The Doctor of International Affairs (DIA) is the newest degree offering at Johns Hopkins SAIS and is designed for experienced professionals who seek to further their expertise through an advanced practitioner’s degree.
Under the guidance of school experts and scholars, DIA candidates take coursework and conduct research on the issues that most align with their professional interests. The program is delivered on an accelerated timeline and culminates with students defending their doctoral thesis.
Advanced standing is available for students who possess a relevant master’s degree allowing the program to be completed in as little as two years – with one year of full-time study and a subsequent part-time, non-resident year focused exclusively on completing their doctoral thesis.
A three-year track is available for those who have not completed a prior, relevant master’s degree. The final year of this track is also conducted on a part-time, non-resident basis and is focused on completing the doctoral thesis.
Campus: Washington, DC and Bologna, Italy
Duration: Two to three academic years, Full-time
Course delivery: In-person
The DIA curriculum emphasizes learning, research, and evaluation. Students gain a deep understanding of foundational theory and learn to apply existing practice and knowledge toward solving real-world problems in fields such as:
- conflict resolution and negotiation
- climate change, energy access, global environmental policy
- sustainable development, foreign aid and global poverty
- human rights and humanitarian affairs, democratization, nation-building
- international political economy, economic development, emerging markets
- American foreign policy, grand strategy, history and statecraft
- defense and security, cybersecurity, and terrorism/counterterrorism
- regions of the world, and more
During their course of study, students will work individually with a faculty advisor who will guide them through the doctoral thesis process. The final year is completed on a part-time, non-resident basis allowing students to conduct research, write, and prepare to defend their thesis.
Since the school’s inception in 1943, the school’s faculty members have been internationally recognized for their scholarship, experience, and quality of teaching. They are award-winning scholars, authors, diplomats, thinkers, and senior-ranking officials who are authorities on international economics and international relations and who have expertise in contemporary issues around the world. DIA advisors may include any Johns Hopkins SAIS faculty scholars or expert practitioners who hold PhD degrees.
Two- and Three-year Tracks
Two-year DIA Track
Students who possess a relevant master’s degree in fields such as political science, public policy, international relations, security studies or other related fields, will receive advanced standing allowing for the program to be completed in two years.
The first year of this track will follow the traditional path of the school’s one-year, full-time Master of International Public Policy (MIPP) program. Students enroll full-time at the school’s Washington, DC campus and over the academic year must successfully complete eight courses, including two methods courses. Students will affiliate with a field of study such as Strategic Studies or International Development and meet specific affiliation requirements.
The final year is completed part-time and does not require residency in Washington, DC. During this year, students complete their research and write a doctoral thesis under the guidance of their faculty advisor.
Students pursuing the two-year track will also be conferred the Master of International Public Policy degree upon successful completion of the program requirements.
Three-year DIA Track
Students who do not possess a prior relevant master’s degree will enroll in the three-year track.
The first of the two years follow the traditional path of the school's two-year Master of Arts (MA) program. In addition to two research methods courses, students will be required to meet the international economics, quantitative reasoning, and language requirements of the MA degree. The final year of the DIA is completed part-time and does not require residency in Washington, DC. During this year, students complete their research and write a doctoral thesis under the guidance of their faculty advisor.
Students pursuing the three-year track can begin their studies at the school’s main campus in Washington, DC or at SAIS Europe in Bologna, Italy. Their second year must be completed in Washington, DC.
Students pursuing the three-year track will also be conferred the Master of Arts degree upon successful completion of the program, including concentration requirements.
Doctoral Degrees: DIA vs. PhD
The DIA is a practitioners degree where students conduct applied research culminating in a doctoral thesis within their area of professional expertise.
It is different from a traditional PhD, which requires comprehensive exams and is usually thought of as producing an original body of knowledge in preparation for an academic career.