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EXCITING NEWS: Our Application Deadline has been extended to June 1st! Admission is rolling, don't miss out, apply for one of our Summer Pre-College Programs Today!


Welcome to International Relations - Virtual! All of Tufts University's world-class academic courses and programs began operating virtually in March 2020 and, as such, we are excited to welcome you to this new world of virtual learning. Thanks to the wonders of digital platforms, we are able to bring the exciting and rigorous academic experience of our International Relations program safely to you in your home.

This summer will be a particularly fascinating time to study international relations. With a global pandemic creating unprecedented challenges for international travel policies, trade and the economy, and global public health, we are relying on experts in international affairs and policy to help solve the crisis. With our International Relations – Virtual intensive, you will be immersed in a cohort of peers and world-class faculty who share your passion for achieving global impact.

During the program, rising high school juniors and seniors will experience Tufts University’s distinctive approach to the study of International Relations, will earn college credit, and will create a path toward future scholastic and professional goals. Students will analyze current events and theoretical frameworks for understanding IR through interactive virtual seminars from experts; interrogate key concepts in small, collaborative discussion sections; begin developing the language and communication skills that form the foundation of international affairs; work together in teams to handle simulated real-world crisis situations; conduct digital research of academic resources using Tufts’ Tisch Library; and compose a college-level research paper with guidance from advanced classroom assistants and a research librarian. After two weeks of intensive classes, students will gain a solid understanding of what studying International Relations at the college level is really like.

Participants will expand their social network of peers with a passion for IR and gain insightful mentors while acquiring an authentic understanding of the undergraduate experience, while acquiring a deep understanding of collegiate academics and being exposed to Tufts’ highly distinguished faculty and exceptional resources.

Note: this page represents our best expectations for the program we will deliver this summer, but due to the ever-evolving situation, is subject to change. We will update this page as new information becomes available.

Video disclaimer^


  • Study international economics, cybersecurity, foreign policy, and more with global leaders at the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy and the School of Arts & Sciences
  • Start to learn a new language or advance your skills in an existing language, including Arabic, Chinese, Russian, French, Spanish, and English
  • Confront real-world issues in an International Relations Crisis simulation, putting to the test the real diplomatic, negotiation, critical thinking, and writing skills they will be developing 
  • Become lifelong friends with students from all over the world!


  • Excellent academic experience, earning 3 Tufts Credits (P/F) along the way*
  • Improved language skills
  • Understanding of the field of International Relations
  • Official Tufts transcript upon request

* Student must Pass to earn credit; credit is pre-matriculation credit

^ This video is a general representation of the general educational experience this program provides, but should not be taken as indicating specific activities that will occur in Summer 2020, as it was created for Summer 2019 when all programs ran on-campus.

Not for you? Check out one of our other programs.

Each lecture expanded my perspective on what the components of IR are and the variety of thought processes I could apply to current issues… and the professors were all absolutely incredible and intelligent.

Everyone was extremely welcoming and given that many of us came from different backgrounds, being able to connect with a wide variety of people has proven to be extremely insightful and just purely amazing.

I absolutely LOVED the academics of the program. I really enjoyed being taught by Tufts professors and getting immersed in the Tufts IR program.

I literally have made really good friends from the town right next to mine and other friends from across the world. I feel like that is such a valuable thing because it helps me develop a more wide look at the world.

As a Tufts alumni, it was wonderful to have [my student] experience life at Tufts! He commented that the lectures were informative and interesting, the language classes were engaging, and the staff were very helpful overall

I am very pleased that my son really enjoyed the topics discussed and learning a new language was an exciting challenge. He formed new friendships with his classmates and found the staff helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. A great experience, all around!

He was awed and thrilled to be at the Fletcher School and all the programs were great.  He wants to attend!

As a parent, I am truly and absolutely astonished by and LOVE the program. We cannot be thankful enough that [my student] could have this experience. In these two weeks, she learned perhaps more and gained more skills than during a semester in her (top-ranking...) high school.

