Cornell University

Director's Welcome


Welcome to the website of the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA), the home of Cornell University's Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree program. Our MPA is future-oriented and flexible, with courses of study tailored to CIPA Fellows' respective career objectives.In line with Cornell University's defining principals, enunciated in 1868 by its founder Ezra Cornell, we strive to offer instruction in a wide range of subjects and to excel in public service as an exemplary land-grant university.

Our mission is to develop and support emerging leadership in public affairs across all workforce sectors - whether government, nonprofit, or for-profit; using any means of influence - including management, social entrepreneurship, policy analysis, political organization, journalism, and philanthropy; and at all organizational levels - from local to international.

We undertake to help the next generation strengthen our societies' capacities for production, distribution and improvement of policies, programs, institutions and ideas that enhance quality of life, environmental sustainability, economic well-being and security, efficient and equitable distribution of resources, social justice, and effective and responsive governance.

Operating within and supported by Cornell's College of Human Ecology, CIPA's core faculty are drawn from a variety of colleges around campus. This breadth of faculty leadership assures that our students-whom we call "fellows"--benefit from the university's depth and breadth of intellectual expertise. During their two years of graduate study, fellows take courses not just within Human Ecology but anywhere across the Cornell campus. There are also a number of off-campus study options.

CIPA's  curriculum is structured around foundational courses in three areas central to public affairs: Administrative, Political and Policy Processes; Economic Analysis and Public Finance; and Quantitative Analysis. Fellows build on these foundations by choosing a concentration from among eight broad areas of study. The program of study is completed via one of several options for meeting a professional writing requirement, intended to hone skills in analysis and presentation that are essential for effective leadership in public affairs. Fellows are assisted in planning their courses of study by academic advisors who see their role as helping fellows to prepare themselves for a lifetime of engagement in public affairs, addressing whatever problems of public interest they choose.

Our graduates have found rewarding careers in public policy and public service in a wide range of government and nongovernmental organizations, including a variety of foreign assignments, which mirrors the interests of CIPA fellows. International experience within the structure of the CIPA program is favorably regarded and is supported by the CIPA core faculty.

Please use this website to acquaint yourself with our program, and to begin to determine whether its goals, philosophy and course offerings are appropriate for you. We also welcome inquiries and campus visits, and our alumni and current fellows are exceptionally willing to share their experiences with prospective students.

Sharon Tennyson

Professor of Policy Analysis and Management

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