- Annual enrollment:
- Average age:
- Work experience:
- 0-5 years
- International students:
- Employment sectors:
- International organizations, international business and finance, the EU, public service
- Degrees offered:
- Master of Advanced International Studies (M.A.I.S.); Master of Science (MSc) in Environmental Technology and International Affairs; PhD Programme in Interdisciplinary International Studies; Diploma of the Diplomatic Academy
- EUR 13.600 (2020-2021)
Diplomatische Akademie Wien (DA) - Vienna School of International Studies is a postgraduate professional school, dedicated to preparing talented university and college graduates for international careers and positions of leadership in the international arena. Its unique teaching philosophy is built on five pillars: the highest academic standards; multidisciplinary training; the interplay between theory and practice; full competence in languages; an optimal student-teacher ratio. This teaching philosophy ensures that students receive a world-class education in international affairs, an endeavour begun in 1754 by the Empress Maria Theresa. She founded the Oriental Academy to train young men for the diplomatic service of the Habsburg monarchy. Out of the Oriental Academy evolved first the Consular Academy and in 1964 the DA, which in 1996 was granted the status of an independent public training institution. The Academy is thus one of the oldest of its kind worldwide.
The faculty of the Vienna School of International Studies includes not only recognized academics but also professionals and decision-makers from business and finance, the public sector and international organisations. The wide array of teaching methods offered at the DA provides students with a sustainable way of learning. In keeping with our mission we are looking for candidates with the highest academic standards and drive, a zest for experimenting how the theory of international relations works in practice, and an outstanding motivation to become leaders. Selecting future DA students is a combination of looking for those who will profit most from what the DA has to offer and those who show the most promising signs to be a leader in the field of international affairs.
We welcome applicants from a wide variety of academic backgrounds, talents and personal qualities, from all over the world. The qualities we are hoping that all DA students share are integrity, openness, and intercultural awareness. You can also visit us on Facebook and LinkedIn.
To receive information directly from the Admissions Department, click here.
Graduate programs at the Vienna School of International Studies (DA) prepare students to excel in a range of international careers. The eclectic, interdisciplinary teaching approach encourages both theoretical and methodological innovation while maintain a strong practical thrust. Located in the heart of Vienna, the DA is just down the road from numerous international organizations, NGOs, diplomatic missions, and cultural institutions. With alumni from more than one hundred and twenty countries, the DA is just one node in a vast alumni network.
If definitions of power as we knew them are changing, how are DA students and faculty examining emerging sources of power and influence?
Eclectic coursework and a diversity of student backgrounds ensures that DA students welcome challenges to settled conceptions of power and influence. Each of our three graduate programs—the Master of Advanced International Studies, the Master of Science in Environmental Technology and International Affairs, and the Diploma—prepares students to analyze power and influence from numerous angles. Furthermore, local faculty and a robust rotation of visiting professors and experts makes the DA an unwelcome setting for dogma.
Cities and other subnational areas are becoming more influential on international issues. How do students prepare to lead on the local, national, and global levels?
Vienna itself is a city with growing influence on international issues, and DA students benefit from their proximity to the bustling international scene. Since the campus doubles as a curated forum for international affairs, student life is an immersion experience. Intensive trips to areas such as Kurdish Iraq, Kiev, and the Balkan Peninsula also add experiential depth to student life. The DA makes international affairs tangible, which benefits graduates across the board.
How do DA programs help equip students with flexibility and adaptability in problem-solving?
The DA prepares students to view complex problems through multiple perspectives. Our programs encourage students first to traverse the disciplines of economics, law, history, and political science. Doing so pushes students to think beyond their background knowledge. After completing the initial core coursework, students then acquire in-depth knowledge on the issues and regions that interest them most. Complimented with a battery of language training and practical skills seminars, DA graduates enter the job market comfortable crossing multiple paradigms.
The fourth industrial revolution will change the way people work and live. What innovations has your school promoted to prepare for these changes?
