Program in History and the Practice of Diplomacy

Academic Unit

Program Information

The Program in History and the Practice of Diplomacy offers undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue concentrated interdisciplinary study of history and diplomacy in concert with internships in the practice of diplomacy and related professions. Successful completion of the Program leads to the award of a certificate.

Admission to the Program

The program is open to undergraduates concentrating in any department. Students should apply online, preferably during the sophomore year, and seek the advice of the program manager or director to plan a course of study. Applicants will be accepted on the basis of interest and a coherent academic plan.

Program of Study

Students enrolling in the program are required to take an introductory course, WWS 315, usually in the spring semester of sophomore year.  In exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the director this course may be taken other than in the sophomore year.  In addition to its pedagogical purpose, WWS 315 is designed to help create a sense of community among the cohort of students entering the program.

Students must additionally take four courses on topics of relevance to the program's focus. Two of these must be in the history department, Near Eastern Studies, or East Asian Studies, in international, global, diplomatic history, or ancient history, and two in the Woodrow Wilson School, politics department, or other departments, on subjects such as grand strategy, international relations, international organizations, international political economy, and other subjects related to war, peace, and global stability.

All such courses, to be counted toward fulfilling the program requirements, must be on the preapproved course list or approved by the program director. Certificate students who are concentrating in history, the Woodrow Wilson School, or politics must take at least eight courses in the respective rosters that do not overlap with the courses designated for the certificate. That is, no more than two courses can count both toward HPD and a major. The program director advises students as to other courses of study which may usefully supplement preparations for service in organizations like the State Department and NGOs, which help formulate and implement policies on the world scene.

Every certificate student is encouraged to address a part of his or her senior thesis or junior independent work to subjects of direct relevance to the program's focus. The program also sponsors an intensive archives institute on original research led by a faculty director. Participation is open to all HPD students by additional application.

Each student must serve a summer internship, generally during the summer following the sophomore or junior year, with an appropriate government agency or official, international organization (governmental or nongovernmental), or think tank focused on international affairs. The program director advises students in identifying appropriate internships. In consultation with the executive committee the director gives final approval and provides the funding for those students whose internships are approved as meeting program goals. The number of students supported is limited by the availability of funds. It is assumed that any student who is remunerated for an internship will complete the entirety of the program.

The program also fosters the participation of practitioners of diplomacy and of other modes of international relations in student learning through visiting professorships, short-term fellowships, workshops, conferences, public lectures, and field trips.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill the requirements of the program receive a certificate of proficiency in history and the practice of diplomacy.