Program requirements (ending Fall 2013)

The information below reflects the program requirements up to the Fall 2013.

The M.A. in Public and International Affairs requires successful completion of a total of 45 credits. The credits are distributed as follows:

  • Eight core courses (24 credits)
  • Four electives specialized seminars (12 credits)
  • A capstone seminar (3 credits)
  • A major research paper (6 credits)

For students registered in the co-op program, the degree requirements are somewhat different from those of the standard program. The 51 credits required for completion of the degree are distributed as follows:

  • Eight core courses (24 credits)
  • Three elective seminars (15 credits)
  • Two co-op placements with report (12 credits)
  • A major research paper (6 credits)

It is possible for co-op students to take capstone seminars as part of their four elective seminars.

For a measure of flexibility, with the permission of the program coordinator, up to two courses may be replaced by courses offered by other academic units.

**With the exception of POL (Political Studies) et MDG (International Development). These courses can be taken without written permission; however, registration must be done through the GSPIA academic secretariat.

The program normally extends over two years of full-time studies.

The first year of the program: Acquiring strong foundations

The first year of study is essentially dedicated to the core courses that will allow students to gain a strong multidisciplinary foundation in public and international affairs. Students must complete four mandatory courses, involving different disciplines, during the first fall semester. The following winter session, students must complete the four remaining mandatory courses. Through these eight mandatory courses completed during the first two sessions of the program, students will acquire the foundations required to understand contemporary issues in the formulation of public policy and the conduct of international affairs, and allowing them to continue on taking elective seminars on more specialized topics.

The Course Sequence for the First Year

Fall TermWinter Term
API 5105 Concepts and Issues in International AffairsAPI5115 Politics of the Policy Process
API 5116 Democratic Governance and Public PolicyAPI 5106 Globalization and Governance
API 5125 Macroeconomic PolicyAPI 5126 Microeconomics for Public Policy
API 5135 Ethics for Public and International AffairsAPI 5136 Research Methods for Public Policy

The second year of the program:

The second year of the program is designed to allow students to acquire deeper knowledge in specific areas. It requires the student to complete three sets of requirements: a set of four elective seminars, a capstone seminar, and a major research paper.

Elective seminars

The elective seminars are grouped under three fields of concentration: public policy, international affairs, and development studies. 

The capstone seminars (API 6399)

Each year, the School will offer a number of capstone seminars.

Each capstone seminar will focus on a specific problem of public policy, international affairs or development. For example, topics could include post-conflict reconstruction and the role of the UN, development and corporate social responsibility, or climate change policy. With the exception of those in the co-op option, students are required to chose and complete one of those seminars.
The capstone seminars will require that students work in small teams to prepare a detailed policy brief, offering both rigorous analysis and alternatives for action to address the problem at hand. At the end of the course, students will also be required to present their policy brief to their fellow students, faculty members, and senior fellows at the School.

The capstone seminar should serve as an opportunity to use, in a more integrative manner, the knowledge and techniques studied throughout the program. Moreover, in order to provide students with a better appreciation for the real-life constraints faced by policy-makers, diplomats and development workers, each seminar will be led by a regular faculty member, but it will also involve an experienced practitioner associated with the program.

The major research paper (API 6999)

As the final requirement of the program, students will write a major paper on a topic of their choice. Written under the supervision of a professor, the paper will be about 50 pages in length. It will be marked by two professors: the supervisor and an additional professor nominated by the program coordinator. Students can register to the major research paper as of the first summer session and must maintain registration in each following session until the submission of the final revised version. A maximum of 12 sessions are allowed to complete all program requirements.

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