Why I Chose MPIA

LJ Ulrich

LJ Ulrich, MPIA '11
West Virgina University Alumnus

Master of Public & International Affairs

Master of Public & International Affairs


From the halls of the United Nations to the streets of war-torn conflict zones, the modern international system is in a state of rapid flux that demands versatile, well-educated professionals. The MPIA degree is a multidisciplinary program designed to prepare students for careers of influence in the international arena – as government policymakers, diplomats, intelligence officials, global business leaders, nonprofit managers, and policy researchers. The program emphasizes practical skills and knowledge necessary to participate in the world policy process and shape its future. The MPIA curriculum includes traditional courses on world history, economics, and international relations theory, along with practical courses on intelligence collection and analysis, diplomacy, and international finance. It also includes one of the country’s only graduate specializations in Human Security – a unique field that focuses on the security of civilian populations and human rights.

Degree Requirements and Majors

Students must complete at least 48 credits in public and international affairs and may choose one of three majors: International Political Economy, Human Security, or Security & Intelligence Studies. Students may also pursue a minor in any of these fields, or in any of the following fields offered by GSPIA’s other degree programs: Civil Security & Disaster Management, Energy & Environment, Non-governmental Organizations & Civil Society, Public & Nonprofit Management, Policy Research & Analysis, Governance & International Public Management, or Urban Affairs & Planning.  

Prior to graduation, students must also complete a 300-hour internship with an approved public, private, or nonprofit organization anywhere in the world. Pittsburgh itself is home to a number of important federal government offices; the Federal Reserve and the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Commerce, among others, maintain a significant presence. The city also boasts one of the country’s highest concentrations of multinational corporations, with eight Fortune 500 companies.

Joint Degree Options

MPIA students are eligible to pursue one of several joint degrees at the University of Pittsburgh, including a joint MPIA/law degree (JD), MPIA/Master of Business Administration (MBA), MPIA/Master of Public Health (MPH), MPIA/Master of Science in Information Science (MSIS), and MPIA/Master of Social Work (MSW). They may also pursue a joint master’s degree through the University of Geneva in Switzerland or the Graduate School of International and Cooperative Studies at Kobe University in Japan. An accelerated, five-year bachelor’s/master’s degree program is available to select University of Pittsburgh undergraduates. Read more here.

Area Studies Certificate Options

MPIA students are eligible to combine their master’s degree with a graduate certificate from the University Center for International Studies, specializing in Africa, Asia, western Europe, eastern Europe, the European Union, Latin America, or Russia. Read more here.

Related GSPIA & University Research Centers

Ridgway Center for International Security Studies
Ford Institute for Human Security
Center for Disaster Management
University Center for International Studies
African Studies Program
Asian Studies Center
European Studies Center European Union Center of Excellence
Center for Latin American Studies
Center for Russian & East European Studies

Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
3601 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260