Students who choose the Practice option
must take two courses: Practicum in International Affairs I: Project Design and Practicum in International Affairs II: Project Implementation. The Practice option provides student
teams with the opportunity to complete a discrete consulting engagement
for an international client organization. In conjunction with the
client, the students establish Terms of Reference, conduct data
collection and analysis, and write a report or produce some other
product (e.g., a brochure, manual, or film). Finally, the team makes a
formal presentation to the client and the New School community. The
course is treated as a consultancy rather than an internship in that we
ask organizations for a specific project with an end deliverable, and,
as the Practicum is the equivalent of a Master's thesis, the project
itself should be substantial and challenging. To the extent possible,
the course simulates a professional experience, emphasizing deadlines
and professional standards for work products and the importance of being
responsive to clients and working closely with teammates.
In the first semester course, PIA I: Project Design, students focus on an actual project, going through the project cycle used in professional contexts: developing learning tools, a needs assessment, a logical framework, a strategic design, implementation planning, proposal and report writing, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation, and advocacy. In the following semester PIA II: Project Implementation, students are dedicated to producing the deliverables of the same project.
PIA I should be taken in the penultimate semester; PIA II in the final semester. PIA I: Project Design can also be taken as an elective by GPIA non-Practice students and non-GPIA students.
Students will work on discrete assignments of several months duration
for client organizations from the not-for-profit, public and private
sector, and multilateral agencies.
For more information see:
In conjunction with the client, the team first clarifies the assignment and drafts a Terms of Reference. Then, over the course of the semester, they undertake research and data collection, conduct analysis, and write a report or produce a final product according to the client, and then present their findings to the organization. Most clients meet with students at least a few times throughout the semester.
After the first week classes are not lectures, but are rather project management sessions. Teams have a weekly meeting time with their faculty supervisor throughout the semester. The faculty supervisor acts as a project manager, meeting with students to review work, and offering technical guidance as needed.
The course is not run, nor projects completed, as an academic exercise; the project work and final product is meant to be used by the client organization.
Past projects have included the following:
Yes. At the end of the semester, each team develops and rehearses a formal presentation, and then presents their work and results before the GPIA faculty. The Final Presentation is an integral element to the Practicum. Public speaking and making a presentation are useful skills, as well as being real parts of many people's jobs.
A major objective of the Practicum is to serve as a transition from the academic to the professional world. For students in their final semester, especially those about to graduate and join the working world, the Practicum is treated as a "consultancy" rather than an internship; emphasizing deadlines and professional standards for work products. Projects are substantial, rigorous and challenging; and student-consultants are expected to produce professional standards of work. Unlike a Thesis, the Practicum project work is not academic. A work product should not be theoretical, but is produced to be used by the client in their work.
Students should be in their final semester and have completed 33 credits to register for the Practicum. Clients assign the PIA substantial projects; the time needed to complete these projects is therefore significant. To be in this class and on a team, each person must commit significant time. All teams have a regular meeting outside of class, and often on the weekend. In addition, there are periods, particularly toward the end of semester, when large blocks of time are needed for completion of the project on deadline.
Students who work full time and are taking a full course load should think about whether they will be able to meet their obligations to the project and team. It might be better to undertake the Practicum, for example, as a single and final class, or a semester later when they might have more time. If your schedule is such that you will never have extra time and flexibility, you may want to consider writing a thesis, which can be done entirely on your own schedule.
72 5th Ave., 3rd Floor (Map)
New York, NY firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 212.229.5150 or 800.862.5039
International Affairs Program66 West 12th St., 6th Floor (Map)
New York, NY email@example.com