GIA: Government & International Affairs2018-09-13T16:34:07+00:00

      GIA

           GOVERNMENT AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
Government and International Affairs (GIA)

Advance your career by earning a graduate degree in International Affairs in the Washington D.C. area

Address complex global issues through multidisciplinary, problem solving and participatory learning

Today’s most pressing political, economic, environmental, and social challenges are truly global. Traditional frameworks and singularly disciplinary approaches are no longer sufficient for making sense of the complex and changing landscape of global affairs. To be effective, meeting that challenge requires knowledge from the social sciences, humanities, policy studies, arts, and advanced technologies.

The Government and International Affairs (GIA) program provides researchers and students the skills to leverage their experiences and further their knowledge of contemporary security and economic governance practices. Combining theory and practice, the programs in Government and International Affairs enable students and practitioners to develop critical thinking and learn how to conduct interdisciplinary, innovative, and independent research.

What the Government and International Affairs program offers

  • Flexible scheduling designed for the full-time working professionals
  • Individual guidance from academic advisers
  • Classes taught in small seminars and mostly in the evenings
  • Online classes taught by full-time faculty
  • Study Abroad option for full-time students
  • One of the most cost-competitive graduate programs in the Washington D.C. area
  • The opportunity to become part of the large Virginia Tech networking community and have access to all that VT has to offer at its different locations in Virginia.
GIA Degrees, Certificates, and Special Programs

The Master’s in Public and International Affairs (MPIA) draws from across the fields of political science, international relations, geography, history, sociology, and economics to understand the impacts and evolving challenges of globalization on international, national, and local politics.

The program focuses on the governance of political, economic, social, and environmental security and risks at the global level. Courses include:

  • contemporary American foreign policy,
  • conflict resolution,
  • global security,
  • international development,
  • global political economy,
  • global social policy, and
  • environmental politics.

The regional politics of the Middle East, post-Soviet Eurasia, and Latin America are analyzed in particular.

The program can be can be taken on a full-time or a part-time basis.  There is also an option for studying abroad for a semester.

Graduates go on to work for the federal, state, and local governments, military and intelligence agencies, a variety of nonprofits and NGOs, as well as private sector consulting and management.

The Ph.D. in Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) draws together insights from the social sciences and humanities in order to study governance processes at all levels of society and international affairs.

The Governance and Globalization track of the PGG degree (PGG-GG), supported by Government and International Affairs, offers a unique environment in which faculty and students work closely together to build a research-based program in which students use an interdisciplinary framework to leverage their professional experiences when exploring scholarly puzzles.

Possible research areas include:

  • US foreign policy,
  • new global security threats,
  • conflict resolution,
  • studies in critical geopolitics,
  • global social policy,
  • global political economy,
  • international development challenges and institutions,
  • social movements and
  • political systems.

Faculty expertise covers the regional politics of the Middle East, post-Soviet Eurasia, and Latin America.

Many of our PGG students are professionals working in the Washington D.C area working in research positions and a range of nonprofit/NGO, public and private organizations at national and international levels.

The Graduate Certificate in Middle East Politics and Society focuses on the politics, society, and history of the peoples of North Africa, Southwestern Asia, Asia Minor, and the Arabian Peninsula, related borderlands and island groups, and including emigrant and immigrant groups.

It addresses the causes and consequences of conflict in the region, the impact of external interventions, including colonialism, and the drivers of political and social change.

Requirements
Total Number of Credit Hours: 9 credit hours.
Transfer credits are not permitted.

Students will choose three courses:

GIA 5314 Middle East Geopolitics (3 credits)

GIA/PSCI 5614 (HIST 5544) Understanding the Israeli Palestinian Conflict (3 credits)

ASPT 5134 Islamic Political Thought (3 credits)

ASPT/HIST/RLCL 6124 (PSCI 6234) Pre-Modern Christian and Islamic Political Theory (3 credits)

Another 5000-level or 6000-level course subject to approval by the certificate candidate’s advisor

Applications for the Graduate Certificate in Security Studies will be considered from students enrolled in a graduate degree program at Virginia Tech and from non-degree and Commonwealth Campus students who have been permitted to take courses by the Graduate School. Certificates will be awarded upon completion of twelve credits (4 courses) and application for the certificate and application for certificate conferral once course requirements have been completed.

Course Requirements

Completion of a total of twelve credit hours; 6 credits in required courses and 6 elective hours. Students must receive a grade of B or better in each course.
(Note: Students will not be allowed to retake a course for a better grade if they receive below a B.)

Required courses:
PSCI/GIA 5444 – International Politics
PSCI/GIA5484 – Contemporary American Foreign Policy

In addition, students must complete at least 6 credit hours from the following:

PSCI 5324 – Executive Branch
PSCI 5464 – Critical Security Studies
PSCI/GIA 5474 – Global Governance
PSCI/GIA5514 – Global Security
PSCI/GIA 5524 – U.S. Foreign Policy after 9/11
PSCI/GIA 5534 – Regionalism and Political Developments

The Graduate Certificate in Economic Risk and Global Inequality represents the socio-economic track in Government and International Affairs program in the Northern Capital Regions (Alexandria). It features courses that cover: global social policy, inequality international development, global political economy, and transnational social movements.

While GIA offers a variety of courses in global politics that relate to human and national security in a realm of threat or conflict, the new certificate broadens these understandings, conceiving security also as a: global social policy concept/commitment, economic goal, and financial representation.

Requirements
Total Number of Credit Hours: 12 credit hours. All courses graded A-F and 5000 or higher. Transfer credits are not permitted.

Four courses must be selected from the courses listed below:

GIA/PAPA 5034 Global Political Economy (formerly, Democratic Governance of the Economy) (3 credits)

GIA/UAP 5274 Comparative Social Movements (3 credits)

GIA 5434 Politics of Developing Areas (3 credits)

GIA/UAP 5524 International Development (3 credits)

GIA 5654 Global Social Policy (3 credits)

GIA 5474 Global Governance (3 credits)

Washington, D.C. is at the center of global affairs. It is home to government agencies, many of the world’s leading think-tanks, numerous international organizations and a range of non-governmental organizations. Here, the most significant policy decisions are debated and made, holding both domestic and international importance.