The Spanish class was amazing. [The Professor] was the best teacher I have ever had she is amazing and I learned so much in the class

It's a great insight into college life and a good introduction to many International Relations issues.

It's a great way to spend your summer getting to know all the different people with different cultural backgrounds. It's also a good representation of what college life will be like.

It was the best summer I’ve ever had because of tufts

This program was a preview into college. It was an opportunity to learn things that we don't get to learn in high school, see issues from completely new perspectives, live with friends from all around the world, learn a completely new language, and discover what we wanted to do with our lives.  I would highly recommend this program to anyone. 

Very academic with the language classes and paper, but great because all the people who attend are genuinely passionate and informed on the subject matter. In these two weeks, I have learned so much, definitely worth it.

I learned so much at this program. From lectures by professors at tufts to 2 and a 1/2 hour of language class every day, it was intense but it was fun nevertheless. You learn something new every day. You meet new people every day and learn different things about them and their culture. It is the most productive 2 weeks I have ever spent.

She came home absolutely fascinated by her peer group. She said she never ever (despite studying in various schools, some top-ranking and some international) had met such a motivated, intelligent, well-informed and enthusiastic group of young people. She loved her experience and really hopes to be able to study in a similar environment and among people like those you chose for the program.

Thank you! It has been the most motivating and best educational experience my daughter has ever had. It was just what education should be like. (We would rate the program 15+ on a 1-10 scale :) )



Our program begins with a required orientation and welcome event at 5pm ET on Sunday, July 19 held via Zoom. During this required first whole-group meeting, we will review the overall program schedule, introduce the online learning tools we will be using, discuss policies and safety, and answer questions.

Program Schedule

Our program is broken into four exciting components that introduce Tufts' unique approach to international relations in complementary ways:

  • Intensive Language Study: In keeping with Tufts’ strong emphasis on language and cultural proficiency for the understanding of global issues, students will immerse themselves in intensive college-level foreign language training. Summer 2020 options include beginning Arabic, Russian, and Chinese; intermediate French and Spanish; and advanced Spanish; additionally, English language learners will have the opportunity to participate in an all-English college-level writing seminar, which will prepare students for their final research paper and beyond. All lectures will be held via Zoom and recorded for asynchronous attendance.
    • During the application process, students will be asked to indicate their top 2 language course preferences. Placement will depend on remaining capacity in the section and, if it is an intermediate or advanced course, passing a placement exam.
  • Faculty Lectures: Hear from some of Tufts' world-class faculty who work on problems of international importance as they share their research and answer student questions about these critical topics, introducing students to the latest topics and scholarship in the field of IR. All lectures will be held via Zoom and recorded for asynchronous attendance.
  • Skills-Building Workshops: Gain marketable skills in research, writing, critical thinking, and analysis that are essential to work in virtually any field. 
  • Discussion Groups: Work in groups mentored by an advanced Classroom Assistant (CA) as you reflect on the topics discussed each day; students will learn how to utilize library resources effectively and craft a college-level research paper; they will engage in small group discussions with students in International Relations.
  • Capstone Project: All students will complete an independent research paper on an International Relations topic of their choice, building on the materials from the lectures, readings, workshops, and discussion groups. Students will work with university library staff and their CAs to develop a research question and explore supporting primary and secondary source material. Some students use this paper as a writing sample for future applications.

Closing Ceremony

At 7:00 pm ET on Friday, July 31, we will gather for our closing ceremony, which will mark the end of our program and recognize the hard work everyone has put in over the last two weeks. We’ll hear from guest speakers as well as student-selected presenters, and get a last chance to come together as a group to celebrate our accomplishments. This year, we hope to include our student speeches (with the speaker's permission) in the Tufts COVID-19 Documentation Project so they can live on in Tufts Digital Archives!

