Virginia Tech® home

Master of Public and International Affairs (MPIA)

MPIA Banner

Don't just think big. Think Global.

  • Understand globalization's challenges and opportunities
  • Join an elite part of the Hokie Nation working in international affairs and government in Washington, D.C. and around the world
  • Make professional advancements with new training and skills in national security and economic development
  • Achieve next-level engagement with national and international actors

The Master’s in Public and International Affairs (MPIA), offered through the Government and International Affairs (GIA) program, draws from across the fields of international relations, geography, sociology, and economics to understand how globalization touches international, national, and local politics. 

The MPIA is available for full and part-time students, offered at the Virginia Tech Research Center - Arlington, conveniently located near the Ballston metro stop. MPIA graduates have gone on to careers in the US military, Capitol Hill, major global corporations, non-profits, and multiple executive branches.

Expand your academic & professional journey while exploring and specializing in:

GIA Professor Teaching a Course

  • U.S. foreign policy
  • Conflict resolution
  • Global security
  • International development
  • Global political economy
  • Transnational social movements
  • Environmental politics

Full-time or part-time students are welcome!

Our current student body is diverse and vibrant, including full- and part-time professionals in the federal government, NGOs, and private contractors; military leaders; and recent graduates starting their careers in Washington, D.C. 

Graduates go on to work for the federal, state, and local governments, military and intelligence agencies, a variety of nonprofits and NGOs, as well as private sector consulting and management.

Our Curriculum

The MPIA’s structure is straightforward:

Select four courses from the following Core Courses.

GIA Core Courses

GIA Core Courses

There are two required Methodology Courses:

  • GIA/PSCI 5115 Research Methods
  • Major Paper, Practicum or Thesis (GIA 5904 Project and Report or GIA 5964 Fieldwork/Practicum or GIA 5994 Thesis)

Select two other courses from this list (or another committee-approved methods/theory course):

GIA Methodology Courses

GIA Methodology Courses

Select four couress from the GIA Elective Courses list below. Non-GIA courses can also count towards the elective requirement with prior approval. Ask your adviser for suggestions and approval.

GIA Electives

GIA Electives

Options for Final Masters Requirements:

GIA provides several ways to demonstrate your mastery of the coursework and field of study:

  • GIA 5904 Project and Report
  • GIA 5964 Fieldwork/Practicum
  • GIA 5994 Thesis

The Major Paper (Project and Report) and Fieldwork/Practicum are qualitatively equivalent final projects. In both instances, students will put together a committee with one GIA adviser and two other GIA faculty members. An oral defense will be scheduled.

For more information, please see the Major Paper and Practicum Rules and Guidelines.

Special Offerings

Thinking of applying? Talk to us!

We highly value offering a tailored educational experience. Our GIA advisors will be able to answer any questions you may have about the degree and whether it meets your professional and academic needs. They can also guide you through the application process.

Related Degrees & Certificates