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Master of Arts

  • Our traditional 42-credit Master of Arts (MA) degree program is designed for students beginning their careers in international affairs. It offers students a combination of substantive knowledge and field-based learning through research seminars, field programs, and practice opportunities, both in New York City and around the world. 

    MA students select from five concentrations, enabling them to specialize in a particular area of international affairs. They also develop a wide range of tools and skills required to enter the international field and gain hands-on experience through our International Field Program and through other practice- and field-based learning opportunities in New York City and beyond.

    Students can pursue the degree on a full-time or part-time basis.


    The concentrations in the Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs are more than collections of courses. They are areas in which students can link theory, social research, and practice in building careers as scholars or practitioners in international affairs.

    Students fulfill a concentration by taking a "foundation course" as well as three concentration electives, chosen from a wide range of options. The concentrations also offer opportunities for applied research and connections to the International Field Program and other opportunities for engaged learning, such as the Practicum in International Affairs. In addition, the concentrations sponsor guest lectures, organize workshops and events, and create working groups around topics of particular interest to students.

    Students choose from five concentrations:


    The MA program combines core courses with a wide range of electives and opportunities for social research and hands-on experience.

    The MA curriculum includes:

    • Two core courses – 6 credits
    • Two courses that fulfill the economics and research methods requirements – 6 credits
    • Four concentration courses (one foundation course plus three electives) – 12 credits
    • Two courses that make up the final Capstone Project – 6 credits
    • Four additional elective courses, including courses connected with the International Field Program – 12 credits
  • Core Courses

    All MA students take two core courses that provide a critical and historical introduction to key concepts in international affairs. The first, Global Flows, is an introduction to globalization from the colonial era through the present. The second, Theories, Histories, and Practices of Development, examines basic concepts of development and introduces students to major issues in contemporary development thought and practice. Students are required to take Global Flows and fulfill the SGPIA economics requirement before they take Theories, Histories, and Practices of Development.

    Economics Requirement

    MA students fulfill the economics requirement by taking either the introductory or the intensive sections of Economics in International Affairs. Students with extensive background in economics may get approval to fulfill the requirement by taking advanced economics classes at SGPIA or elsewhere at The New School.

    Concentration Requirement

    MA students focus their studies by completing one of five concentrations: Cities and Social Justice, Conflict and Security, Development, Governance and Rights, and Media and Culture. Each concentration includes a foundation course that introduces students to core theories and problems in a particular field as well as a choice from a wide array of electives that connect students to various opportunities for research and practice. Students usually declare a concentration at the end of their second semester. To complete a concentration, students must take the designated foundation course and at least three concentration electives.

    Research Methods Requirement

    MA students fulfill their research methods requirement by taking one of three courses:

    • Research Design and Data Collection, which provides a general introduction to methodological theory, research design, and data collection strategies, with an emphasis on qualitative interviews and surveys, analyzed using both qualitative and quantitative methods
    • Qualitative Research Methods, a workshop-based research design seminar that investigates the relationship between topics of inquiry, theory, and qualitative research methods
    • Quantitative Methods, which introduces students to basic statistical techniques and the use of data analysis software

    Students with prior training in research methods may take advanced courses, subject to advisor approval.


    International Affairs offers a selection of elective courses that range from general surveys to advanced research seminars to practice-oriented courses. MA students can take electives offered by International Affairs or by other New School graduate programs in fields such as design, social research, media, and many others. The exact number of electives any student takes depends on the student's program of study.

    The International Field Program and UN Summer Study

    Students can earn up to six credits toward their MA through both the International Field Program and the UN Summer Study.

    The summer International Field Program (IFP) provides field experience with a local or international organization in another country under academic supervision. Past IFP sites have included Cuba, India, Kosovo, China, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Argentina, Hong Kong, Colombia, Brazil, Lebanon, Turkey, and Nepal. New sites are frequently developed. The United Nations Summer Study (UNSS) offers students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in consultancy work with the UN system through a summer intensive curriculum based here in New York.

    Capstone Project

    All MA students must complete a Capstone Project. Three options for fulfilling this requirement are available:

    • Thesis Option: an independent research project conducted with faculty supervision
    • Research Portfolio Option: a portfolio on a particular topic that includes two research papers completed in two advanced research seminars
    • Practice Option: a team-based practicum for a client organization

    Students choose their Capstone Project in consultation with their advisor after they have completed 18 credits.