The Washington Semester in Global Engagement is a unique 15 credit program open to all Virginia Tech majors. The Washington Semester consists of a combination of courses on global affairs, internships opportunities, workshops, seminars and networking opportunities with DC professionals and policy makers. It offers students the opportunity to experience policy-making firsthand, and explore the wealth of political and cultural opportunities available in Washington D.C area.

Stay on track for graduation whilst obtaining skills which will help your career opportunities in virtually any sphere.

– Open for sophomores (by year not credit), Juniors and Seniors in all majors
– Minimum 3.00 GPA.
– Housing is available in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

Students in the MPIA program can spend a semester abroad studying in:

This semester abroad can count up for four courses towards the completion of the degree. In exceptional circumstances and with permission, students may spend a year overseas and take five courses. Students need to have completed 9 credits and have their plan of study abroad approved prior to going abroad.

For further details: giastudyabroad@vt.edu

Virginia Tech and University of Kent, Brussels have partnered in creating a unique, time efficient graduate program for students to study international relations in a Euro-Atlantic context. Two Capitals, Two Masters is a new and innovative double Master’s program, designed to offer students the opportunity to study, train, and network in two major centers of political activity, Washington D.C. and Brussels. It allows students to earn two graduate degrees – an appealing feature in the job market – in half the time, and for half the cost of a typical graduate degree in the United States, making it a cost and time-effective alternative to existing graduate programs in international affairs.

The program consists of the following:

  1. One year of study at Virginia Tech, National Capital Region (VT-NCR): Students enroll in the Master’s in Public and International Affairs (MPIA).
  2. One year of study at the University of Kent, Brussels (UKB): Students select an MA from the following specializations: international relations, international conflict and security, international political economy, European public policy, or international development.
  3. At the end of two years, students earn an MA from UKB, and an MPIA from VT.

For further details: Dr. Georgeta Pourchot, Director, Two Capitals, Two Masters Program: georgeta@vt.edu

The MPIA’s structure is straightforward. Students complete:

  • 12 credit hours or 4 Core courses.
  • 12 credit hours or 4 “Modes of Inquiry”/Methodology courses
  • 12 credit hours or 4 elective courses.
CORE CLASSES:
GIA/UAP 5004 Power and Policy in the U.S.
UAP/GEOG/GIA 5264 Global Change & Local Impacts
GIA 5314 Middle East Geopolitics
GIA/UAP 5274 Comparative Social Movements
GIA/UAP 5524 International Development
GIA/PSCI 5444 International Politics
GIA/UAP/PAPA 5034 Global Political Economy
GIA/PSCI 5484 Contemporary American Foreign Policy
GIA 5404 (GEOG 5424) Topics in Political Geography
MODES OF INQUIRY/METHODOLOGY COURSES

Required courses:

  • GIA/PSCI 5115 Research Methods
  • GIA 5904 Major Paper or GIA 5964 (3 cr.) Practicum or GIA 5994 (3 cr.), or Thesis (6 cr.)

Pick courses from this list*:

UAP 5224 Quantitative Techniques
GIA/PSCI 5354 Public Policy Analysis
GIA/PSCI 5214 Contemporary Political Theory
GIA/PSCI 5224 Alternative Political Theory
GIA/UAP/PAPA 5464 Qualitative Methods in Global Studies
GIA/PSCI 5474 Global Governance
GIA/UAP/PSCI 5504 Discourse Analysis

*Or another committee-approved methods/theory course

Electives: Pick 4 courses (GIA or non-GIA. Ask your adviser for suggestions and approval).

GIA/UAP/PSCI 5254 Global Conflicts
GIA 5624 Conflict Resolution & Peace Building
GIA/PSCI 5514 Global Security
GIA 5614 Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
GIA/PSCI 5484 Contemporary American Foreign Policy
GIA/PSCI 5434 Politics of Developing Areas
GIA/PSCI 5584 Environmental Politics and Policy
GIA 6114 Critical Geopolitics
GIA/PSCI 6124 Topics in Security Studies
GIA/PSCI 6134 Topics in Conflict Analysis
GIA/PSCI 6144 Topics in Global Governance

FINAL MASTERS REQUIREMENTS: MAJOR PAPER OR PRACTICUM?

These are qualitatively equivalent final projects. In both instances, students will put together a committee with one GIA adviser and 2 other GIA faculty members. An oral defense will be scheduled.

Major Paper Practicum
In a nutshell Academic paper Professional (policy-oriented) work product
Course number and availability GIA 5904: Project and Report (3 cr.)

  • Open to all students
  • Fall or Spring semester
GIA 5964: Field Work/Practicum (3 cr.)

  • Available to working professional part time students or full time interns in a professional office
  • Fall or Spring semester
Motivation The goal of the MP is to contribute to an academic (theory-driven/relevant) discussion, revealing insight that is based on carefully researched evidence of an issue of interest Develop practical understanding of an issue prominent in a professional domain. Use the knowledge and skills that have been learned to create a knowledge product that is a contribution grounded in contemporary practice.
Role of adviser Student should choose and contact a faculty adviser at least two semesters before they plan on defending.

Students will consult with adviser to devise a set of reasonable expectations about final product.

Major Paper Guidelines should be followed closely. The final draft of the Major Paper must be completed by, at the latest three weeks before the end of the end of the semester where the student has registered for the Practicum. The paper must be submitted to all committee members at least 7 days prior to the defense date.

Students should choose and contact a faculty adviser at least two semesters before they plan on defending.

Students will consult with adviser to devise a set of reasonable expectations about final product.

Student and adviser will draw up a contract for the Practicum that will outline the nature of the work product (policy brief or background paper) and a timeline for its delivery. This must be completed by, at the latest, the end of the second week of the semester where the student has registered for a Practicum.

