History and the Practice of Diplomacy

Program Offerings

Offering type

The Program in History and the Practice of Diplomacy  (HPD) 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.

Goals for Student Learning

The HPD program attracts students from all disciplines, representing a wide range of departments on campus.  In addition to learning from a variety of qualified courses for the program, participating students will:

  • Gain knowledge from participating in an internship with government bodies, think tanks, human rights organizations with international focus and other NGOs.
  • Be introduced to diplomacy, statecraft and international affairs during their internships.
  • Engage in lectures and workshops to learn from, and discuss, current world events, particularly when HPD hosts outside speakers.

Admission to the Program

The program is open to undergraduates majoring in any department. Students should apply online, preferably during 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, SPI 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 sophomore year. In addition to its pedagogical purpose, SPI 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 Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, 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 majoring in history, the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, 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 toward both HPD and a major. The program director advises students about other courses of study that may usefully supplement preparations for service in organizations like the State Department and NGOs, which help formulate and implement policies on the world scene.

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 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.


  • Director

    • Michael A. Reynolds (co-director)
    • Thomas A. Shannon (co-director)
  • Executive Committee

    • G. John Ikenberry, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Daniel C. Kurtzer, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Thomas A. Shannon, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
  • Associated Faculty

    • Jeremy I. Adelman, History
    • David A. Bell, History
    • Miguel A. Centeno, Sociology
    • Aaron L. Friedberg, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • M. Sükrü Hanioglu, Near Eastern Studies
    • Harold James, History
    • Daniel C. Kurtzer, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Andrew Moravcsik, Politics

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.