Impact Through Education

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Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Policy students celebrate their graduation on the front steps of Encina Hall June 16, 2019. Photo: Meghan Moura

This is part five of six in which Director Michael McFaul talks about his vision for the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the accomplishments he's most proud of so far, and why he keeps returning to the Farm.

The students we teach today in our two undergraduate honors programs and Master’s in International Policy program will go on to shape policy throughout their careers, in countries across the globe. We’ve already produced real superstars. These students have gone on to become Rhodes Scholars, Marshall, Fulbright and Schwarzman Scholars and serve at the highest levels of government and industry.


Over the last five years we have completely transformed the master’s program. More people applied for the 40 spots than ever before, and we have incredible candidates. The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies looks and functions like a school, but it’s actually not a school. While we partner with the school of Humanities and Sciences to offer a Master’s degree, we have taken a leadership position with it, and I believe it’s now the best program out there for studying international policy.

There is already a tremendous need for policy professionals in all sectors of the workforce, not just government jobs, and because of our in-house expertise we are uniquely positioned to train the next generation of policy leaders – through our master’s and honors programs, the dozens of courses taught by FSI faculty each year, and the opportunities for mentored student research and internships in international policy that we offer.

Our master’s students are already enjoying a beautiful new academic space and lounge in Encina Hall. One of my next goals is to ensure every new student in the master’s program is guaranteed two years of financial aid. This is a place where students, both undergraduate and graduate, can find a way to connect to a broad range of global opportunities, while in school and well beyond through our growing alumni network.

Read part six in this series, Stanford in My Future or return to the Meet the Director page.

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