MPIA: Master of Public & International Affairs2018-09-13T16:39:49+00:00

      MPIA

          MASTER OF PUBLIC & INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
Master of Public and International Affairs (MPIA)
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 regional politics of the Middle East, post-Soviet Eurasia, and Latin America are analyzed in particular.

Begin your academic journey, or expand your professional skill set while exploring:

  • US foreign policy
  • Conflict resolution
  • Global security
  • International development
  • Global political economy
  • Transnational social movements
  • Environmental politics

Full-time or part-time students are welcome!

Our current student body is diverse and vibrant, including full and part-time professionals in the federal government, NGOs, and private contractors; military leaders; and recent graduates starting their careers in Washington, DC.

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.

Understand the “big picture” in international trends

Understand the impacts and evolving challenges of globalization

Achieve professional advancement through completion of a specialized master’s degree

Reach next-level engagement with national and international actors

MPIA Curriculum
  • 36 credit hour degree open to part-time and full-time students
  • Classes are taught in small seminars and mostly in the evenings
  • Some online classes are available, taught by full-time faculty
  • Students enjoy individualized guidance from their academic advisers
  • Semester Abroad Option
  • Funding Opportunities – scholarships and tuition support are available.

GIA/UAP 5004 Power and Policy in the U.S: This course reviews theories of power before examining studies of power in the United States. Reading classic and contemporary studies, it considers how power structure, relations and conditioning factors shape the exercise of policy within the US state and in its foreign relations.

GIA/UAP 5164 Collaborative Governance & Civil Society: In this course students explore the foundations of collaborative governance and theories of civil society. This foundation includes related concepts such as the public sphere and deliberative democracy and the relationship between these concepts and contemporary labels such as “the third sector,” “the voluntary sector,” and “the nonprofit sector.” Through case studies, students analyze various practices of partnership between these sectors and other actors, such as the government and businesses.

GIA/UAP 5274 Comparative Social Movements: This course examines the emergence and activities of social movements around the world. Social movements are ubiquitous and broad ranging, from movements that advocating more nutritious meals in schools to those demanding the overthrow of governments. The course focuses how and why social movements form, how the interact with governments and global institutions, and why some social movements adopt violence. The class uses broad theories of social change and in depth case studies of individual movements.

GIA/PSCI 5434 Politics of Developing Areas: The course explores the politics of market reforms in emerging markets since the 1980s, diverse paths to economic development that challenge some of the “conventional wisdom” on economic growth prevalent in the 1990s, and new patterns of economic resilience in the world economy. The limitations of growth trajectories common to middle income countries are also analyzed.

GIA/PSCI 5434 International Politics: This courses offers a graduate level survey on the theories of international organizations and relations among nations focusing on research in foreign policy formulation and implementation, international integration, conflict resolution, and global political economy.

GIA/UAP/PAPA 5034 Global Political Economy: The course explores the contemporary history of capitalism since the crash of 1929 to present, highlighting episodes of financial instability in the US and abroad. Case studies of debt and financial crises are explored, including the Asian crisis of 1997, the Argentine crisis of 2001, the US/global credit crisis of 2007-08, and current challenges to the endurance of the Eurozone.

GIA/PSCI 5484 Contemporary American Foreign Policy: This course reviews the societal and cultural sources, the bureaucratic structures that implement, and the personalities that are the key-decision makers in US foreign policy. The course reviews topical themes and policy dilemmas.

GIA/PSCI 5474 Global Governance: In this course students will explore the history and practice of global governance. Readings include political theories that help to explain the relationship between global actors and the nation state, including intergovernmental organizations and nonprofit organizations. Students will examine the norms, institutions and practices developed by the international community to address systemic global governance problems in the context of contemporary case studies.

GIA 5634: Global Social Policy: This course examines the history and practice of national and global welfare regimes since WWII. Students will explore theories of comparative welfare regimes and the emergence of global welfare regimes. Students will apply theories of social rights and human rights to contemporary issues in social policy at a global level and intersections with international development policy.

GIA 5514 Global Security: This course focuses on key themes in global security—the challenge of weak and failing states and the efforts to rebuild them. For over a decade U.S. national security strategists have label weak and failing states as a danger to U.S. interests and global stability, spawning civil wars, terrorism, and mass atrocities. The U.S. has taken on numerous state-building projects, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. This class will look at the deeper historical factors that affect the formation of states and the various policy tools available to try to fix them.

GIA 5314 Middle East Geopolitics: This course focuses on issues in international relations in the Middle East, including impact of political geography, emergence of regional system, relationship between identity and citizenship, domestic and transnational political contestation, and U.S. regional policy. It uses theories of social, cultural, and economics change to examine linkage between citizenship, religion, and political authority, particularly in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and the Persian Gulf region.

GIA 5624 Conflict Resolution & Peace Building: This course provides a comprehensive survey to contemporary conflict resolution. It discusses the strategies and approaches for mitigating and resolving conflict and the processes of conflict transformation and importance of reconciliation.

GIA 5404/GEOG 5424 Topics in Political Geography: This course is a graduate introduction to the core concepts of political geography: space/power, territory, borders, geopolitics and geographic imaginations. The course reviews classic and contemporary works that grapple with these questions in the field.

GIA/UAP/PSCI 5254 Global Conflicts: This course is a graduate introduction to the triangle of conflict: state-territory-identity. After reviewing core concepts and literatures, the course examines select topical territorial conflicts for in-depth analysis.

GIA 6114 Critical Geopolitics: This is an advanced seminar examines the foundational texts in critical approaches to geopolitics. Thereafter it examines a series of central themes and topics in critical geopolitics: geopolitical fields, technology and time-space compression, intellectuals and geopolitics, popular geopolitics, practical geopolitics, the role of affect and visuality in geopolitics.

