Milano School Areas of Specialization | The New School

Areas of Study

  • Milano's highly flexible and diverse programs allow students to select an area of study in which they wish to develop in-depth skills and knowledge. Some of our programs offer required concentrations; others encourage less formal areas of specialization.


    Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs

    The required concentrations in the Graduate Program in International Affairs are more than just a collection of courses. They are areas of study in which students can link theory, social research, and practice in building careers as scholars or practitioners in international affairs. Currently, students can choose from five concentrations:

    Each concentration has a foundation course as well as a wide range of electives students can use to tailor the curriculum to their interests. The concentrations also offer a variety of opportunities for applied research, as well as connections to the practice curriculum through International Field Programs and Practicum in International Affairs projects. In addition, the concentrations sponsor invited guest lectures, organize workshops and events, and create working groups around topics of particular interest to students.

    Students completing an MA or MS at GPIA are required to fulfill a concentration by taking a ''foundation course”'as well as three concentration electives.

    Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management

    Students in the Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management program supplement core learning with an area of concentration in either Policy or Management. Each concentration consists of two required courses and two electives. The program core familiarizes students with the relevant natural sciences, financial analytics, and policy and business dimensions of projected climate change. The core courses present an array of perspectives on organizational, environmental, and social ecology.

    Policy required concentration courses

    Management required concentration courses

    Areas of Specialization

    Students in any master's program at the Milano School can pursue one of the following specializations or work with a faculty advisor to develop their own. The areas of specialization are sets of related courses that can help students tailor their graduate programs to their personal goals. A specialization is not a requirement for any of our degrees, but it can be valuable on a résumé to communicate expertise to potential employers.

  • Applied Quantitative Methods and Data Visualization

    In the "knowledge economy," having a solid understanding of quantitative methods, data management, data visualization, and computer-driven statistical analysis enhances your career potential and your ability to make a difference in a variety of settings.

    The Applied Quantitative Methods and Data Visualization specialization offers focused instruction in applied statistics, data collection and management, and the graphic presentation of quantitative data as tools for improving decision making and policy analysis and informing public debate. Taught mostly by practitioners, courses address real problems that organizations face and help students develop the skills needed to work with complex data. Students are trained in the latest uses of leading statistical analysis and data visualization software, including R, SAS, STATA, SPSS, and modern Web technology such as JavaScript and CSS, enabling them to acquire essential workplace skills.

    Prerequisite Course

    Quantitative Methods or the equivalent with a grade of B or better.

    Students are advised to select one or more courses from each of the following three subgroups:


    One or more courses chosen from the following data visualization courses:

    One or more courses chosen from the following data management and structures courses:


    Richard Hendra, Darrick Hamilton, Rachel Meltzer, Aaron Hill, Alec Gershberg, Nebahat Tokatli, Stephen Metts

    If you have questions about the Applied Quantitative Methods and Data Visualization specialization, contact Alec Gershberg, chair of the Urban Policy Analysis and Management program, at

    Community Development Finance

    Community development finance (CDF) is an industry that provides access to capital and financial services to underserved populations in the United States. It involves financial institutions, nonprofits, intermediaries, and governments. Nationwide there are an estimated 1,250 community development finance institutions (CDFIs), which finance more than 8,000 businesses and create or sustain more than 35,000 jobs annually. Milano students who pursue the Community Development Finance specialization acquire financial management skills and an understanding of the policy environment affecting the CDF industry. This curriculum prepares graduates for careers in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, in areas including banking, community development lending, and municipal finance and in public finance agencies, development agencies, and community development corporations.

    The cornerstone of the Community Development Finance specialization is Community Development Finance Lab, a two-semester course in which students work as financial consultants to local community-based organizations to provide analysis based on networking with professionals in the field. In addition to taking Community Development Finance Lab, students choose two or more courses from the following list of electives.



    Kevin McQueen

    Economic and Workforce Development

    This specialization consists of courses on the theory and practice of contemporary local development policy, with a focus on the analysis of urban labor markets. Students examine such issues as the sources of underemployment, the spatial mismatch between workers' residences and the location of jobs in metropolitan regions, ways job seekers and employers find one another, and the public and private institutions that best facilitate that matching. Students also study racial and gender discrimination in housing, schools, and jobs and changes in and effects of immigration. The specialization is also concerned with the role of public infrastructure in strategies to promote private and public investment in local business enterprises, especially in communities of color, which in turn create jobs and wealth for urban residents.

    Students interested in the Economic and Workforce Development specialization should complete three or more of the following electives.



    Charles Allison, David Howell, Richard McGahey, Rachel Meltzer, Alex Schwartz


    Nearly all government and private organizations have staff members or managers whose primary responsibilities are to guide investment activities, manage the groundwork of financial reports, and develop and carry out financial activities that affect the current and future operating plans of their international affairs, nonprofit management, and urban policy communities. In an era of fiscal austerity, the public and nonprofit sectors - in the United States and internationally - must use funds efficiently and cultivate new sources of funding.

