Public Affairs (MA)

Graduate Program (MA)

Learn how to solve today’s social-impact problems by focusing on that space where private and public interests intersect and where the relationship between them is continuously being defined and reimagined.


To be considered for admission as a degree-seeking graduate student, please submit the following to the Office of the Graduate Admission:

  • Completed application. Start your application by selecting "Arts and Sciences."
  • Official transcript of all undergraduate and graduate work. Applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above.
  • Current and updated Resume/CV.
  • A 500-word minimum statement of purpose for graduate study.
  • Two letters of reference from individuals commenting on the applicant’s academic/ professional potential.
  • Official test scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test scores for all sections are required of all applicants whose native language is not English or whose four-year undergraduate degree program was not conducted in English.

Faculty review the pool of applications after the application deadline and invite selected candidates to an on-campus interview to continue the application process. Applicants are encouraged to attend an information session with the Program Director prior to completing the application process. Dates and times for information sessions can be arranged directly with the Program Director. Students have six years to complete the degree program. 

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The two-year program integrates perspectives from economics, political science, communications, innovation, technology, and philosophy and focus on developing technical skills using qualitative and quantitative research methods, communication and economic analysis.

In addition to traditional classroom work, students will integrate a field experience that brings theory to bear upon the specific challenges that surround private interest and public good.

This program fuses a critical and humanistic perspective with a command of a practical skill set necessary to be an effective agent in today’s complex public sphere. The two-year graduate curriculum is as follows:

Block Schedule

Year One

Summer Fall
Course Semester Hours Course Semester Hours
Total 3 Total 9
PAEA 501: Public & Environmental Affairs 3 PAEA 600: Philosophy and Public Affairs 3
PAEA 620: Economics and Public Policy 3
MAPA 650+ 3

Year Two

Spring Summer Fall
Course Semester Hours Course Semester Hours Course Semester Hours
Total 9 Total 6 Total 9
PAEA 602: Organizational Communication 3 PAEA 502: Public & Environmental Affairs 3 PAEA 640: Public Policy Capstone or PAEA 649 Thesis II 3
PAEA 622: Quantitative Methods 3 PAEA 630: Field Experience or PAEA 648: Thesis I 3 PAEA 624: Political Geography and GIS 3
MAPA 650+ 3 MAPA 650+ 3

Field Experience and Thesis

The second year of the PIPG program is   unique  among universities.

 Students will spend the entire second year applying analytical and research skills to specific issues and concerns in the ‘real world.’  The second year provides hands-on, immersive experience as well as flexibility.  The field experience requirement affords students the opportunity to complete the final year of the Master’s program off campus while actively engaged in an internship or pursuits of their own choosing.  Students will work under the supervision of a Faculty Advisor.

Placements for an internship may include but are not restricted to, a student’s current employer, the corporate and nonprofit sectors, political campaigns, economic development organizations, community organizations, think tanks, international organizations, and media outlets.  The rigorous coursework and the field experience are designed to inform a Master’s thesis focused on the challenges, problems, and issues that encompass private interests and public good.

Sample Courses

PAEA 501: - Public and Environmental Affairs I (3 hours)

PAEA 502: - Public and Environmental Affairs II (3 hours)

PAEA 600: - Philosophy and Public Affairs (3 hours)

PAEA 602: - Organizational Communication

PAEA 620: - Economic Theories and Application for Public Policy (3 hours)

PAEA 622: - Quantitative Analysis (3 hours)

PAEA 624: - Political Geography and GIS (3 hours)

PAEA 630: - Field Experience (3 – 6 hours)

PAEA 640: - Public Policy Capstone (3 hours)

MAPA 651: - History and Public Affairs (1-3 hours)

MAPA 652: - Public Cultures and Public Affairs (1-3 hours)

MAPA 653: - Policy and Political Economy (1-3 hours)

MAPA 654: - Comparative Public Affairs (1-3 hours)

