserve a space in the program. Instructions on how to pay your security deposit can be found here: USFPSP 2020 Student Deposit Instructions.


Costs for the 2020 U.S. Foreign Policy Summer Program will be as follows:

3-credit tuition + program fee =  $6,065.89

The program fee covers costs needed to run the program – such as guest speaker compensation, shared rides to and from site visits, opening and closing receptions, and other program-related expenses.

Please note that students are not allowed to audit the course, they have to take it for credit.

In addition, the above program fee does not cover lodging (if applicable), health insurance, travel expenses, meals, or I-20 or transcript mailing. Students will be responsible for covering all these fees, in addition to incidentals (laundry, internet fees, parking, metro card for personal transportation, etc).


The US Foreign Policy Summer program does not offer housing to program participants. 

Participants may use the GW Off-Campus Housing website as a reference for off-campus housing options around the GW Foggy Bottom Campus


All undergraduate students, medical, on-campus nursing, on-campus Health Science, and all international students holding a J1 or F1 visa are required to carry student health insurance while they study at GW. These students will be automatically enrolled in the GW SHIP health insurance (7.37$ daily rate) and must submit an opt-out waiver if they have another insurance plan that meets the required criteria. Please visit the Colonial Health Center website for more information.

English Language Requirements for Applicants

All accepted participants are admitted for visiting, non-degree status at The George Washington University. Please be advised that academic success in the program requires a high level of English language proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking.

Academic DuolingoIELTSPTE, or TOEFL, scores are required from all applicants who have not completed a post-secondary degree from a U.S. institution, unless they meet an exemption indicated on this list of English Language Test Exemptions. Official DuolingoIELTSPTE, or TOEFL scores may not be more than 2 years old. 

We do not accept any document(s) other than official Duolingo, IELTS, PTE, or TOEFL English Language Test scores as proof of English Language proficiency. The George Washington University reserves the right to request proof of English proficiency from any applicant.

Please refer to the table below for the minimum test scores required for admission consideration.





Minimum score requirement 


7.0 Overall score
No band score below 6.0


100 (Internet test)
600 (Paper test)


Visa Information for Admitted International Students

Applicants are not required to submit any visa request documents with the applications.

When requesting an I-20 (for F-1 Visas) or DS-2019 (for J-1 Visas), all applicants who are admitted and choose to enroll must submit: 

  • Visa Request Form (VRF) (pdf) with a handwritten signature of the applicant (and sponsor[s], if applicable),
  • Financial documents showing liquid funding for your program,
  • Biographical page of your passport (the passport page with your life details) with an expiration date at least six months beyond the start of your program.

If you previously had a visa, or are currently on a visa and/or at a US institution, you will also need to submit:

  • A legible copy of all current and previous visas, I-20s and DS-2019s,
  • A copy of your most recent I-94
  • SEVIS Transfer form, if applicable.
  • An OPT Forfeit letter, if applicable.
  • A legible copy of the front and back of your Employment Authorization Card, if applicable.

Note: The Elliott School does not send copies of official I-20s via email. Only hard copies are available to an admitted student and sent upon completion.

Funding Documents

When requesting an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW, applicants must submit Financial Support Documents showing proof of sufficient funding to cover all educational costs and living expenses for the full length of the program.

Review Acceptable Bank Documents here.

Funding documents must:

  • Be a bank statement in English or accompanied by an official English translation
  • Indicate the specific amount and currency of the funds (USD is preferred but not required)
  • Show funds in approved loans or cash only (i.e. checking or savings) and not subject to withdrawal restrictions*
  • Show the bank's address and phone number, indicating the date the account was opened and the current account balance
  • Show the full legal name of the applicant, as listed on their passport and application
  • Have an issue date that is no more than 12 months from the time you plan to begin study.

*Funding in stocks and other long-term investments will not be accepted.

Required Documents

Applicants will need to fill out an online application in addition to:

  • submit a copy of their resume/CV (no page limit); must include dates of employment (if applicable) and date of degree conferral or expected degree conferral. Please save as a PDF and upload to your application.
  • your most recent transcripts (please note that degree conferral is not required for undergraduate applicants)
  • personal statement 

Because applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, sessions might entirely fill up before the deadline. Students are encouraged to submit their applications as early as possible.

Online Application

To apply, go to the application portal. You will first be prompted to create a username, confirm your email address, and then create a password. Once these steps are completed, you will be able to log in and start a new application.

On the first page of the application, choose the following in order to apply for U.S. Foreign Policy Summer Program (each field must be selected before the following fields options will populate).

  • What type of program are you applying to? Non-Degree
  • School: Summer & Non-Degree Programs
  • Field of Study: U.S. Foreign Policy in a Global Era
  • Degree: Non-Degree
  • Concentration: Not Applicable
  • Term: Summer 2021


The US Summer Foreign Policy program deadline is February 1, 2021, at 11:59 pm EST. Applications for admission will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis after the deadline has passed. 

Earn Academic Credit

Earn 3 credits in as little as 2 weeks

Learn alongside tomorrow’s leaders while earning academic credit in one of the leading schools of international affairs in the U.S!

This program features lectures by a retired foreign service officer and GW faculty, prominent guest speakers, and site visits to the capital’s most influential organizations.

Explore DC

Explore D.C., and grow your network

Take full advantage of the Elliott School’s ideal location in the heart of the capital to network with leaders in the field, attend cultural and academic events, and learn about the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy.

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