International Affairs Degree Requirements | The New School in New York City
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Degree Requirements

  • Our innovative curriculum is the heart of our program. We maintain a critical focus on the processes and practices of international affairs. All courses offered by the International Affairs program carry three graduate credits. Credits for field experience, independent study, and courses offered by other departments may vary.

    Degree Options: MA and MS

    The program offers a 42-credit Master of Arts and a 30-credit Master of Science. Candidates for the MS degree must have at least five years of relevant experience in the international affairs field, as determined by the admission committee. Both programs of study combine a set of core courses with a wide range of electives and opportunities for hands-on experience. Students can pursue the MA or MS on a full-time or part-time basis. Courses are offered both days and evenings.

    Master of Arts

    The 42-credit MA is for recent college graduates and career changers, i.e., people who have not yet established international affairs careers. The curriculum includes four required courses and a final project. MA students can take up to eight elective courses, including their concentration courses. 

    Master of Science

    The 30-credit MS degree is for people with at least five years of post-university professional experience in international affairs. The curriculum includes four required courses and six elective courses, including their concentration courses. 

    Core Courses

    There are two core courses that all students must complete:

    1. Global Flows
    2. Theories, Practices, and Histories of Development (formerly Comparative Development Experience)

    Global Flows is a critical introduction to globalization, tracing the emergence of logics of encounter and international interaction from the colonial era through the present. Theories, Practices, and Histories of Development examines the core concepts of development and introduces students to the comparative framework of analysis. Students who enter the program without a background in economics are required to take Economics in International Affairs before they take Theories, Practices, and Histories of Development.

    Methods Courses

    All students are required to complete one course in economics and one course in research methods. Economics in International Affairs is designed for students who do not have an economics background when they enter the program. We offer an introduction to quantitative and qualitative social science methodology in our Research Methods class; students can also fulfill the requirement by taking an approved statistics or qualitative methods courses offered by another New School department.

    Concentration

    All students choose a concentration in one of five approved areas: Cities and Social Justice, Conflict and Security, Development, Governance and Rights, and Media and Culture. Students usually declare a concentration at the end of their second semester. To complete a concentration, students must take the designated foundation course and then three electives within the concentration. 

    Electives

    Electives are courses offered by GPIA or other New School graduate programs that are taken to fulfill a concentration requirement or the need for a specific skill or to satisfy intellectual curiosity. The exact number of electives any student takes depends on the student's program of study and prior education. GPIA offers a selection of elective courses, which range from surveys to advanced research seminars.

    Internships and independent study, in addition to classroom-based instruction, can be used to meet elective requirements. We strongly encourage all international affairs students to complete an internship in New York City or elsewhere and, if at all possible, to work abroad. Students can earn three credits for the completion of an approved internship.

    The International Field Program

    The summer International Field Program (IFP) provides field experience with a local or international organization in another country under academic supervision. The IFP is one of the unique features of our program. GPIA has sent students to work in field programs in India, Kosovo, China, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Argentina, Hong Kong, Colombia, Senegal, Brazil, and Nepal; programs in other countries are in development.

    Final Project

    Master of Arts students must also complete a final project consisting either of an independent research project (Thesis option) or a team-based project (Practice option). Students choose their option after consultation with their advisor when they have completed 18 credits.


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