MAPA 655: - Ethics and Public Policy (1-3 hours)

MAPA 656: - Public Administration and Democracy (1-3 hours)

MAPA 657: - Public Finance and Budgeting (1-3 hours)

MAPA 658: - Issues in State & Local Government (1-3 hours)

MAPA 659: - Issues in Public Affairs (1-3 hours)

Tuition & Fees

Tuition, per credit hour Cost
College of Arts & Sciences - MA $665
Student Fee, per semester
Graduate Student Association Fee, degree seeking full-time $8
Graduate Student Association Fee, degree seeking part-time $4

The amounts listed are for the 2020-2021 academic year, and include classes from Summer 2020 though Spring 2021. For the full, official listing, please visit Xavier University reserves the right to correct any computational or clerical errors.

$54k - $102k median salary range for lobbyists, political scientists and consultants, top government leaders (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012).

$54k - $102k

median salary range for lobbyists, political scientists and consultants, top government leaders (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012).

The Program


The Public Affairs program is a combination of the study of political science, history, economics, philosophy, innovative design and systems thinking. The program is intentionally theoretical, international, and interdisciplinary.


The Public Affairs program is not just interdisciplinary but interconnected. Engaging courses, field experiences and thesis research encourage students to connect their studies and their passions to real-world challenges and problem-solving.


Public Affairs students engage their world through hands-on, in-depth field experiences, utilizing the analytical skills and theoretical foundations needed to address and resolve social-impact-impact challenges. The program is experiential, immersive and flexible.


Drawing from a diverse array of departments and specialties, the PIPG program consists of faculty who are actively engaged scholars and teachers dedicated to the study of public life.


Public Affairs Masters Program features the best of Xavier University's faculty. Although engaged in research and in an array of professional organizations, our faculty is first and foremost dedicated to teaching. With small classes, students have the opportunity to work closely with their teachers and to fully benefit from their expertise. Below is a complete list of participating faculty.

Founding Directors

Paul Colella, Philosophy

Amit Sen, Economics


Mack Mariani, Political Science

Liz Blume, Sustainability

Tim Brownlee, Philosophy

Suparna Chaterjee, History

John Fairfield, History

Gabe Gottlieb, Philosophy

Anas Malik, Political Science

Paul O'Hara, History

Leslie Rasmussen, Communications

James Snodgrass, Mathematics

Jennifer Tighe, Communications

Thomas Wagner, Communications

James Weaver, Sustainability

David Yi, Economics

Career Trajectories

The value of this broad and experiential program is its adaptability and applicability to multiple realms of private interests and public good. 

As a graduate of the program, you will be able to articulate your vision; design and develop innovative systems; critically engage with and begin to solve complex problems; make decisions based on careful planning and evaluation of risk; and effectively communicate.

As a student, you'll apply your knowledge and expertise to pressing and interesting problems through a chosen experiential project that takes the form of a 'field experience' and a 'thesis.'

You will improve your abilities within your field and enter new fields that are at the intersection of private and public, like the government and politics sector, corporate sector, and nonprofit sector.

The Master's program in ‘Private Interests and the Public Good’ is specifically designed to:

  • Articulate core theoretical concepts that provide contextual understanding for the public sphere along with the debates and relationships between private interest and common good.
  • Develop the skills necessary to analyze and understand economic and political issues and policy.
  • Recognize components of and processes related to public issues and politics.
  • Create original and applicable research through quantitative and qualitative research methods and data analysis techniques.
  • Understand and enact effective communication through appropriate media platforms, including social-impact-impact media.
  • Evaluate the advantages, complexities, and limitations of emerging technologies as well as the social-impact-impact issues they raise.
  • Create valuable public-private partnerships focused on innovation and efficiency.


  • Political consulting and lobbying firms
  • Congressional offices
  • Nonprofits like Teach For America and the Peach Corps
  • U.S. Government
  • Foundations and think tanks
  • Journalism
  • Private business and industry