Sample Student Schedule

Please note: the below is a sample schedule based on information at this time, considering an individual student attending the program scheduling independent work / recorded sessions in particular time slots. The schedule is subject to change as we continue to evolve the program and speaker list to be as meaningful as possible for our students and will look different for students choosing to attend live or independent work / recorded sessions differently. All times are in EASTERN TIME (please see "Attending from Outside the Eastern Time Zone" section below for concerns regarding those not in ET).Because this is a virtual program, meals will not be provided for students even if a meal is stated on the schedule - this is for demonstration only. Activities may occur during meal times. 






Besides the technology requirements listed under "Technical Needs & Support," no materials will be necessary for participation in this program. We will, however, be mailing you some fun Tufts Pre-College Programs materials and your Certificate of Completion at the end of the program. Besides this, no materials will be necessary for participation in this program.

Note: if you live internationally, we are not responsible if the materials we mail are delayed (which we will try to avoid) or held in customs.


    Andrew Alquesta is the administrative coordinator for the Tufts Pre-College Intensive: International Relations.  He also works as an administrator in the Tufts Political Science Department, and he is working on his doctoral dissertation in the Tufts English Department. His research focuses on depictions of populism in late nineteenth-century American fiction.  This dual interest in politics and literature extends all the way back to Andrew's undergraduate double major in English and Political Science at the University of Connecticut. After earning his BA, Andrew worked for a campaign consulting firm in Washington, DC for several years before moving to Somerville to begin graduate school. Since then, he has taught in Tufts’s and Emmanuel College’s first-year writing programs and tutored with the Tufts Academic Resource Center. Outside of work, Andrew enjoys listening to NPR and Carly Rae Jepsen, taking classes in education, literature, and CrossFit, and spending time with his friends and partner.


    Students are required to attend all elements of the program schedule and any expected absences must be communicated to program staff in advance. Tufts takes the safety of its students very seriously, even in the virtual environment. Students who enroll will receive more information about our virtual safety protocols.

    Tufts makes reasonable efforts to secure background checks and to provide Title IX training to every staff person responsible for students in its Pre-College Programs.

    Application Materials & Deadlines

    We highly recommend applying to as early as possible to save a spot in your language section choice; the most popular languages often fill up well before the application deadline.

    Remind me when applications open!


    Priority deadlines may apply. Admission granted on a rolling basis.

    Note: all dates are as of 11:59PM ET

    Application Opens Deadline: All Materials Deadline: Payment Deadline: Enrollment Forms
    December 1 June 1 May 15* June 29

    *Applications submitted after the payment deadline will require payment in full on admission to hold their seat.


    General Requirements

    • Entering high school grades 11-12 *or* a Spring 2020 high school graduate
    • Any intermediate or advanced language sections will require passing a placement exam

    International Students

    Both domestic and international students are welcome to apply to and attend our pre-college programs, although please note we cannot sponsor visas for this program.

    Non-Native English Speakers

    If you indicate that English is not your primary language, you will be asked to submit evidence of English Language proficiency. Please see our "How to Apply" page for details.


    Step 1: Complete an Online Application

    The online application will ask you for the following information:

    • Basic personal information, including parents/guardians and emergency contact (if you are under 18, we will contact a parent for permission to enroll)
    • Program preferences (e.g., whether you would like to be a residential or commuter student)
    • Language preferences - students will be asked to submit a first and second choice language preference
    • Contact information for 1 individual to submit a Letter of Recommendation - this individual can be a teacher, counselor, or mentor. We will contact this individual on your behalf.
    • Test scores - optional, unless you must submit scores as evidence of English proficiency
    • Warrants and signatures

    If you need to log back into this application after starting, click here: return to my application.

    Step 2: Email or Mail your High School Transcript

    After submitting your online application, you must contact your high school and ask them to send a transcript to us. They can send us this information in two ways: by email to precollege@tufts.edu or by mail to Tufts Pre-College Programs, 108 Packard Ave, Medford, MA 02155.

