Objective

Enhance your global perspective with our new MPA for mid-career leaders.

Leadership with impact requires strategic thinking, an understanding of critical global issues, and a dash of courage. From the local community to the national or international arena, contemporary problems reflect a variety of forces at work; solutions must do the same.  

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) in Global Leadership helps prepare experienced professionals to tackle global challenges and make a difference. It’s a 10-month, full-time program for leaders with more than 10 years of experience who seek the skills to keep growing in their careers, enhance their leadership capacity, and create greater impact.

Join a cohort of leaders — in business, international and domestic public affairs, and the nonprofit sector — striving for meaningful change. You’ll become part of the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) community at Columbia University, a place that fosters some of the world’s boldest thinkers and doers.

Meet and learn from global leaders. Customize and design your curriculum. Build lifelong relationships. Experience New York City.

Who It's For

Why an MPA in Global Leadership?

  • Customize a curriculum that best suits your needs. You’ll follow SIPA’s rigorous curriculum and enjoy access to the best tools and guidance to manage your professional development. Customize 75 percent of your studies with courses that will help you achieve your professional goals.
     
  • Join a highly accomplished group of professionals. Your classmates will comprise a diverse international community and a range of disciplinary backgrounds, enriching the learning environment of the program. Learn from their experiences, work collaboratively, and build lifelong relationships.
     
  • Learn from leaders around the world. Hear from prize-winning scholars and distinguished figures from a host of nations. Talks by visiting heads of state, government officials, and business executives will deepen your insights and forge the connections you’ll need to make an impact.
     
  • Call New York City your home. Your experience will extend beyond the classroom walls. NYC is an incredibly exciting and dynamic place to live, with incomparable career opportunities, enviable cultural resources, and exciting social opportunities. 
     
  • Be part of Columbia University’s alumni network. Across the world, Columbia’s network of more than 380,000 alumni are shaping the future in every discipline and sector. 
Curriculum

The program provides you with the policy expertise, analytical skills, and strategic thinking to advance your career, expertise, and impact. You’ll receive tailored advice from the faculty program director to help align your studies with your career objectives and personal interests.

SUMMER PROGRAM 

You begin the program with a five-week (6-credit) immersion experience during late July and August, focused on major global policy issues and the strategies to address them.

The summer session includes private sessions with SIPA’s faculty as well as cohort-building activities. It’s an opportunity to refresh your knowledge of economics and quantitative analysis, enhance your leadership and management skills, and individually craft your educational plans for the remaining two semesters. 

FALL AND SPRING SEMESTERS

You are required to complete at least 13 credits in both Fall and Spring semesters, drawing from nearly 450 courses offered every year at SIPA, as well as courses throughout Columbia University. Depending on your educational interests, you will select at least one 3-credit course from one of the following categories: 1) Economics and Quantitative Analysis; 2) Management and Leadership; 3) Policy Foundations. 

In addition, you’ll be part of a unique 1-credit workshop each semester on policy leadership that introduces you to global leaders in the public and private sector. 

Fall

Integrative Seminar I on Global Policy Leadership 1 credit
Individualized course of study from SIPA courses and eligible courses elsewhere in Columbia University Minimum of 12 credits

Spring

Integrative Seminar II on Global Policy Leadership 1 credit
Individualized course of study from SIPA courses and eligible courses elsewhere in Columbia University Minimum of 12 credits
Admission Requirements

This 10-month degree program is designed for leaders with an average of 10 to 15 years of experience who seek to deepen their knowledge of specific global policy issues, strengthen analytical and leadership skills, and expand their professional networks.

Application checklist:

  • Personal statement / Essay questions
  • Professional résumé / CV
  • 3 strong recommendations from individuals in professional and academic settings who know you well and can provide insight on your qualifications for the program  
  • Academic transcripts (undergraduate and beyond)
  • GRE or GMAT scores (optional)
  • Evidence of fluency in English if it’s not your native language. See more details in the FAQs.
  • Application fee: $95

Interview

By invitation only. The admissions committee will conduct interviews with selected applicants via Zoom.

 

FAQs
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFUL MPA-GL CANDIDATES?

