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Doctor of International Affairs (DIA)

Contact Us

Johns Hopkins SAIS | Office of Admissions
1740 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
+1 (202) 663-5700
+1 (877) JHU-WASH (US toll free)

SAIS Europe | Office of Admissions
via Andreatta, 3
40126 Bologna, Italy
+39 051 291 7838


The Doctor of International Affairs is designed for professionals with at least five-years of full-time work experience in international affairs or a related field who seek to further their expertise through an advanced practitioner’s degree. Under the guidance of school experts and scholars, you will take courses and conduct research on the issues that most align with your professional interests.

Become an Expert

The program is delivered on an accelerated two- or three-year timeline and culminates with a doctoral thesis. The curriculum emphasizes learning, research, and evaluation allowing you 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

Doctor of International Affairs vs. PhD

The Doctor of International Affairs is a practitioner’s 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 careers that include, but are not limited to, academia.

What Your Schedule Will Look Like

48-credit Program 

Year One

Advanced standing is available if you possess a relevant master’s degree. You must complete 32 credits prior to the final, non-residential thesis year. 


  • Eight courses in the academic year, including two methods courses
  • Six courses based on your specific interests and research agenda

Year Two 

The final year is completed part-time on a non-resident basis while finishing research and writing a doctoral thesis under the guidance of your faculty advisor.


  • 8 credits of “Thesis” each semester

80-credit Program 

Years One and Two

You will complete courses on a full-time, resident basis through fall and spring semesters for two academic years. You may begin your studies at either the Washington DC campus or at SAIS Europe.


  • Fulfill the requirements of the school's Master of Arts in International Relations degree (MAIR) in international economics, quantitative reasoning, research methods, and foreign language proficiency

Year Three

The final year is completed part-time on a non-resident basis while finishing research and writing a doctoral thesis under the guidance of your faculty advisor.


  • 8 credits of “Thesis” each semester

48-credit Program 

Year One

Build your expertise through classes based on your specific interests and research agenda. 



  • Complete four courses of your choice in the academic year, two each semester

Year Two

The second year of study will entail a combination of methods courses and courses based on your specific interests and research agenda.


  • Complete four courses in the academic year, two each semester. This includes two method courses and two courses based on your specific interests and research agenda.

Year Three

The final year is completed part-time on a non-resident basis while finishing research and writing a doctoral thesis under the guidance of your faculty advisor.


  • 8 credits of “Thesis” each semester


Adria Lawrence

Aronson Associate Professor of International Studies and Political Science

Peter Lewis

Interim Vice Dean for Education and Academic Affairs, Warren Weinstein Chair of African Studies, Director of Africa and Middle East Programs

Hal Brands

Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor

Jessica Fanzo

Interim Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and International Research Cooperation, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Food Ethics and Policy, Director of the Global Food Ethics and Policy Program

In the News

Biden slams 'failed system' of communism amid debates over Cuba, China.

David Bulman quoted on Sinclair Broadcast Group, 07/19

Secret trip to China transformed the Cold War.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 07/18

Inside the insurrection.

Yascha Mounk hosted The Good Fight podcast, 07/17

Taming the Afghan menace.

Sanam Vakil quoted in Ahram Online, 07/17

Outcomes and accountability: Measuring success of the summit process.

Jessica Fanzo participated in Devex webinar, 07/15

Admissions Events

Aug 4 11:00 am - 2:00 pm

Foreign Affairs Open House: Summer 2021

Foreign Affairs Open House will connect you directly with representatives at top programs in international affairs, public policy, diplomacy, and political science–all from the comfort of your home, office, smartphone...

Aug 5 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm Online SAIS Event

Hopkins-Nanjing Center Virtual Information Session

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC) admissions office will host an information session on the admissions and financial aid application process for all Hopkins-Nanjing Center programs. The Hopkins-Nanjing Center, an educational collaboration...

Aug 12 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm Online SAIS Event

Mid-Career Virtual Information Session

The Office of Admissions invites you to learn more about the Master of International Public Policy (MIPP) and the Master of Arts in Global Policy (MAGP) degree by joining an...

Beyond the Classroom

Through study treks, research projects, staff rides, and more you will gain practical, hands-on experience.

Study Treks

Each year the school organizes more than two dozen study treks, providing students with valuable opportunities to conduct field research, engage with partner organizations, and gain new perspectives on major global issues.

Networking Events

Network with alumni and professionals and organize student-led events exploring your area of interest's challenges and opportunities outside the classroom.

World-Class Events

The school regularly hosts expert policymakers, CEOs, heads of state, and scholars to campus. Students are encouraged to explore topics of interest by attending lectures, presentations, and special programming.

Staff Rides

During a staff ride, students gain lessons in strategy, leadership, and decision-making by visiting a historic battle site and reenacting key moments. Each year, at least one staff ride occurs outside of the US and recent staff rides have been conducted in South Korea, Scotland, Italy, and Poland.