Degree Requirements | The New School for Public Engagement

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Degree Requirements

  • The Graduate Program in International Affairs offers two degrees: 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 core courses with a wide range of electives and opportunities for social research and hands-on experience. Students can pursue the MA or MS on a full-time or part-time basis.

    Master of Arts

    The 42-credit MA is for recent college graduates and career changers. The curriculum includes:

    • Two core courses – 6 credits
    • Two courses that fulfill the economics and research methods requirements – 6 credits
    • Four concentration courses (one foundation course plus three electives) – 12 credits
    • Two courses that comprise the final "capstone" project – 6 credits
    • Four additional elective courses, including courses connected with the International Field Program – 12 credits

    Master of Science

    The 30-credit MS degree is for applicants with at least five years of post-university professional experience in international affairs. The curriculum includes all the requirements of the MA degree (described above) except for the final "capstone" project and it includes two fewer additional elective courses.

    Core Courses

    Both MA and MS students complete two core courses that provide a critical and historical introduction to key concepts in international affairs. The first, Global Flows, is a critical introduction to globalization, from the colonial era through the present. The second, Theories, Histories, and Practices of Development, examines the core concepts of development and introduces students to major issues in contemporary development thought and practice. Students are required to take Global Flows and fulfill the GPIA economics requirement before they take Theories, Histories, and Practices of Development.

    Economics Requirement

    MA and MS students fulfill the economics requirement by taking either the introductory or intensive sections of Economics in International Affairs. Students with extensive background in economics may get approval to fulfill the requirement by taking advanced economics classes in GPIA or elsewhere at The New School.

    Research Methods Requirement

    • Research Design and Data Collection, which provides a general introduction to methodological theory, research design, and data collection strategies with particular emphasis on qualitative interviews and surveys, analyzed using both qualitative and quantitative methods
    • Qualitative Research Methods, a workshop-based research design seminar that investigates the relationship between topics of inquiry, theory, and qualitative research methods
    • Quantitative Methods, which introduces students to basic statistical techniques and the use of data analysis software

    Concentration Requirement

    Both MA and MS students focus their studies by completing one of five concentrations: Cities and Social Justice, Conflict and Security, Development, Governance and Rights, and Media and Culture. Each concentration includes a foundation course that introduces students to core theories and problems in a particular field, as well as a wide array of electives that connect students to various opportunities for research and practice. Students usually declare a concentration at the end of their second semester. To complete a concentration, students must take the designated foundation course and at least three concentration electives.


    GPIA students can take electives offered by GPIA or by other New School graduate programs. The exact number of electives any student takes depends on the student's program of study. GPIA offers a selection of elective courses which range from general surveys, to advanced research seminars, to practice-oriented courses.

    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. Past IFP sites have included India, Kosovo, China, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Argentina, Hong Kong, Colombia, Brazil, Lebanon, Turkey, and Nepal. New sites are frequently developed.

    Final "Capstone" Project

    All Master of Arts students must complete a final capstone project. Three options for fulfilling this requirement are available:

    1. Thesis Option: an independent research project conducted with faculty supervision
    2. Research Portfolio Option: a portfolio on a particular topic that includes two research papers completed in two advanced research seminars
    3. Practice Option: a team-based practicum for a client organization.

    Students choose their capstone project in consultation with their advisor when they have completed 18 credits.