Course Q & A

Contents

What is the Grand Strategy Program? 

What do you do in the class? 

Who is involved with the program (i.e. professors/alumni/current students)?

Should I apply? 

What does the application process entail? 

(Who can I ask for/Where can I find) more information? 


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 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.


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 Grand Strategy Program is under the direction of Professor Beverly Gage, with Michael Brenes serving as its Associate Director. For 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.


In 2022 the program will be led by interim Director Professor Michael Brenes, supported by a group of senior Yale faculty, most of whom have taught in the program before, including:

Professor Edyta Bojanowska (hyperlink: https://slavic.yale.edu/people/edyta-bojanowska)
Professor John Gaddis (hyperlink: https://jackson.yale.edu/person/john-gaddis/)
Professor Paul Kennedy (hyperlink: https://jackson.yale.edu/person/paul-kennedy/)
Professor Sam Moyn (hyperlink: https://jackson.yale.edu/person/samuel-moyn/)
Professor Jing Tsu (hyperlink: https://jackson.yale.edu/person/jing-tsu/)
Professor Arne Westad (hyperlink: https://jackson.yale.edu/person/arne-westad/)


Should I apply?

Yes! If you are reading this we encourage you to apply to the program by clicking here

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. 

Applications for the Grand Strategy class of 2022 are now open. The deadline to apply is November 21st at 11:59pm. To apply, click here


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 can I ask for/Where can I find) more information?