    Step 3: Parental Consent and Letter of Recommendation

    As a part of your application, you will be asked to provide contact information for both a parent/guardian and a recommender. Once you submit your application, our systems will automatically email the parent/guardian and recommender you listed in the application with instructions for how to fill out the online permission or recommendation form.

    Please note your application will not be considered submitted and review of your application will not begin until the materials from Step 2 and Step 3 have been received by Tufts Pre-College Programs.


    Once an applicant has submitted an application and all required admissions documents are received, the applicant will be considered for admission by the Tufts Pre-College Programs review committee for the specific program(s) to which they applied.

    Decisions are made on a rolling basis and students will typically receive an official email informing them of their admissions status within 10 business days of Tufts receiving all required materials.

    If you do not receive your email within two weeks of all materials being submitted, please contact us at precollege@tufts.edu or 617-627-2926.

    Disclaimer: This program is not related to Tufts University Undergraduate Admissions. Participation in this program does not result in admission to a Tufts University degree program. Tufts reserves the right to admit as requested, to deny admission, or to offer provisional admission. The program will not provide feedback to applicants if admission is denied.


    Admitted students must do the following prior to the start of the program:

    • Submit a deposit to hold your seat; this program requires a deposit within 10 business days of the date on which the admissions decision was posted
    • Pay your balance in full prior to the stated deadline
    • Complete all enrollment forms and/or follow-up requests prior to the stated deadline

    Should the above not be completed prior to the stated deadlines, the student will be automatically withdrawn from the program.

    Tuition & Fees


    Virtual Program Fee: $3,800

    • Includes: all program activities, 3 Tufts credits (pass/fail, pre-matriculation, on passing the program), crisis simulation, opening/closing events, daily activities.
    • Excludes: anything not explicitly stated above.

    Non-Refundable Program Deposit: $550, applied to the Program Fee

    • A pre-payment on program fees is required to reserve space in the program within 10 business days of admission to the program
    • This deposit will be applied toward program fees and is not an additional fee
    • The balance of payment for program fees is due upon notification of charges, and no later than May 15
    • This deposit is non-refundable in the event of withdrawal from the program


    If you have been admitted to the program, we will be updating the fees posted to your student account over the next several days. The Program Fee balance associated with your Residential or Commuter tuition will be removed and your new Virtual Program Fee balance will be added. Please do not be alarmed if you see any anomalies, they will be resolved.

    If you have already paid program fees in excess of the new Virtual Program Fee, the balance will be available to you as a refund. Please see the "Refund Policies" page for more details.


    If you received a financial aid award, in excess of the new Virtual Program Fee, your award will be adjusted downward such that your total payments and waivers do not exceed the total new Virtual Program Fee and will not be available to you as a refund. This will allow us to make financial aid awards to more students.


    Refund Policies - COVID

    Billing & Payment Policies

    All Policies

    Financial Aid


    Tufts Pre-College Programs are committed to welcoming students from all backgrounds to Tufts’ campus. Although we have only limited financial aid available, we do our best to distribute the funds to students for whom it can make the greatest difference in their ability to attend.

    Each of the programs offering financial aid in this way offers a very limited number of scholarships, typically covering 75—100% of the program fee based on demonstrated need.

    • Fall: we will distribute any available aid in August
    • Spring: we will distribute any available aid in December
    • Summer: we will typically distribute two awards in February and will continue to issue awards once a month in March and April, until all available funds have been distributed

    Please note:

    • International students are not eligible for financial aid at this time. Families should expect to contribute to the remaining portion of the program cost as well as other expenses like travel, books, etc.
    • This program is not available for Tuition Remission or Reimbursement


