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We are delighted that you have discovered the Patterson School's unique master's program in diplomacy and international commerce. We welcome applications from all interested, qualified persons who could thrive within the unique environment that our program provides. Prospective students must have a bachelor's degree (or equivalent academic preparation) with a record of achievement showing promise of success in graduate school. Prior language study and international experience are highly recommended, but not required for admission.

In evaluating applications, we look for academic excellence, professional focus, and intellectual vitality. Our aim is to assemble a diverse class of exceptional students who will benefit from our program and each other, and eventually will help make the world better. Given the large number of applicants and the small size of each year's class, admission to our program can be very selective.

Through the generosity of our donors, the Patterson School is able to provide some merit-based financial support for exceptionally competitive students (further information about these is available on the Financial Aid webpage). All applicants are automatically considered for financial support and no additional application materials are required.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted online to the University of Kentucky Graduate School. Those admitted will start the program together in the Fall semester. The process begins at the UK Graduate School application website.

A complete application includes:

  1. Graduate School Application.
  2. Personal statement (500 words) outlining your interest in our program, as well as how you believe it will advance your educational and professional goals. This should be uploaded directly to your application.
  3. Résumé. This should be 1-2 pages in length.  Please include any activities that reflect your exposure to international affairs and public policy, as well as any foreign language proficiency. Your résumé should be uploaded directly to your application.
  4. Letters of recommendation. Two to four letters should be provided from either faculty members or employers. Details regarding their submission are provided in the graduate school application.
  5. Writing sample. This is optional. Within the application, you will have the opportunity to upload a sample of your writing if you choose.
  6. GRE scores. We do not require the GRE, but you may report your scores if you wish. These may be self-reported on your application, but you should also request that they be sent directly from Educational Testing Service. The institution code for UK Graduate School is R1837.
  7. Transcripts. You should upload scanned copies of official or unofficial transcripts from each accredited college, professional school, or university that you have attended.
  8. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit either a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score.  The score may be self-reported in the application, but should also be sent directly to UK Graduate School by the reporting agency. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), or 79 (Internet-based). The minimum IELTS score is 6.5. International students who receive college degrees from US universities and universities in other designated English-speaking countries may be exempted from taking the TOEFL test. Please report your official scores before the two-year expiration date. For the most up-to-date information, please visit these websites, TOEFL and IELTS.


Given the large number of applicants, and their geographic dispersal across the United States and around the world, we do not require evaluative admission interviews. However, if you find yourself in the Bluegrass region, please stop by. Personal visits provide an invaluable opportunity for us to get a better sense of you as an individual and for you to learn more about the myriad opportunities our professional program offers. Our staff will be happy to help schedule appointments with faculty members and staff. Prospective applicants can also learn much by meeting with current students or sitting in on one of our diplomacy classes.


The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) provide a wealth of additional infomration regarding admissions and the application process. Click here to take a virtual tour of the University of Kentucky campus.


If you have any questions about the admissions process or the Patterson School in general, please contact us by email or by phone at 859-257-4666.