Cornell Institute for Public Affairs

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About us

The Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA) offers a two-year program of graduate study leading to the Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) degree.

A Cornell MPA Can Help You Succeed

CIPA offers remarkable flexibility to enable you to meet your goals. Building on a foundation of coursework essential for all aspects of public affairs, you can choose a concentration with a program of courses and experiences designed to be most meaningful to you. You will have the entire university open to you--Cornell's exceptional faculty, cutting-edge research, and engaged alumni from all academic disciplines and fields of endeavor.

CIPA Offers You Eight Different Concentration Options:

  • Economic Policy & Finance
  • Environmental Policy
  • Government, Politics & Policy Studies
  • Human Rights & Social Justice
  • International Development Studies
  • Public & Nonprofit Management
  • Science & Technology Policy
  • Social Policy

Gain Hands-on Experiences

At CIPA you will be challenged to apply your knowledge and skills to real-world clients and situations. You will find an array of substantive, hands-on opportunities--both domestic and international. Because many of the most challenging and rewarding internships in the field of public service are unpaid, CIPA offers a competitive grant program to assist with expenses.

  • Summer Internships: The majority of Fellows choose to complete the practical experience component of their MPA by doing an internship. During the summer of 2010, 97 percent of Fellows actively seeking internships received offers. Fifty-six percent chose domestic internships, while 44% chose to do their internships abroad.
  • Capstone Project: As a second-year Fellow, you can apply the knowledge and skills you've acquired through coursework in a rigorous, semester-long consulting project for a real-world client . Each semester, Fellows have the option of choosing to work with either a US-based or an international client.
  • CIPA Washington Externship Semester: You may choose to undertake an externship in Washington, DC, while completing coursework for CIPA credit through the Graduate School, a professional education program established for federal managers in DC.

Pursue International Off-Campus Study

If spending a semester working and studying in an international locale seems out of reach during graduate school, guess again. At CIPA, you have several avenues for combining academic and professional pursuits during a semester abroad. You may enroll for a Cornell-based program in Nepal or Italy. Or, you may choose to study at a partner institution in Spain, Mexico or Hungary.

  • Cornell-Nepal Study Program (CNSP): The CNSP is a pioneering joint venture between Cornell University and Tribhuvan National University in Nepal. Here, you can live and study with Nepalese students and either conduct field research with them or do an internship with governmental or non-governmental organizations.
  • Cornell in Rome Program: Cornell in Rome is a semester-long study-abroad program offered through Cornell's College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. The program has provided a transformative experience for many CIPA Fellows interested in urban planning, international development, food security, and the political economy of the European Union.
  • IBEI/Barcelona: The Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals (IBEI) is a leading postgraduate institution in Europe offering solid academic preparation for careers in one of the social, political and economic domains of international relations.
  • CIDE/Mexico City: CIDE (Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas) is part of Mexico's network of highly specialized public centers for research and higher education. CIDE provides international-caliber training in the social sciences to students of diverse geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds. All courses are taught in Spanish.

CEU/Budapest: Accredited in both the US and Europe, the Central European University (CEU) attracts students from more than 100 countries on five continents, with faculty from thirty countries.

Why Cornell? Why CIPA

Past and present Fellows cite the following reasons for choosing CIPA over all the others:

  • Career Success
  • Unparalleled Flexibility
  • Access to All of Cornell
  • Highly Diverse Community
  • Vast, Lifetime Network
  • Culture of Collaboration and Openness
  • Strong Support

Find out more today!

We invite you to learn more about CIPA. Meet some of our Fellows online, read their stories and blogs, come and visit, and discover all that can await you at Cornell University and beyond:



Contact information

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Phone: 607-255-8018

Fax: 607-255-5240

Cornell University, 294 Caldwell Hall, Ithaca, NY, 14853-2602, US

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