PAIA Degree Programs

Versatility is our strength

Maxwell's Department of Public Administration and International Affairs has a global reputation for producing graduates with the fundamental public management and policy analysis skill set required by employers in  public, non-profit, and private sector organizations - both domestic and international.

Five professional degrees are offered by PAIA, as well as a PhD for those planning on a scholarly or research-oriented career in public administration. Maxwell also offers a number of joint degree programs within the school and also in collaboration with SU's College of Law.  Some unique inter-university partnerships provide for the opportunity to earn one or more degrees in partnership with SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, SUNY Upstate Medical University or with our European partner the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin through the Atlantis program. See below for more detail on any of these options.

All these programs are taught by a faculty comprised of serious researchers and/or practitioners who also share a reputation for high-quality teaching, accessibility, and concern for student learning.   

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

  • Intensive 12-month schedule, July-June
  • Consistently ranked the top MPA program, U.S.News & World Report  
  • Nine core courses and seven areas of study
  • Providing highly transferable management and policy skills

Master of Arts, International Relations (MAIR)

  • 16-month program, August-December
  • Top-15 IR master's degree program, Foreign Policy  
  • Interdisciplinary curriculum rooted in the social sciences
  • Required internship includes almost 20 global options or study in Washington (based at our headquarters in a major DC think tank)

Joint MPA/IR

  • Combining two great degrees in a concentrated two-year program
  • Allows for two semesters away from campus for the IR professional internship requirement

Master of Science, Public Relations/Master of Arts, International Relations (MSPR/MAIR)

  • A dual MS Public Relations/MA International Relations degree program in collaboration with S.I Newhouse School of Public Communications
  • Designed for careers in communications and advocacy in the international arena
  • Completed in two years of full time study, including a semester long professional internship/class completed at our "Maxwell in DC" campus or New York City 

MAIR Economics

  • Especially well-suited for students anticipating careers in international economic development, finance and trade 

Master of Public Health (MPH)

  • A two-year program for those working on public health policies and programs
  • Administered by SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • A 12 credit certificate program in Public Health also available jointly with the MPA or MA IR

Atlantis Program

  • A unique trans-atlantic dual degree program co-sponsored by the EU Commission and the US Department of Education focusing on International Security or Development Studies
  • Students spend one year at Maxwell and one year at our partner schools in the EU, earning two degrees in two years of full time study
  • Students earn either the MPA or MA IR at Maxwell and either the MPP from the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin or the MDS from the Institute of Social Studies at Erasmus University at the Hague in the Netherlands  


  • Allowing SU College of Law students to earn a joint JD/MPA or JD/MAIR degree
  • Both joint degree programs are completed in the same three year time frame of the JD 
  • A unique two year MPA/LLM dual degree is also available for international students (see SU COL) 

Executive Education (EMPA, EMIR, EMPA/EMIR, CAS, Online EMPA)

  • Mid-career versions of the PA and IR degrees, plus certificates for those applicants with 7 or more years of professional work experience in the field at the manager level; option to complete the Executive Master’s in International Relations in Washington, D.C. (EMIR in DC)
  • Online EMPA degree for public service professionals with 5 or more years of experience in managerial or public policy positions

PhD, Public Administration

  • Preparing the next generation of public administration scholars
  • Admission selective to those applicants with a desire for academic careers in research and teaching at leading universities
  • The program is built around a strong faculty mentor/student relationship with small cohorts of entering students each year  

Concurrent Degrees

  • Pursuing a second SU master's with an MPA or MA IR degree, often with a reduced overall credit requirement.
  • Prior concurrent degrees graduates have pursued include the fields of Geography, Management, Anthropology, Public Relations, Documentary Film Making, Social Work, Information Studies, etc