Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
The mission of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) is to prepare students to make substantive contributions to society through careers as managers, advisors, and policy analysts in government and nonprofit organizations in a multitude of geographic locations throughout the world. This mission is accomplished through dedication to quality teaching that builds skills and commitments to the core values, challenges, and rewards of public service. It is supported through basic and applied research on timely issues of public management; international, regional, and urban affairs; and policy making. The school and faculty are committed to making a difference in the world by drawing on diverse skills and knowledge to improve the performance of public and nonprofit organizations that contribute to free and just societies in the United States and abroad. To accomplish these ends, GSPIA teaches, conducts research, and performs public service in the following areas:
The management and administration of public and nonprofit agencies
The growth and sustainable development of urban metropolitan regions throughout the world
The economic and social development of newly independent and developing states
The emerging dynamics that are shaping today's international political economy
Threats to and issues in international security
The mission of GSPIA stresses the importance of democratic responsibilities and personal integrity in the management of human affairs as well as the professional qualifications required for managing constructive change. Students and faculty alike are required to:
Demonstrate the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct
Use critical thinking and problem solving skills in addressing public policy issues
Consider the international and intersectoral aspects of public affairs
Develop partnerships with others both internal and external to the University of Pittsburgh
GSPIA offers the following degree programs as well as several joint programs:
Master of Public Administration (MPA)
Master of Public and International Affairs (MPIA)
Master of International Development (MID)
Master of Public Policy and Management (MPPM)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
- Office of Student Services
- Associate Director
- Suite 3601 Posvar Hall
- Fax: 412-648-7641
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
GSPIA admits persons who have demonstrated intellectual competence and high motivation in an academic and/or professional environment and who will enrich the quality of life in the school. Individuals from varied cultural, academic, and social backgrounds provide an exciting frame of reference for the stimulating exchanges so vital to a dynamic academic process. The following are required of all applicants: transcripts, application and fee, GRE score, TOEFL or IETS score (if international), letters of recommendation, essays, and resume.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
International applicants are required to take and submit scores for either the TOEFL or IELTS to demonstrate their English language proficiency. The minimum TOEFL score required for admission is 80 on the Internet-based test (213 computer-based test), but it is strongly preferred that applicants score 90 (233 computer-based test) or above. The minimum IELTS score is 7.0 – both overall and in each of the individual sections. Contact Educational Testing Services directly to request that an official score report be sent to GSPIA. Copies of your own report are not acceptable.
Exceptions: International students who completed a degree at a regionally accredited college or university in the United States are not required to submit a TOEFL-IELTS score. Students from certain English-speaking countries are also exempt. All US citizens and permanent residents are exempt.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
All applicants to the MPA, MPIA, MID and PhD programs must have taken the GRE within five years of the date of their application. GSPIA does not have a minimum GRE at this time and does not accept test substitutions (i.e. GMAT, LSAT, etc). Contact Educational Testing Services (ETS), which administers the GRE, to request that an official score report be sent directly to GSPIA. Copies of your own report are not acceptable.
Though not required for admission, applicants to GSPIA's master's programs are strongly encouraged to take courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and statistics prior to enrolling in GSPIA. In addition, it is suggested that applicants have prior experience with statistical, spreadsheet, and presentation software packages. Students who have not had formal course work in the above may take preparatory courses offered in GSPIA or the University early in their programs.
It is desirable, but not mandatory, that PhD applicants have an earned master’s degree in public and international affairs or a degree in one of the social sciences and work experience prior to undertaking doctoral study.
All applicants must have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a degree that is equivalent to a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree. Applicants are expected to have a B+ or better average (3.2 GPA) in their work to date. To be competitive for merit scholarships, applicants normally need at least a 3.5 GPA. The admissions committee also takes into consideration GPA within the major, GPA within the last two years, extenuating circumstances, length of time since graduation from college, rigor of the undergraduate program, and other factors.
Doctoral applicants are only eligible for admission to full-time status in the Fall Term.
