University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

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University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public & International Affairs
Gspia log.png
Established 1957
Type Public
Dean John T.S. Keeler
Academic staff
Postgraduates 411
Location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Campus Oakland (Main)

The Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) is one of 17 schools comprising the University of Pittsburgh. Founded in 1957 to study national and international public administration, GSPIA prides itself on its "Local to Global" distinction.[1] As of 2015, it is one of only two policy schools with programs in the top 20 for both International Relations (Foreign Policy, 2015[2]) and City Management and Urban Policy (U.S. News and World Report, 2012[3]). The current mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto, is a GSPIA alumnus.[4]

GSPIA is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration(NASPAA), and is a member of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA). The school is located in Wesley W. Posvar Hall on the University of Pittsburgh campus in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. In July 2007, John T. S. Keeler took over as dean, replacing Carolyn Ban, who resigned in August 2006.[5][6]


GSPIA's home on the third floor of Posvar Hall

In 1957, GSPIA was founded by Donald C. Stone in an effort to promote the study of national and international public administration, and to recognize the growing significance of public policy in the global context, and was soon after noted for its breadth and scope.[7] Stone's philosophy included promoting the notion of "citizenship" and encouraged his colleagues, students, and friends to make government better, to make administrations more effective, and to provide responsible leadership and stewardship for future generations. Stone's public service career included developing procedures for the Civil Works Administration and planning and implementing the Works Progress Administration. He helped draft the United Nations Charter and his efforts were instrumental in the success of the Marshall Plan in rebuilding Europe after the Second World War.


  • GSPIA employs over 30 full-time faculty members, 32 staff members, and has a 11:1 student/faculty ratio.[8] Currently, there are over 8,000 GSPIA alumni working in more than 100 countries around the globe, 1,400 of which are in the Greater Pittsburgh Area.[9]


GSPIA offers several degree and certificate programs.

Degree programs[edit]

GSPIA offers several graduate degrees relative to public affairs. Full-time students can complete most master's degree programs within 16 months of study, however, programs can be completed on part-time basis. The MPPM degree is designed for mid-career professionals, and can usually be completed in one year of full-time study. The following is a list of degrees and focuses currently available through GSPIA.

  • MPA - Master of Public Administration
    • Public and Nonprofit Management
    • Urban and Regional Affairs
    • Policy Research and Analysis
  • MPIA - Master of Public & International Affairs
    • Security and Intelligence Studies
    • Human Security
    • Global Political Economy
  • MID - Master of International Development
    • Nongovernmental Organizations and Civil Society
    • Development Planning and Environmental Sustainability
    • Human Security
  • MPPM - Master of Public Policy & Management (Mid-Career)
    • Individualized
  • PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
    • International Development (ID)
    • International Affairs (IA)
    • Public Policy & Management (PPM)

GSPIA has recently added the Peace Corps Master's International (MI) track that enables students to earn a master’s degree in public health and also volunteer with the Peace Corps. This program blends classroom learning with real-world experience for students interested in a career in global health.[10][11]

Additionally, GSPIA offers several joint degree programs with other schools within the University of Pittsburgh, as well as with universities within the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education. The following are a list of available joint degree programs available to students at GSPIA.

  • MPA,MPIA,or MID & Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • MPIA or MID & Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • MPA,MPIA,or MID & Master of Science in Information Science (MSIS)
  • MPA,MPIA,or MID & Juris Doctor (JD)
  • MPA,MPIA,or MID & Master of Social Work (MSW)

Certificate programs[edit]

Commons Room in the Cathedral of Learning (study location near GSPIA)

Certificates from the University Center for International Studies (UCIS) can usually be obtained without requiring additional credit hours, and demonstrate a focus in a particular field of study. The University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh is home to four internationally recognized area studies centers. Each one has been designated a National Resource Center by the United States Department of Education, certifying their status as leading centers of their kind in the United States. The University Center for International Studies offers Area Studies certificates in the following areas:[12]

  • African Studies
  • Asian Studies
  • European Union Studies
  • West European Studies
  • East European Studies
  • Russian Studies

In a joint partnership between GSPIA and UCIS, students can also obtain a certificate in Global Studies. A certificate in Global Studies provides students with 'global competence.' Global Studies certificate students choose one of the following six global issues concentrations and unite it with the study of a particular region and language:[12]

  • Changing Identities in a Global World
  • Communication, Technology, and Society
  • Conflict and Conflict Resolution
  • Global Health
  • Global Economy and Global Governance
  • Sustainable Development


GSPIA is one of only two schools to have two National Academy of Public Administration fellows elected in one year (William Dunn and Dean John Keeler).[13] It is also one of nine schools to have produced at least two Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration presidents.[1]

Research centers & institutes[edit]

The Graduate School of Public & International Affairs is home to several research institutes and centers.

