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

Personal Passionate Professional

Aung San Suu Kyi event

For fifty seven 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

Visit to CARE Headquarters, Atlanta

Size matters. The US Department of State is the smallest senior cabinet agency; White House staff, the NSC and USTR are similarly lean and select. The natural environment of diplomacy and business is intimate and personal, one-on-one or small groups. Cognoscenti understand that the most important decision making takes place in more restricted venues (think the Cabinet, the UN Security Council, or corporate boardrooms). We believe the same holds true for professional education.

Keeping our program small, select, and focused (75 full-time, resident masters students total; only 35 new students admitted each year) lets us provide an exceptional level of attention, instruction, and interaction. Our focus is directly on our students, with seminars, conferences, speakers programs, exercises, simulations, and events specially crafted to develop their full potential. Activities can be done with a student cohort our size that simply are not the same or cannot even be done with 200 or 1,000 students. We are proud to measure our success by the strength of our graduates, not the strength of their number.

Exceptional Value

Patterson students are passionate about improving the state of the world. This leads many to enter careers in professions that are exceedingly rewarding personally, but not always the best financially. Government and diplomatic service, or work with international development agencies and NGO,s may let our graduates witness history, advance peace, and help feed the hungry at reasonable, but not stellar pay.

While we cannot improve the salaries these future employers may offer, our high-value, low-cost education may afford our students greater professional latitude — and substantially less debt — upon graduation. Our tuition is extremely competitive and the general cost of living in Lexington appreciably lower than that at ranked international affairs graduate programs on the East or West coasts.

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, the U.S. Department of State, or other countries' Ministries of Foreign Affairs. 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 (again an advantage of our small size) to headquarters, manufacturing, and operating facilities of leading multinational corporations.

Dressed to get up close and personal with molten steel, US Steel Great Lakes Works


Guess Who is Coming to Dinner?
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
Student engagement with visiting policymakers, CEOs, and scholars.

Visit to Marukome Miso Factory, Nagano, Japan

Direct Exposure

There is no substitute for actually being there. Observing firsthand how US Customs and Border Protection and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police manage the busiest trade border crossing in North America makes clear – in a fashion classroom instruction alone never could – how diplomacy, intelligence, homeland security, and economic development intersect. Our program's intimate size enables us to incorporate such site visits into the curriculum for all students.

CBP Field Director Perry briefs students at Detroit's Ambassador Bridge


Student visit to Michigan, Ohio, and Windsor, Ontario Spring Break: Detroit Student visit to Ohio, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario.

Patterson School students with iPad

Cutting Edge

Our recent iPad trial with Apple and key players in the tech community underscores our commitment to push the envelope on skills development. Whether shaping a global health option, or laying the groundwork for digital instruction, we are adapting curriculum to meet future needs.

Passport stamp: Nicaragua

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

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