The non-refundable $50 application fee may be paid by check, credit card or money order. The application fee is waived for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, AmeriCorps Volunteers, Truman Scholars, Pickering Fellows, Coro Fellows, Rangel Fellows, and McNair Fellows.
GSPIA does not consider applications on a rolling basis. International students are strongly encouraged to submit application materials at least one month prior to the stated deadlines.
Application Deadlines: Fall Term
US Citizens/Permanent Residents:
January 15 - PhD applicants
February 1 – MPA, MPIA, MID
June 1 – MPPM applicants
August 1 – Non-degree applicants
January 15 – MPA, MPIA, MID, PhD, and MPPM applicants
Application Deadlines: Spring Term
US Citizens/Permanent Residents:
November 1 – MPA, MPIA, MID, and MPPM applicants
December 1 – Non-degree applicants
August 1 – MPA, MPIA, MID, and MPPM applicants
Application Deadlines: Summer Term
US Citizens/Permanent Residents:
March 1 – MPPM applicants
April 1 – Non-degree applicants
January 15 – MPPM applicants
Full-time students admitted with full graduate status in the school's master's and doctoral programs are considered for merit-based funding in the form of full or partial scholarships, fellowships, and student employment.
To be competitive for merit scholarships, applicants normally need at least a 3.5 GPA.
These annual awards, made to students admitted in the fall of each academic year, are to be applied to tuition and/or living expenses incurred during the fall and spring terms. Financial assistance is unavailable to students who are admitted in the spring or summer terms.
Students are in good academic standing when they earn acceptable grades for graduate work and make normal progress toward the degree. Specifically, full-time students must earn a minimum of 9 credits per term with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 in all courses. Part-time students are held to the same standards. However, they are expected to do so while carrying less than 9 credits per term. Full- or part-time students admitted with provisional status must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all courses in their first 12 credits.
Students receiving school-based funding are held to higher standards. Master's students must earn, after two terms, 24 credits and a cumulative GPA of 3.5. Doctoral students must earn 24 credits and a cumulative GPA of 3.0.
Students are automatically placed on academic probation when they
fail to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 and
earn the appropriate number of credits for
their status. Students are also placed on
academic probation automatically if they receive
two G or I grades in one term and/or earn a grade
of U, C- or lower.
Students who fail to correct the deficiencies of their academic probation within a specified time period (normally one term) are subject to dismissal. Should a student be dismissed, students may appeal the decision to the associate dean.
For additional information on academic standards and procedures, students are referred to GSPIA's Handbook of Academic Policies and Procedures for Master's Degree Programs, GSPIA's Handbook of Academic Policies and Procedures for the Doctor of Philosophy, and the University's Guidelines on Academic Integrity: Student and Faculty Obligations and Hearing Procedures.
Advising and Career Services
Academic Advising: Each student is assigned a faculty advisor based on, whenever possible, the compatibility of student and faculty academic interests. Faculty advisors assure that students, through proper course selection, can make productive use of the resources of the school and the University during their period of residence. In addition, faculty advisors are responsible for counseling their advisees about career opportunities in the student's area of study; for counseling advisees who have been placed on probation; and for approving the advisee's school-wide required and elective courses, proposed thesis or dissertation topics, and supervised internships. Advisors and students monitor academic progress and identify areas where corrective action on the part of students may be required. It is essential, therefore, that students consult periodically with their advisors. Unless students subsequently request a change, faculty members originally assigned will continue as advisors throughout the students' program of study. If, however, a change in faculty advisor is requested, students must obtain the signed approval of the new advisors. . Based on a student-focused approach, we provide students with a Graduate Enrollment Counselor who serves as the first point of contact for class registration, financial aid application and preparation for graduation. Additionally, graduate enrollment counselors support students by providing information necessary to navigate the logistical challenges of graduate school and connect students to resources at the University of Pittsburgh.
