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International and Public Affairs

The concentration in International and Public Affairs equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be engaged global citizens. This concentration offers three tracks: Development, Policy & Governance, and Security. All students take a common core of five classes, beginning with a choice of thematic gateway lecture courses (ideally taken during freshman or sophomore year), and then building through a required junior seminar and a required senior seminar (eligible students may choose to write an honor's thesis to satisfy the senior seminar requirement). All students choose one of three tracks of substantive specialization: Development, in which students explore issues of human development in local and global contexts, and across both the developing world and advanced industrial settings; Security, which allows students to explore issues of security in both local and global contexts; and Policy and Governance, in which students explore the design, implementation, and evaluation of public policies to resolve societal challenges, as well as the governing structures that yield those policies. The concentration is committed to engaging students in the classroom, enabling research opportunities with faculty and in the field, and supporting experiential learning opportunities. Advisors' office hours and an online appointment scheduler are available here

Concentration Requirements

The concentration entails 11 courses, 5 of which apply across track specializations and 6 of which are track-specific.

The 5 common core courses include an IAPA gateway lecture course that examines broad global themes and provides an introduction to multidisciplinary analysis; one qualitative and one quantitative research methods course (language instruction at the 0400 level or above can substitute for one of the methods courses);  one of the designated IAPA junior seminars (taken during the junior year); and a senior capstone course.  Students may fulfill the capstone requirement by taking one of the designated IAPA senior seminars.  Eligible students may choose to write an honors thesis to satisfy the senior capstone requirement.  The concentration offers choices for each of these 5 common core courses, and these courses are not track-specific.

All International and Public Affairs concentrators choose a track of specialization: Development, Policy & Governance, or Security. Students in each track are required to take a track foundational course (which lays out broad themes and questions for the track), and five track electives.

Concentration Requirements Summary
Gateway Course1
Global Health, Humanitarianism, and Inequality
Costs of War
Fiscal Plumbing 101: The American Tax State in Comparative and Historical Perspective
How We Compete: The Race for Industrial Supremacy Over Time and Place
Using Big Data to Solve Economic and Social Problems
Politics of the Illicit Global Economy
Track Foundational1
Foundations of Policy and Governance
Foundations of Development (Development Track)
Foundations of Security
Track Electives (See tables below)5
Qualitative Research Methods 11
Methods in Development Research
Ethnographic Research Methods
Investigating Modes of Social Change
Quantitative Research Methods 21
What Works: Evaluating the Impact of Social Programs
Public Opinion Surveys Research
Introduction to Econometrics
Introductory Statistics for Social Research
Junior Seminar 31
U.S. Grand Strategy
Comparative Politics of Urban Development
Transitional Justice
Displaced: How Global Systems Shape Refugee Families
Inequality, Policy, and Economics
Survey of Time: Temporality, Social Theory, and Difference
Politics of Public Health: The United States in Comparative Perspective
Civil Resistance
Drug War Politics
Technology and Development
Cyber Security: Strategy & Policy
Power and Knowledge: The “Muslim World” in the Social Sciences
Gender and Capitalism
Wealth and Poverty in the New Metropolis
Cultures of Surveillance: Technology, Terror and Identity
Is World Peace Possible?
Seeking Refuge: A Global Perspective on Refugee Displacement
Geography of Uneven Development
The Politics of Risk: Danger, Governance, and Social Inequality
Justice, Gender, and Markets
Diplomacy, an Art That Isn't Lost
Coercion: Deterrence and Compellence
Senior Capstone: 41
Development's Visual Imaginaries: Still and Moving Images That Shaped the Field
Science and Technology Policy in the Global South
Brazilian Democracy in the XXI Century: Challenges and Possibilities
Politics & Journalism: A Practical Guide to How We Got Here and Where We’re Going
From Growth to the Green Transition
Bilateral and Multilateral Policy and Diplomacy
Rwanda Past and Present
Humanitarian Response in Modern Conflict
Diplomacy, Crisis, War in the Modern Era
Iran and the Islamic Revolution
Legal Methods for Public Policy
Health Policy Challenges
National Security Decision Making
Overcoming Threats to Human Security
Rethinking Development's Archive
Inequality, Sustainability, and Mobility in a Car-Clogged World AKA: Two Billion Cars
Democratization and Autocratization
Contemporary Digital Policy and Politics
Revolutions that Changed the World
Roots of Crisis in Central America
Senior Honors Seminar
Senior Honors Seminar
Total Credits11

Track Specialization and Electives

IAPA students must take the track foundational course associated with their track specialization (Development, Security, or Policy & Governance).  Track foundational courses are not interchangeable or substitutable with courses offered in other concentrations. Students select 5 elective courses from the list of pre-approved electives consistent with their track specialization. Approval of track elective courses not on the pre-approved list is permitted only in extenuating circumstances.  Note - the list of electives is subject to change.

