International Affairs MA Practicum | Milano School NYC

Public Engagement


  • GPIA's Practice-Based Learning components — the International Field Program, internships, and the final project Practice Option — combine skills courses, workshops, and on-the-ground experience to give students the knowledge, training, and confidence to enter the professional arena.

    All Master of Arts (MA) students have a final project requirement, which means a choice between writing a thesis (Thesis Option), completing a portfolio of research (Research Portfolio), or undertaking a Practicum project (Practice Option). Students who choose the Practice Option must take Practicum in International Affairs (PIA) I and II in sequence.

    In the first semester course PIA I, students choose an actual project and then learn to use the tools typically employed in the "project cycle," including needs assessment, logical framework, strategic design, implementation, proposal and report writing, budgeting, and monitoring and evaluation. In the following semester, in PIA II: Project Implementation, students produce the deliverables of that project.

    PIA I should be taken in the penultimate semester and PIA II in the final semester. PIA I can also be taken as an elective by GPIA non-Practice students and non-GPIA students. Master of Science (MS) students do not have a final project requirement.

    Course Information

    Practicum in International Affairs I and II

    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.

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  • International Field Program

    The GPIA International Field Program provides a platform for emerging practitioners and researchers to gain experience while following a rigorous course of study. The IFP combines extensive pre-departure preparation with in-country seminars, professional internships, project work and opportunities for independent research with faculty supervision. Students may work with community-based organizations, NGOs, international organizations, and national or local governments. Projects may focus on urban and community development, postconflict state building, human rights advocacy, citizen journalism, long-term monitoring and evaluation, or other themes. Since its inception in 2002, the IFP has sent more than 1,000 students to 29 countries, from Argentina and Uganda to Lebanon and China.

    Practicum in International Affairs

    During a Practicum in International Affairs (PIA) — one of the final project options at GPIA — a team of students works for a client organization conducting research, program or project design, or monitoring and evaluation; building communication platforms; or engaging in a number of other activities. Clients have included UN agencies, major INGOs such as Transparency International, community-based organizations in the United States and abroad, social enterprises and more. Through the PIA, students develop the analytical and applied skills necessary for well-rounded professionals who are prepared to address challenging social problems, whether they work in the public, private, or nonprofit sector.

    United Nations Summer Study

    The United Nations Summer Study (UNSS) program puts graduate and undergraduate students on the ground in the United Nations and in New York City. Unlike other UN study programs, UNSS takes you beyond a narrow focus on security and diplomacy to investigate development, human rights, humanitarian action, peace building, and environmental issues. UNSS course work prepares you to understand and engage with contemporary issues, policies, and debates in international affairs. UNSS internships and practicums, not found in any other UN summer program, enable you to gain hands-on experience in the UN system. Practicum placements include United Nations agencies, nongovernmental organizations, civil society groups, and research institutes that work with the UN.

    Practice Courses

    Beyond the core sequence of PIA I and II, students can learn a wide range of skills in GPIA courses that address monitoring and evaluation, geographic information systems, research design, and media production. In allied programs in Management, Urban Policy and the School of Media Studies there are courses in fundraising and financial management, policy design and assessment, data visualization, community engagement and organization, leadership development and entrepreneurship, media production and management and much more. The range of offerings is such that working with their advisers students can tailor a pathway through the curriculum that both broadens their understanding of what practice can be and deepens their skills for pursuing their goals.


    Students pursuing an MA or MS at GPIA are able to take full advantage of the incomparable range of organizations working on international issues in New York City. The extraordinary range of international NGOs, intergovernmental institutions, globally important companies, and government agencies provides a unique set of opportunities for internships. Milano’s internship office will work with you to find opportunities but so too will faculty and other students. Internships are a powerful complement to the curriculum in GPIA: they provide opportunities to apply theory to organizational practices, can be the sources of Practicum or Thesis projects, and for many students lead to employment after receiving a degree.