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The Best IR Schools in the World:

The Best International Relations Schools in the World

Foreign Policy magazine, in collaboration with the Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) project at the College of William & Mary, is pleased to present the results of the 2018 Ivory Tower survey. The survey provides a snapshot of how top international relations scholars assess their discipline at a moment when the liberal international order — overseen by a U.S. president with little evident attachment to it — is in unprecedented flux.

Responses from 1,541 IR scholars at U.S. colleges and universities determined rankings for their field’s leading Ph.D., terminal master’s, and undergraduate programs. The scholars were asked to list the top five institutions in each category, and the percentages below reflect the portion of respondents who listed that school.

The survey is accompanied by two essays that address whether IR is in a state of existential crisis. Can IR help policymakers respond to President Donald Trump and other global challenges that they failed to predict? Francis Gavin, the director of the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, argues that the field of IR’s greatest strength is its adaptability and that other university departments would be wise to take their cues from schools of international affairs. Stephen Walt, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School and columnist for FP, suggests that IR scholars have more work to do to get their own house in order before advising diplomats on how to do the same.

Illustration by Peter and Maria Hoey for Foreign Policy

Top U.S. Undergraduate Institutions to Study International Relations

  • 1.Harvard University51.10%
  • 2.Princeton University49.14%
  • 3.Stanford University41.67%
  • 4.Georgetown University39.46%
  • 5.Columbia University32.97%
  • 6.Yale University21.08%
  • 7.University of Chicago20.96%
  • 8.George Washington University17.40%
  • 9.American University15.20%
  • 10.University of California—Berkeley11.64%
  • 11.University of California—San Diego9.68%
  • 12.Dartmouth College9.56%
  • 13.Tufts University9.07%
  • 14.University of Michigan8.58%
  • 15.Johns Hopkins University7.23%
  • 16.College of William & Mary6.86%
  • 17.Massachusetts Institute of Technology6.37%
  • 18.Cornell University5.76%
  • 19.University of Pennsylvania4.53%
  • 19.Ohio State University4.53%
  • 21.Williams College3.68%
  • 22.Brown University3.31%
  • 23.University of Virginia3.19%
  • 24.Swarthmore College3.06%
  • 24.University of California—Los Angeles3.06%

America’s IR Schools Are Broken

There’s a lot of innovation on the surface, but the rot runs deep. Here’s how to fix it.

Top Master's Programs for Policy Career in International Relations

  • 1.Georgetown University60.53%
  • 2.Harvard University49.43%
  • 3.Johns Hopkins University48.30%
  • 4.Princeton University37.58%
  • 5.Columbia University37.45%
  • 6.Tufts University30.90%
  • 7.George Washington University29.38%
  • 8.American University21.06%
  • 9.London School of Economics18.16%
  • 10.University of Chicago13.75%
  • 11.Stanford University9.08%
  • 12.University of Oxford8.07%
  • 13.Yale University7.82%
  • 14.University of Denver7.31%
  • 15.University of California—San Diego5.42%
  • 16.Syracuse University4.67%
  • 17.University of Cambridge3.78%
  • 18.Massachusetts Institute of Technology3.28%
  • 18.University of Michigan3.28%
  • 20.University of California—Berkeley2.40%
  • 20.University of Pittsburgh2.40%
  • 22.New York University2.14%
  • 22.Sciences Po—Paris2.14%
  • 24.Duke University1.77%
  • 25.School of Oriental and African Studies1.51%

It’s Never Been a Better Time to Study IR:

Donald Trump has changed the world — and some people will understand it better than others.

Top Ph.D. Programs for Academic Career in International Relations

  • 1.Harvard University68.13%
  • 2.Princeton University60.78%
  • 3.Stanford University57.35%
  • 4.Columbia University39.45%
  • 5.University of Chicago27.61%
  • 6.Yale University25.83%
  • 7.University of California—San Diego21.45%
  • 8.Massachusetts Institute of Technology19.19%
  • 9.University of Michigan14.45%
  • 10.University of California—Berkeley14.34%
  • 11.Georgetown University10.66%
  • 12.University of Oxford10.55%
  • 13.Cornell University7.82%
  • 14.London School of Economics7.58%
  • 15.Ohio State University6.99%
  • 16.Johns Hopkins University5.69%
  • 17.George Washington University5.09%
  • 18.University of Cambridge4.98%
  • 19.American University4.50%
  • 20.Duke University3.91%
  • 21.New York University3.32%
  • 22.Tufts University2.96%
  • 22.University of Minnesota2.96%
  • 24.University of Wisconsin—Madison2.84%
  • 25.University of California—Los Angeles2.61%
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