Admissions Blog

Davira’s Top Courses at SIPA

By Davira Chairunnisa '24
Posted Dec 14 2023

I am now reaching the end of my third semester in SIPA. As I only have one semester left before graduation, I created a list of my favorite courses to help you maximize your time at SIPA. While there are plenty of awesome courses available (about 450 to choose from), below I list my top SIPA classes and my thoughts on why I like them so much!

1. Macroeconomics Analysis for International and Public Affairs with Professor Andrea BubulaThe macroeconomics course is a core course that all Seeples nee  to take in their second semester after completing the microeconomics course. The course provides us with a framework for the analysis and interpretation of observed economic developments in the global economy. I took the class with Professor Bubula, and I can say he is one of the best professors at SIPA! Macroeconomics has been much more bearable because of Professor Bubula's way of teaching. Notwithstanding the abundance of materials, I like how the course also relates the theory to the current global financial situation; for example, we examined how fiscal policy works to tackle the COVID-19 economic crisis throughout a few class sessions. Overall, such a great and useful class for tacking policy in the future.

2. Storytelling and The Art of Creating Social Impact Campaigns with Professor Stephen FriedmanUnlike other classes in SIPA, this is a seminar-based class involving different cases to be discussed among the students. It is a very practical course in which we have to analyze the failure of existing social impact campaigns for the midterm and create our own social impact campaigns as a final project. Professor Friedman was a former president of MTV and led MTV's transition to become the Millennial generation's cultural hub and an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning creator of social impact campaigns. From discussing the Black Lives Matter campaign following George Floyd’s murder to reducing the number of teen pregnancies through a TV show, I gained knowledge on how a successful campaign works to advocate policy change. Interestingly, we also recently had a visit to the Paramount Pictures office in Midtown to meet and learn from Chris McCarthy, President and CEO of Paramount Media Networks. This class was such a unique experience that I am so grateful I took advantage of.

3. Methods for Sustainable Development Practice with Professor Eugenia McGillThis course is the first in a two-course sequence designed for Economic and Political Development (EPD) students before the capstone project. I was so excited to learn about development during my time at SIPA, and this class has equipped us with the methods and useful tools that organizations use in sustainable development practice. I like that the course encourages learning by doing and uses a hands-on approach, and development work is a responsible and complex activity. Professor McGill is also very engaged with her students and has always encouraged us to have a 1-1 conversation with her, especially during the client application process. I can’t wait for the capstone!

4. Quantitative Analysis II for International and Public Affairs with Professor Cristian Pop-ElechesThis course is a SIPA statistics sequence where we learned about multiple regressions for program evaluation and policy analysis. Rather than calculations, it involves causal interpretations throughout the semester. Like Quantitative Analysis I, we need to use Stata as the statistical software for our day-to-day work. For students who specialize in DAQA, it’s a core requirement for the specialization; thus, I recommend taking the course in the second semester so you will be able to take DAQA elective courses in your second year

5. Nonprofit Financial Management with Professor Muzzy Rosenblatt: This course is one of the options for the Financial Management Core for the MPA degree program. As someone with a philanthropic background, I chose the Nonprofit class as it provides knowledge on nonprofit and social enterprise finance, financial management, and budgeting. We gained knowledge and useful skills through case studies and labs. Professor Rosenblatt is very helpful; I even consulted my NGO with him, and he advised me with some useful insights during his office hours. We had a visit to the Bowery Residents’ Committee office in the Bronx at the end of the semester, where Professor Rosenblatt is the CEO of BRC himself. If you have an interest in philanthropy, I highly recommend you take this course!

6. Data Analysis for Policy Research using R with Professor Harold Stolper: This R course is very popular among students in SIPA, as it’s one of the options for completing the DAQA specialization. It enables us to analyze and present data for policy analysis and program evaluation using R. I had no experience in R before enrolling in this class, but Professor Stolper assured us at the beginning of the semester that teaching in teams would assist us in catching up with the materials. I found the class very interesting, as we focused on the practical application of these skills to explore data and policy questions on our own. Together with my team, we chose to analyze the impact of universal health coverage on economic outcomes in West Java, Indonesia, and we are currently working on the codes. Finger crossed!

7. International Finance and Monetary Theory with Professor Daniel WaldmanThe class provides deeper knowledge on international finance and monetary theory, which is introduced in macroeconomics courses. In addition to theory, Professor Waldman always starts class with discussions on topical issues and recent market phenomena to illustrate the theoretical materials. If you are interested in how the foreign exchange rate regime works and emerging market finance, this class will suit you well.

As SIPA offers many interesting courses, make sure you maximize your time and choose classes that fit your interest. I hope my recommendations can be useful to you! Good luck!