Examples of track electives include the following:

Middle East in Anthropological Perspective
Anthropology of Homelessness
Race and Inequality in the United States
International Trade
Environmental Economics and Policy
Gender, Race, and Medicine in the Americas
Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East
Economic Development in Latin America
Beyond Sun, Sea and Sand: Exploring the Contemporary Caribbean
Economic Development of China and India
History of the State of Israel: 1948 to the Present
The Rise of China
Security, Governance and Development in Africa
Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the Modern World
Human Factors in Cybersecurity
Race, Crime, and Punishment in America
The Mexican Revolution
Making Revolutionary Cuba, 1959-Present
Victory, Defeat, and Everything In-Between: History, Strategy, and Politics
History of American Intervention
Nuclear Weapons
Nationalism and Nationalities
Reimagining Climate Change
CS for Social Change
Intergenerational Poverty in America
The Economics of Social Policy
Education, the Economy and School Reform (EDUC1600)
Energy Policy and Politics
Victory, Defeat, and Everything In-Between: History, Strategy, and Politics
Social Entrepreneurship
Nonprofit Organizations
History of American Intervention
Tobacco, Disease and the Industry: cigs, e-cigs and more
Public Opinion and American Democracy
Health Care Politics and Policy
The Political Foundations of the City


Seminars and Capstone

Junior Seminar
All International and Public Affairs concentrators, having completed at least one Gateway course, take a junior seminar during the fall or spring semester of the junior year. The seminars focus on issues in international and public affairs that can be studied in comparative global perspective, that can be subjected to multidisciplinary analysis, and that often cut across concerns about development, governance, and security. The seminars are designed to help students hone skills of critical analysis, argumentation, and the design and operation of social science research and scholarship.  They simultaneously help students focus on the topics that can later be pursued as capstone or thesis projects. The junior seminars are not track-specific: students from any of the track specializations can take one of the approved junior seminars.  Junior seminars are not interchangeable or substitutable with courses offered in other concentrations. Junior seminars are typically at the 1700-level. Junior seminars are WRIT designated.

All International and Public Affairs concentrators complete a capstone course during their senior year.  Designated IAPA Senior Seminars, taken during the student’s senior year, satisfy the capstone requirement.  IAPA Senior Seminars require students, in their senior year, to write a research paper or extended policy brief that draws on analytic expertise, thematic expertise, regional expertise, and foreign language skills, if applicable.  The capstone research project is typically about 20–25 pages in length. Senior capstone seminars are not interchangeable or substitutable with courses offered in other concentrations. Senior seminars are typically at the 1800-level. Eligible students may choose to write an honor's thesis to satisfy the senior capstone requirement.  Senior seminars are WRIT designated.


Students who demonstrate exceptional academic performance and scholarly achievement in the International and Public Affairs concentration have the opportunity to be recommended for graduation with honors. Students submit applications to the Honors Program in the spring semester junior year. The application form includes: primary thesis advisor signature, evidence of fulfilling IAPA honors course prerequisites, a well-developed social science research question, and the identification of a plan, schedule, and empirical strategy for conducting the research that will lead into writing the thesis in the fall and spring of senior year. Only those students with an approved thesis application will be permitted to enter the senior thesis seminar in the fall and/or receive thesis research grants for the summer. 


All International and Public Affairs concentrators enjoy a multi-tiered advising system composed of the concentration’s faculty director, each student’s individual faculty mentor, the concentration’s program manager, and peer advising.

The IAPA concentration seeks to match students to the faculty advisors that they (the students) request. In many cases, the concentration is able to honor the students’ first preferences. In some cases, however, students will not be matched with the faculty advisors that they request. This generally happens if and when a given faculty member already has a very high number of advisees. Spreading advising responsibilities across the faculty ensures that students will receive the attention they deserve. At the same time, regardless of particular advisor assignments, students are encouraged to reach out to members of the IAPA Faculty Concentration Committee or other faculty members to discuss scholarly issues or other topics of interest. This is best done by requesting an office hours appointment with the faculty member.

All of these advisors should be seen as mentors, people who are willing to meet, share their knowledge, direct students to additional advising resources if their own knowledge doesn’t cover the issue at hand, and generally lend a sympathetic ear.