Welcome to the Patterson School of Diplomacy at the University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky logo as a link to the UK homepage.


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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 academic and professional growth 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 international experience is not required for admission, but it is highly recommended.

Our application process is not particularly complicated, but like foreign policy this can be a place where idealism and realism collide. We are looking 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 individual, alumni, corporate, and foundation donors, the Patterson School is able to provide some merit-based financial support for particularly 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.

We look forward to receiving your application.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted online to the University of Kentucky Graduate School. Applications are due FEBRUARY 1, although late applications will be processed on a rolling basis, depending on availability of space.  Those admitted will start the program together as a class the following autumn.

The process starts by creating a personal account with a unique username and password that will facilitate assembling and submitting the information required for both admissions and fellowship consideration (we are part of Hobson’s Apply Yourself network). Supplementary materials are submitted electronically via this account. You may return to your application as needed to revise information or upload new materials before formal submission. The UK Graduate School application fee is $65 for domestic applicants and $75 for international applicants. 

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. GRE scores. 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.
  6. Transcripts. You should upload scanned copies of official transcripts from each college, professional school, or university that you have attended.
  7. 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, from universities in other English-speaking countries, or from programs where the language of instruction is English may be exempted from taking the TOEFL test.


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. Chris Wolcott will be happy to help schedule appointments with faculty members and staff. Prospective applicants can also learn much by meeting with current students or possibly dropping in on one of our core diplomacy classes.


The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) provide a wealth of additional information regarding admissions and the application process.


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

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The deadline for Fall 2017 admission applications is February 1st.

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What are we looking for?

Unfortunately, we cannot provide a definitive answer or easy template. Prior study of politics, economics, international affairs, foreign languages, or business is common among our students, but some have explored widely different academic disciplines. Strong prior academic performance, high GRE scores, and glowing recommendations certainly help, but we take a very holistic approach to selecting individual applicants and crafting the best possible class. The value added by life/work experience, cultural heritage, and international region of origin or interest, may prove just as compelling. The common thread among successful applicants is a mix of intelligence, curiosity, and experience — combined with passion and drive — and a strong commitment to an international career.

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Patterson School | 455 POT, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0027 | 859-257-4666

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