Master of Public Administration (MPA)

MPA Curriculum

The curriculum of the MPA degree program is designed to provide students with qualitative and quantitative analytical skills and with the hands-on management skills required by leaders in the major fields of public affairs, combined with substantive knowledge of a policy concentration. The curriculum also draws on the international strengths of SIPA to ensure that these public affairs officials are prepared for the rapidly globalizing context of local and national policy issues.

Please note: Full-time students must be registered for at least 12 points each semester.

For additional information on the Master's of Public Administration program, including information for prospective students and admissions, please refer back to the MPA program page.

Faculty Members Teaching in the Masters of Public Administration Core Curriculum

Gary Bagley, Lecturer of International and Public Affairs (part-time)

Norman Bartczak, Lecturer in the Discipline of International and Public Affairs

Alan Brott, Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs

Andrea Bubula, Lecturer in the Discipline of International and Public Affairs

Doru Cojoc, Lecturer in the Discipline of International and Public Affairs

William Eimicke, Professor of Professional Practice in International and Public Affairs

Emanuele Gerratana, Lecturer in the Discipline of International and Public Affairs

Erin Gore, Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs

Thomas Groll, Lecturer in the Discipline of International and Public Affairs

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs

Sarah Holloway, Lecturer in the Discipline of International and Public Affairs

John C. Liu, Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs

Richard Robb, Professor of Professional Practice in International and Public Affairs

Christopher Sabatini, Lecturer in Discipline of International and Public Affairs

David Siegel, Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs

Michael Ting, Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs

Paola Maria Valenti, Lecturer in the Discipline of International and Public Affairs

Alan Yang, Lecturer in the Discipline of International and Public Affairs

Core Curriculum

The purpose of the core curriculum is to ensure that every student in the MPA program receives basic, broad-based, interdisciplinary training in public affairs. This includes graduate-level course work in economics, statistics, the politics of policymaking, and management. Students are required to take a two-semester course in economics, one course on politics (Politics of Policymaking), and one-semester courses in statistics, management, and financial management. Politics of Policymaking, economics, and statistics must be taken during the first year. Other core requirements can be distributed throughout a student’s program of study. Students also are required to complete Professional Development during their first year.

Politics of Policymaking4
Select one of the following:
Politics of Policymaking: American Institutions
and Politics of Policymaking: American Institutions - Discussion
Politics of Policymaking: Comparative Perspectives
and Politics of Policymaking: Comparative Perspectives-Discussion
Economics6
Select one of the following:
Microeconomics for International & Public Affairs
and Macroeconomics for International & Public Affairs
Microeconomic Analysis for International & Public Affairs
and Macroeconomic Analysis for International & Public Affairs
Quantitative Analysis3
Quantitative Analysis for International & Public Affairs
Management3
Select one of the following:
Analysis of Public Sector Organizations Course Video
Effective Management in the Public Service Course Video
Strategic Management for Public Service Organizations
Public Management
Management & Administration of Nonprofit Organizations Course Video
Strategic and Entrepreneurial Management
Sustainability Management
Financial Management3
Select one of the following:
Accounting for International & Public Affairs
Nonprofit Financial Management
Budgeting and Financial Management for Government
Economics of Finance
Professional Development.5
Professional Development (PD) Career Conference
Workshop3
Capstone Workshop
Capstone Workshop in Development Practice
Internship1.5-3
Internship

Policy Concentration

All students choose one concentration: a policy field in which they focus their studies at SIPA.
Note: Students who pursue the EPD concentration must satisfy the language proficiency requirement relevant to the concentration.  Please refer to the Concentration Director for more information.

Economic and Political Development (EPD)

Energy and Environment (EE)

Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy (HRHP)

International Finance and Economic Policy (IFEP)

International Security Policy (ISP)

Urban and Social Policy (USP)

Specialization

All students also choose one specialization consisting of 3 courses: a skill or area of specialized knowledge to pair with their policy concentration.

Sample Program

Year 1
FallPointsSpringPoints
Politics of Policymaking4Specialization Course 13
Economics (SIPA U6300 or SIPA U6400)3Quantitative Analysis (SIPA U6500)3
Concentration Course 13Economics (SIPA U6301 or SIPA U6401)3
Professional Development (SIPA U4040)0.5Concentration Course 23
Core - Management Course3Internship Registration (Optional)1.5
 13.5 13.5
Year 2
FallPointsSpringPoints
Core - Financial Management Course3Elective Course 23
Concentration Course 33Concentration Course 53
Concentration Course 43Specialization Course 33
Specialization Course 23Elective Course 33
Elective Course 13Capstone Workshop (SIPA U9000)3
 15 15
Total Points: 57

MIA and MPA Graduation Requirements Overview

Students must meet the following requirements in order to be approved for graduation:

  • Complete 54 credits in residence at SIPA *
  • Complete 4 residency units *
  • Complete all core, concentration and specialization requirements*
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Have no pending grades. All grades must be final. Any notations indicating a pending grade must be converted to a final grade prior to graduating. These include, “IN” (incomplete), “CP” (credit pending) and  “YC” (year-long course).

* Requirement for dual degree students may differ.

In addition to the above please note that grade changes cannot be made post-graduation.

Tracking MIA and MPA Core Requirements:

Students can use the Degree Audit Report (DAR) in Student Services Online to track their academic progress.  Currently, the DAR can be used to review the MIA and MPA Core requirements only.

The DAR is an unofficial guide to the MIA and MPA core. The Degree Audit Report cannot be utilized by dual degree students. Dual degree students should see their Advising Dean in the Student Affairs Office.

To request revisions to the Degree Audit Report, please fill out the Degree Audit Report Correction Form and submit the form to the Student Affairs Office.

Degree Audit Report Correction Form (PDF)

Concentration/Specialization Declaration:

All students are required to declare a concentration and specialization. Students can opt to change their Concentration or Specialization via the Concentration Specialization Declaration Change Form .  Requests are reviewed and approved  by OSA advisors. If there is an issue with the request your OSA advisor will contact you. Otherwise, if approved, the new Concentration/Specialization will appear on your record in SSOL

Tracking Concentration Requirements

Concentration audit forms are designed to assist students and concentration directors in determining if the concentration requirements have been met.  All students must complete one concentration to graduate except for PhD students and those pursuing dual degrees with other Columbia University schools. 

Students are required to meet with their concentration director once per semester at SIPA to ensure they are fulfilling the appropriate concentration requirements.  Prior to their final semester, students should download the concentration audit form, meet with their concentration director and return the signed audit form to the Office of Student Affairs. 

Concentration audit form deadlines are August 1st for October graduation; November 1st for February graduation; and January 29th for May graduation.