Academics

Penn State is one of the largest research universities in the world, and students of international affairs may choose classes from all parts of the Penn State curriculum, including the University's prestigious colleges of EngineeringEarth and Mineral SciencesAgricultural SciencesBusiness, and Education. The academic program of the School of International Affairs consists of six core courses on the institutions, methods, and traditions of international exchange, nine optional concentrations and the ability to create a concentration that allow students to hone their expertise in selected professional areas through carefully chosen electives based on the student's academic and professional interests, and a capstone experience that is either an internship or a master's paper.

Students will work with both the SIA academic advisor and their assigned faculty advisor to complete the Master of International Affairs Plan of Study.The Plan of Study is a working document that should be reviewed each semester as students plan out their desired coursework.

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  • Core CurriculumCore Curriculum

    During their first year, students take six courses that provide foundational knowledge in institutions, traditions, and mechanisms of international exchange.

  • Study TracksOptional Concentrations

    Students may choose from nine optional concentrations that leverage the research, policy, and coursework expertise of the School of International Affairs faculty.

  • ElectivesElectives

    In their second year, students choose from elective courses from the School of International Affairs or Penn State graduate programs in other disciplines.

  • Language ProficiencyLanguage Proficiency

    To be successful in our increasingly globalized world, SIA students must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English. 

  • Capstone ExperienceCapstone Experience

    As a capstone to their educational experience, students choose between writing a master's paper or completing an approved internship.

  • Interdisciplinary JournalPublications

    SIA students create two publications: one completely written and produced by SIA students and the other together with students from Penn State Law.

  • Experiential LearningExperiential Learning

    Students have ample opportunities to gain hands-on experience outside of the classroom through a variety of programs.

  • Joint MIA/JDJoint JD/MIA Program

    The School of International Affairs offers a joint MIA/JD program with Penn State Law. 

  • IUGIntegrated Undergraduate - Graduate (IUG) Programs

    SIA offers two Integrated Undergraduate - Graduate programs for Penn State undergraduate students.

  • Online StudyOnline Study

    SIA students can earn a certificate in Geospatial Intelligence as part of their required elective coursework.

  • Graduate Certificates

    Students and professionals interested in international affairs can choose from three graduate certificates to enhance their education and earn credits toward graduate school.