Cornell University is among the largest and most diverse of the Ivy League universities. It encompasses 14 distinguished colleges and schools—offering more than 4,000 courses, 70 undergraduate majors, 93 graduate fields of study, undergraduate and advanced degrees, and continuing education and outreach programs. Our two-year, interdisciplinary Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) program offers you unusual flexibility in selecting your courses and experiences. Unlike traditional MPA programs where students are given a regimented curriculum and take their coursework together in lock-step order, CIPA allows you to design your own program of study. You will have the entire university open to you—Cornell’s exceptional faculty, cutting-edge research, and engaged alumni from all academic disciplines and fields of endeavor. Building on a foundation of coursework essential for all aspects of public affairs, you work with a faculty advisor to choose a concentration with a program of courses and experiences designed to be most meaningful to you.
At CIPA, you will also undertake substantive practical, hands-on work. In addition to taking coursework with an experiential component, you will complete one or more of the following options: an internship, an off-campus study program, the CIPA Public Service Exchange, or the CIPA Capstone Program. Through these programs, you will hone your professional abilities at the same time that you are gaining valuable experience. With this combination of course work and experience, you will leave CIPA well-prepared for the next phase of your career.
CIPA offers the Master’s Degree in Public Administration (MPA). You will choose an area of focus from among these broad concentration options:
Our numbers speak for themselves. Our graduates are hired for rewarding positions in the fields for which they prepared. From that first job, they go on to advance in their careers, making real contributions for a better world. Unparalleled Flexibility: CIPA operates differently from most other MPA programs in that it is a university-wide entity, not a school or department. Here, you can tailor a program to give you the background and experiences you need to meet your professional goals. Whether you have an exact career destination in mind, or are still pondering your options, having abundant choices allows you to find courses and hands-on experiences that are the right fit for you. Access to All of Cornell: Our Fellows take advantage of the depth of expertise that Cornell offers with renowned faculty, leading-edge research, and exceptional facilities. They regularly take courses at the Johnson Graduate School of Management, the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Engineer, the Cornell Law School, and more.
Highly Diverse Community:
Fellows value the diversity they find at CIPA. Our students and faculty come from around the globe and represent widely varied fields of interests and endeavors. This eclectic mix of cultures, experiences and perspectives translates into a rich environment for collaborative learning. Vast, Lifetime Network: With 245,000 living graduates, Cornell has one of the largest alumni networks in the world. Cornellians are known for their intense loyalty to the university and to one another. So while you are here and after you leave, you will find people eager to open doors for you and help you on your way.
Culture of Collaboration and Openness:
The words “friendship” and “genuine” come up again and again here. We have a rich culture characterized by genuine respect, openness and collaboration. Students and faculty alike routinely help one another, and the bonds they form are lasting.
Public engagement is a key ingredient in the CIPA MPA experience. Internships offer one avenue for such engagement. The CIPA Public Service Exchange and the CIPA Capstone Program offer two additional opportunities for CIPA Fellows to pursue hands-on, public engagement work. Many Fellows complete an internship during the summer between their first and second year of study. Given that many of the most challenging and rewarding internships are unpaid, CIPA has developed a competitive grant program that reimburses students for economy travel and lodging expenses incurred by pursuing an unpaid internship. Both the Capstone and Public Service Exchange are designed as service-learning partnerships. Fellows engage with government and nonprofit client-organizations to work on pro bono consulting projects. These clients may be locally, nationally, or internationally-based. Fellows gain valuable, hands-on experience while partnering with these real-world clients to mitigate or solve agreed-upon public policy or management problems. CIPA also offers you a variety of options for off-campus study during the academic year. All of these opportunities are designed to complement your studies at CIPA, and provide opportunities for networking, and exposure to challenging professional environments.
Historically, 90% of our graduates have found employment or have gone on to further graduate study within nine months of graduation.
Our graduates pursue diverse career opportunities following graduation. Many work in the public sector, some head into the private sector, and still others pursue work in the nonprofit sector. Representative employers include:
“I came to Cornell with a very clear focus—to work on food security at home and abroad. The flexibility of the CIPA program allowed me to do this. I was also given tremendous opportunities to do meaningful, hands-on work. I completed a course through International Agriculture and Rural Development that took me to Chiapas, Mexico to study the impact of international trade to smallholder farmers. I did a summer internship with the World Food Programme in Kenya. I went to Malawi through Cornell’s SMART program and worked on education training for HIV-affected households. This project was very similar to the work I will now be doing as a Leland Fellow.”
-Christine Hadekel, MPA 2011 Concentration: International Development Honors: 2011 Presidential Management Fellow; International Leland Fellow Employment: Nutrition Program Officer, Congressional Hunger Center, Zambia
“The Washington, DC Externship was a watershed experience. For six months—from August through January—I worked as a full-time staffer in a government office. It was the networking opportunity of a lifetime. And it provided me with experience I could leverage. My CIPA coursework really came into play when potential employers would ask about my consulting skills. I could say I’d worked for clients through the CIPA Public Service Exchange and Capstone. I could show them strong deliverables, as well as a team experience. It wasn’t me espousing facts; it was me showing I had the skills to do my job.”
-Jeremy Pevner, MPA 2011 Concentration: Government, Politics and Policy Employment: Senior Consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton
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