Cutting edge courses, such as Digital Diplomacy and Strategies in Cyberspace, ensure that students always incorporate technological considerations into their analyses. Recent years have also seen a growing interest among student and faculty in computational methodologies, especially regarding econometrics and text mining. Whether by cooperation with the Austrian Artificial Intelligence Agency or representation at start-up incubators, DA faculty go to great lengths to encourage technological experiments with international resonance.
Studying at the Vienna School of International Studies (DA) is an opportunity to prepare for the varied challenges of an international career. The unique multidisciplinary teaching approach is dedicated not only to the highest academic standards but also to linking theory and practice. Vienna, as a seat of a high number of international organizations (IOs) is a comparative advantage as well as the network of alumni from more than 120 countries.
How does the DA account for emerging roles in addressing conflict?
Our three graduate programmes—the Master of Advanced International Studies (MAIS), the Master of Science in Environmental Technology and International Affairs (ETIA), and the Diploma Program—offer a broad range of courses on conflict. This includes, for example, interstate conflict and transnational criminal networks, cyberwar, and international terrorism. Situated in Vienna and being close to IOs such as the Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe and the International Atomic Energy Agency, studying conflict is not just a theoretical endeavor for us. We link academic scrutiny firmly to evolving practices of addressing conflicts.
What are the ramifications for established ideas and organizations whose aim is to address conflict? How is the DA adjusting its teaching to account for these changes?
We firmly believe that the complexities of today’s world warrant a well-rounded education. In order to achieve this, our graduate programs zoom out and in. On the one hand, they are distinctly multidisciplinary, crisscrossing between economics, law, history, and political science. This provides students with a rich repertoire to make sense of international affairs. On the other hand, we focus on particular issues and geographical regions in order to help students acquire in-depth knowledge. This applies, for instance, to arms control, development, the environment, and migration as much as it does to Africa, Europe, East Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. Our language training in all UN languages adds further depth. We constantly adapt the scope and depth of our curriculum in order to analyze how world politics evolves.
How are you preparing students to navigate changes in the geopolitical landscape?
While we have always offered courses on geopolitics, we have expanded our offerings in the last few years. Following our teaching philosophy, we address the economic, historical, legal, and political dimensions of geopolitics. We also look in depth at regions in which new geopolitical dynamics play out, for instance, between the European Union and Russia, the Middle East, in the Arctic, and in the South China Sea. Many of our courses revolve around the evolving world order and, with it, the crucial issue of how great power relations change peacefully.
How are you considering the role of technology in mitigating or sparking conflict?
The role of technology features prominently in all our programs. For example, we have recently expanded our course offerings on digital diplomacy and cybersecurity. A considerable number of our students chooses to write their Master thesis on the nexus of technology and conflict. Our ETIA program addresses the linkages between technology and international politics in great depth and bridges the divide between the human sciences and the natural sciences.
Studying at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna (DA) is an opportunity to acquire a comprehensive knowledge of international affairs in order to prepare for the varied challenges of an international career. Vienna, as a seat of a high number of international organizations, is a comparative advantage, as well as the alumni network of more than 2,100 alumni from more than 120 countries.
The Diplomatic Academy of Vienna’s graduates enjoy a high reputation in international organizations. Was that an advantage for you?
Laura: The reputation of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna (DA) was definitely an advantage. However, for me, the DA network was even more valuable. Being able to ask other DA alumni about their career and work experiences allowed me to gain a better understanding of the expectations and different work fields; consequently, it helped me to prepare for my interviews. The DA also provided me with valuable career advice.
Tamojit: While applying for jobs, I did feel that the DA piqued a certain admiration and was a good starting point for a conversation. Moreover, the alumni base of the DA is spread across international organizations in Vienna, and that definitely helps in getting to know the job market better. The alumni network has had a major role in supporting my efforts in navigating through the system while looking for a job. In general, the informal nature of the alumni club allows one to keep abreast of recent trends and news from other organizations.
The challenges for future leaders are manifold. How did your studies at the DA help you navigate through these uncertain times?
