Office of Admissions
The Maxwell School offers an innovative and rewarding learning environment -- rich in tradition, welcoming all who seek to study public administration, policy and international affairs. Here you acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to begin or enhance your career in public and international service, imbued with values which undergird a lifetime of civic involvement. The program staff and faculty are committed to providing a supportive yet challenging learning environment in which students feel a sense of community and tradition.
MPA Master of Public Administration (12 month traditional, 18 month includes summer internship)
MA International Relations (16 months)
MPA/MA IR Joint Degree (two years)
MA IR/MS PR (public relations) focused in Public Diplomacy - administered jointly with SU's SI Newhouse School of Communications (two years)
JD/MPA and JD/MA IR with SU College of Law (each three years)
MA IR/MA Economics (two years)
PhD - Public Administration
Other concurrent degrees available throughout various programs at SU.
Fields of Specialization/Study Tracks
Child / Family Policy
Conflict Resolution / Negotiation
Government (Public) Administration
Healthcare Policy / Management
Housing / Economic Development
Human Rights / Humanitarian Affairs
Information & Technology Policy / Management
International Trade / Business
Law / International Law
Organizational Theory / Management
Public Finance / Budgeting
Security Studies (National or International)
Social Policy / Poverty
Urban Studies / Regional Planning
Eastern Europe / Russia
Graduate Program Overview
Maxwell's MPA and MA IR programs prepare individuals for careers as policy analysts and program administrators in the public and international sectors and related fields. Both the MPA and MA IR programs operate on a condensed schedule. MPA students complete their full degree in 12 months of study in Syracuse. A convenient 18 month option exists for students seeking a program with a formal internship. MA IR students begin their studies in Syracuse with a fall and spring term, setting the stage for further study in one of our many global programs around the world with the added option of a fall term at our Washington, DC campus. They complete their degrees in just 16 months of full time study.
Syracuse presents a wonderful location for this concentrated study, as here our students can fully engage in their studies, forming a strong sense of community with their fellow students, faculty and staff. By fully engaging with their cohort, and our world class faculty (who redefine the notion of accessibility!), our students begin forming a strong professional network. This extends to our very loyal Maxwell alumni who hold in positions of active leadership all over the US and the world. The very structures of our programs, and the location of our school, naturally produce this strong sense of connection and community that greatly benefit our graduates with entry into a superior professional network.
The core courses of both of our professionally oriented degree programs focus on a well-balanced skill set. This comprehensive approach provides our graduates the skills to (1) effectively analyze and determine solutions to policy and management dilemmas; (2) design, implement and evaluate programs and policies to remedy these problems; and (3) successfully negotiate the contextual nuances of the public and or international sector.
While Maxwell\'s MPA is known as a generalist program, honoring theory but always with an eye toward practice, students are able to either develop a rich focus by selecting one of eight key areas of study (5 courses) or broaden their studies with a combination of courses from two (or more) areas of study. The capstone course, completed in May/June is a team workshop for a real public sector agency/organization allowing the students to put into practice all the knowledge and skills learned over the course of their year if study. This course is completed over the fall term for students opting for the 18 month MPA option.
MPA Areas of Study:
Data Analytics for Public Policy
Environmental Policy and Administration
International and Development Administration
National and International Security Policy
Public and Nonprofit Management
Public Sector Innovation and Management
Social Policy (Aging, Education, Health, Welfare)
State and Local Government Financial Analysis and Management
The MA IR, already focused on the international arena and context, allows for regional study to be integrated into the selection of one (of four) broad career tracks (5 courses). MA IR students will also have a required professional internship component that is often completed in Washington, DC or any location around the world, bringing what they learn in the classroom to the professional setting.
MA IR Career Tracks:
Development and Humanitarian Assistance
Governance, Diplomacy, and International Organizations
International Political Economy: Finance, Trade and Migration
Peace, Security & Conflict
The skills learned in the core courses of both programs allow our graduates to be successful in public service careers in the government, non-profit and related private sectors, both domestically and internationally.
Each year approximately 110 new students begin their MPA studies in July with most completing their studies in 12 months. For those seeking a summer internship, the MPA program can be completed in 18 months. Sixty five (65) new MA IR students join these students in the fall. All joint MPA/MA IR and MA IR/MS PR - Public Diplomacy students begin their studies in the summer.
Students range in age from their 20's through their 50's; roughly 80% have 2 or more years of professional work experience; 25-30% are international with 20-25% of the remaining students being students of color.
CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS: Maxwell administers a number of Certificate of Advanced Study programs. Most students can obtain a certificate embedded within their degree program. All certificate programs are credentialed by the NYS Department of Education. Certificates are available in the following areas:
Applied Conflict Studies
Data Analysis for Public Policy (expected 2019)
Health Services Management & Policy
Leadership of International and NGOs
Technology & Information Policy
Civil Society Organizations
Middle East Affairs
European Union and Contemporary Europe
South Asian Studies
Latin American and Caribbean Studies
February 1 for full financial aid consideration. Late applications are reviewed for admission, but we cannot guarantee financial aid consideration.
Students interested in careers in public policy analysis, management and international affairs are invited to apply. The deadline for application is February 1st. Incomplete applications cannot be reviewed, so it is important to make sure that all application documents, test scores, transcripts and letters of recommendation are sent to Syracuse University by the deadline. We invite applications from committed individuals from all over the world and strive for a diverse student body. We encourage all applicants to apply via our online process.
The Admissions committee looks first and foremost for an understanding and commitment to a professional career focused on public service in the domestic or international arena. Experiences, like JSI, and related internships can enhance your understanding and exposure to the field, thus making your application stronger. Students should take care in preparing the personal statement as a reflection of this understanding of the field and your career goals as they relate to your academic interests.
The committee will also look to ensure that the applicant has the adequate academic preparation to be successful in our programs. All PPIA fellows must include a copy of their JSI evaluation. These are extremely helpful in our review process. If you received a recommendation for further coursework on your JSI application, we will expect that you have followed through on this recommendation, even if taking courses at a local college after graduation. Strong writing skills and quantitative preparation are important for both our programs.
Finally, the most successful students in our program are able to demonstrate their strong passion, motivation and commitment for a career in public service. Be sure to highlight you unique experiences, background, and demonstrated leadership as these can make a strong impact on the committee as they review your application.
Department of PAIA