The Policy Design Studio hosts students in Washington for a unique three credit course or a full semester of intensive class work in foreign policy development and implementation led by a former U.S. Ambassador. The official application deadline for Spring 2018 is October 11.

Students take part in a weekly seminar at the McCain Institute and research solutions to real-world foreign policy issues. Under the supervision of Ambassador Michael C. Polt, former Ambassador to Estonia and Serbia, together with Ambassador Edward O’Donnell, former Ambassador for Holocaust Issues, students are immersed in a highly creative and intense exercise. Students are constituted as a U.S. Embassy staff in a specific country and manage a reality-based diplomatic agenda. They are assigned the actual roles of Embassy Country Team members, and together with the Ambassador, practice how foreign policy is developed and executed in the field. Through research, design, and meeting as a real Country Team, participants create a data set relevant to foreign policy implementation, visualized using the McCain Institute’s unique state-of-the art Decision Theater. Previous classes have lived U.S. diplomatic relations with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Germany, Mexico, Turkey, Vietnam, and the United Kingdom.

The total cost for the 3-credit class through Arizona State University (ASU) is $3,532.


We are seeking junior and senior students only for this upper division class. The first step is to submit an application to the Program Manager, Rachel Spera, at [email protected].  Application materials include the following:

  1. Unofficial Transcript (must have above a cumulative 3.0 GPA)
  2. A Statement of Purpose
  3. 2-3 Page Writing Sample
  4. Resume
  5. 2 Letters of Recommendation

Full Application Process

  1. After review of application materials, students will be invited for an interview.
  2. If accepted, students will officially enroll as non-degree seeking students through ASU, which will require a $65 application fee. They can follow the steps here: https://[email protected]/uga_admissionapp/
  3. Notify Rachel Spera directly after submitting the ASU non-degree seeking student application so she can flag it in the ASU system.

For more information:

Feel free to contact Rachel Spera at any time with questions on the program or application process at [email protected].