Laura: The challenges that today’s leaders face are not all new. They are, however, more interconnected and demand holistic approaches to tackle them. Understanding the political, legal, economic, technical, and environmental dimensions behind new approaches are now more essential than ever. This was at the core of the Environmental Technology and International Affairs program, which has allowed me to start an international career in the energy sector. It helped me to develop a global mindset and to fully acknowledge the imperative necessity of worldwide cooperation to successfully address current and future challenges.
Tamojit: I believe that we are going through a period of seismic shifts in the international order. These are interesting times for us to enter the professional field because there is more need than ever for fresher and more rigorous efforts to piece the puzzles of the international system together. The DA’s contribution in this regard, for me, definitely lies in its commitment to diversity, whether it is cultural or academic. The DA’s multicultural and tightly knit student community allows one to interact and appreciate people from different cultures and walks of life. Second, the multidisciplinary approach of the Master of Advanced International Studies program placed me on solid ground with a better understanding of interconnected issues and allowed me a 360-degree perception to think of issues from multiple viewpoints.
Both of these factors, I believe, contribute to overcoming the challenges that one may face while navigating through life as well as through professional journeys.
Teaching and research at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna (DA), the Vienna School of International Studies, are shaped by an interdisciplinary approach to embrace the complex elements of international affairs; they rest on multidisciplinary pillars (international relations, international economics, international and European law, and history) and reflect changes in the world while preserving the tradition of the DA as an outstanding academic institution of international affairs. Since 1754, the DA has had strong institutional and professional ties to diplomacy and international affairs on a national, European, and international level. The emphasis on and proximity to the practical world is a key element of studying at the DA. In addition to its longstanding one-year Diploma Programme, the DA offers a Master of Advanced International Studies (MAIS) programme, a Master of Science in Environmental Technology and International Affairs, and a PhD Programme in Interdisciplinary International Studies, all aimed at preparing young people for international careers and leading positions in their chosen field.
You’ve held the Chair of International Relations at the DA since 2009; since then the world has witnessed the Arab Spring and the Syrian bloodshed, major challenges for the European Union such as the Greek crisis and the refugee crisis, an expansive Russian Foreign and Security Policy, to name just a few. Where do you set priorities in the DA’s curricula to reflect these changes, e.g. by introducing new issues/areas?
In order to understand our evolving world, we constantly adapt our existing courses and course offerings. To use the examples you mentioned above, we have several courses that address how the interplay of domestic and international forces shapes processes ranging from democratisation to ethnic violence, and from religious sectarianism to revolutions. We have numerous courses that deal with how states and the international steering mechanisms they have put into place succeed or fail to manage crises. Regional expertise has always been important to us. Our area studies course offerings, including courses on the Middle East and Russia, proceed from a thorough analysis of domestic affairs to the international policies states pursue.
In the DA’s mission statement, reference is made to preparing talented men and women for international careers and positions of leadership. How do you keep your curriculum competitive in the face of new developments in world politics and the employability of your graduates?
Our graduates are very successful on the job market. Our strategy for ensuring this success is threefold: First, our curriculum provides students with interdisciplinary breadth. They learn how to make sense of international phenomena in scientifically rigorous fashion by combining clues from Economics, History, Law, and Political Science. Second, our curriculum makes it possible for students to examine areas in depth that are of major interest to them such as international development, international security, and diplomacy. Recent Masters theses, for example, include studies on sustainable development goals, cybersecurity, and e-diplomacy. Third, we put strong emphasis on language training (especially official UN languages) and skills, which adds further to the competitiveness of our students on the job market.
A course of study at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna/The Vienna School of International Studies (DA) is an opportunity to acquire a wide and comprehensive knowledge of international affairs in preparation for the varied challenges of an international career. The main training areas encompass international relations, political science, international and EU law, economics, history, and languages. Emphasis is placed, above all, on interdisciplinarity, implementation of theoretical knowledge in practice, and multilingualism. The emphasis on and proximity to the practical world are key elements of studying at the DA.
From a pool of approximately 300 applicants, you are one of the twenty recipients of a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship that will pave your way into working for the State Department. How did you learn about the DA? Why did you consider the DA an appropriate institution to prepare you for a career in foreign affairs?