GIA/PSCI 5354: Public Policy Analysis: This course examines the various approaches to policy analysis and program evaluation including the techniques appropriate to specific stages of the policy process. Case studies will focus on national and global security.

GIA 5524 International Development: This course explores the contentious concept of economic “development” as an intellectual paradigm and policy road map. It focuses on some of the main theories in the field, emphasizing the role of ideas in development policy. The goal is to provide students with tools for critical analysis of middle and low-income countries’ persistent challenges in some historical perspective.

GIA 5614: Understanding the Israeli Palestinian Conflict: This course addresses the underlying dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and discusses the critical issues that divide Israel and the Palestinians. It particular, it discusses the various diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the conflict and why a resolution to the conflict has remained so elusive.

GIA 5464 Qualitative Research Methods in Global Studies: This course introduces MPIA, MPA, and Ph.D. students to key topics in qualitative and multi-method social science analysis. The course offers a broad overview of methodological approaches, including causation, hypotheses, and concept formation. It also uses real world examples to teach techniques like interviewing, archival research, ethnography, and combining statistical analysis and case studies.

GIA 5115 Research Methods: This course provides an introduction to research methods and a non-exhaustive description of analytical avenues and parameters in qualitative research in the social sciences. Special attention is given to small-N, comparative case study analyses. Students learn key processes in the effort of designing original and theoretically grounded research projects.

GIA/PSCI 5214 Contemporary Political Theory: This courses focuses on elected topics in contemporary political theory, including different models of social science inquiry and the use of basic concepts like power, ideology, rationality, and the state in the study of politics.

GIA/UAP/PSCI 5504 Discourse Analysis: This online course is a graduate level introduction to the foundational thinkers and the key concepts behind social science discourse analysis theory and methods. The course reviews key works that grapple with discourse and associated notions like affect and gender.

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

Apply to the MPIA Program

Admission to the Master’s in Public and International Affairs (MPIA) is based on a combination of four criteria:

  • Undergraduate performance (GPA)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose/interest in program
  • Professional background and experience

The Master’s in Public and International Affairs (MPIA) does not have an application deadline but has a ‘rolling admissions’ policy. As a general guideline, applications for Fall Admissions (Fall semester starts in late August) should be filed by 15 July, and applications for Spring admissions (spring semester starts in late January) should be filed by 1 January in order to allow time for review. Applications for Summer admission is 15 April.

A limited number of Graduate Student Assistantships are available year. Students wishing to be considered for one of these assistantships should apply by 15 February.

Students can be admitted to the MPIA degree program in the Fall, Spring, and Summer. However, it is recommended that students enter in the Fall or Spring semesters as our foundational courses are taught face to face during the Fall and Spring semesters

Information Sessions: All Washington D.C. based applicants are encouraged to attend an information session before applying.

  • A GPA average minimum 3.0 in an undergraduate degree is required for admission to the MPIA degree
  • TOEFL minimum 580 or 237 (if electronic) for international students whose first language is not English.
  • GRE scores of at least 1100, verbal and quantitative.

Non-traditional, part-time working professionals can make a case for the GRE to be waived. Applicants wishing to request a waver are encouraged to come to an information session or contact the program director, Prof. Joel Peters to be considered.

If your undergraduate GPA falls below 3.0 you can begin the MPIA program as a non-degree Commonwealth Campus student.  If students perform well in the courses they take, they can build a case for admission into the MPIA degree. You can take up to four courses as a Commonwealth Campus student – for more details see the Test Drive this Degree tab.

Prospective student statement of purpose indicating their areas of interest, professional background and experience (if applicable) and their interest in pursuing a Master’s of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. They should include a professional resume.

Three letters of recommendation from a mix of former professors and others who have had the opportunity to observe the applicant in a professional capacity.

Graduate Online Application – This is housed on the Graduate School website. It is a centralized application process for all graduate degree programs.

Tuition – A breakdown of costs is available at the Bursar’s Office

Financial Aid Office

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Are you uncertain about enrolling in this program but would be interested in trying a class?

Many part-time, non-traditional students begin the MPIA programs as a non-degree Commonwealth Campus student. If students perform well in the courses they take, they can build a case for admission into the MPIA degree.

Students can take up to twelve credit hours (typically four classes) as a non-degree Commonwealth Campus student. And all credits earned are automatically transferred to the student’s transcript should they enroll in the MPIA program.

Commonwealth Campus status is open to an applicant who holds an earned bachelors or higher degree from a regionally accredited U.S. university. International students in F1 or J1 visa status are not eligible for Commonwealth Campus status.

Please note that International students must have a decision on their applications no later than the following deadlines:

  • For Fall Admissions – 1 April
  • For applications for Spring admissions – 1 September

Please allow plenty of time for the review of your application. Any decisions made after these time frames need to be approved in advance and on a case-by- case basis, by the Graduate School’s International Graduate Student Services staff.  The contact email is intlncr@vt.edu.

Evidence of English Proficiency: International applicants are exempt from demonstrating English proficiency if they have graduated from an accredited university where English is the language of instruction or if they are U.S. permanent residents (“green card” holders).

International applicants may demonstrate English proficiency by submitting scores from the Test of
English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A minimum TOEFL score of 550 on the paper-based test (PBT) or 80 on the internet-based
test (iBT) is required for consideration of the application.

International students in F-1 or J-1 status who obtained admission into a degree program are eligible for consideration by the academic departments for assistantships and in-state tuition scholarships.

Current MPIA Students
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.
MPIA Alumni
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.
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 PGG program, managed 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 certificate 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 Certificate 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 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

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