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The IPS Experience

Image of IPS students sitting with Stanford building on the background.
Photo Credit: Juliane Kaden-Botha

IPS takes a unique approach to international policy analysis, offering a dynamic learning experience that utilizes Stanford University’s exceptional resources. To enhance student learning beyond the classroom, the program offers annual international study trips, a summer internship program, a capstone practicum course, and a speaker series, exposing students to policy analysis and problem solving in the real world.


Students can specialize in 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

Individualized advising

Each student has access to three professional advisors:

Faculty Advisor - Mutual research interests

Academic Advisor - Courses and degree requirements

Career Advisor - Résumé review, internship and job opportunities, and contacts


International study trips 

First-year students spend spring break in a country outside of the U.S. to learn about policy making from government officials, international organizations, NGOs, the business community, and local media and artists.  

Past study trips have traveled to China, Turkey, Brazil, Indonesia, Rwanda, Argentina, and Myanmar.  Students will travel to India in 2016.


Summer internship placement and funding 

IPS staff facilitates the first-year internship search by providing opportunities and contacts, résumé review and forwarding, and referrals to potential employers.

Each student is eligible for an IPS internship stipend to help cover travel and living expenses for the summer.



Second-year students work in teams to analyze and make policy recommendations to real-world clients.

IPS Practicum students have consulted to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the U.S. Department of State, the World Bank, as well as NGOs, private sector companies, and think tanks.  

All students are eligible for travel funds to support research for their Practicum projects.


Faculty interaction

In addition to teaching, our faculty mentor students, who in turn serve as teaching assistants, research assistants, and case writers to faculty.


Stanford Alumni Community 

IPS students join the community of current and former students both within the program and across Stanford. Alumni participate in IPS events, and support students with advice, referrals, and career opportunities.


IPS helps support students during their two years at Stanford with many types of funding.

One-year Ford Dorsey and FSI Fellowships are offered to a select number of incoming students based on merit and specific eligibility requirements. Fellowships cover full or partial tuition, living expenses, and health insurance.  

Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis to second-year students.  Teaching assistants (TAs) support instructors in core IPS courses, while research assistants (RAs) are selected by FSI faculty to support research on specific projects of mutual interest.  TAs and RAs are compensated with tuition allowance, salary, and health insurance during the quarters in which they are employed.  

Study trip stipends subsidize the cost of the annual spring break trip for first-year students. 

Summer internship stipends are available to all first-year students to help defray the cost of travel and living expenses during their internships.

Practicum travel funds support students to conduct research for the second-year capstone course anywhere in the world.

McCaw Fellowships support two IPS students each year to participate in the Autumn Quarter Stanford-Vienna Academic Exchange.