Professional Development and Career Services: GSPIA places great emphasis on assisting students in determining the best and most appropriate positions available. In addition to faculty advisors, the school provides resources and guidance for students throughout their course of study as they devise strategies to identify professional opportunities. Among the many services offered through the Office of Career Services are individual career advising, internship and job search assistance, and a series of career-related workshops and special events. Extensive reference materials on jobs, fellowships, and internships are made available in a variety of ways, including Career Connections, GSPIA’s online career management system for students and alumni. Workshops cover such topics as resume preparation, job search strategies, negotiation skills, networking, and using technology in securing employment. Special events include Foreign Service information sessions, mock interviews for the Presidential Management Fellowship Program, an internship fair, and networking events with alumni, foundations, and agency representatives on campus and in Washington, D.C. All students are required to participate in the Professional Development Program. In this course, students will gain the knowledge and resources necessary to begin to plan their career and internship searches. This graduation requirement covers job search techniques, resume and cover letter review, interviewing skills, internship and company searches and much more.
Master's Degree Requirements
The following section details general requirements for all master's candidates in GSPIA. For more program-specific requirements, see the relevant program under Program Descriptions.
A minimum of 48 credits is required for the completion of the Master of Public Administration (MPA), the Master of Public and International Affairs (MPIA), and the Master of International Development (MID) degrees. All students are to complete the following 18 credit requirement unless exempted through examination or prior academic or professional experience:
||Quantitative Methods (A placement examination
for this course is encouraged for students
with prior college-level course work
(If waived, must take extra elective)
||Microeconomics (Prerequisite PIA 2024)
||Microeconomics 2 (Prerequisite PIA 2024)
||Economics for Public Affairs (Students may waive PIA 2024 if they pass the waiver exam, or if they were economics majors as undergraduates, or if they have taken courses in both macro- and microeconomics with grades of B or better within five years. (If waved, must take extra elective.)
||Public Policy Analysis (Prerequisite: PIA 2022 and 2024)
||Administration of Public Affairs
Professional Development Program (300 hour, non-credit course required for graduation.)
||Internship (A professional non-credit internship placement is usually taken in the summer between the first and second term in residence.)
||Global Governance ( May be waived if student majored in International Relations as undergraduate with a GPA of 3.4 or above. (If waived, must take an extra elective.)
MID and MPIA Programs
||Quantitative Methods (A placement examination for this course is encouraged for students with prior college-level course work in statistics.) (If waived, must take extra elective.)
||Microeconomics 1 or 2 (recommended) (Prerequisite PIA 2024)
||Macroeconomics (Prerequisite PIA 2024)
||Economics for Public Affairs (Students may waive PIA 2024 if they pass the waiver exam, or if they were economics majors as undergraduates, or if they have taken courses in both macro- and microeconomics with grades of B or better within five years. (If waived, must take extra elective.)
||Public Policy Analysis (Prerequisite: PIA 2022 + 2024)
||Administration of Public Affairs
||Professional Development Program (300 hours, Non-credit course required for graduation)
||Internship (A professional non-credit internship placement is usually taken in the summer between the first and second term in residence
||Global Governance (May be waived if student majored in International Relations as undergraduate with a GPA of 3.4 or above. If waived, must take extra elective.)
As part of the requirements for the Master of Public Policy and Management (MPPM), the school's accelerated mid-career master program for professionals, students must complete a minimum of 30 credits. Included in the 30 credit minimum are the following courses:
|MPPM Core (12 credits)
||Economics for Public Affairs
Administration of Public Affairs
|| Development Policy and Administration
||MMPM Policy Seminar
|Specialization Courses (select six courses for 18 credits)
Major and Degree Options
GSPIA offers the following degrees:
Master of Public Administration (MPA), including majors in:
Energy & Environment
Policy Research and Analysis
Public and Nonprofit Management
Urban and Regional Affairs
Master of Public and International Affairs (MPIA), including majors in:
Master of International Development (MID), including majors in:
Master of Public Policy and Management (MPPM)
- accelerated mid-career master program
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Dual degrees in MPA/MPIA, MPA/MID, or MPIA/MID
Students have the flexibility to customize their education as any major can be taken as a minor. Adding a minor will help differentiate your education, deepen your knowledge base and broaden professional marketability. Each minor consists of a 9-credit sequence of courses within your chosen subject area. This is taken in addition to general required courses and courses for your major area of study. Any course taken to fulfill a requirement for your degree or major cannot count towards your minor. A course my not be double-counted. An approved course must be substituted.
