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10+ Specializations

The School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) at Virginia Tech offers 10+ specializations that allow you stand out in your field.

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Graduate certificates are available to both non-degree and degree students. Many students choose to begin their journey with SPIA by completing certificate programs which pack a powerful amount of content into an expedited curriculum.

Click each of the tabs below to view the certificates offered by each program within SPIA.

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    Economic Development (ED)

    The Graduate Certificate in Economic Development is designed for those who are interested in acquiring a basic understanding of urban and regional economic development dynamics and the role of policy in influencing them

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    Geospatial Information Technology (GIT)

    Get a Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) which refers to the study of collection and analysis of remotely sensed data, digital spatial and attribute data used by geographic information systems (GIS), and the application of related technologies such as the Global Positioning System (GPS).

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    Global Planning & International Development (GPID)

    The Graduate Certificate in Global Planning and International Development Studies builds on Virginia Tech’s internationally recognized, 30-year specialization in international development planning and an innovative partnership between faculty in programs such as Urban Affairs and Planning, Public Health, Geography, and Building Construction. The certificate prepares students in multiple disciplines to engage in meaningful global professional leadership and academic positions to systematically tackle and resolve these global planning and development issues.

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    Homeland Security Policy (HSP) Graduate Certificate

    The Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security Policy focuses on domestic security and emergency management issues and introduces students to the complexity and diversity of the homeland security environment. This includes analyzing the terrorist threat and the importance of critical infrastructures; considering questions of hazard mitigation, preparedness, and resilience; and investigating response and recovery strategies and outcomes. Taught by a mix of scholars and practitioners, the certificate addresses issues of homeland security strategy, policy design and implementation, planning, operations, and management across and among governmental and private-sector levels and networks.

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    Local Government Management (LGM)

    The Graduate Certificate in Local Government Management provides the next generation of local government managers and leaders with the tools to advance their careers and to provide exceptional leadership within the communities where they work. The central goal of the program is to offer graduate-level training in local government management that both prepares pre-career students for capable public service at the local level and enhances the capacities of existing local government employees who aspire to be town, city, or county managers or assistant/deputy managers.

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    Middle East Politics & Society (MEPS)

    The Graduate Certificate in Middle East Politics and Society (MEPS) focuses on the politics, society, and history of the peoples of North Africa, Southwestern Asia, Asia Minor, the Arabian Peninsula, and related borderlands and island groups, including emigrant and immigrant groups. It addresses the causes and consequences of conflict in the region, the impact of external interventions including colonialism, and the drivers of political and social change.

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    Nonprofit and N.G.O. Management (NPM)

    The Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) Management is ideal for rising professionals across the globe navigating the complex fiscal, managerial, and networked environments of nonprofits and NGOs during a time of significant change. Courses in the certificate also include a focus on leadership, complex management, and program evaluation with an emphasis on accountability. All courses seamlessly integrate the domestic and international context. The courses are offered via online and focus the core material on the most vital and urgent management challenges for nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations.

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    Nuclear Science, Technology, and Policy (NSTP)

    The Nuclear Science, Technology, and Policy (NSTP) Graduate Certificate integrates policy and management with nuclear science and technology to prepare students from diverse educational backgrounds for careers managing and leading nuclear policy organizations across the spectrum of safety, security, safeguards, and non-proliferation.

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    Public and Nonprofit Financial Management (PNPFM)

    The Graduate Certificate in Public and Non-Profit Financial Management is designed to develop students’ understanding of the concepts and practice of financial management in government, university, and complex non-profit organizations. The certificate integrates financial management perspectives from federal, state, local, and nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations, while synthesizing the concept of financial resiliency for organizations. Students will learn the foundations of resilient financial management and explore their area of interest (federal, state, local, or nonprofit) through their assignments, projects, and case studies.

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    Security Studies (SS)

    The Graduate Certificate in Security Studies (SS) is open to Virginia Tech and non-degree graduate students interested in learning more about conflict, security, and war. Students will explore U.S. foreign policy-making and its impact on the world. The certificate is uniquely geared for students interested in careers in national security, the military, intelligence, legislatures, think-tanks, and NGOs. Courses are offered in Blacksburg, Arlington, and online.

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    Transportation Planning and Policy (TPP)

    The graduate certificate in Transportation Planning and Policy is designed to teach students about transportation systems and related public policies.

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    Urban Planning Analytics (UPA) , redirect

    The Graduate Certificate in Urban Planning Analytics is designed to teach students to engage cities with the skills to leverage data for enhanced, interdisciplinary decision-making problems.

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    Watershed Management (WM)

    The Watershed Management Certificate (WSMC) program integrates existing programs and courses from five colleges and ten departments at Virginia Tech to provide an interdisciplinary and substantive understanding of watershed science, policy, and decision-making. The program provides excellent opportunities for students from many disciplines to study watershed management and develop interdisciplinary skills necessary for effective professional work in this emerging field.