Committee One GIA adviser + 2 GIA faculty members – responsible for the final evaluation of each student’s work One GIA adviser + 2 GIA faculty members – responsible for the final evaluation of each student’s work
Final product Singal academically structured written paper (10,000 words document) based on coursework + oral defense.

  • Oral Defense: includes a brief (10 minutes) summary of the main argument followed by questions from the committee members
20-minute presentation before a GIA examining committee +  handout of the presentation, involving 15 to 25 illustrations (submitted to the committee before defense) + written product* + answers to questions from the committee.

Emphasis on professional presentation and communication. Questions from the committee follow the student’s presentation

*Written product: Students choose one option:

  • Option 1) POLICY BRIEF of 6,000 to 8,000 words providing crucial background on a contemporary policy issue, evaluation pros and cons, opportunities, and threats involved in various policy options. A professional document that must examine a policy question from all sides. They are not briefs that involve the advancement of partisan political agendas or goals.
  • Option 2) POLICY BACKGROUND PAPER of 6,000 to 8,000 words providing a comprehensive study of a contemporary political issue, including its history and evolution, and evaluate current policy options. The report will present data collected during the course of focused research task agreed in advance with the students’ adviser and (possibly) professional place of work.
Evaluation Evaluation is conducted on the final draft of the MP and the answers to the committee’s questions at the time of the defense. Evaluation will be conducted on the final work product: presentation, handout, written product, and answers to the committee’s questions at the time of defense.
MPIA Semester Abroad
Students in the MPIA program can spend a semester studying in:

This semester abroad can count up for four courses towards the completion of the degree. In exceptional circumstances and with permission, students may spend a year overseas and take five courses. Students need to have completed 9 credits and have their plan of study abroad approved prior to going abroad.

For further details: giastudyabroad@vt.edu

On the basis of bilateral cooperation agreements, it is possible for civilians from foreign countries to complete a portion of their studies at the Universität der Bundeswehr München. Currently, we offer foreign students the opportunity to stay for up to 12 months.

The International Office provides counseling to all exchange students and visiting scholars from abroad, who would like to study or carry out research at our university.

In addition to assist with all of the necessary administrative preparation, the International Office also manages the Buddy Program, offers a comprehensive cultural program to international students, and helps finding German language courses (at various levels).

Your Contact:

Susanna Nofal, M.A.
Inbound Mobility Coordinator

• provides counseling to international exchange students and visiting scolars concerning administrative matters such as application and admission
• offers support regarding visa procedures
• develops and organizes cultural and integrative programs for international students
• develops and coordinates the International Buddy Program

Phone: +49 89 6004 4682
Bldg. 38, Room 0120
Email:   susanna.nofal@unibw.de

Office hours: Mon – Thu 9am-5pm, Fri 9-2pm

The University of Tartu is one of the oldest universities in Northern and Eastern Europe. It was founded in 1632 by King Gustavus Adoplhus of Sweden. The university, modelled after the University of Uppsala in Sweden, was intended to pursue research and advance learning in a wide variety of disciplies. It has continued to adhere to this tradition.

The University of Tartu is the leading centre of research and training and the only classical university in Estonia. It preserves the culture and language of the Estonian people. For many Estonians higher education equals with the University of Tartu.

Visit the University of Tartu International Students page for more information.

HebrewU is consistently ranked as one of the Top 100 universities in the world and Top 25 best universities outside the US. HebrewU’s Rothberg International School (RIS) welcomes students from all over the world to pursue graduate study in a range of scholarly disciplines.

HebrewU offers courses and programs in a variety of fields, with a focus on social and political sciences, Israel and the Middle East, languages, religion, fine and performing arts, business and legal studies, and STEM.

Visit the HebrewU International Students page for more information.

The international collaborations of the University of Bucharest represents a strategic point of institutional development. International cooperation is realized through bilateral agreements with foreign universities and memberships in important university networks.

Visit the University of Bucharest International Students page for more information.

MPIA Two Capitals, Two Masters (TCTM)

Virginia Tech and University of Kent, Brussels are excited to partner in creating a unique, time efficient graduate program for students to study international relations in a Euro-Atlantic context. Two Capitals, Two Masters is a new and innovative double Master’s program, designed to offer students the opportunity to study, train, and network in two major centers of political activity, Washington D.C. and Brussels.

With their locations, near the U.S. executive (The White House), legislative (U.S. Congress) and judicial (Supreme Court) branches in Washington D.C.; and NATO and EU headquarters in Brussels, the two universities offer ample opportunities for learning, research and professional advancement.

The program is designed for students interested to study the corridors of power up close and personal, as decisions about international politics are being made. The program benefits students interested in government, teaching or non-profit careers, helps them learn to navigate the U.S. and the EU institutional structures, and offers them opportunities to network for their future. It allows students to earn two graduate degrees – an appealing feature in the job market – in half the time, and for half the cost of a typical graduate degree in the United States, making it a cost and time-effective alternative to existing graduate programs in international affairs.

The program consists of the following:

  1. One year of study at the University of Kent, Brussels (UKB): Students select an MA from the following specializations: international relations, international conflict and security, international political economy, European public policy, or international development.
  2. One year of study at Virginia Tech, National Capital Region (VT-NCR): Students enroll in the Master’s in Public and International Affairs (MPIA).
  3. At the end of two years, students earn an MA from UKB, and an MPIA from VT.