MID, MPIA, and MPA students may select a minor from among the nine listed below.
Civil Security & Disaster Management
Development Planning & Environmental Sustainability
Energy & Environment
International Political Economy
Nongovernmental Organizations & Civil Society
Policy Research & Analysis
Public & Nonprofit Management
Security & Intelligence Studies
Urban & Regional Affairs
GSPIA students may pursue two graduate degrees simultaneously, through GSPIA’s partnerships with other professional schools at the University of Pittsburgh (and two foreign universities). Joint programs reduce the number of credits needed for each degree, allowing students to earn two master’s degrees in just three years, or a master’s degree and a law degree in just four years.
To participate in a joint degree program, students apply separately to both schools, and must meet all of the usual admissions requirements (including entrance exams like the GRE, GMAT, and LSAT, where applicable). If admitted to both schools, students spend one full year in GSPIA followed by a second full year in the other program (or vice versa). During the third and/or fourth year, they spend a minimum of one additional term in GSPIA, earning a total of 36 GSPIA credits.
Although it is possible to apply to both schools at the same time, currently enrolled students may still apply for a joint degree as long as they have not yet completed on year 9or, in the case of current law students, two years) of full-time study.
Full-time students in the MPA, MPIA, or MID programs are eligible to participate in the following joint programs:
Juris Doctor with University of Pittsburgh School of Law: The joint JD allows students to combine the study of law and policy, preparing them equally well for employment in the judicial or executive branches of government. Graduates are positioned to work in international law firms, nonprofit advocacy, and in public or nonprofit agencies that require knowledge of legal issues, such as refugee services and the Department of Justice. Pitt Law School also partners with GSPIA in the University of Pittsburgh’s Washington Center.
Master of Business Administration with University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business – MPIA and MID students only: Combining a GSPIA degree with an MBA opens many opportunities for a career in international finance, government financial regulation, or multinational corporations. Students with both degrees are highly marketable in the fields of international business and international economic policy.
Master of Public Health with University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health: Students pursuing a joint MPH gain a unique perspective on public management, government responses to epidemics, and the effect of sanitation on international development. They study health policy and the science behind it, both at the local level and on the world stage, where disease recognizes no borders. Graduates are employed by medical relief agencies, nonprofit organizations that distribute vaccines, and government authorities responsible for protecting society from epidemics.
Master of Social Work with University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work: Today’s community building arena demands well-trained professionals across a wider array of skills and systems than one degree program may offer. That’s why the joint degree program between GSPIA and School of Social Work provides students with focused professional education in the community building arena to prepare them for careers in non-profit and government organizations, community development, social policy, and urban and regional affairs.
Master of Science in Information Science with University of Pittsburgh School of Information Science: The joint MSIS degree allows GSPIA students to combine the study of public management and information technology management, at a time when both fields are increasingly interconnected. Students are prepared to pursue public or nonprofit-sector careers that require strong knowledge of modern information systems.
International Organizations MBA with University of Geneva, Switzerland – MPIA and MID students only: In this unique program, students spend one year in Pittsburgh followed by a year in Switzerland. There, they pursue an internship in Geneva’s thriving diplomatic community while completing the requirements for the University of Geneva’s IO-MBA, a unique management program which focuses on the needs of international organizations. After returning to Pittsburgh for one semester, students receive degrees from both universities. Both degrees are taught in English.
