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FP Guide

2016 Graduate Education

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Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)

“Solutions to policy challenges today and in the future will require international and interdisciplinary perspectives, as well as collaboration between the public and private sectors,” says Merit E. Janow, dean of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). “As a leading global policy school, we believe a global perspective is essential to training students from around the world to be effective leaders and problem solvers.”

Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)

Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)

Columbia SIPA places a strong emphasis on rigorous academic analysis and learning in combination with practical skills and applied knowledge. The school’s primary master’s degree programs culminate in required workshops that give small teams of students the opportunity to solve real-world problems for clients that range from multilateral financial institutions to city governments and NGOs around the world.

“We prepare students for careers of the coming century—careers in which they will move between countries and between sectors,” says Janow.

Students benefit from the school’s unique blend of scholars and practitioners. SIPA’s faculty are well known for their research on pressing global issues, such as the impact of climate change, shifting priorities of U.S. foreign policy, the economics and geopolitics of energy, and the challenges facing international financial institutions.

“SIPA is the interdisciplinary hub of global-policy teaching, research, and engagement at Columbia,” says Janow. “We regularly work across disciplines and schools—including Columbia’s law, business, and engineering schools—to engage an extremely vibrant community of students, scholars, and practitioners.”

SIPA’s Master of International Affairs (MIA) program is designed to provide students with qualitative and quantitative analytical skills needed to understand complex transnational issues and manage real-world organizations. In addition to pursuing a policy concentration and demonstrating proficiency in a language other than English, students complete an internship and a Capstone workshop, gaining hands-on experience with diverse organizations in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program offers a similar curriculum that emphasizes the application of analytic tools to real-world issues.

Three specialized MPA programs are further tailored to specific policy challenges:

SIPA’s Executive MPA (EMPA) program gives ambitious executives the chance to pursue a rigorous MPA curriculum through part-time study, while the Global Executive MPA (Global EMPA) offers students in U.S. and selected international locations a hybrid learning model that combines online and face-to-face instruction.