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The Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies (IPS) offers five concentrations, each guided by an international research center at Stanford. Through these collaborations, IPS students are exposed to cutting-edge research on major policy issues.

The five areas of concentration are:

Students take an introductory course in their area of concentration during the first year of the program, and five or more elective courses in their concentration over the course of their two years. Visit each concentration’s page for specific course offerings.

Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law

The concentration in Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (DDRL) trains students so they can assist developing countries and transitioning societies to:

  • design and implement policies to foster democracy
  • promote balanced and sustainable growth
  • ​advance the rule of law in countries undergoing dramatic change

Students are trained in the pursuit of these goals so they can contribute to the development of states and societies that are freer, richer, more law-abiding, and more transparent. An important dimension of the coursework is to promote understanding of institutional arrangements at all levels of society to encourage greater responsibility and accountability in decision-making, both public and private.


IPS 230: Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (Introductory Course)
DDRL Elective Courses

Stanford Research Center

Stanford University's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) identifies and pursues pathways to build strong, affluent, law-abiding, peaceful, and democratic societies in the developing world. CDDRL seeks to have a lasting impact on the public policy of countries in economic, political, and social transition by employing insights and methodologies from economics, law, political science, and sociology. Many of CDDRL’s researchers have hands-on experience working in venues as diverse as Washington, Moscow, Baghdad, and Kabul.


Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources

The Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources (EENR) concentration aims to instruct students in understanding and solving complex international environmental problems by drawing on the fields of political science, law, and economics. Students will be exposed to leading research in the field, and primary emphasis will be placed on application of policy analysis in energy, environment, and natural resource problems, as well as political, legal, and economic aspects of the world's energy system.


CEE 207A: Understanding Energy (Introductory Course)
EENR Elective Courses

Stanford Research Centers

The Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD) draws on the fields of political science, law, and economics to investigate the impact of the production and consumption of energy on sustainable development. PESD sponsors world-class research on the political, legal, and economic dimensions of the world's energy system, and is helping to establish a funded, worldwide network of researchers working on these issues.

The Center for Environmental Science and Policy (CESP) began as a specialized research center within the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) in September 1998. CESP is also an affiliated center of the Woods Institute for the Environment. Formed in 2004, Woods is Stanford's principal initiative for assessing environmental science, technology, and policy at local, national, and global scales.

Food & Agriculture
Stanford’s program on Food Security and the Environment (FSE) generates innovative solutions to global hunger and environmental damage from agricultural practices worldwide through a focused research portfolio and an interdisciplinary team of scholars. It also links food and resource issues to more traditionally defined security issues.


Global Health

The field of global health is concerned with health policy issues that transcend borders. Students concentrating in Global Health will study critical problems including defending against bioterrorism; preventing and treating infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and emerging infections; evaluating systems of healthcare financing and delivery; and making medical advances available to the world’s poorest communities.

A concentration in Global Health (GH) aims to provide students with a solid understanding of health services research concepts and methodologies. It combines health services research, health policy, and health economics to train students to formulate effective laws and regulations governing global health issues. Focus will be on:

  • Comparisons of international health systems
  • Healthcare financing and effects of structural changes in healthcare
  • Effects of healthcare laws and regulations
  • Health disparities


HUMBIO 129S: Global Public Health (Introductory Course)
GH Elective Courses

Stanford Research Centers

The global health concentration is linked to Stanford’s Center for Health Policy (CHP), as well as Stanford’s Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research (PCOR). These centers operate within the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and the Stanford School of Medicine, respectively. CHP/PCOR produces sophisticated research and timely information to guide health policy and improve clinical practice. The centers emphasize multidisciplinary interaction and research with faculty from medicine, economics, statistics, business, law, engineering, sociology, and psychology.


International Political Economy

The International Political Economy (IPE) concentration helps students develop an understanding of:

  • Causes of economic growth in developing and transition economies
  • The role of international trade in improving economic welfare around the world
  • The impact of the international financial system on the world economy

Students will study the global economy and develop skills to promote economic development and enhance the efficiency of the international economic system.


IPS 203: Issues in International Economics (Introductory Course)
IPE Elective Courses

Stanford Research Center

Stanford’s Center on International Development (SCID) is a center within the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) that focuses on international trade and development. SCID’s mission is to foster research on issues pertaining to economic policy reform in developing economies and those in transition. SCID aims to create and disseminate new knowledge about development and the world economic system that will help policymakers improve economic conditions and allow business leaders to manage in a globalized economy.


International Security and Cooperation

The International Security and Cooperation (ISC) concentration trains students on issues of international security, such as cybersecurity, war and civil conflict, migration and transnational flows, biosecurity, international norms and ethics, as well as insurgency, terrorism, homeland security and nuclear proliferation. Students are trained so they may contribute to future policy making to help build a safer world.


IPS 241: International Security in a Changing World (Introductory Course)
ISC Elective Courses

Stanford Research Center

The Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), part of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), is an interdisciplinary, university-based research and training center that addresses some of the world's most vexing security problems with policy solutions. CISAC conducts research and acts as an independent advisor to governments and international organizations. In these efforts, CISAC seeks improvements in security for the United States and other countries, and recognizes that international cooperation among peoples and governments can be the most effective approach to achieving international security.

CISAC’s multidisciplinary community includes social scientists, historians, lawyers, physical and biological scientists, engineers, as well as leaders from the private sector and the world of public policy.