Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies

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The Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies
IPS Logo
Type Private
Established 1982
Parent institution
Stanford University
Director Kathryn Stoner
Students 42
Location Stanford, CA, United States
Affiliations APSIA
Website website

The Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies (IPS) [1] at Stanford University is a two-year graduate program granting the Master of Arts degree. Housed within Stanford’s Global Studies Division, IPS is a multidisciplinary program dedicated to the study and analysis of the international system. The current Faculty Director of IPS is Kathryn Stoner, a Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Deputy Director at the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law.

Notable affiliated faculty includes former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, former United States Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, former United States Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, Francis Fukuyama, Larry Diamond, Amy Zegart, Michael Armacost, Tom Fingar, and Coit Blacker.

IPS is an affiliate member of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA).


IPS was established as a one-year master’s program in 1982. Following a $6 million gift from philanthropist Susan Ford Dorsey in 2005, the program was renamed the Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies. The gift coincided with IPS becoming a two-year program, as well as the introduction of a practicum as a capstone to the program.

Student body[edit]

The Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies sees an incoming class of 20 to 30 students. About half the class comes from abroad.


During the first year of the program, students must complete required coursework in statistics, econometrics, international economics, advanced economics, international relations theory, policy writing, and an introductory (gateway) course in the area of concentration. During the second year of the program, students are required to complete either the practicum or a master's thesis during autumn and winter quarters.

In addition to core requirements, each student is expected to specialize in one of five areas of concentration:

  • Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law
  • Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources
  • Global Health
  • International Political Economy
  • International Security and Cooperation

Each concentration is guided by one or more of the major international research centers at Stanford. This collaboration provides IPS students with unparalleled exposure to cutting edge research on some of the most pressing policy issues of our time. Students are required to choose one area of concentration and complete a total of six courses within the concentration at a minimum of 26 total units. Electives can include courses from a range of departments within the School of Humanities and Sciences, as well as the Graduate School of Business, the Stanford Law School, and the Institute of Design (

Global Study Trip[edit]

IPS sponsors an annual Global Study Trip to enhance the student experience by exposing students to real world policy analysis across a range of international issues. In recent years, students have met world leaders such as Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and former US National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley.


IPS offers significant support to students pursuing summer internships related to international policy. Stipends ranging up to $5,000 are available to cover travel, room and board, and living expenses. In recent years, IPS students have completed internships at the State Department, the Treasury Department, USAID, the World Bank, the United Nations, the OECD, the World Health Organization, the China Development Bank, the Carter Center, the Clinton Foundation, Dalberg, Avascent Group, ArcelorMittal, and Perella Weinberg, among others.


As a capstone to the IPS degree, students complete a two-quarter course in which students work in teams to conduct policy analyses for real-world client organizations. The practicum projects take place during the Autumn and Winter quarter of the students' second year. Supervised by a member of Stanford's faculty, past projects have been featured in international media, liked the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and CNN.

Recent clients have included the Department of State, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the OECD, Sandia National Labs, the Asia Foundation, the World Bank, and the Defense Intelligence Agency, among others.

The IPS practicum is led by Coit Blacker, who served as senior director for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian affairs at the National Security Council during the Clinton administration.

External links[edit]