For further details: Dr. Georgeta Pourchot, Director, Two Capitals, Two Masters Program: georgeta@vt.edu

Q: If a student wants to start Two Capitals in Brussels, finish the UKB degree requirements, then spend some time in Europe before returning to Washington DC to complete the MPIA degree requirements, is that possible?
A: The student visa expires two weeks after completing the requirements for the UKB degree, and the university cannot extend that visa. If students want to spend more time in Europe but retain the option of pursuing Two Capitals, they can enroll as part-time students at UKB. That will enable them to finish the degree in two years, and give them more time in Europe.
Q: Can students start the program in spring?
A: They can, but it will take them longer to complete the degrees.
Q: How do I pick an MA at UKB?
A: It is entirely up to the student’s academic interests. UKB offers a variety of MA programs to choose from, see Programs/Course Work. VT offers only the MPIA program.
Q: How many credits can I transfer from UKB to VT?
A: Students can transfer a maximum of 15 credits, or the equivalent of 5 three credit courses from UKB to VT.
Q: Can U.S. students apply for federal aid in pursuit of Two Capitals?
A: Yes, they can. They can apply for financial aid for the year in the MPIA, and the year in the UKB.
Q: Can U.S. students work during their year in Brussels?
A: Yes. Based on their valid student visa status, they can work up to 20 hours a week.
Q: Can non-U.S. students work during their year in Washington DC?
A: Yes, to the extent that their F-1 visa permits it.
Q: Can non-U.S. students work in the United States after they graduate?
A: By law, non-U.S. students holding a valid F-1 visa have 18 months of “practical training” after they graduate. That means they can work in a field related to their graduate studies for 18 months after graduation.

Two Capitals is open to US and non-US students seeking Masters degrees. Students can start planning for the program by reading the information on this webpage carefully, understanding the deadlines for admissions, and the requirements for entering the program. This is an intensive program, designed for students who want to earn two Master’s degrees in half the time and for half the cost it normally takes in the United States to pursue two graduate degrees.

U.S. Students
Earning a Master’s degree in the United States is a two-year process. By enrolling in Two Capitals, students earn two graduate degrees in two years, from two different institutions.

U.S. students can start the program in Brussels or in Washington D.C. (Alexandria campus).

– If students start the program in Brussels, they complete an MA in one year (see Programs/Schedule of Study). Then they enroll in the MPIA program at VT, and the credits earned in University of Kent, Brussels (UKB) transfer towards the completion of the MPIA degree. Students can expect to finish both degrees in two years if they choose this option.

– If students start the program in Washington D.C. (Alexandria campus), they take a year of courses in the MPIA degree. Then they move to Brussels and complete requirements for an MA of their choice in one year. The credits earned in UKB are then transferred towards the completion of the second year of MPIA. Students will need to return to the U.S. and finish the final project, a major paper. Students can expect to finish both degrees in approximately three years if they choose this option.

– If students want to earn the two degrees in two years, it is recommended that they start in UKB, then come to VT for the second year.

Non U.S. Students

Non-U.S. students can start Two Capitals in Brussels, at the University of Kent (UKB); or in Washington D.C., at Virginia Tech National Capital Region (VT-NCR).

– If students start at UKB, they earn an MA in a specialization of their preference in one year (see Programs/Schedule of Study). Then they come to VT-NCR to start their MPIA program. Credits earned in UKB transfer towards the completion of the MPIA. Students choosing this option can expect to earn the two graduate degrees in two years.

– If students start at VT-NCR, they complete the first year of course work. Then they go to UKB for one year (see Programs/Schedule of Study). Then they return to the U.S. to complete the MPIA degree. Credits earned in UKB transfer towards the completion of the second year of course work necessary to earn the MPIA degree. Students will finish the MPIA requirements by writing a major paper. Students choosing this option can expect to earn the two graduate degrees in approximately three years.

For the Master’s in Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech Northern Capital Region (MPIA)

The two-year MPIA degree is a 36 credit hour degree. Students take 12 credit hours of foundational core classes, 12 credit hours of modes of inquiry classes, and 12 credit hours of elective classes (click here for the most recent handbook; course listings start on page 11). Classes are focused on various aspects and dimensions of ‘global security,’ including new security agendas, conflict analysis and resolution, international development and international political economy.

Students enrolled in Two Capitals transfer credits from University of Kent Brussels towards the completion of the 36 credit hour requirement. The maximum they can transfer is 15 credits, or the equivalent of 5 three credit courses.

The final requirement is to write a major paper, which is a journal article sized academic work on a subject determined by students in consultation with their advisor.

For the MA at University of Kent, Brussels Economics Module at University of Kent

Students can select any of the following MA degrees: international relations, international conflict and security, international political economy, European public policy, or international development. Irrespective of which MA they choose, the following applies:
– 12 months of graduate work at much higher intensity than undergraduate study.
– 6 modules during the first two semesters. Each module is worth 20 credits (10ECTS).
– Write a thesis during the summer semester. The thesis is 60 credits.

For more information, click here to check UKB page for course selection.

Schedule of Study

Depending on where and when students start the Two Capitals program, they can earn two graduate degrees in two years, or more.

Semesters:
– Fall semester: At University of Kent, Brussels (UKB), the Fall semester starts in September and ends in December. At Virginia Tech National Capital Region (VT-NCR), it starts late August through December.
– Spring semester: At UKB, spring semester starts in January through April. At VT-NCR, it starts in January through May.
– Summer semester: UKB has one summer semester, May through August. VT-NCR has two short summer semesters (six weeks each), from late May through early July, and early-July through mid-August.

Starting the program at the University of Kent, Brussels (UKB):
– The general schedule of study is two semesters of course work at UKB (Fall and spring), and one semester of thesis research and writing (summer). Courses (in UKB they are called Modules) are offered during the day.
– Then students transfer to VT-NCR, starting in late August. The schedule of study is two semesters of course work (Fall and spring), and completion of a major paper during the summer. Courses at VT-NCR are offered late afternoon and early evening.
– Students who choose this option can expect to earn two graduate degrees in two years.

Starting the program at VT-NCR:
– Students complete two semesters of graduate course work (Fall and spring). Courses at VT-NCR are offered late afternoon and early evening.
– Then they transfer to UKB to complete two semesters of graduate course work (Fall and spring), and one semester of thesis research and writing (summer). Courses (in UKB they are called Modules) are offered during the day.
– Then students return to VT-NCR, where the credits earned at UKB transfer towards completion of course work for the MPIA degree. Students have a final project to complete, a major paper during the summer.
– Students who choose this option can expect to earn two graduate degrees in approximately three years.

