Yasmine Halmane, Staff Photographer

On Tuesday, the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs announced its admissions statistics for the incoming class of graduate students. It saw a significant increase in the number of applicants to both the masters program, or MA, and the masters of advanced study, or MAS, program. 

The MA program saw a 10 percent increase in applications this year, while the MAS program saw an 85 percent increase. This is the largest pool of applicants to the MA program that the Jackson Institute has ever received, according to Jackson Dean of Admissions Asha Rangappa YLS ’00. This year, the acceptance rate for the MA program was 14 percent, while the MAS had a similar rate of 15 percent.

“Despite the challenges posed by COVID on our recruiting efforts, making all of our admissions programming available online appears to have increased Jackson’s visibility and accessibility to a broader cross-section of applicants,” Rangappa said in an email to the News. “At this point it is unclear whether this is an aberration resulting from the pandemic, though we will likely expand our online outreach moving forward.”

The MA program is a two-year course that is designed, according to the Jackson Institute’s website, to “prepare students to impact the global community through an academically rigorous yet flexible interdisciplinary program.” 

During the last application cycle, the MA program had only seen a 2 percent increase in applicants, making this year’s 10 percent jump significant. In an email to the News, the office of admissions for the Jackson Institute said it was “not inclined to speculate without more complete data” as to why the MA program saw an increase in applications. 

“I am simply in awe of the incoming class,” Director of the Jackson Institute Jim Levinsohn said in an email to the News “They are joining us from all corners of the world and are bringing to the Jackson community a wealth of experiences, a diversity of backgrounds, and a common commitment to addressing the global challenges of the day.”

The MAS program is a one-year program offered by the Jackson Institute that was created in 2013 aimed at mid-career professionals with “extensive experience in a field of global affairs such as, but not limited to, international security, diplomacy, and development,” according to the website. The program is particularly selective, taking only five students in the current class. The MA program is larger, with between 25 and 30 students in each incoming class. 

Rangappa said that the 85 percent increase in applications to the MAS program is best explained by the fact that the Jackson Institute dropped the requirement for the Graduate Records Examination, or GRE, for the program. According to Rangappa, the rationale behind the change was that the applicants to the MAS program “are mid-career professionals who are primarily evaluated on their work experience.”

The significant increase in the number of applicants follows a similar trend set by Yale College this year, which saw a 33 percent increase in applications. Yale College also dropped the requirement for standardized tests. 

The Jackson Institute seeks to have a globally diverse pool of graduate students and, according to Rangappa, “on average, our applicant pool is broken down as 40% international applicants and 60% U.S. applicants.” Still, she recognized that the current first-year class of applicants is less internationally diverse because almost half of the international students were forced to defer due to pandemic travel restrictions.

As part of the Jackson Institute’s global expansion, they have increased outreach to traditionally underrepresented regions of the world, achieved through networks of alumni and organizations such as the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs. Alongside this outreach, the Institute saw a 52 percent increase in applications from Latin America and Africa, two of those underrepresented regions. 

In the class of 2022, 30 students from 12 countries enrolled in the MA program, of whom just 27 percent were international students. The geographical breakdown of the incoming class of students will not be available until more specific matriculation data is available in the fall.

The Jackson Institute also offers a bachelor’s degree for undergraduates through the global affairs major. 

Correction, May 6: An earlier version of this story said that 30 students were admitted to the MA program of the class of 2022. In fact, 30 enrolled in the program. Also, the story did not note Rangappa’s class year. The story has been updated. 

PHILIP MOUSAVIZADEH
Philip Mousavizadeh covers the Jackson Institute. He is a first year student in Trumbull College studying Ethics, Politics, and Economics