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Steven Tomaszewski
“I’m going to take the skills I learned at SPEA and have an edge up wherever my career takes me,” he says. “I’m going to be a better officer and serve my country better because of my experience here.”

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Comparative and International Affairs

The world into which you are going will likely be almost unrecognizable by the time you are at the height of your career. The Comparative and International Affairs concentration in the Master of Public Affairs program can help assure that you are ready to meet that world.

The Comparative and International Affairs concentration opens two distinctive perspectives for the master’s student.

First, the comparative dimension of the concentration will allow you to put your own system and experiences into a greater context. Through the process of comparing U.S. public policy with that of other countries, we are better able to see the underlying principles and historical processes, and thus, may have a clearer idea of what we can learn from others and how to go about usefully sharing our experiences with them.

The international dimension of the concentration emphasizes the fact that we do not operate in a vacuum: the public sector is increasingly subject to forces that do not originate in the United States. Certainly, decisions you will make as a professional in the public sector related to trade or emissions, for example, will have an impact far beyond our country’s borders.

Please see SPEA's Global Initiatives to learn more.

Curriculum for the Comparative and International Affairs Concentration

Like all students in the Master of Public Affairs program, students in the Comparative and International Affairs concentration begin building their skills in the 18-hour MPA core. The core courses are:

  • Public Management (V502)
  • Statistical Analysis for Effective Decision Making (V506)
  • Public Management Economics (V517)
  • Law and Public Affairs (V540)
  • Public Finance and Budgeting (V560)
  • Capstone in Public and Environmental Affairs (V600)

The Comparative and International Affairs concentration builds on this foundation with three required courses. The first of these courses — Introduction to Comparative and International Affairs (V578) — surveys the broad range and variety of concerns in political economy, trade, conflict, and the environment.

A second course, Economic Development, Globalization, and Entrepreneurship (V669), examines the forces of globalization and economic integration as they impact local- and regional-scale actors and institutions.

A third course, Comparative Public Management and Administration (V575), illuminates the wider context for public management and administration in the United States through the use of comparative methods and case material.

SPEA also offers a wide range of elective courses to meet individual objectives. This broad range of possibilities enables you to focus your concentration on those aspects that you wish to pursue and to develop career-enhancing capabilities. With the approval of a Comparative and International Affairs advisor, students may select from many elective options, including the following:

  • Vector-based Geographic Information Systems (E518)
  • Application of Geographic Information Systems (E529)
  • Environmental Risk Analysis (E560)
  • Data Analysis and Modeling for Public Affairs (V507)
  • Public Management Information Systems (V516)
  • Database Management Systems (V519)
  • Management Science for Public Affairs (V539)
  • Benefit-Cost Analysis of Public and Environmental Policies (V541)
  • Public Program Evaluation (V562)
  • Seminar in Revenue Theory and Administration (V609)
  • Seminar in Government Budget and Program Analysis (V610)
  • Seminar in Urban Economic Development (V622)
  • Environmental Economics and Policy (V625)
  • Seminar in Public Capital and Debt Theory (V667)
  • International Environmental Policy (E535)
  • Intergovernmental Systems Management (V518)
  • Environmental Management in the Tropics (V574)
  • Approaches to Development (V576)
  • International Economic Strategies and Trade Policy (V577)
  • Democratization and Transition in Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States (V589)
  • Global Health Issues and Management (V592)
  • Sustainable Development (V596)
  • Civil Society in Comparative Perspective (V524)
  • Government Regulation in Market Economies (V510)
  • Area studies and/or language studies courses

Students may satisfy one of the electives with an overseas study experience. Overseas Study Experiences include individualized experiences that students develop independently or any of the numerous overseas programs currently administered by Indiana University area studies programs and the Office of International Programs in cooperation with SPEA, including programs in Africa, Asia, Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Latin America.

Students may also elect to complete an Individualized Internship for credit. Individualized Internships include internships performed in academic, governmental, or professional organizations overseas. Relevant internships completed at U.S.-based organizations may also qualify, for example, internships in U.S. offices of international organizations or in international affairs offices of state or federal government agencies.

For complete details of the Comparative and International Affairs curriculum, please see the Graduate Bulletin.

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships

Each year, the United States Department of Education awards Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships to universities to promote the graduate training of students who intend to make their careers in college or university teaching, government service, or other employment where knowledge of foreign cultures is a prerequisite for success. These fellowships are especially attractive to students pursuing the Comparative and International Affairs concentration or one of SPEA’s joint degree programs in area studies. Approximately 800 FLAS Fellowships are distributed nationally, and generally five Indiana University programs—African Studies, East Asian Studies, the Russian and East European Institute, Central Eurasian Studies, and Western European Studies—apply to Washington for institutional FLAS funding. A FLAS application and further information are available at http://www.indiana.edu/~flas.

Special arrangements for fulfillment of course requirements will be made for FLAS fellowship students, in consultation with the student's academic advisor and the Graduate Program Office.

International Internship-Study-Research Scholarship

The SPEA Scholarship for International Internship-Study-Research offers awards of up to $2,500 on a competitive basis for master's students seeking support to pursue relevant international experiential and/or academic opportunities that will enhance their degree programs in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Scholarships are funded by SPEA and support student-directed off-campus international activities in areas that do not duplicate opportunities or coursework available through the applicant's home campus. Upon return to SPEA, the recipient is required to share with the SPEA community his or her experience made possible, in part, by the award. Only current SPEA master’s students are eligible. For further information, please contact the Graduate Program Office.

Dual Concentrations

Dual concentrations with Comparative and International Affairs and other concentrations offered by SPEA—such as Economic Development or Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management—offer unique advantages for those wanting to make a difference in particular areas of public affairs. Our faculty work to accommodate these specialized professional interests in the design of student programs.