The Master of International Affairs program develops international affairs professionals who understand complex, transnational issues and can manage real-world organizations. Students acquire qualitative and quantitative analytical skills and the hands-on management skills required by leaders in the major fields of international affairs, as well as substantive knowledge of a policy concentration and demonstrated foreign language ability.

Who It's For

The MIA program is best suited for young professionals holding a bachelor’s degree and 3-5 years of relevant work or substantive internship experience.

Career Paths

Students graduating with an MIA degree acquire concrete skills to work in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors around the world. Recent employers include the U.S. Department of State, the United Nations, Deutsche Bank, Proctor and Gamble, and Horn Relief in Africa, to name a few.


The MIA program’s core curriculum includes graduate-level coursework in economics, statistics, interstate relations, and management. You will take a yearlong course in international economics, two international politics courses, and one-semester courses in statistics, management, and financial management. Learn more about the MIA course structure here.

Can I be exempted from some of the requirements based on past academic or professional experience?

Most likely, no. Course exemptions are only granted to students who obtain advanced standing based on previous academic work or pass a proficiency test.

What are the concentration options within this program?
  • Economic and Political Development
  • Energy and Environment
  • Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy
  • International Finance and Economic Policy
  • International and Security Policy
  • Urban and Social Policy
Can I switch my program, concentration, or specialization after I’m admitted?


Can I study part-time or in the evenings?

All students are required to register full-time as many required courses are only offered during the day.

Can I take classes at other schools at Columbia University?

Yes. Many of our students take courses at other Columbia Schools. For more information, please consult the SIPA Bulletin.

Dual-Degree Programs with other columbia schools

  • MIA and Master of Science in Journalism (MS)
  • MIA and Master of Science in Urban Planning (MS)
  • MIA and Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • MIA and Juris Doctor (JD)
  • MIA and Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • MIA and Master in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences (MA)
  • MIA and Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW)

Learn more about the MIA Dual Degree Programs

Dual-Degree Programs with international partners

Application Checklist

Detailed instructions on these requirements may be found in the Application Portal or by browsing the Admissions Blog.

  • Personal Statement, Short Essay, and/or Optional Essay
  • Video Essay
  • Standard Resume/CV
  • Quantitative & Language Resume/CV
  • Letters of Recommendation (2 required; 1 optional)
  • Academic Transcripts (undergraduate and beyond)
  • TOEFL/IELTS/PTE (international students only)
  • Optional Fellowship Essays (Essay prompts vary per program, but all applicants are eligible for select fellowships if they apply by their respective fellowship deadlines)
  • $95.00 USD Application Fee

Learn more about what SIPA looks for

Learn how to apply to SIPA

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