    1. Complete the Admissions Application for the pre-college program you would like to attend.
    2. Upon admission into the program, you will be prompted to submit the Admission Agreement Form in your student portal. Indicate that you are interested in being considered for financial aid.
    3. After submission, you will have the option of completing a financial aid application in your student portal
    4. We will review your financial aid application. Your financial aid application will be considered for the next monthly aid award(s).
    5. If you receive an award,
      1. You will be notified by email of the amount of the award
      2. You will have 10 days (including weekends and holidays) to accept the award by completing your Financial Aid Award Form and submitting your deposit
      3. Tufts Pre-College Programs will then credit your student account with the amount of financial aid you received
      4. Please note: Your enrollment in the program is still contingent on payment of any remaining balance after the award is applied to your account, and on receiving your enrollment forms
    6. If you do not receive an award, your application will be automatically considered in the next application cycle for the program term in which you are applying, unless funds are no longer available.
    7. Once all of our funds have been distributed, we will notify all remaining applicants.

    Please see the policies section of this website for a complete list of applicable policies.


    We endeavor to make each moment of the student experience at Tufts memorable for our students. Tufts Virtual Campus brings new meaning to this as we strive to recreate the critical learning and social environment students expect from Tufts University through digital tools. Tufts Virtual campus exists on a series of software platforms to which students will have full access during their program. In particular, the following two platforms will be used for the majority of our activities:

    • Zoom: allows students to connect for lectures, webinars, breakout sessions, one-on-one mentoring, phone calls, chat sessions ... and more!
    • Canvasprovides a collaborative space for course content, assignments, and grading. Many programs will host course material (syllabus, readings, review questions, etc.) on a Canvas course site.


      Tufts Virtual Campus programs are being designed to provide high-quality, flexible, and interactive experiences to our students. We are carefully designing them to have the same academic rigor and expectations for teaching, studying, and achievement as their on-campus counterparts. The benefits of learning in a virtual environment include giving students greater freedom to interact with course content (lectures, presentations, discussions, forums, etc.) on a schedule that works for them, using a wider network of resources to achieve educational goals.


        As we are learning from this period of quarantine, virtual interaction can approximate, but rarely replaces in-person interaction. With that said, technology offers us with tremendous opportunities to facilitate various kinds of social interaction that allow us to instantly connect students from around the world in the environments in which they thrive. We will be hosting a variety of virtual social experiences for students to interact with each other within their program and across programs! We firmly believe your ability to make new friends from around the world will not be hindered by the virtual environment!

        Technical Needs & Support


        Students will need access to the following in order to participate in this program:

        • Computer: either a Mac or PC with the following
          • Mac - running at least OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) 
          • PC - running Windows 7/8/10. Users on Windows 10 will have to download the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
        • Smart Phone: any phone capable of accessing social media platforms like Instagram
        • Internet Access: A reliable, high-speed (cable or broadband) internet connection is required. Students are expected to log into Zoom and Canvas and to check email daily, and will need regular and reliable access to the internet.
          • If you do not have reliable access to internet, programs may have internet hotspots available for students with demonstrated financial need. While this cannot be guaranteed, and supplies may be limited, please check with your program for availability. 
        • Web Camera: either integrated into your computer or external, set-up and working
        • Web Browser: one of the following browsers updated for the latest updates: 
          • Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Safari.
        • Software: programs capable of

        We will provide you will access to other software that is required for your program for the duration of your program. As long as you have technology that meets the above requirements, you should have no trouble accessing the software. Depending on the program, this software will include Zoom and Canvas.


        Most programs will send software in advance with instructions to complete a trial-run before the program begins. We will also use orientation time to ensure everyone is connected and comfortable! 


        Critical university emails will go to your Tufts email address. You can access your Tufts email through a web‐based email reader used to manage your Tufts email. It includes calendar and contact management tools as well. You must read Tufts University email, since this is the primary way that the university will send you information about registration and payment. Access Tufts Exchange via this link.


        First, please try contacting the Pre-College staff at 617-627-2926.

        If they cannot answer your question, they will pass you along to our technical support team who is available 24x7 to students who are actively enrolled in a program.

