Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

Globalization presents challenges that demand a new perspective on governance. An increasingly global economy is shaping a new business-government relationship, blunting the regulatory capacity of governments and introducing greater complexity to the design of public policies to promote important social goals. At the same time, critical policy problems such as environmental degradation, spread of deadly viruses, and financial market instability increasingly require strategies of global governance that coordinate across nations the actions of governments, businesses, and non-governmental agencies. In short, globalization has stretched the boundaries of public affairs, analytically and managerially. More than ever, the major and the mundane issues of governance link governments with players outside the public sector and beyond domestic borders.

Through rigorous professional training across several disciplines, the Master of International Public Affairs (MIPA) degree program prepares students from the United States and around the world to engage in governance in ways that meet the challenges of globalization. MIPA graduates work in government at home and abroad, in businesses involved in the global economy, in non-governmental agencies with an international focus, and in consulting firms analyzing implications of international policies. Program brochure

MIPA Degree Plan

MIPA Curriculum

The MIPA degree program, completed in two years of study, is organized around a curriculum of 42 credits made up of six core courses and eight elective classes. On the foundation of required courses, the program provides students with great flexibility to pursue their intellectual interests and career goals by selecting from a wide range of policy, language, and regional study electives.

Core Courses

Seven required courses are the foundation of the MIPA degree program.

  • Professional Development Seminar focuses on essential skills students must have to be successful in graduate school and in their careers, such as policy memo writing, data visualization, job search and networking strategies, resume and cover letter development, interviewing, and policy memo writing.
  • International Governance provides the broad substantive framework for the study of public affairs in the context of globalization. It identifies and explores major international policy issues and policy context, with an analytical emphasis on domestic and international public, private, and non-governmental influences in governance.
  • Intro to Statistical Methods for Public Policy Analysis, Macroeconomic Policy and International Financial Regulation, Trade, Competition, and Governance in a Global Economy,  and Microeconomic Policy Analysis develop competence in important analytic tools for the study of international public affairs. Students learn how to assess policy responses to macroeconomic events, evaluate implications of policies for efficiency and equity, and employ basic statistical methods to interpret and present quantitative data relevant to policy considerations. Students have the option to choose between Macroeconomic Policy and International Financial Regulation or Trade, Competition, and Governance in a Global Economy. 
  • Policy Analysis for International Public Affairs
  • Workshop in International Public Affairs, the MIPA capstone course, gives students practical experience working in teams and applying the conceptual and analytical tools acquired during three semesters of coursework to real-world international issues clients face in the public, private, and non-governmental sectors. Workshop clients have included the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., the International Land Coalition in Rome, and a non-governmental university in Bangladesh.

Regional Focus Fields

Regional focus fields develop broad expertise in a geographic region by clustering courses, including language courses, across several disciplines, typically emphasizing courses in the social sciences. In building regional focus fields, MIPA students take advantage of the university's strong area studies centers, which include:


Students are encouraged to strengthen their career preparedness and broaden their placement opportunities by taking up suitable internships in government agencies, international organizations or offices of non-governmental organizations in Madison, elsewhere in Wisconsin, in Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York City, and other major centers in the United States or in other countries. Upon approval by the associate director, students may earn up to three academic credits toward their degree requirements for the internship.