Starting the program at either university, in the spring semester:
– Students complete two semesters of course work, spring and Fall at VT-NCR or UKB; then they write a thesis (UKB) or major paper (VT-NCR) by the end of the following spring semester. During the summer between the course work, they can seek internships.
– Students who choose this option can expect to earn two graduate degrees in three years or more.

Brussels and Washington D.C. offer practical opportunities for students to deepen and apply their theoretical knowledge of politics, by seeking internships in think-tanks or government institutions, attending hearings, meetings and seminars in their areas of interest, and seeking after-school jobs.

IN BRUSSELS

Brussels is the location for the headquarters of the European Union (EU), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Students have opportunities to seek internships, attend public meetings, seminars and conferences, and network. Distances are short relative to the United States, and a student can visit Luxembourg, Paris, or London in a day trip, on public transportation.

IN WASHINGTON DC

Washington DC is the center of American political power. The Congress of the United States with its two chambers, the House of Representatives, and the Senate, the White House, and the Supreme Court are located in downtown DC. The Pentagon, the headquarters of the Department of Defense, is a short car ride away in Northern Virginia. Students have opportunities to seek internships, attend public meetings, public hearings in Congress or the Supreme Court, and visit any of these institutions. Public transportation consists of metro and buses; and the routes and schedule of operations are available on the internet.

Arriving in the U. S.

The closest international airports to Washington D.C. are Dulles International Airport and Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Public transportation consists of buses, taxi cabs, or shuttles that can take the students to their destination.
If students do not have any contacts in the U.S., contact program director (georgeta@vt.edu) before arriving, to see what kind of arrangements can be made to make the first day manageable.

Finding a place to live

The Virginia Tech National Capital Region (VT-NCR) is located at 1021 Prince Street in Alexandria, just a few miles south of Washington D.C. Students can arrive at VT-NCR by metro (King street stop) + trolley (or a brief 15-minute walk from the metro station); bus (there are several bus lines, schedule and routes are available on the internet); or personal car.
Students who wish a place to live close to the campus will need to research available rentals in Old Town Alexandria. These rentals tend to be expensive due to location.

Students who plan to take the metro to class can find more affordable rentals in the town of Arlington, in Washington D.C., or outside Old Town of Alexandria.

The admissions process for the Two Capitals program is the same as regular admission to the two universities. Students can enter the program by applying at both universities at the same time, or in sequence.

U.S. students need an average of 3.2 GPA if they want to enroll in Two Capitals.

UKB students need an average score of 60 or better if they want to enroll in Two Capitals.

There is no deadline to apply for an MA at UKB, applications are considered as they are received. If prospective students are from outside the EU, it is recommended they apply no later than three months prior to desired start date.
Virginia Tech has application deadlines. For U.S. students, for admission in the Fall semester, deadline is August 1st; for admission in the spring semester, deadline is January 1st. For non-U.S. students, for admission in the Fall semester, deadline is April 1st; for admission in the spring semester, deadline is September 1st.

Click here to apply for admission at UKB.

Click here to apply for admission at VT.

Cost of Program

1. Course Fees for the year at University of Kent, Brussels (based on 2014 academic year):
– 16,500 euro, or $22,171/year.

Cost of living in Brussels (estimates per month):
– Accommodations range between $640 to $1,040 depending on single-room occupancy or shared apartment; and on area of the city and size of apartment.
– Food ranges between $160 to $320.
– Other expenses (laundry, socializing, cell phone service) range between $400 to $1,000.
– Health insurance is required.

2. Course Fees for the year in Washington D.C. (based on 2014 academic year):
– For U.S. students: in-state or out-of-state tuition, as the case may be. Click here for university fees.
– For non-U.S. students: $28,901/year.
– Tuition at VT tends to increase by 5% per year.

Cost of living in Washington D.C. (estimates per month):
– Accommodations average $1,200, depending on single-room occupancy or shared apartment; and on area of the city and size of apartment.
– Food ranges between $300 to $800, depending on whether students eat out, or cook for themselves.
– Other expenses (laundry, books, socializing, cell phone service) range between $300 to $500.
– Health insurance is required.

Financial Aid

1. U.S. students can apply for federal loans or grants in accordance with the law, for both years in the Two Capitals program. Click here for the VT financial aid office to find options.
Some financial aid may become available from Virginia Tech, on a case by case basis. For inquiries, contact program director, georgeta@vt.edu.

2. Non-U.S. students need to inquire with University of Kent in Brussels about their options. Click here for UKB financial aid office.

Georgeta Pourchot
Dr. Georgeta Pourchot
Director, Two Capitals, Two Masters

Mailing Address:
1021 Prince Street
Government and International Affairs
Virginia Tech – Alexandria Center
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 838-8326
Fax: (703) 518-8009
Email: georgeta@vt.edu

GIA Handbook

Download the GIA Handbook.
NOTE: The official GIA handbook will be updated soon. Please check back for posted update.

Download the GIA Handbook
Current GIA Students

Master’s of Public and International Affairs (MPIA)

