- 298 (Fall 2018 – Master’s students)
- Master of Public Affairs, Master of Global Policy Studies (Both also offer an 18-month Washington DC track); PhD in Public Policy; Executive Master in Public Leadership
- Info here
- 56 full-time; 5:1 student-to-faculty ratio
- Customize career:
- 17 dual degree programs, 14 specializations and 12 affiliated research centers
- Employment sectors:
- International (government, policy and development), intelligence and security, private, nonprofit, government (federal, state and local)
- US News and World Report Rankings:
- Tied at #9 overall; #7 in International Global Policy and Administration
The Master of Global Policy Studies (MGPS) offers a view of international policymaking that is both relevant and solution based. Students are well-versed in traditional areas of study—development, diplomacy, security, humanitarian aid—while also understanding how we confront issues such as the emergence of non-state actors, sustainable development, climate patterns and cyber warfare.
Well-connected faculty, a 4100+ worldwide alumni network, the LBJ Washington Center and a massive Texas footprint across global policy sectors expose students to hundreds of professional possibilities.
With 29 ports of entry, Texas serves as a critical link for economic and social exchanges between the United States and the world. It has one of the largest diplomatic corps in the country and hosts more than 100 consular offices. Our consular roundtable series is one example of a broad range of internationally-focused centers, programs and fellowships that connect the school to the world. And Austin, being one of the fastest-growing and dynamic cities in the nation, has long attracted a burgeoning international community.
The University of Texas (UT) at Austin, a Tier 1 research university, affords MGPS students with ten dual degree options and scores of specializations. UT’s multidisciplinary Innovations for Peace and Development program, led by LBJ School faculty, is a hub for research on global conflict, foreign aid and poverty reduction. The program is one of seven “development labs” working in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development to deploy science and technology toward the advancement of development goals.
Additionally, the Clements Center for National Security, Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law and China Public Policy Center provide students expanded research and educational opportunities. In 2016, we launched the Mexico Security Initiative (MSI), a research program at the Strauss Center focused on understanding and addressing violence and instability in the region. Students study under world renowned faculty and travel to Mexico to examine issues through the dual lenses of American and Mexican security priorities.
To receive information directly from the Admissions Department, click here.
Joshua Busby is the author of the recent Foreign Affairs article “Warming World: Why Climate Change Matters More Than Anything Else” (July/August 2018).
What is your program’s philosophy about teaching and world affairs?
While scholars fear that expert opinion has been devalued, skilled practitioners are needed now more than ever before. The next generation of policy professionals could define whether humanity rises to the many challenges facing the world. That is why our training mission is so important.
How is the LBJ School preparing for both old and new challenges?
Our first semester course in the Master of Global Policy Studies program, the Nature of the International System, provides students with a conceptual architecture to understand enduring features of world politics like international conflict, competition, and cooperation. We also bring in new topics such as climate change, pandemics, and disruptive nationalism.
Our faculty cover a range of these newer issues. I teach environmental security and courses on global environmental and health governance. My faculty colleagues are leading scholars in areas such as international aid evaluation and transparency, food security, China in the developing world, civil conflict, and Asian security and missile defense.
With the return of geopolitical tensions, we are also a leading school for grand strategy and the role of history. Scholars and practitioners bring rich historical knowledge and practical experience to courses like Policymaking in the Global Age and Foreign Policy Strategy and Decision-Making.
Students also participate in a year-long research course for a professional client, which often involves some travel. For example, I partnered with the Congressional Research Service on a course on global wildlife conservation, sending students to Washington, DC, China, and Tanzania.
Does the LBJ School have specific programs and centers?
We are affiliated with world-class centers of excellence and innovative programs, including the Strauss Center for International Security and Law, the Clements Center for National Security, and Innovations for Peace and Development (IPD).
The Strauss and Clements Centers publish the Texas National Security Review in partnership with the website War on the Rocks. Students can get involved. The two centers also host the Intelligence Studies Project. The CIA recently selected the LBJ School as the only policy school in the nation to host a visiting intelligence officer. The Cybersecurity Studies program at Strauss also cross-trains students in policy and law. Furthermore, Strauss hosts the Mexico Security Initiative, which examines cutting-edge policy issues including the experience of Central American migrants.
IPD, a multidisciplinary program, has done pathbreaking work on open data, involving dozens of students to bring innovative methods like GIS to bear on conflict, foreign aid, and poverty alleviation.
We recently opened the new China Policy Center, a laboratory for the study of contemporary U.S.-China relations.
The LBJ Washington Center also offers an eighteen-month course of accelerated study and work focused on both domestic and international federal policymaking.
Why should students come to Austin?
