Penn State School of International Affairs

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The School of International Affairs of Pennsylvania State University was officially launched on July 1, 2007, having been approved by Pennsylvania State University's (Penn State) Board of Trustees in January 2007.[1] The school is administratively part of Penn State Law at University Park, PA.[2] It draws extensively upon the intellectual resources of faculty in several academic colleges of the University. The School of International Affairs offers a professional master's degree in international affairs with several speciality concentrations. Its mission is to prepare exceptional students for careers and leadership positions in both the private and public sectors of an increasingly interdependent world.

School of International Affairs
Established July 1, 2007
Director Scott Sigmund Gartner, Ph.D.
Location University Park, Pennsylvania, USA
Campus Urban

Faculty and Administration[edit]

The School operates under the guidance of Director Scott Sigmund Gartner, and a faculty governing council composed of leading faculty from some of Penn State's top graduate departments.[3] SIA's faculty of accomplished scholars and experienced diplomats will guide you through in-depth analyses of global issues while you draw on the vast resources of one of the world’s most distinguished research institutions. Penn State’s University Park campus is a global city in and of itself, with about 46,000 students, of which about 7,500 are from countries other than the United States. And when you leave Penn State, you instantly join a powerful, worldwide network of more than 645,000 alumni.

Faculty members include former diplomats, a Navy Vice Admiral, National Security Council staff, a senior official of both the African Union and the United Nations, an economic development agency director, former CIA officials, a State Department Senior Counselor, a U.S. Geological Survey chief scientist, as well as international and arbitration experts and top scholars who contribute to public discourse. Together they represent scholars and practitioners in their respective disciplines.

SIA students also learn from distinguished faculty from throughout Penn State, including the Smeal College of Business, College of Engineering, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, College of Agricultural Science, and the Eberly College of Science. The combination of these schools allows SIA to offer programs in interdisciplinary range and flexibility.

The MIA program[edit]

The SIA degree program combines a core program and targeted study of critical analytical tools used in multidimensional problem solving with exposure to the most prominent theories of sociocultural interchange and practical management skills to ensure that graduates are prepared to understand international problems and implement solutions. Students combine these core skills with a focus on a policy or concentration area of their choice to create a portable degree, preparing students for a profession in public policy, foreign service, nonprofit organizations, or teaching and research.

Customized Degree

At the Penn State School of International Affairs, students can choose from six study tracks:

  • International Security Studies
  • Development Policy
  • International Education
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Environment and Resources
  • Humanitarian Response and Human Rights

The program is interdisciplinary and flexible, and students can also design their own study track. As students work toward a Penn State master’s degree in International Affairs, they undertake in-depth analyses of international economic, political, and scientific issues, while considering the cultural, historical, and legal factors that shape them.

Experiential Learning

SIA's small classes and experiential learning activities create an active learning environment that replicates real-world experience. The program affords students with ample opportunities for role-playing simulations, briefings, negotiations, mock trials, writing United Nations memos, drafting project proposals, and more. Each year, SIA holds a school-wide simulation with the Army War College, in which students and faculty spend three days negotiating an international crisis.

Through our hands-on programs, students gain expertise in contemporary global issues while learning the fundamentals of international relations that will shape the world in the decades ahead.

Toward the end of their studies, students choose either a practice-oriented Capstone workshop experience or a research thesis. The internship enables students to integrate their curricular studies in an actual working environment, while a thesis allows students to explore their areas of interest and engage in original research.

This training, combined with more traditional forms of academic study, prepares our students for a wide range of careers in international affairs.


  1. ^ "University to establish School of International Affairs". Penn State University. 2007-01-19. Retrieved 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ "Penn State names inaugural director for School of International Affairs". Penn State University. 2007-03-28. Retrieved 2007-03-28. 
  3. ^ Billy Wellock (2007-03-03). "Director named to new college". The Daily Collegian. Archived from the original on 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2015-09-17. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°48′27″N 77°51′59″W / 40.80742°N 77.86645°W / 40.80742; -77.86645