REBEKAH MALLOY
I grew up in a military family and am deeply grateful to have had the eye-opening opportunity to live overseas and experience other cultures. I obtained my B.A., majoring in English and German, from Hillsdale College in 2017. While at Hillsdale, I was involved in the International Club as secretary, foreign language coordinator and also served as the club’s essay-writing tutor for international students. I am interested in Just War Theory, national defense, conflict resolution and overseas U.S. military engagement. The MPIA program has proven invaluable in my professional development: professors brings something new and relevant to the table each time they lecture, they bring in practitioners, work with students on their interests in addition to the coursework, and always encourage scholarly discussion.
JOSH MILLER
The MPIA program has changed the way I approach critical problem sets in my daily work as a National Security consultant. The academic theory with which students wrestle in the classroom both enlightens and enables, which has allowed me to think strategically and analyze geopolitical issues on a deeper level. The reading, writing, discussion, and interaction with professors of the highest caliber have all contributed greatly to daily successes both in the classroom and in the workplace.
VICTORIA SHWARTZ
Victoria earned a B.A. from Virginia Tech in 2016 double majoring in International Studies and Religion and Culture with a minor in Spanish while also focusing on sociology. She has been a full-time student in the MPIA program with research interests in global governance particularly regarding immigration and refugees.
ALLISON JOHNSON
Allison is originally from Utah. She currently works as a communications specialist supporting Customs and Border Protection. She previously worked as a contractor supporting the Department of Veteran Affairs. Allison graduated from the University of Utah in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics, Bachelor of Science in Journalism, and a Bachelor of Science in International Studies. While earning her undergraduate degrees, she had the opportunity to travel to more than fifteen countries. These experiences included teaching English in Japan, studying in Italy, traveling in India, and volunteering in Uganda and Mexico. Her research interests include global health issues, food security, and immigration.
BUKHARI MUHAMED
Bukhari was born and raised in Darfur Region of Sudan. He graduated from George Washington University with a B.A. in International Affair. Before joining Virginia Tech, he worked for AmeriCorps for a year. Currently, he works for Amnesty International as a Field Representative and is an Arabic linguist for Ad Star. Bukhari’s is interested in the history of International negotiations and conflict resolution.
AMANDA WALTERS
Amanda is currently researching international cooperation in the global health sector. During her career Amanda has worked in project management, program implementation, and operations for several small consulting firms. Her work has been in support of many federal offices primarily within the Department of Health and Human Services, including the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Amanda received her B.A. from James Madison College at Michigan State University, majoring in International Relations (IR) and Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy (PTCD).
LEAH SCHEUNEMANN
Leah earned a B.A. in International Studies, magna cum laude, from American University in 2014 where she focused her studies on Central Europe. While at American University she studied abroad in Berlin and Prague. Leah is currently the Country Director for the United Kingdom and Ireland in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Before joining the Department of Defense, she worked for the Senate Armed Services Committee as a Research Analyst and then a Professional Staff Member overseeing military readiness budgets. Prior to that she had various internships at European-focused think tanks in DC. Leah’s research interests include national security and the backsliding of democracy in Europe.

Ph.D. in Public Administration and Planning (P.G.G.-G.G.)

MARTIN CHO
Martin earned a BA in History from the University of Illinois (1999) and a MA in Security Studies from Georgetown University (2013).

His research interests are in the geopolitics and development of energy resources.

Prior to enrolling at Virginia Tech, he worked in investment banking, covering natural resource and infrastructure companies. Martin later worked at the Department of Energy focusing on new energy technology and on international policy.

CARL CIOVACCO
Carl is a PhD student in the Government and International Affairs Program. His research focus is on national security and the social construction of threat perception. He is currently writing his dissertation on the evolution of American threat narratives around China.

Formerly an American military officer with experience in the intelligence community, he currently works in the financial industry.

Carl holds a Bachelor of Science in International Relations from West Point and a Master in Public Policy in International Security and Political Economy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

PISHTIWAN JALAL
Pishtiwan was born in Iraqi Kurdistan the same year five thousand Kurds were massacred by chemical weapons, nearly two hundred thousand Kurdish women and children were buried alive in the desserts of Arabia, and 5,000 villages (including his) were destroyed. He grew up and finished school within a civil war zone.

After earning his BA at the University of Kurdistan-Hewler, he started a masters program in International Security at the same university and worked as the deputy manager of Radio Dewran. After winning a scholarship from the Kurdistan Regional Government, he moved to Washington, D.C. earned an MA in International Affairs at the Catholic University of America, and worked as a research assistant at the Rethink Institute.

His main research interests are terrorism, Islamic radicalism, political Islam, democracy and the Kurdish issue.

CRAIG JOHNSON
Craig’s research interests include international organization and nuclear security regimes.

He holds an MA in Security Policy Studies from The George Washington University and a BA in Political Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

He is a Seminar XXI Fellow with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a recipient of the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholarship Award. He currently serves as a national security analyst for the United States Government.

JOE KARLE
Joe earned a BS in Political Science from Central Michigan University (2010) and an MA in International Relations (2016) from Texas A&M University.

His interested in analyzing US nation building efforts in the Middle East since 9/11, particularly the way interactions between US personnel and local leaders (governmental and military) impact the development of governance and security structures.

Joe served as a paratrooper in US Army’s 3/509th Parachute Infantry Regiment as was deployed to Afghanistan from 2011-2012.

GREGORY KRUCZEK
Greg’s research interests are nationalism studies, ethnic conflict and civil war, and Middle Eastern Christian communities. His doctoral dissertation examines how Assyrian-Christian communities in Iraq have responded to ISIL and the breakdown of the state.

Greg worked at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, and Penn State University’s Center for Network-Centric Cognition and Information Fusion. He was also an instructor in the Department of Political Science at Susquehanna University, teaching classes on world affairs and comparative domestic politics.

Greg has a B.A., B.S., and M.A from Penn State University.

RICK LANDGRAF
Major Walter “Rick” F. Landgraf III is an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army.

He earned a BA in Political Science from McDaniel College in 2003, an MPIA from Virginia Tech in 2010, and an MS in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University in 2013.

He has over 13 years of experience in intelligence analysis and collection operations, including three years of combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently posted in the United Kingdom serving as an intelligence liaison.

His research interests are NATO-Russia relations, de facto independent states, and post-Soviet conflicts.

JULIAN R. MEADE
Julian is a part-time student in Virginia Tech’s Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) doctoral program. His research interest is Arctic region governance and geopolitics.

He earned a M.S. in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University (2000), a master’s in Political Science from Auburn University at Montgomery (1999), and a bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (1997).

Julian is an Assistant Professor for Intelligence Studies at the National Intelligence University. He retired from the U.S. Air Force after more than 21 years on active duty and was deployed to Iraq in 2005.

GELA MERABISHVILI
Gela holds a BA in international Relations and an MA degrees from Tbilisi State University. On a graduate level, he narrowed his focus on the politics of South Caucasus (2013). He also holds a MA degree in European Studies from Maastricht University (2012).