Tuition is affordable. Austin is justly famous for its year-round outdoor culture, lakes, start-up and music scenes, booming economy, and much more. A border state, Texas is center stage for many of the world’s high-stakes issues such as trade, immigration, energy, and the environment. We share the vast resources of UT Austin, a Tier I public research university, and a presidential library. High-level officials and leading scholars from around the globe make us a destination for important dialogue.
How are you preparing students to succeed in an uncertain global environment?
Unpredictability has always been a defining characteristic of global affairs. We teach students to not only expect uncertainty but also to capitalize on it and use it as an opportunity for transformational change. That is only possible if one understands the roots of changes taking place, so we instill in our students a truly global outlook—one that does not take the U.S. perspective as universal. Our students study the opposing vantage point, question assumptions, and plan for the unexpected, which builds resiliency in times of flux.
How relevant and contemporary is the curriculum and learning environment?
At the LBJ School, we prepare students by constantly adapting our curriculum to incorporate new tools, methodologies, and ways of thinking. Specifically, students pursuing our Master of Global Policy Studies (MGPS) degree are well-versed in the traditional areas of study—development, diplomacy, security, humanitarian aid—and they understand how modern forces change how we confront issues such as the emergence of non-state actors, sustainable development, climate patterns, and cyber warfare. We put a strong emphasis on experiential learning, in which students study policy through real-world exposure and practice, including participation in a year-long policy research project funded by an external client.
Students have the unique advantage of accessing the vast resources of The University of Texas (UT) at Austin, a Tier 1 research institution. MGPS students are afforded ten dual degree options, choose from existing specializations, or design one based on their personal career trajectory. They especially benefit from the LBJ School’s affiliations with the Clements Center for National Security and the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, both of which integrate expertise from across UT as well as from the private and public sectors to tackle pressing global security challenges. Notably, LBJ is host to UT’s new China Policy Center, a laboratory for the study of contemporary U.S.-China relations. Our Latin America working group investigates the most serious issues facing the region over the next decade, with Texas a gateway to this region of the world. We continue to see high-level officials from Washington, DC, and around the globe make us a destination for important exchange and dialogue. In the last two years, we hosted a secretary of state, secretary of defense, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director, Federal Bureaus of Investigations director, director of national intelligence, and several U.S. senators.
How do you connect students to jobs in their desired fields?
Our faculty include world-renowned scholars and former senior officials in the departments of state and defense, the National Security Council, U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank, and more. In recent years, students have taken jobs at the U.S. State Department and the Defense Department, the CIA, the U.S. Senate and House Armed Services Committees, the World Bank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Brookings Institution, the Atlantic Council, prominent nongovernmental organizations, and nonprofits.
Whether through our faculty, LBJ’s Washington Center in DC, Austin’s burgeoning global community, or through our engaged alumni network numbering over 4,100 on the world stage, our students are exposed to the full range of professional possibilities.
How is your curriculum addressing the most pressing global issues today?
The LBJ School has a unique legacy of tackling the most complex policy problems of our day by creating innovative approaches that make a difference not just within the walls of academia, but also in the public and social dialogue of our world. Our curriculum is agile, geared towards a shifting global landscape and identifying new challenges as they emerge. We adapt our programs so that our students acquire the skills and expertise to move directly into the global arena and to make substantive contributions to policy debates.
It is critical that our students anticipate the implications of blending national and world policies. We build analytic skills to develop policy that transcends borders, and we teach the power of interdependencies among international intelligence, aid, security, health, diplomacy, development and research.
How do you teach students a global perspective to problem solving?
Policy analysis and high quality research inform problem solving. The LBJ School prides itself in advancing scholarship that does not focus on one methodology or discipline, but rather fosters an approach that exposes the cycle and context of policy, including analysis frameworks, recurring tensions around persistent policy debates and the creation of feasible options ready for implementation. We teach our students to stretch intellectual boundaries and to examine and appreciate the importance of diversity of thought, politics, race, gender, geography and socioeconomics. Energized by ideas and enriched by diversity, our students can enter any job in the world arena with the knowledge and practical experience to be “at the table” when policy is formulated.
What role does location play in preparing students for careers in today’s global environment? Is there a benefit being in Texas?
Location matters when choosing where to study the public sphere, and there is no better place in the nation to see real-life policy implications than Austin, Texas. This dynamic capital city provides a complete governmental learning laboratory where innovations are occurring at a rapid pace in key policy areas such as trade, natural resources, security, development, technology and immigration. The LBJ School shares the vast resources of the University of Texas at Austin, a Tier I research university, providing us with interdisciplinary richness. And our students have the ability to study and work in Washington, DC, where we recently opened our new LBJ Washington Center. With a population of over 27 million, the longest foreign border in the U.S. and close proximity to Mexico, Central and South America, Texas is a powerhouse, serving as a gateway to diverse international and global policy communities. The world and its challenges are at our doorstep at the LBJ School in Austin.