Frequently Asked Questions

Grand Strategy Student FAQs
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
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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 first-semester senior  or a Yale University masters or doctoral student.

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.

In 2022, the program will be led by interim Director Professor Michael Brenes, supported by a group of senior Yale faculty.

In 2020, a component of the program in the fall was taught by practitioners Jake Sullivan (currently National Security Advisor to President Joe Biden), Victoria Nuland (former ambassador to Europe and current Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs), and Evan Wolfson (leader of Freedom to Marry and the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage). In 2021, the practitioners in the program consisted of Rory Stewart (former UK Secretary of State for International Development),  Daniel Kurtz-Phelan (Editor of Foreign Affairs and former member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff), and Heather McGhee (former President of Demos and Board Chair for Color of Change).

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. Guests in 2020 and 2021 included Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at Yale and Co-Chair of President Biden’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), General Jim Mattis, former Secretary of Defense,  Kica Matos, Vice President of Initiatives at Vera Institute of Justice, Myra Jones-Taylor, chief policy officer at Zero to Three, and Trita Parsi, Executive Vice President at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Other guests in recent years were CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Vanita Gupta, former FBI Director James Comey, United States Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, and former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.