His professional background includes internships at the Embassy of Georgia to Hungary, Center for EU Enlargement Studies, and the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs (all in Budapest) and research assistantships at Center for European Policy Studies, and European Stability Initiative (both in Brussels). He is interested in how sub-state actors, such as cities and regions, influence international politics.

In terms of geographic regions, he is interested in the EU, particularly its foreign and security policy, Russia, and the countries in their shared neighborhood.

GABRIEL MITCHELL
Gabriel is the US Representative of Mitvim – the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies. O

riginally from the United State, Gabriel moved to the Middle East after completing his Bachelor of Arts in History at The Ohio State University. He also holds an Master of Arts in Political Science from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Gabriel’s interests include regionalism, majority-minority politics, and the formation of state foreign policy. His dissertation explores the relationship between energy policy and foreign policy in Israel and the Eastern Mediterranean.

ERIC READING
Eric serves as Executive Vice President for Chemonics International, a leading global development firm promoting meaningful change around the world to help people live healthier, more productive, and independent lives.

During his career he has worked in development policy and program implementation in governance, urban development, conflict, food security, energy, health, education, environment, gender, and economic growth in more than 40 countries in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America and lived in Egypt and Kosovo. His research focuses on the dynamics shaping global development policy and practice.

Eric holds an M.A. (1993) and B.A. (1992), both in international affairs from Florida State University.

JEANNETTE RUIZ
Jeanette received an undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Her research interests focus on understanding how information and communication technologies (ICTs) impact and empower informal networks as tools for re-shaping economies, polities, and international relations. She has worked as a contractor serving the Department of Defense.

ATAL JASON SHARIF
Atal Jason Sharif is a US Air Force Civil Aviation Intelligence Analysis Center Principle Intelligence Analyst specializing in counter proliferation, arms trafficking, drug smuggling, counter terrorism, and counter intelligence. In addition to his 11 years in the Air Force civil service, Atal deployed twice to Afghanistan as a civilian: in 2011 on-loan with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) as a Senior Intelligence Analyst studying civil military relations, governance, and Afghan security institutions, and in 2015 with the Ministry of Defense Advisor (MoDA) program as a Senior Advisor for the Afghan National Police advising on several police intelligence issues to include analysis, special investigations, counter corruption, and counter insurgency operations. Atal’s research focuses on Afghan security institutions and US train, advise and assist policies.
GIA Alumni

Master’s of Public and International Affairs

DAWN CUTLER
I got my undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in 2015 studying Political Science with a focus in National Security. I then became one of the first students to attend the University of Kent in Brussels under Virginia Tech’s new Two Capitals, Two Master’s program. I returned from Belgium, completing my first degree with the submission of my Dissertation on International Democracy Promotion. I am now completing the second part of the Two Capitals Program, attending Virginia Tech in Alexandria and planning to finish my MPIA in May of 2017. My research interests include the Security Studies and the Middle East as well as more practical concepts such as human rights and refugee law, refugee resettlement and asylum procedures and humanitarian action.
FERNANDA BEIRAO
I received my Bachelor of Law degree from the Federal University of Paraná, in Curitiba, Brazil, and practiced at an international arbitration and contracts law firm. I received my LL.M from Georgetown University Law Center in 2016, focusing on international environmental law. I worked as an intern at the Georgetown Climate Center, The Nature Conservancy and the Humane Society of the United States. My research interests are on climate change policy and international development, especially within small island developing states.
ALTERRA HETZEL
For me, the MPIA program was a win-win-win. I completed the program at Virginia Tech’s Alexandria location. The program provided highly relevant content that offered both a foundation in theory and marketable skills in my field. The high caliber of both the faculty and my fellow students ensured relevant and real-world learning — and those relationships continue to have an important and lasting impact on my life. Career-wise, since the completion of the VT MPIA program, both my title and compensation have doubled.
AVI ARDITTI
I appreciate the breadth and currency that the MPIA program offered in areas ranging from governance and global security to geopolitics and political economy. As someone who took on a new career opportunity in homeland security while completing the program, having previously worked in public diplomacy, I can say that the knowledge I gained has been extremely applicable to both fields. I enjoyed studying alongside other government, military, and industry professionals, as well as the added benefits of Metro-accessible evening classes and in-state tuition.
CHRISTOPHER CRADDOCK
My desire was to attend a graduate program filled with students who have real-world experience in public policy, international affairs, and conflict resolution. The Virginia Tech MPIA program in the National Capital Region provided me with this opportunity. During my time in the program, I participated in thoughtful and enlightening discussions in a classroom setting with my professors, members of the military, mid and senior-level federal and state employees, and members of private industry. Through this interaction, I was able to apply real-life lessons to theoretical topics assigned by the MPIA faculty. As a result, I have been able to build a toolkit of successful examples to utilize in my professional life that augment critical thinking and writing skills honed through coursework.
ETHAN TABOR
The MPIA program at Virginia Tech in Alexandria provided me with the critical, analytical, and communication skills necessary to excel as a government public affairs professional at various locations in the United States and around the world. In addition to the hard-earned benefits of the program’s academic rigor, I will always be grateful for the outstanding networking opportunities and real-world perspectives shared by the professors and students from diverse backgrounds in academia, the military, government, and civil society.
MIKE YOUNG
Mike graduated with an MPIA in 2015 with a focus in Governance and Global Security. Mike has works as a Major, Intelligence Offier and Foreign Area Officer specializing in the Middle East for the United States Marine Corps. In the past he worked as a Government Civilian at the Department of Defense. About his Experience Mike says: “My SPIA education made me increasingly competitive for more senior Department of Defense positions within both the military and civilian sectors, and complemented my current trajectory within the foreign policy/defense/international affairs realm. Furthermore, the degree and expertise garnered through the program enabled eligibility for the Marine Corps Foreign Area Officer program. Throughout my tenure at VT, I was consistently impressed by the caliber of instruction offered through this program which is a testament to the professionalism and quality of the university staff. This program substantially enhanced my critical thinking skills and broadened my aperture beyond exclusive security themes, incorporating economic, political, and international governance tenets. In light of my immensely positive experience in this program, I hope to continue my studies at VT in pursuit of a PhD.”
SHARON GREY
The Virginia Tech Master’s in Public and International Affairs (MPIA) program in Old Town Alexandria provided the flexibility I needed to complete my advanced degree. As a busy professional, this program had the capacity to absorb the demands of my schedule. There were moments when I struggled with the program, but they were short-lived, thanks to the willingness of my professors to accommodate one on one discussions, which furthered my understanding of the subject matter and alleviated my concerns. The program enhanced my critical analysis skills and increased my capacity to apply viable research methods to problem solving, which are invaluable assets in any profession. I would recommend this program to anyone, seeking to balance family and work responsibilities while furthering his or her education.
KATHARINE CORCORAN
Katharine is the International Accounts Specialist at ThinkFun, working to empower minds through play across the globe! Previously, she served as a Senior Program Coordinator at the Federal Judicial Center, an independent agency in the judicial branch, developing educational and training programs for the federal judiciary. Katharine served two appointments at the Supreme Court of the United States, including Aide to Chambers for Justice Elena Kagan. She graduated from Virginia Tech in 2014 with a Master of Arts in Public and International Affairs and William & Mary in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Psychology.

