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Academic Advising

At SIPA, we have designed an academic advising partnership that gives you exposure to as many administrators and faculty members as possible to assure your successful matriculation. During your time at SIPA you will have three primary advisers whose goal is to help you navigate the curriculum and successfully complete your degree. 

After you are accepted and you have paid your tuition deposit, students in the 2-year programs will be assigned a Dean from SIPA’s Office of Student Affairs whose primary responsibility is to advise you on the Core requirements and to connect you to both SIPA and Columbia resources.  Students in the MPA-DP, PESP, PEPM, and EMPA program will be advised by designated staff members from each program. 

Advising Expectations
Nothing substitutes for face-to-face meetings with your assigned OSA Dean and Concentration and Specialization advisers.
Academic Advising Staff
Advisers in the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) advise students on academic matters related to the MIA and MPA Core Curriculum and assist students with general questions related to their studies (course load, grading options, university services, etc.) For advising related to concentrations or specializations, students should consult with the relevant concentration/specialization director and/or program assistants.
MIA Curriculum
The curriculum of the MIA degree program is designed to provide students with qualitative and quantitative analytical skills and with the hands-on management skills required by leaders in the major fields of international affairs, combined with substantive knowledge of a policy concentration and demonstrated foreign language ability.
MPA Curriculum
The MPA curriculum has been designed to develop public affairs professionals, who understand the increasingly complex issues shaping local and national level policies and projects and who have the analytical and managerial skills to apply their knowledge to real world situations.
Course Syllabi
Course descriptions and syllabi can be accessed through CourseWorks, the student's single point of entry for course information and content.
Course Evaluations
Electronic course evaluations are an important part of being a student at SIPA.
Students choose one of the following six concentrations: Economic and Political Development, Energy and Environment (includes tracks in energy and environment), Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy, International Finance and Economic Policy (includes tracks in finance and economic policy), International Security Policy, or Urban and Social Policy.
Students can choose a specialization in regional expertise (8 different regions/countries) or one of the following: Advanced Policy and Economic Analysis; Gender and Public Policy; International Media, Advocacy and Communications; International Organization & UN Studies; or Management. Regional specializations are offered in the following areas: Africa, East Asia, East Central Europe, Europe, Latin America, The Middle East, Russia, South Asia, and the United States.
Language Requirement
Proficiency in a language other than English is required for graduation. Proficiency is defined as the ability to read, write and speak the language at the Intermediate II level.
Sample Academic Plans
To assist in planning your time at SIPA, check out sample two year plans for each of the Policy Concentrations.
Proficiency Exams
Proficiency exams allow SIPA students to demonstrate competence in a number of subjects so that they can be exempted from course requirements in either the core curriculum or their concentration. Passing a proficiency exam exempts you from taking a class, but does not grant you credit towards your degree.
Advanced Standing Policy
Advanced standing for the MIA and MPA degree is awarded based on graduate degrees completed before enrollment at SIPA in fields relevant to the MIA & MPA degrees.
Academic Advising Checklist
Questions you need to ask yourself in your first semester.
Advising FAQ
Parental Accommodation
Students who assume parental duties during their time at SIPA may receive accommodation. Click below for further information.