Frequently Asked Questions

Grand Strategy Student FAQs
What is the Grand Strategy Program?

The Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy is a year-long academic opportunity that consists of:

  1. a two-semester seminar
  2. a summer research funding opportunity 
  3. supplemental events and activities (like dinners and conferences) with professors, alumni, and practitioners (diplomats, politicians, military personnel, media experts, and social reformers)
What do you do in the Grand Strategy class?

In the Grand Strategy class, we learn how to achieve large ends with limited means, whether in military conflict, foreign policy, domestic politics, or social movements. This is done by studying and discussing readings from authors like Machiavelli, Frederick Douglass, Che Gueverra, and Immanuel Kant. The program emphasizes interaction between academics and practitioners, and between participants of differing political views.

We also learn how to apply this knowledge in the real world by way of interactions between academics and practitioners at dinners and conferences. In addition to this, students participate in group presentations of strategy briefs to high-level officials and a summer fellowship.

Should I apply?

Yes! To be eligible, you must be either an undergraduate in their junior year or a Yale University masters or doctoral student.

What does the application process entail?
The application consists of
  1. a few biographical questions
  2. providing one Yale faculty reference (but not a letter of recommendation)
  3. cover letter (which expresses your interest in Grand Strategy, relevant course and extracurricular work, and what you wish to obtain from the course)
  4. resume
  5. unofficial academic transcript
  6. (if you move onto the final round) a ten-minute interview
Who is involved with the program (i.e. professors/alumni/current students)?

Students in the Grand Strategy program arrive with a wide variety of backgrounds and academic interests which include, but are not limited to, foreign policy, social change, geopolitics, racial justice, immigration, military strategy, climate change, and so much more. You can view all current students here.

The program is directed by Professor Arne Westad, supported by a group of senior Yale faculty and staff.

Recent practitioners include Daniel Kurtz-Phelan (Editor of Foreign Affairs and former member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff), Heather McGhee (former President of Demos and Board Chair for Color of Change), Kica Matos (president of the National Immigration Law Center and the Immigrant Justice Fund), Victoria Nuland (former ambassador to Europe and current acting Deputy Secretary of State), Rory Stewart (former UK Secretary of State for International Development), Jake Sullivan (currently National Security Advisor to President Joe Biden), and Evan Wolfson (leader of Freedom to Marry and the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage).

The program also hosts events and private dinners with a range of well-known guests and experts in the fields of social justice, foreign policy, and American politics. Recent guests include James Comey (former FBI Director), Vanita Gupta (CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights), Myra Jones-Taylor (chief policy officer at Zero to Three), Andrea Kendall-Taylor (director of the Transatlantic Security Program at the Center for a New American Security), Bonny Lin (director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies), H.R. McMaster (former National Security Adviser), General Jim Mattis (former Secretary of Defense), David Miliband (President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee), Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith (Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at Yale and Co-Chair of President Biden’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force), Trita Parsi (Executive Vice President at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft), and Samantha Power (United States Ambassador to the UN).