Ph.D. in Public Administration and Planning

SONYA FINLEYAssistant Professor at the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy
Sonya earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (International Relations/German Literature) from Emory University in 1990 and a MPA (International Relations) from Cornell University in 2000. She is a PhD candidate in the Government and International Affairs program at Virginia Tech (National Capital Region).

Currently, she is an Assistant Professor at the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, National Defense University after a 26 year career as an Army Strategist. Her professional experiences include advising senior uniformed and civilian leadership within the Department of Defense in assignments ranging from Asia to Europe and the Middle East, as well as teaching at the United States Military Academy at West Point and the National War College at the National Defense University. She is a former East-West Fellow and former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Her research interests include national and defense strategy, public diplomacy, and political and information warfare.

DALLAS SHAW
Dallas Shaw’s research interests include third party interventions in intrastate conflict, the impacts of 2nd battlefield foreign fighters, and understanding how organizations innovate and adapt. He is currently working on developing theories of symbiotic adaptation and artificial adaptation as causal mechanisms to explain how intervening military and civilian representatives develop governance in weak, failed, or failing states.

He is also a recently retired Marine Corps officer who has served 27 years in conventional and special operations units and led Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. He currently teaches expeditionary warfare to Marine Corps captains and international officers with the Marine Corps University.

When he is not working or studying he spends copious amounts of time adoring his wife Jeannette, visiting his son Hithem in North Carolina, wrestling with his youngest son Sami, teaching professional ethics courses, or fellowshipping with friends from church.

DAVID BELT
David graduated from the PGG program in 2014, having written a thesis on “A Muslim-led Strategy for Countering Violent Extremism”, which explored national security discourse as a platform for politics. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy (1982), and earned a Masters in Resource and Security Strategy from the National Defense University (2005). Since 2008, David has led courses and mentored theses on security issues emerging in Islamic communities, and especially in the broader Middle East, at the National Intelligence University, Washington DC. In 2016, he co-founded and is the co-editor of the Journal of Strategic Intelligence. Prior to that, David was Assistant Professor of National Security Studies at the Eisenhower School of the National Defense University. In a former career, Captain Belt served twenty-six years in the Navy’s Special Operations Officer community, with a total of nine years in command, both afloat and ashore.
HEBA EL-SHAZLI
Heba earned her doctorate from Virginia Tech (VT) School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) and an MA in International Relations from Georgetown University. Heba is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at George Mason University’s The Schar School of Policy and Government and an adjunct faculty at Georgetown University’s Master’s Degree Program at the Center for Democracy and Civil Society. She teaches courses on governments and politics of the Middle East and North Africa, Islam and politics, international relations theory, Israeli-Palestinian politics, and role of civil society in democratization. Dr. El-Shazli has 28 years of professional work experience in civic and union organizing, institution building, leadership skills training, labor education and training methodologies, political advocacy, and development. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Her research interests include: civil society and social movements; challenges of democratization and political transition in the Middle East and North Africa, Islam and politics, and the political role of the labor movement.
ADIS MAKSIC
Adis graduated from the PGG program in 2014. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations and European Studies of International Burch University in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Adis wrote his dissertation on “Mobilizing for Ethnic Violence? Ethno-national Political Parties and the Dynamics of Ethno-politicization”, which won an Outstanding Dissertation Award at Virginia Tech. He earned his MA Degree in Political Science from Virginia Tech, while his BA is from Michigan State University. Adis produced several articles in notable academic journals that examined the mobilizing power of ethno-nationalist discourses in both prewar and postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina. His ongoing research examines nationalist mobilizations in the Balkans and the Caucuses.
ARNOLD DUPUY
Arnie works for Booz Allen Hamilton as an analyst in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy. He retired from the U.S. Army in 2005 after 25 years of of service, having completed his last major assignment in Afghanistan. In May of 2016, defended his dissertation title on “Changing Patterns of Regionalism and Security in the Wider Black Sea Area: The Transformative Impact of Energy.” Arnie’s research interests are energy geopolitics and the confluence of the cyber and energy fields, particularly regarding the vulnerability of energy infrastructure.
BRYAN RIDDLE
Bryan earned his B.S. in the American Legal System from the US Academy (1998) and a M.S. in International Relations from Troy University (2006). He has concluded his Ph.D. in Planning, Governance, and Globalization in 2016. His research examined how we conceptualize the strategy making process and account for geostrategic change by exploring the decisions to employ counterinsurgency doctrine to failing war efforts in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. As a consultant at a not-for-profit organization, Bryan supports the Counterterrorism Partnerships Directorate within the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism. In that capacity, he works with the US European Command CT Partnerships portfolio and supports the Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund.

Bryan’s book, Essence of Desperation: Counterinsurgency Doctrine as the Solution to War-Fighting Failures was published by Lexingtom Books in 2018.

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