    Milano's Finance specialization emphasizes accountability and the leveraging of private resources for public purposes. Students learn the fundamentals of budgeting and financial management in the public and nonprofit sectors, the elements of finance and capital markets, the financing of housing and community development projects, and ways to address the entrepreneurial needs of socially responsible business ventures. In more advanced courses, students prepare financial pro formas for affordable housing, evaluate courses of action for economic development organizations, assess and recommend management decisions in the context of microfinance, and learn to identify and secure gap funding for projects. This specialization helps prepare students for positions in the public, private, or nonprofit sectors including careers in banking, community development lending, municipal finance, public finance agencies, development agencies, and community development corporations.

    Students interested in the Finance specialization should complete three or more of the following electives.



    Charles Allison, Kevin McQueen

    Food and the Environment

    Food systems are increasingly capturing the attention of local, national, and international policymakers. Grassroots movements have begun to focus on food issues as a means of introducing broader social and economic changes. Activists in the United States are calling attention to the role of the food industry and its lobbies and organizing opposition to the Farm Bill and other legislation that supports the current food system.

    The Milano School specialization in Food and the Environment draws on a range of disciplines to explore the connections between food and communities, public policies, and rural and urban ecosystems in the context of learning to manage environmental sustainability. It is a faculty collaboration among multiple academic programs of The New School. A Milano student who wishes to specialize in Food and the Environment selects three courses from the list below in consultation with a faculty advisor and /or develops a food-related project in the capstone seminar or the Issues Analysis laboratory.


    Additional courses are in development.


    Dennis Derryck, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Fabio Parasecoli

    Global Management

    The Global Management specialization recognizes the importance of awareness of the global context. The specialization emphasizes developing a sensitivity to practices, values, language, beliefs, and actions different from one's own; embracing a comparative perspective on regional and national differences; and critically assessing the effectiveness of various managerial practices across contexts. The specialization is grounded in a philosophy of management that emphasizes the use of strategies enabling teams to maximize group assets efficiently to advance a shared agenda. Students acquire the knowledge and practical experience to serve as effective partners in managing community grassroots responses to global systemic shifts, assume managerial roles in multilateral, government, and private-sector organizations, and manage projects capably in a variety of cultural contexts.



    Robin J. Hayes, Mark Johnson, Michele Kahane, Aida Rodriguez, Nidhi SrinivasMary R. Watson

    Global Urban Futures

    The Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy is proud to announce a new multidisciplinary specialization: Global Urban Futures. Global Urban Futures is one of the first graduate academic specializations to focus on urban experience around the world, combining theory and practice with fieldwork in New York and other U.S. cities as well as cities in developing countries.

    For the first time in history, most of the world's inhabitants live in cities. Urban centers are where change is happening: in the economy, finance, technology, culture, and the environment. It is crucial for policymakers, citizens, and communities to understand how these rapid and unprecedented transformations are linked together and how they can be shaped and managed to improve the welfare of communities, cities, and nations. The Global Urban Futures specialization will train practitioners to address these issues and strengthen understanding of possibilities for innovative change. Mindful of history and responding to the imperatives of current problems, the Global Urban Futures specialization will prepare practitioners to design and lead the urban future.

    The Global Urban Futures specialization draws on the unique strengths of more than 20 full-time faculty members from a range of disciplines, including economics, urban planning, urban studies, public finance, political science, anthropology, sociology, architecture, urban history, environmental sciences, and community development. It explores urbanization in relation to globalization, climate change, the global and national economies, and media, technology, and culture. Students in the Global Urban Futures specialization analyze the way global factors interact with local environments, actors, and institutions to produce new urban forms, policies, behaviors, problems, and opportunities.



    Charles Allison, Robert BuckleyMichael Cohen, Dennis Derryck, Alec Ian Gershberg, Margarita Gutman, Darrick Hamilton, Robin Hayes, David Howell, Richard McGahey, Kevin McQueen, Shagun Mehrotra, Rachel Meltzer, Aida Rodriguez, Alex F. Schwartz, Lisa J. Servon, Antina von Schnitzler, Jeffrey Smith, Nidhi Srinivas

    Housing and Community Development

    The Housing and Community Development specialization focuses on innovative approaches for improving the quality of life in low-income urban communities, including affordable housing. It situates housing policy and community development within the context of racial discrimination; global, national, and regional economic trends; the devolution of government responsibilities to the state and local levels; the growing role of community development corporations and other nonprofit organizations; and innovative ways of financing community development projects. Courses include lectures and class discussions, as well as visits to leading community-based organizations. This specialization engages students in current policy debates, introduces them to cutting-edge initiatives, and provides training in the technical and analytic skills necessary for careers in government, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector. The specialization enables students to focus on housing, economic development, and other aspects of community development.

    Students interested in the Housing and Community Development specialization should complete three or more of the following courses.