Joint Degrees at Kobe University, Japan: Through a special partnership, students may combine their GSPIA degrees with one of several degrees offered by the Graduate School of International Cooperative Studies at Kobe University: the Master of International Affairs, Master of Laws, Master of Economics, or Master of Political Science. The Kobe GSICS curriculum is in English.
Early Admission Program for Pitt undergraduate students to complete their bachelor’s degree while working on a master’s degree at GSPIA. Once a student has completed 24 credits in GSPIA, they may apply and obtain their bachelor’s degree.
To be eligible undergraduate University of Pittsburgh students must be enrolled in The Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences or the College of General Studies, be in good academic standing with a minimum overall GPA of 3.5, have a minimum of 96 credits, have completed all Skills and General Education requirements and have no “I” or “G” grades.
Applicants must submit an online application through www.gspia.pitt.edu, in essay #3 make reference that you are applying for the Early Admission Program, submit a letter from your Academic/Faculty Advisor stating that you have completed all courses in your major(s). Dietrich SAS applicants must submit a letter from Ms. Susan Crain, Dietrich SAS office of the Dean, stating that they satisfy the above eligibility requirements and may enter our masters program. CGS applicants must submit a letter from Timothy Carr, 459A Cathedral of Learning, stating that they satisfy the above eligibility requirements and may enter our masters program.
Special Academic Opportunities/Programs
GSPIA offers a variety of academic programs to complement the degree programs offered, including area studies, exchange programs, and research and travel grants.
Centers, Institutes and Initiatives
The Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies – educates the next generation of security analysts and produces scholarship and impartial analysis that informs the options available to policymakers who must confront diverse challenges to international and human security on a global scale.
The Ford Institute for Human Security – conducts research that focuses on a series of transnational threats to the human rights of civilian populations and makes independent research and policy papers available to both domestic and international policymakers.
The Center for Metropolitan Studies – connects the academic programs at GSPIA with state and local governments, federal agencies, regional governance institutions, and nonprofit organizations in the United States to address real time problems they are confronting.
Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership – reaffirms GSPIA’s commitment to creating ethical leaders and provides an institutional platform from which to launch an innovative program of teaching, research, and public service on issues of ethics and accountability in all areas of public life.
Center for Disaster Management – provides a school-wide focus to support research, education, and training projects that focus on extreme events. The goal of the Center is to develop a coherent approach for research and analysis on policy issues related to disaster risk reduction and management that cross inter-organizational, interdisciplinary, and inter-jurisdictional boundaries.
The Roscoe Robinson Jr. Memorial Lecture Series – promotes discussion and understanding of key issues related to diversity in public service. The series features at least two lectures per year in honor of the late Roscoe Robinson Jr, the first African American, U.S. Army four-star general.
The Philanthropy Forum – provides a university-based platform for national dialogue with leading thinkers and practitioners in the field of philanthropy and engages in significant research on the history and contemporary contributions of philanthropy to our local, national, and global communities.
International Political Economy Colloquium (IPEC) – provides a forum for IPE scholars to present their best new works in progress.
Pittsburgh International Trade and Development Seminar Series – is a joint undertaking sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Economics, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and Carnegie Mellon University of Pittsburgh’s Heinz College.
The Governance Group is an interdisciplinary research center at the University of Pittsburgh, focusing on governance, institutional design and program evaluation. A joint initiative of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) and the Department of Political Science, the Group is comprised of over a dozen faculty members from five different departments with the University.
The Symposium on Political Violence is a joint undertaking sponsored by the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), the Department of Political Science, and the Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security at the University of Pittsburgh. The Symposium provides a forum both for external scholars and for faculty and graduate students in GSPIA and the Department of Political Science at Pitt to present their research on political science.
The University Center for International Studies (UCIS) is an umbrella organization comprised of several internationally themed research centers and programs. Three of these – Center for Latin American Studies, Center for Russian and East European Studies, and Global Studies Center – have been designated National Resource Centers by the U.S. Department of Education. UCIS also offers an Asian Studies Center, African Studies Program and the European Studies Center. UCIS is home to one of only ten European Union Centers of Excellence in the United States, funded by the European Union.