  • The Ford Institute for Human Security was established at the University of Pittsburgh as a result of an endowment gift from Ford Motor Company. The mission of the Institute is to conduct research that focuses on transnational threats to the human rights of civilian populations, The Institute's function is to generate independent research, disseminate policy papers, and advocate nonpartisan policy proposals to domestic and international policymakers.[14]
  • The Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies is dedicated to educating the next generation of security analysts and to producing scholarship and impartial analysis that informs the options available to policymakers dealing with international and human security on a global scale. The Ridgway research program analyzes the security dynamics of the 21st century global environment, concentrating on rapidly evolving and emerging threats.[15]
  • The Center for Metropolitan Studies connects the academic programs at GSPIA with state and local governments, federal agencies, regional governance institutions, and nonprofit organizations in the United States to address real time problems they are confronting. The Center for Metropolitan Studies houses CONNECT, an organization that promotes cooperation and collaboration between the City of Pittsburgh and the municipalities that comprise Pittsburgh's urban core.[16]
  • The Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership provides students, faculty and the community at large with opportunities to engage in disciplined reflections and rigorous inquiry on issues of ethics and accountability that are of particular interest to the public and nonprofit sectors.[15]
  • Center for Disaster Management provides a school-wide locus to support research, education, and training projects that focus on extreme events. Its goal is to develop a coherent approach for research and analysis on policy issues related to disaster risk reduction and management that cross interorganizational, interdisciplinary, and interjurisdictional boundaries.[17]
  • The Governance Group is a joint initiative of GSPIA and the Department of Political Science. The Group is an interdisciplinary research center focused on governance, institutional design and program evaluation.[15][18]

Special programs[edit]

  • The Philanthropy Forum provides a university-based platform for national dialogue with thinkers and practitioners in the field of philanthropy and engages in research on the history and contemporary contributions of philanthropy to local, national, and global communities.[15]
  • The Roscoe Robinson Jr. Memorial Lecture Series promotes discussion and understanding of key issues related to diversity in public service. The series features annual lectures in honor of the late Roscoe Robinson Jr., the first African American U.S. Army four-star general who earned his degree at GSPIA in 1964.[15][19]
  • The International Political Economy Colloquium provides a forum for IPE scholars to present their works in progress.[15]
  • The Symposium on Political Violence is a joint undertaking co-sponsored with the Department of Political Science, and the Ridgway Center. The Symposium provides a forum both for external scholars and for faculty and graduate students in GSPIA and the Department of Political Science at Pitt to present their research on political violence.[15]

GSPIA student organizations[edit]

  • GSPIA Student Cabinet[20]
  • Purposeful Penny - a student charity organization benefiting Bright Kids Uganda and Urban Impact
  • NABU - represents the interests of the PhD student community
  • AGORA - Professional & Academic Development[21]
  • EU and the World
  • Pitt Political Review (GSPIA issue)
  • International Student Initiative - bridges the gap between international and domestic students at GSPIA with social and professional events.
  • RIGHT HERE: A Forum for Volunteer Activities[22]
  • GSPIA Public Speaking Group
  • Out in Policy - GSPIA student society for LGBT rights[23]


  1. ^ a b c d e "GSPIA Facts". GSPIA. GSPIA. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "The Best International Relations Schools in the World". Foreign Policy. 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-08. 
  3. ^ a b c "Best Grad Schools: City Management and Urban Policy". US News & World Report. Retrieved 2015-09-08. 
  4. ^ "It's Official: Pittsburgh has a New Mayor--Bill Peduto, MPPM '11". GSPIA. GSPIA News. 2011-01-06. Retrieved 2015-09-08. 
  5. ^[dead link]
  6. ^ Hill, Robert (27 February 2007). "Chair of the European Union Studies Association Named New Dean of Pitt's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs". University of Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh News Services. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  7. ^ "Pitt Graduate School Given Special Honor". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA). 1961-06-30. p. 5. Retrieved 2010-10-13. 
  8. ^ "About the University of Pittsburgh". GSPIA: Prospective Students. GSPIA. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "University of Pittsburgh - Graduate School of Public Health: Peace Corps Master's International Track". Retrieved 2009-02-09. 
  11. ^ "GSPH, Peace Corps join forces". University Times. 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2009-02-09. 
  12. ^ a b "Area Studies". GSPIA. GSPIA. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  13. ^ "GSPIA Dean and Faculty Member named as NAPA Fellows". GSPIA Perspectives 7: 42. August 2015. 
  14. ^ "About Ford". Ford Institute for Human Security, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g "Centers, Institutes and Initiatives". GSPIA. GSPIA. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  16. ^ "Center for Metropolitan Studies Home". Center for Metropolitan Studies. GSPIA. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  17. ^ "Center for Disaster Management at GSPIA: About Us". University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  18. ^ "Governance Group: Welcome". The Governance Group. GSPIA. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  19. ^ "Roscoe Robinson Memorial Lecture Home". Roscoe Robinson Memorial Lecture Series. GSPIA. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  20. ^ "2008 GSPIA Student Cabinet". 
  21. ^ "Agora". 
  22. ^ "Student Organizations". University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  23. ^ "Out in Policy Homepage". Out in Policy Facebook Group. Facebook. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°26′30″N 79°57′14″W / 40.441648°N 79.953792°W / 40.441648; -79.953792