Master of Public Administration (MPA) Curriculum
The MPA core curriculum combines a globally oriented and comparative approach to national policy-making with rigorous courses in economics, quantitative analysis and management. Students choose from a broad range of concentrations (majors): International Security Policy, International Finance and Economic Policy, Economic and Political Development, Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy, and Urban and Social Policy. Graduates possess advanced analytical abilities and career-oriented professional knowledge and skills, acquired through a curriculum that integrates Columbia University’s unsurpassed academic rigor with extensive experiential learning, including the most diverse capstone workshop program in the field.
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.
MPA 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 Policymaking: Issues in Comparative Politics|
and Politics of Policymaking: Issues in Comparative Politics - Discussion
|Politics of Policymaking: American Institutions in Comparative Perspective|
and Politics of Policymaking: American Institutions in Comparative Perspective - Discussion
|Politics of Policymaking: Developing Countries in Comparative Perspective|
and Politics of Policymaking: Comparative Politics - Discussion
|Microeconomics for International and Public Affairs|
and Macroeconomics for International and Public Affairs
|Microeconomic Analysis for International and Public Affairs|
and Macroeconomic Analysis for International and Public Affairs
|Quantitative Analysis I for International and Public Affairs|
|Analysis of Public Sector Organizations|
|Effective Management in the Public Service|
|Strategic Management of Nonprofit Organizations|
|Strategic and Entrepreneurial Management|
|Leading ＆ Managing in Moments of Adversity ＆ Opportunity|
|Effective Management in the Public Service|
|Accounting for International and Public Affairs|
|Nonprofit Financial Management|
|Budgeting ＆ Financial Management for Government|
|Economics of Finance|
|Capstone Workshop in Sustainable Development Practice|
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)
All students also choose one specialization consisting of 3 courses: a skill or area of specialized knowledge to pair with their policy concentration.
Data Analytics & Quantitative Analysis (DAQA)
Gender and Public Policy (GPP)
International Organization & United Nations Studies (IO/UN)
International Conflict Resolution (ICR)
Leadership, Innovation, & Design (LID)
Technology, Media, and Communications (TMaC)
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).
- Complete and submit the Application for Degree or Certificate by the appropriate deadline.
* 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 Stellic to track their academic progress.
The DAR is an unofficial guide to the MIA and MPA core.
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
All students are required to declare a concentration and specialization. SIPA permits MIA & MPA students to change their concentration or specialization after admission. For more information, visit Changing Academic Programs.
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 meet with their concentration director and have the concentration director approve the degree audit form on Stellic.
Concentration audit form deadlines are August 1st for October graduation; November 1st for February graduation; and January 29th for May graduation.