Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

Syracuse University
Syracuse, NY


Details at a Glance

  • School Type

  • Acceptance Rate

  • Application Fee

  • Average In-State Tuition

  • Average Out-of-State Tuition

  • Financial Aid Available


Degrees Offered

Master of Public Administration
MA in International Relations
MA in Public Diplomacy and Global Communications
Executive Master's (PA and IR - specify interest when requesting info)
Social Science Programs (see description and specify interest when requesting info)

Our Program

The Maxwell School offers world-class programs in public administration and international affairs alongside highly regarded social science programs.

The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University is recognized as one of the world's best schools of public affairs. In fact, it has held the #1 spot in the US News rankings every year except one since they began. The Maxwell School is unique in its structure: our world-class programs in public administration and international affairs are delivered alongside highly regarded social science programs for undergraduate, master's, and doctoral students. This rich environment gives rise to 10 interdisciplinary research centers in which students and faculty across programs focus on topical issues in public affairs -- including the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion, the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, and the new Autonomous Systems Policy Institute.

The Maxwell School’s DC-based headquarters at the #1-ranked Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is the launch pad for the Maxwell-in-Washington program, offering undergraduate students an opportunity to take classes and conduct internships in the nation’s capital as well as graduate professional programs in international relations. 

The Maxwell School is one of 13 schools and colleges of Syracuse University, a private, international research university located in the geographic heart of New York State. The University’s global footprint includes nearly 15,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students; more than a quarter of a million alumni in 160 countries; and a student population from all 50 U.S. states and 123 countries. Syracuse, New York, is a comfortable mid-sized city with the amenities of a metropolitan center and an affordable cost of living.

Top-Ranked Programs in Public Administration and International Affairs

Maxwell’s Master of Public Administration degree is consistently top-ranked (#1 in Public Management and Leadership, #2 in Nonprofit Management, #4 in International Global Policy, etc..), and provides a skills-based education that is concentrated and broadly applicable — for leaders within not only the public sector, but anywhere leadership is essential.

In the same department, Maxwell offers a highly ranked and ambitiously interdisciplinary MA in International Relations that combines scholarly coursework with global internships and selected skills instruction.

A unique 43-credit degree in Public Diplomacy and Global Communications offered jointly with Syracuse University's S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications prepares graduates for careers focused on public communications for governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector.

Maxwell offers a range of flexible degree programs (Campus, Online, and Executive) that students can tailor based on their level of professional experience, career goals, preferred learning format, schedule and location.

Highly Regarded Programs in the Social Sciences

Maxwell is also home to the academic social science disciplines of Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, and Sociology – all departments that offer the BA/MA/PhD leading to careers in academic teaching and research (among others). Maxwell also offers two interdisciplinary majors for undergraduates in Citizenship & Civic Engagement as well as Environment, Sustainability, & Policy.

Join a community for life

Networking reaches a new level at Maxwell, where deep relationships are fostered within the school between students, faculty, staff and 33,000+ alumni - all of whom are linked through a common bond and shared goals. Maxwell faculty are not only world class scholars and high level practitioners, but also are known for being very accessible and committed to student learning. Maxwell alumni are committed to our school and to assisting the next generation of graduates as they enter their professional careers

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Maxwell School is committed to improving the diversity - in all its forms - of our students, faculty, and staff. We are committed to making our school, our university, and our communities more inclusive and just for all.


  • Acceptance Rate

  • Application Fee



  • checkbox-altTOEFL
  • checkbox-altIELTS
  • checkbox-altPersonal Statement
  • checkbox-altResume
  • checkbox-altGRE optional for MAIR and PDGC; recommended for MPA; not required for executive; required for social sciences and PhD
  • checkbox-altLetters of recommendation (number required varies by program)

Additional Requirements

The Admission Committee considers the entire profile of a candidate when reviewing their file for admission. The personal statement is a critical component, and the applicant should take care to clearly demonstrate their understanding of the field and how their career goals are aligned with the mission and focus of their program of interest. 


Having a solid understanding of the professional nature of this field is critical for being a strong student at Maxwell. We look for clearly identified career goals aligned with our program and where our graduates work over the course of their careers. Academically, we like to see an overall undergraduate GPA at or above 3.0 or equivalent. We look for specific coursework in the quantitative areas of math, economics, and statistics as knowledge in these areas has proven important for success in our policy analysis core courses. In the absence of such coursework, we recommend submitting GRE exam scores. For the MAIR program, applicants should also demonstrate proficiency in a second language. 

Executive Master's Programs

The admission committee considers a candidate’s academic record and aptitude for success in our graduate coursework. Relevant work experience (minimum of 7 years for our campus-based programs and 5 years for the EMPA Online) is a primary factor in the admission decision.

Social Science and Doctoral Programs

An applicant's academic record, GRE scores, and overall fit with the department's (and faculty) areas of focus is central to a strong application. Applicants are encouraged to connect directly with faculty in their program of interest prior to applying.

Application Deadline

Campus based MPA and MA IR programs - February 1 for full admission and merit based financial aid consideration. Applications will be accepted on a rolling, space-available basis after Feb. 1.

Campus based Executive Education programs (EMPA/EMIR) have a priority deadline of July 1 for fall admission and November 1 for spring admission, followed by rolling admission on a space-available basis.

Deadlines for our social science and doctoral programs vary; please check the Maxwell website for program-specific deadlines.

Student Body

  • Total Students

    pound150 Students
  • Female

    female56% Female
  • Male

    male44% Male


  • checkbox-altDedicated Diversity Office
  • checkbox-alt25-32% US Students of Color
  • checkbox-alt20-25% International Students

Clubs & Associations

There are a number of student organizations within the Department of Public Administration and International Affairs, most primarily PAIRA (PA and IR Student Association) which plans a number of professional development activities, alumni/career networking events, community service projects as well as social events throughout the year. 

The Maxwell School and broader University is also home to a host of student groups and organizations. The SU Graduate Student Organization provides activities, resources and support for all graduate students and graduate student groups.  

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PAIA Admissions Blog:

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Global Programs Blog:

What Our Students Say

  • Bodnar credits Maxwell with providing him with the perfect balance between academic discourse and professional skills development. His classes with Dr. Renee De Nevers were some of his favorite and provided him with an in depth introduction, not only to the U.S. and international security issues at the time, but on how different actors deal with those issues as well.

    Mik Bodnar, MA International Relations ‘10
  • “Without my year at Maxwell, I would not be where I am today. Maxwell provided me with a strong set of analytical and managerial skills, strengthened my ability to communicate and network, and broadened my worldview. Public health is a dynamic field, and though it can be hard to determine change when doing prevention work, it is making a difference!”

    Nancy Andrade, Master of Public Administration (MPA) ‘09
  • "The scholarship I was provided allowed me the flexibility to intern throughout my time at Maxwell. I got a fantastic position with the City of Syracuse's community development department--which helped me qualify for my current position at HUD" where Jayme serves as the Jobs Plus Program Manager.

    Jayme Brown, Master of Public Administration (MPA) ‘09

Tuition & Financial Aid

  • Average In-State Tuition

  • Average Out-of-State Tuition

  • Financial Aid Available

  • Average Financial Aid Offer


Additional Information

  • checkbox-altLow Cost of Living in Syracuse
  • checkbox-altOver 80% of students receive merit based funding