Master of International Affairs
In this two-year program, explore the most prominent sociocultural theories while you learn how to handle international crises and implement global solutions.
Build a Degree that Works for You
The Master of International Affairs (M.I.A.) program offers you a customizable and interdisciplinary degree that emphasizes hands-on instruction and professional development. No matter your interests, you can build a master's degree that fits your academic and career goals, all while learning from distinguished faculty at one of the world's top research institutions.
The M.I.A. degree requires a minimum of 42 credits, with four separate degree components:
- 18 credits of core curriculum
- 21 credits of electives
- Capstone experience (3 credits)—either an internship or a master's paper
- Documented language proficiency
The degree takes approximately two academic years to complete.
We know you have a wide variety of interests and goals, so we offer optional concentrations to choose from—or you can create your own.
Create Your Own Concentration
In addition to this list, you can create your own. Recent SIA graduates have completed customized concentrations in non-traditional security studies, economic development, climate and energy risk, and global media studies, among many others.
The core curriculum includes 18 credits—six courses of three credits each—that are completed during your first year in the program.
You will work with your faculty adviser and your SIA academic adviser to choose 21 credits of elective courses that fit your academic and career goals. You can select courses that have already been approved or work with your academic adviser to identify courses across Penn State that fit your interests.
If you wish to take an elective that is not included in the SIA or Penn State electives lists, you will need approval from your SIA academic adviser prior to course enrollment.
You can choose a master's paper or a supervised internship to complete the capstone experience.
A master's paper will allow you to integrate and illustrate mastery of the subject matter within your customized degree and may provide an opportunity for original research.
Internships are supervised professional placements in which you will integrate your studies in a professional environment. At SIA, you can complete internships around the world and in many professional settings—including NGOs, think tanks, government agencies, international businesses, and more.
You are encouraged to study abroad as part of your master's degree program! The School of International Affairs offers a wide array of education abroad programs through the Penn State Education Abroad Office.
With programs in diverse countries and options for classroom-based study, internships, and research, you will have the opportunity to live and study overseas while fulfilling SIA degree requirements.
In order to graduate, you must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in one language other than English. Proficiency is defined as:
- four semesters of language study at Penn State, your original undergraduate institution or a combination of both;
- native acquisition, as shown by the candidate's personal history and approved by the School of International Affairs; or
- performance on a proficiency evaluation equivalent to four semesters (15 credits) of language learning.
If you have questions regarding the language proficiency requirement, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Credits taken as “audit” cannot count towards fulfillment of the language proficiency requirement.
In situations where two or more language classes replicate each other (in content/title), only one can be counted towards the SIA language requirement
When your language proficiency level cannot be readily determined to be at the 15-credit level, SIA reserves the right to require a language proficiency test.