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New International Affairs Graduate Degree Blends Policy, Analytical, and Management Skills

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The School of International Service (SIS) has launched a unique degree designed to equip future international affairs policy experts with the hard analytical and management skills they need to effect change in their field: the Master of Arts in International Affairs, Policy, and Analysis (IAPA).

As part of the IAPA curriculum, a variety of courses will be offered so that students can navigate a diverse spectrum of complex global challenges. The degree is “for students who want to serve but need hard policy skills and demonstrated expertise to get hired and start fulfilling that calling,” says Michael Schroeder, professor and assistant dean for masters programs at SIS.

Professor Schroeder says he is excited about the recent unveiling of the new degree, which will begin enrollment this month for courses beginning in the Fall 2019 semester: “We wanted a degree that would help students get the kind of jobs they want, and that ensures they could make a contribution once they were in that position. Our graduates will be well-positioned to serve as diplomats, policy and intelligence analysts, project and program managers, and applied researchers, to name just a few [professions].”

Unlike other international affairs policy degrees, the new IAPA program allows students to organize their academic focus around the international affairs policy problems that interest them. They can hone in on nuclear proliferation, human and women’s rights, climate change, inequality, sustainable development, or other areas. They will also complete a set of skills-based courses engineered to meet the specific, real-time needs of government agencies, private enterprises, and non-profit organizations. The degree culminates in an integrated policy exercise that involves creating a portfolio of professional deliverables for graduates to include with their job applications.

“We are very aware of the need for our instruction to balance academic rigor with employable skills,” said Christine BN Chin, dean of SIS. “Students come to SIS because they want to serve their communities and the world, and in order to do that, they must be prepared for what today’s world demands of them: hard skills and the ability to think critically about thorny and intractable challenges worldwide.” 

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