Provide an opportunity to engage with one of several geographic areas—Africa, East or South Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Russia and the Former Soviet States, among others—via multiple academic disciplines.


Area studies have been a component of scholarship at SIPA since the School’s founding era. SIPA’s regional specializations give students an opportunity to engage with a specific geographic area via multiple academic disciplines. You’ll learn about discrete regions of the world, the policy challenges they face, and the internal and external factors that influence those challenges.

Current regional specialization options include Africa, East Asia, East Central Europe, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Russia and the Former Soviet States, South Asia, and the United States.

Career Paths

Students in the regional specializations pursue the same wide range of careers as students in the MIA and MPA programs as a whole. Students who wish to work in or devote themselves to the challenges facing a particular geographic area may find these specializations to be particularly appealing.

Curriculum & Courses

While each specialization sets its own curriculum, most require students to take courses in more than one academic discipline. Approved courses often include offerings at SIPA, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and sometimes other schools at Columbia University.

Concentration & Specialization Requirements

Each regional specialization requires the completion of three courses (9 points), but course and distribution requirements vary.

View full requirements

Regional Contacts


Souleymane Bachir Diagne
Director, Institute of African Studies
Professor of French and Romance Philology
522 Philosophy Hall


Jinny Prais
Advisor to the Certificate in African Studies
Associate Director, Institute of African Studies
Room 201 Knox Hall
201 Knox Hall


East Asia

Eugenia Lean
Director, Weatherhead East Asian Institute
Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures
914 IAB


Lucy March
Program Coordinator
Room 934 IAB

East Central Europe

Christopher Caes
Director, East Central European Center
1228 IAB


Rebecca Dalton
Program Manager, Harriman Institute 
1211 IAB



Adam Tooze 
Director, European Institute
421 Fayerweather Hall


Francois Carrel-Billard 
Associate Director, European Institute
Interchurch Center (475 Riverside Drive), Office 308J


Latin America

Gustavo S. Azenha
Director of Graduate Studies & Executive Director of ILAS
Associate Director, Center for Brazilian Studies
Room 834 IAB


Eliza Kwon
Senior Manager of Business & Student Affairs
Room 827 IAB


Middle East

Brinkley Messick
Director, Middle East Institute
756 Schermerhorn


Astrid Benedek
Associate Director, Middle East Institute
304 Knox Hall


Russia and the Former Soviet States

Alexander Cooley
Director, Harriman Institute
1214 IAB


Rebecca Dalton
Program Manager, Harriman Institute 
1211 IAB


South Asia

Katherine Ewing
Director, South Asia Institute
Room 214 Knox Hall

William Carrick
Assistant Director and Outreach Coordinator, South Asia Institute
219 Knox Hall


United States

Ester Fuchs
Specialization Director
Professor of International and Public Affairs and Political Science
1428 IAB


Kevin Gully
Specialization Coordinator
1430A IAB