    The Housing and Community Development specialization also includes the following courses.

    • Advocacy in Government Relations
    • Capital Markets and Development Finance
    • Elements of Finance and Capital Markets
    • Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations
    • Global Urban Environmental Policy
    • Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
    • Leading and Implementing Community Change
    • Program Evaluation and Design
    • Urban Economic Development


    Michael A. Cohen, Mark Johnson, Christopher London, Rachel Meltzer, Alex Schwartz, Lisa J. Servon

    Leadership and Change

    The Leadership and Change specialization prepares students to critically assess structures and systems in communities, organizations, and governments in order to implement change. Students learn to transcend conventional wisdom to embrace new paradigms and develop their own models for institutional transformation.

    The Leadership and Change specialization consists of the course Why Leadership Matters: Power or Potential and at least two additional courses from the list below.



    Robin J. Hayes, Erica Kohl-Arenas, Mark Lipton, Mary Watson

    Related Degree and Certificate Programs

    Master of Science in Organizational Change Management
    Post-Master's Certificate in Leadership and Change

    Leading Sustainability

    Leading Sustainability focuses on maintaining organizations' environmental, social, and financial well-being through comprehensive and balanced attention to its system of resources and stakeholders. A firm's chief sustainability officer (CSO) - and counterparts in the nonprofit and public sectors - links operations, financial planning, marketing, social responsibility, and other key functions to promote sustainability as strategy. The Leading Sustainability specialization prepares leaders to guide their organizations toward a greener future across the entire spectrum of their activities. Courses engage students in stakeholder communications, environmental studies, corporate social responsibility, finance, regulatory issues, historical and social policy perspectives, advocacy and social action, and specific technical specialties. Successful students - those able to cross disciplinary boundaries - will shape this emerging field to address the intersecting challenges of global climate change, resource depletion, and innovative organization design.

    Students interested in this area of study should take the Leadership for Sustainability Strategies course. Those interested in the management aspects of sustainability should also take Corporate Sustainability and Social Responsibility and at least one other course from the list below. Those interested in the policy aspects of sustainability should take Global Urban Environmental Policy and at least one other course from the list below.



    Charles Allison, Ana Baptista

    Related degree and Certificate Programs

    Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management
    Post-Master's Professional Certificate in Sustainability Strategies

    Politics, Media, and Advocacy

    Build campaigns. Influence government policy. Drive social change.

    Milano's Politics, Media, and Advocacy students include current and future policy reform advocates, nonprofit leaders, labor and community organizers, government policymakers, and private-sector executives. They work for elected officials, in organizations with social missions, and in private firms with government partnerships and community programs. At Milano, they gain a broad and nuanced understanding of politics, lobbying, media, strategic communications, community organizing, and more. They examine every step of the process - from building grassroots support to monitoring legislative action to ensuring executive branch implementation - and learn the skills necessary to clear bottlenecks at every stage.

    The Politics, Media, and Advocacy curriculum, created in collaboration with the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School, focuses on the mechanics of change and provides students with practical skills that enable them to make a lasting difference.

    All students interested in the Politics, Media, and Advocacy specialization should take the Power, Strategy, and Social Change course and two or more additional courses from the list below. Courses are not offered every semester and may be taken in any order. No course is a prerequisite for any other course.



    Sean Jacobs, Nina Khrushcheva, Peter Lucas, Nerina PenzhornJeffrey Smith

    Social Entrepreneurship

    Social entrepreneurship involves the creation of sustainable products, services, or processes that offer social value while devising ways to effect critical social transformation on a variety of scales - a single organization, a community, or the world. This area of study recognizes the innovators who present ideas and the entrepreneurs who put them into practice. Social entrepreneurs employ a wide variety of approaches to effect change. Our courses offer you the broad knowledge you need to succeed in social entrepreneurship in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors.

    All students interested in the Social Entrepreneurship specialization should take Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship and two or more additional courses from the list below.


    Students also benefit from learning experiences on campus through participation in TNSchangemakers, a university-wide collaborative that offers diverse co-curricular and extracurricular activities that enhance social entrepreneurship education at The New School.

    In 2009, The New School was selected as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus. Ashoka U's Changemaker Campus Initiative is designed to enhance teaching, research, and student engagement opportunities in social entrepreneurship and social innovation in higher education.


    Dennis Derryck, Michele Kahane

    Social Policy

    This area of study provides insights into the policy, management, and programmatic issues facing professionals working to improve the economic well-being and social functioning of diverse communities while helping them integrate into U.S. society. Courses in this area of study focus on poverty, welfare, education, immigration, and child, youth, and family policy.

    Students interested in the Social Policy specialization should complete three or more of the following courses.



    Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Michael A. Cohen, Stephen J. Collier, David Howell, Manjari Mahajan, Alex Schwartz, Antina von Schnitzler, Lisa Servon, Jeffrey Smith, Alec Gershberg, Darrick Hamilton