Public Engagement

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Field-Based Learning

  • The Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs’ practice curriculum provides students with the theoretical foundation, technical skills, and on-the-ground opportunities to create what philosopher and New School founder John Dewey called the “intimate and necessary relation between the process of actual experience and education.”

    The components of GPIA’s practice curriculum – the International Field Program, the capstone Practicum in International Affairs, the United Nations Summer Study program, New York-based internships, and practice courses – give students knowledge, training and confidence to enter the professional arena as effective policy makers, advocates, and researchers. While we connect our students with practice opportunities around the world, our curriculum also takes full advantage of GPIA’s location in New York City, which provides students unlimited possibilities for working on issues that are relevant to international affairs, in-person and on-site.

  • International Field Program

    The SGPIA International Field Program (IFP) provides a platform for emerging practitioners and researchers to gain experience while following a rigorous course of study. The IFP combines extensive pre-departure preparation with in-country seminars, professional internships, project work, and opportunities for independent research with faculty supervision. Students may work with community-based organizations, NGOs, international organizations, and national or local governments. Projects may focus on urban and community development, postconflict state building, human rights advocacy, citizen journalism, long-term monitoring and evaluation, or other themes. Since its inception in 2002, the IFP has sent more than 1,000 students to 29 countries, from Argentina and Uganda to Lebanon and China.

    Practicum in International Affairs

    During a Practicum in International Affairs (PIA) — one of the final project options at SGPIA — a team of students works for a client organization conducting research, program or project design, or monitoring and evaluation; building communication platforms; or engaging in a number of other activities. Clients have included UN agencies, major INGOs such as Transparency International, community-based organizations in the United States and abroad, social enterprises, and more. Through the PIA, students develop the analytical and applied skills necessary for well-rounded professionals who are prepared to address challenging social problems, whether they work in the public, private, or nonprofit sector.

    United Nations Summer Study

    The United Nations Summer Study (UNSS) program puts graduate and undergraduate students on the ground in the United Nations and in New York City. Unlike other UN study programs, UNSS takes you beyond a narrow focus on security and diplomacy to investigate development, human rights, humanitarian action, peacebuilding, and environmental issues. UNSS coursework prepares you to understand and engage with contemporary issues, policies, and debates in international affairs. UNSS internships and practicums, not found in any other UN summer program, enable you to gain hands-on experience in the UN system. Practicum placements include United Nations agencies, nongovernmental organizations, civil society groups, and research institutes that work with the UN.

    Practice Courses

    Beyond the core sequence of PIA I and II, students can learn a wide range of skills in SGPIA courses that address monitoring and evaluation, geographic information systems, research design, and media production. In allied programs in management and urban policy and in the School of Media Studies, there are courses in fundraising and financial management, policy design and assessment, data visualization, community engagement and organization, leadership development and entrepreneurship, media production and management, and much more. The range of offerings is such that working with their advisors students can tailor a pathway through the curriculum that both broadens their understanding of what practice can be and deepens their skills for pursuing their goals.


    Students pursuing an MA or MS at SGPIA can take full advantage of the incomparable range of organizations working on international issues in New York City. The extraordinary range of international NGOs, intergovernmental institutions, globally important companies, and government agencies provides a unique set of opportunities for internships. Milano’s internship office will work with you to find opportunities, but so too will faculty and other students. Internships are a powerful complement to the curriculum in SGPIA: they provide opportunities to apply theory to organizational practices, can be the sources of practicum or thesis projects, and for many students lead to employment after receiving a degree.