I learned about the DA through one of my other passions: foreign languages. A professor I spoke with about taking an advanced course in German told me about the Fulbright Program. Not knowing what it was at the time, I did some research and came across the Diplomatic Academy. I was thrilled to learn that here I could combine my interests in foreign affairs and foreign languages—all within a European context! Receiving a Fulbright grant to attend the DA made my dream come true. Moreover, as one of the first institutions to take on the task of educating future diplomats, the DA strives to remain up to date with everything a successful official working in international affairs needs to know and learn in an ever-changing world. I believe this training gave me an advantage when applying for the Pickering Fellowship.
What skills and proficiencies did you acquire during your studies at the DA and how are they instrumental for your chosen career path?
Through the Diploma Program at the DA, I developed the skills and proficiencies that make up the 13 Dimensions, or the qualities that the US Department of State looks for in every Foreign Service officer, namely, cultural adaptability, information integration and analysis, quantitative analysis, and oral and written communication. I developed my cultural adaptability from living in Austria and through my amazing colleagues from around the world, and the other skills from the tasks and coursework in my program.
What do you consider the biggest added value of studying at the DA?
Personally, the language training, particularly in French, is an immense benefit. I learned how to draft letters and synthesize information in a diplomatic context and with actual examples, both of which require knowledge of specific language usage.
If you had to name the three biggest comparative advantages of the DA what would they be?
First is the location: Vienna has something to offer anyone with an interest in foreign affairs. Second are the optional workshops in everything from using Microsoft Excel, to etiquette, to managing one’s LinkedIn profile. Third is the alumni network and all the opportunity
Dr. Hans Winkler is the Director of the Diplomatic Academic of Vienna. He is also the former state secretary for foreign affairs and was one of the chief negotiators leading to the Washington agreement for compensation and restitution for victims of the Nazi regime.
The Diplomatic Academy/Vienna School of International Studies boasts an international faculty consisting of university professors from many different countries. A permanent faculty ensures the coordination of the main fields of study—international relations, international economics, international and European law, history—and provides academic counseling to students. Lectures and workshops given by high-ranking diplomats and experts from diplomacy, business, public administration, and international organizations add their special insight to academics at the DA and often serve as inspiration and first contact point for future career planning.
In your experience, what value do experienced practitioners add to academics at the DA?
With my forty years of practical experience in diplomatic service and politics, I know how important it is to give young people not only the knowledge but also the skills needed to contribute creatively to the complex challenges of today’s world. I myself teach a “practical case studies” class in international law. It gives me the opportunity to quickly react to current events and discuss and analyze in-depth cases—like the annexation of Crimea by Russia—with our students the moment they happen.
Why are eminent scholars from abroad attracted to teach at the DA?
There are two main reasons: first, our student body. The DA has a relatively small student body of 175 excellent, hand-picked students from over 40 nations, full of fervor to learn from great minds. They value their teachers as great sources of inspiration and direction. There is a very intimate atmosphere here at the DA. I myself and all faculty members know students by name, know where they come from, who they are, and what they strive for. The second reason for internationally well-known scholars to be attracted to the DA is the DA faculty itself. Due to our pluridisciplinary curricula, scholars of different disciplines meet at the DA, share their views, brood over solutions to tricky interdisciplinary questions, and sometimes also enjoy discussion about the latest premiere at the world famous Vienna State Opera. They do so specifically during lunchtime, sitting around our famous “High Table” in the tradition of English colleges and universities in the students’ dining hall. On nice summer days the “High Table” is transferred to the DA Garden. Just to give you an example: during the first two weeks in June, I enjoyed lunch in the company of Ned Lebow (Dartmouth College and King’s College London), Marilyn Young (New York University), Arthur Rachwald (Naval Academy), Jean-Emmanuel Pondi (International Relations Institute of Cameroon), Christian Franck (Université Catholique de Louvain), Laurence Badel (Université de Paris 1 Panthéon- Sorbonne), and the four DA Chairs, Werner Neudeck (economics), Markus Kornprobst (international relations), Thomas Row (history), Gerhard Loibl (internationals and European law). Students also value to have such a company during their lunch hour.