UCIS offers graduate certificates that GSPIA students can pursue concurrently with their degrees, allowing them to focus their studies on a particular region or theme. UCIS’s constituent units offer nine certificate programs. It is normally possible to complete the requirements for a GSPIA master’s degree and a UCIS certificate in two years. For further information, see UCIS’ section of this bulletin.
GSPIA Programs Abroad
GSPIA has developed a number of international partnerships that offer students the possibility to study abroad for a regular academic term, during the summer, or—in a double degree program—for an entire year or more:
Earn an International Organizations MBA in Geneva, Switzerland
The MID/IOMBA and MPIA/IOMBA Double Degree Programs provide students with the opportunity to earn an International Organizations MBA degree in addition to a GSPIA degree through a partnership with the University of Geneva (Switzerland). Students complete one year at GSPIA, a second year in Geneva and then return to GSPIA for a final semester – totaling 28 months of full-time study.
Spend the Summer Studying the EU in Brussels, Belgium
The EU Studies Summer Program in Brussels allows students to study, in English, the emergence of a united Europe at the Free University of Brussels (ULB). The program, which is co-administered by the EU Center of Excellence a the University of Washington (Seattle), the European Union Center of Excellence at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) and the Institute for European Studies of ULB, features seminars with a wide range of EU officials and leading experts on the EU from both sides of the Atlantic, as well as site visits to major EU institutions and organizations involved in European integration.
Earn a Certificate in International Development and Asian Affairs in Kobe, Japan
GSPIA students have the opportunity to earn a Certificate in International Development and Asian Affairs from GSICS at Kobe University in Japan while completing their MID, MPIA or MPA degree from GSPIA. Students in this certificate program will study in Pittsburgh fall and spring terms, then go to Japan for three month of courses in English at GSICS> Intermediate proficiency in Japanese is required, and students with advance proficiency may enroll in elective courses taught in Japanese. Students may arrange for an internship while in Japan and may also take a Japanese language course. Students will pay only Pitt tuition while in Japan and will have reasonably priced housing arranged by GSICS. Since they will be earning a full term’s worth of credit while in Japan, students on the certificate program will be able to complete their degrees in 18 months.
Spend a Term Studying Public Management in Nanjing, China
This program enables students to earn credits toward their GSPIA degree by taking courses at Nanjing University's School of Public Management.
Spend a Term Studying Public Administration and/or International Studies in Seoul, Korea
This program enables students to earn credits toward their GSPIA degree by taking courses in the Graduate School of Public Administration and/or the Graduate School of International Studies at Seoul National University.
Spend a Term Studying International Affairs in Canberra, Australia
This program enables students to earn credits toward their GSPIA degree by taking courses in the Department of International Relations, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University
Research and Travel Grants
Budget permitting, each year the Office of the Dean and the school's academic programs make available small grants to students. Uses for these grants can include attending professional development conferences, presenting papers, and supporting internships and study abroad activities. These grants are awarded through a highly competitive selection process.
Program Descriptions and Plans of Study
Joint Degree: Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Health
Joint Degree: Master of Public Administration and Master of Information Science
Joint Degree: Master of Public Administration and Master of Social Work
Joint Degree: Master of Public Administration and Juris Doctor
Joint Degree: Master of International Development and Master of Social Work
Joint Degree: Master of International Development and Master of Information Science
Joint Degree: Master of International Development and Juris Doctor
Joint Degree: Master of International Development and Master of Business Administration
Joint Degree: Master of International Development and Master of Public Health
Joint Degree: Master of Public and International Affairs and Master of Business Administration
Joint Degree: Master of Public and International Affairs and Juris Doctor
Joint Degree: Master of Public and International Affairs and Master of Social Work
Joint Degree: Master of Public and International Affairs and Master of Public Health
Joint Degree: Master of Public and International Affairs and Master of Information Science