We seek diverse international representation and a range of disciplinary backgrounds to enrich the learning environment. Candidates should have 10 to 15 years of progressively senior experience that demonstrates advanced public policy knowledge, analytical skills, and the capacity to make an even greater impact in your field or shift to a senior position in a new sector.

HOW IS THIS PROGRAM DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SIPA PROGRAMS?

The MPA-GL program is distinguished by both the experience of its students and the length and the requirements of its curriculum. 

Applicants should have at least 10 to 15 years of increasingly senior professional experience. In contrast, applicants to our traditional MPA program typically have only two to five years of experience.

The 32-point MPA-GL program is designed for 10 months of full-time study. Our traditional program calls for 54 points over four semesters spanning 21 months.

CAN I STUDY PART-TIME?

No, the one-year MPA-GL is a full-time program. Students must complete at least 32 credits over 10 months, beginning in late July with an intensive, specially designed summer session (total of 6 credits), followed by the fall and spring semesters where students are required to complete at least 13 credits per semester.

DO I NEED TO TAKE THE GRE OR GMAT TO APPLY TO THE MPA-GL PROGRAM?

GRE or GMAT scores are optional for applicants to the MPA-GL program—but they can be useful indicators of academic ability, especially for candidates without a demonstrated record in certain areas. This blog post offers additional guidance.

Either way, the admissions committee reviews every application carefully.

DO I HAVE TO SUBMIT TOEFL/IELTS SCORES?

International students who did not earn a four-year bachelor's degree (or international equivalent) from an institution in which English is the primary language of instruction, must submit proof of competency in English by submitting TOEFL, IELTS, or Cambridge English scores for the application to be reviewed. 

Applicants must successfully achieve a minimum score on the English proficiency exam:

  • TOEFL ibt minimum score: 100, preferred score: 110 or above
  • IELTS minimum score: 7.0, preferred score: 7.5 or above
  • Cambridge English C1 Advanced/ C2 Proficiency: minimum score: 185 C1 Advanced, preferred score: 191 or above

Applicants who have lived or worked in an English-speaking country for at least four years, may waive the test. A waiver request may be submitted as part of your application.

AM I ALLOWED TO TAKE COURSES OUTSIDE OF SIPA?

Yes, you can take classes outside of SIPA. All courses must be approved by your academic advisor before you cross-register at another Columbia University school. Each school has its own registration requirements and procedures; you can read more about the cross-registration procedures here.

CAN I VISIT THE CAMPUS AND MEET WITH AN MPA-GL PROGRAM REPRESENTATIVE?

The MPA-GL program administration is available to meet with you by appointment. Please email us at [email protected].

CAN I DEFER MY OFFER OF ADMISSION?

Applicants should plan to enroll on schedule. We may grant a deferral in exceptional circumstances, such as health issues or visa problems; contact [email protected]  for more details.

DO YOU OFFER FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO ATTEND THE PROGRAM?

Yes. MPA-GL scholarships are based on a combination of merit and financial need, without regard for citizenship. Check the appropriate box when you apply, and you’ll be considered for funding as long as your application is complete.

At the same time, please note that resources are limited, and awards are competitive. We cannot fund every student, and most awards cover only a portion of costs in any case.

DO YOU PROVIDE CAMPUS HOUSING?

On-campus housing is very limited and available only for a small percentage of incoming MPA-GL students through the University Apartment Housing Office. All incoming students are given access to Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA). Some MPA-GL students may choose to live in International House, an independent residential community just a few minutes away from SIPA.

Academic Calendar 2023-24 

 

Summer Program 2023

July 24 Monday First Day of Classes. Summer Term
August 25 Friday Summer Term ends

 Fall Term 2023

September 4 Monday Labor Day. University Holiday
September 5 Tuesday First Day of Fall Term
November 6 Monday Academic Holiday. No classes
November 7 Tuesday Election Day. University Holiday
November 22 Wednesday Academic Holiday. No classes
November 23-24 Thursday-Friday Thanksgiving. University Holiday
December 11 Monday Last Day of Classes
December 22 Friday Fall Term ends

 Spring Term 2024

January 15 Monday Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Observed. University Holiday
January 16 Tuesday First Day of Classes. Spring Term
March 18-22 Monday-Friday Spring Recess
May 6 Monday Last Day of Classes
May 22 Wednesday Commencement. Graduation Day