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For more than sixty years, the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce has provided an exceptional master's degree program that prepares future leaders for rewarding careers in international affairs. The Patterson School's hallmarks have been its deliberate, intimate size, its selectivity, and our focus on both diplomacy and international commerce. Patterson graduates pursue exciting careers with governments, international organizations, NGOs, think tanks, and in the private sector. Our program is notable for its passion. With a faculty dedicated to providing an unparalleled learning experience, we ensure students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively maneuver on the world stage. Our graduates seek more than just a profession; they want to make the world better. Patterson School faculty are a mix of exceptional scholars and practitioners with decades of experience in diplomacy, commerce, business, defense, development and intelligence. They know firsthand what is needed to succeed in the international arena. Our professional master's program offers concentrations/majors in four areas: diplomacy; international commerce; international organizations and development; international security and intelligence.

Small Is Beautiful

Fall 2022 cohort


Size matters. The Patterson School averages 70 full-time, resident masters students each year with only 35 new students admitted each year. Keeping our program small, select, and focused lets us provide an exceptional level of attention, instruction, and interaction. Our focus is directly on our students, with seminars, conferences, speaker series, exercises, simulations, and events specially crafted to develop their full potential.

Real-World Diplomatic Skills

Our program is focused and flexible. Core courses ensure students acquire a strong foundation of theoretical and practical knowledge. We know advanced diplomatic skills have utility far beyond the United Nations, or the U.S. Department of State. We concentrate on developing students' analytical, professional writing, public speaking, and interpersonal skills. Learning how to be effective as a negotiator or mediator, knowing how to accommodate or adapt to cultural differences, and being comfortable with economic and statistical analysis make our graduates exceptional and effective.

Corporate Engagement

In today's "flat" world, an appreciation of international business is increasingly essential to any professional education. At the Patterson School we go one step further, exposing our students to how major corporations operate in the 21st century. We not only bring key corporate leaders working at the forefront of globalization to Lexington, but travel as a group to headquarters, manufacturing, and operating facilities of leading multinational corporations.