Public Affairs (MA)

Program Features

Effective May, 2020, we are no longer enrolling new students in this program.

The Masters in Public Affairs (MAPA) program is an 18-month multi-disciplinary graduate program that incorporates coursework, field work and immersive learning experiences to prepare students for lives of public and private sector leadership.

The program trains students to critically evaluate the impact of social problems and to situate themselves and their organizations as solutions. Students develop the confidence and ability to articulate their visions, design and develop innovative systems, critically engage with and begin to solve complex problems and make decisions based on careful planning and evaluation.

Careers after graduation include lobbyists, political scientists and consultants, journalists and nonprofit and government leaders.


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:


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.


  • PAEA 501: Public & Environmental Affairs............ 3cr.


  • PAEA 600: Philosophy and Public Affairs............ 3cr.
  • PAEA 620: Economics and Public Policy............ 3cr.
  • MAPA 650+............ 3cr.


  • PAEA 602: Organizational Communication............ 3cr.
  • PAEA 622: Quantitative Methods............ 3cr.
  • MAPA 650+............ 3cr.


  • PAEA 502: Public & Environmental Affairs............ 3cr.
  • PAEA 630: Field Experience or PAEA 648: Thesis I............ 3cr.


  • PAEA 640: Public Policy Capstone or PAEA 649 Thesis II............ 3cr.
  • PAEA 624: Political Geography and GIS............ 3cr.
  • MAPA 650+............ 3cr.

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)


Students graduate from the program ready to make a difference. They become:

  • proficient writers and speakers, tailoring specialized information to diverse audiences, in order to advocate for positive change in policy, organizational, and public context
  • skilled interpreters of data, capable of building and analyzing data sets to study complex problems and recommend solutions;
  • able to articulate a philosophical and historical understanding of liberalism, criticisms of liberalism, and the relationship between policies and liberal ideals
  • trained to cultivate habits of mind that draw on the insights of humanistic inquiry to frame problems, and to recommend humane solutions, working both within and outside organizations to address complex social and environmental problems
  • effective at navigating formal and informal structures and systems in business, government, the nonprofit sector, and other relevant domains
  • advocates for positive change at the intersection of private interests and the public good.

Possible career fields include:

  • 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

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