        Social Activities


        Tufts Pre-College Programs staff is developing a series of virtual social activities throughout the program so that students can meet each other across programs and so that students from all time zones can participate. Here is our tentative schedule to-date:

        • Morning Meetups: start (or end) your day by catching-up with your classmates and classroom assistants about current events, last night's late night show, recent lectures or events over breakfast! Tentatively scheduled for M / W / F 8-8:45am ET
        • Lunch & Learns: join your peers from around the world to discuss an interesting topic in a staff-led discussion every Tuesday 12-12:45pm ET. Can't attend live? No problem, we'll post recordings so you can view them later!
        • Trivia Night: Thursday nights at 9PM ET are for trivia! Unwind with your classmates and some friendly competition. Students who cannot play live will be able to form teams and submit their answers (timed!) digitally in advance. We will be keeping a running scoreboard across teams throughout the summer!
        • Wellness Courses: To get you moving and feeling your best, attend at-home guided meditation, yoga, or other workout classes, offered Saturdays at 9AM ET. These will be recorded so you can attend them later as well.
        • Game Club: Create teams and play games like Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, Chess, and more. Teams will make moves when on their own time and games will play out over the course of the program or summer. 

        And more! Look out for a social events calendar that may include a virtual talent show, dance party, cooking classes, photo challenges, scavenger hunts, 'quarenTHEME' spirit days, museum tours, and more!


        Most programs will offer independent study time for students in a shared (and monitored) "Common Rooms" "Studio Spaces" or "Study Rooms" that will allow students to work in the company of their peers, sharing questions and chatting.

        Many programs are also planning their own program-specific activities, often thematically relevant to the program content itself. Look out for these activities in the program description above and in the information provided after you enroll!

        Attending Outside the Eastern Time Zone

        If you live on the West Coast or internationally, you may be wondering how you will be able to participate in this program. Please know that Tufts sees a diversity of geographical perspectives as not just beneficial but essential to a twenty-first century education. We have been working hard with our staff to ensure all students who are offered a spot in the program will be able to attend - whether in live or recorded sessions. We have done our best to note places where we feel there is an incremental benefit to live attendance and will be focusing our efforts on these parts of the schedule. All of the below is tentative and subject to change as we seek improved ways of our students needs and have a better sense of the geographic distribution of our students. 

        Students should always feel free to get in touch with program staff at any point to let us know how we can best accommodate the challenges of distance learning and we will make reasonable efforts to accommodate where possible.

        Tentative Accommodations

        Orientation: Will be held live via Zoom and recorded and posted to Canvas. We do strongly encourage all students to try to attend live. Students will be required to watch the orientation even if they do not attend live and will need to complete a short quiz about covered contents.

        Language Classes: Our small, intensive language classes will take place live from 9:00 – 11:30am ET. Class meetings and assignments will be recorded and posted to Canvas for students who cannot attend at that time. It is strongly recommended that students attend these lectures live if possible.

        Faculty Lectures: Faculty lectures will be given live from 12:30 – 2:00pm ET and will be recorded and posted for students who are unable to attend live. Students unable to attend live will be able to submit questions and thoughts in advance through a digital discussion board. 

        Discussion Sections and Skills-building Modules: Students will be placed in small groups based on geographic region and time zone and will schedule their meetings at a mutually-agreeable time (brokered by a CA), to the extent possible, with the goal that activities can be completed in real-time, together. We are hoping to hire Classroom Assistants located outside of ET to facilitate this.

        International Relations Crisis Simulation: The simulation is scheduled to take place morning/afternoon (ET) on Saturday, July 25th in the hopes of accommodating as many time zones and schedules as possible. While we are working on finding a way to record the experience to be uploaded to Zoom, it is unlikely that those unable to attend live will benefit substantially from the recording. 

        Closing Ceremony: The closing ceremony will be held live on Zoom and recorded for any section members who are unable to attend.

        Social Activities: We will be offering virtual social activities at different times throughout the day or night (to the extent possible) so that students from across time zones will be able to participate! Some activities, like our virtual board games, will be played throughout the program - with moves made by players and teams when they can check in.

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