A wealth of international connections

With a longstanding reputation for providing a rigorous education to leaders in public policy analysis and public management, the Ford School and the University of Michigan offer a rich and diverse set of academic and research resources to students seeking careers dedicated to cross-national and international issues.

A diverse student body

Fully 25 percent of the Ford School’s graduate student body comes from abroad. Last year’s incoming class included mid-career government officials as well as Fulbright scholars and Ford Foundation Fellows from Colombia, Hong Kong, Japan, Pakistan, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, and Uganda.

The International Policy Students Association is one of our most active student organizations. Members host an annual U.S.-Canada conference in partnership with students from the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto. They also bring in alumni speakers, organize events, and lead an all-school international photo contest each year.

Work and study abroad

Our graduate core courses lay the analytical groundwork necessary to understand international affairs, institutions, economic systems, and politics. Advanced electives include classes on international trade, human rights, economic development, national security, and diplomacy. At the undergraduate level, students can choose from a wide variety of comparative and international coursework as well; recent policy seminars have included courses such as Immigration Reform, Human Rights, and International Security.

A growing number of our masters students gain practical international experience through their required summer internship. Around 25% intern outside of the U.S. each year in organizations such as the International Organization for Migration, U.S. State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank, and Innovations for Poverty Action; another 20% intern with a U.S.-based organization that deals with international issues.

The annual IEDP: Economic and Social Policies in Emerging Market Economy program begins with classroom study of the economics, politics, and culture of a country chosen each year by members of the International Policy Students Association. The course culminates with a trip to the country during which students conduct interviews and discussions with policymakers, members of civil society, foreign development agencies, and university students.

Chinese Policy Course, developed in partnership with Renmin University, aims to improve Ford School students' understanding of China and Chinese students' understanding of the United States. The course has two components: a classroom portion held at the Ford School during the winter term and a trip to Beijing in May. The portion of the course held at the Ford School provides a general introduction to China and its policy and economic environments. While in Beijing, Ford School students interact with Renmin students and faculty, meet with business and government leaders, and explore Chinese cultural opportunities. 

Faculty resources

A large number of our faculty are actively engaged with international and comparative policy issues. Our International Policy Center promotes research, brings renowned speakers to campus for lectures and student discussions, and serves as a hub for international studies at the school.

We host a State Department Diplomat in Residence—a senior, current Foreign Service officer who is available to students (a program in place at just a small number of top U.S. universities.)

Each year, we bring in distinguished speakers and policymakers-in-residence--many with deep international experience and ties. In 2014, we hosted Ambassador Richard Boucher and international human rights expert Margot Pickens through our Towsley Policymaker in Residence Program.

Global Michigan

The University of Michigan offers extensive resources for international engagement, including internationally focused courses, internships, study abroad, language instruction, and research opportunities. 

Here are just a handful of facts that speak to the U-M's deep commitment to preparing students for an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world:

  • U-M is ranked 15th globally in the annual Times Higher Education world reputation rankings in 2014.
  • More than 65 languages are taught at U-M.
  • The university has official websites in Hindi, Mandarin, Portuguese and Spanish. It also has an account on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like social media service in China.
  • Students from U-M were awarded 32 Fulbright grants for the 2013-14 academic year. Only one other institution – Harvard University – received more than U-M, which led the nation six times in the past decade.
  • U-M was one of five U.S. colleges and universities to receive the 2012 Sen. Paul Simon Award that recognizes outstanding and innovative achievements in campus internationalization.
  • As of the fall semester of 2012, a total 8,491 international students, scholars, faculty and staff studied or worked at U-M.
  • U-M is the No. 4 all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers, with a total 2,458 since the organization was founded in 1961.
  • The university was ranked No. 8 nationally for the size of its international student body in 2012-13, with a total 6,827 international students, according to the Open Doors survey by the Institute of International Education, a New York-based nonprofit group.
  • U-M was ranked No. 10 in the nation in the total number of students studying abroad, with 2,060 students overseas, according to the 2011-12 Open Doors survey by the Institute of International Education.
  • U-M’s International Institute houses 17 centers and programs focused on world regions and global themes.
  • U-M has more than 18,000 international alumni.

Additionally, the Education Abroad/Pre-Departure Planning section includes travel guidance for students enrolled in Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA), as well as a number of administrative tools to assist in advising DACAmented students who wish to travel abroad for research and internships. 

The U-M International Center’s Education Abroad Office provides undergraduate and graduate students with assistance in exploring a wide range of in-depth cross-cultural internships and study abroad experiences.

Other U-M resources include:

Visit the University's Global Michigan Portal for much more information.