Archive for Academics

MPA-Development Practice Program at SIPA: The First of Its Kind

Director Glenn Denning discusses SIPA’s practice-oriented, professional advancement MPA-Development Practice program.

Learn more about the program’s distinctive components, faculty and mission in the DP120 videos.

Big Questions, Big Ideas @ SIPA

We’re excited to bring to you the first of our new series, “Big Questions, Big Ideas @ SIPA.” Take a peek at some of the most pressing global topics that are being covered here by policymakers, thought leaders, experts, and SIPA faculty. These are ideas you will encounter as a student and down the road as an alum.

Big Questions, Big Ideas: Frugal Innovation with Navi Radjou

Don’t forget our general deadline for SIPA fellowship aid consideration is coming up fast on January 5, 2018. Our final deadline for admissions decisions is February 5, 2018. We’ve wrapped up our recruitment travel but will continue to host virtual and in-person information sessions until the holiday break. Make sure to register for a class visit while you still have time – the last day of class is December 11th. Lastly, check out our new series that covers the different components of the application – What’s in an App – on the admissions blog. Good luck on your application!

Take a Peek at MPA-DP’s Newest Initiative: DP120

MPA-DP Founding Director Glenn Denning introduces DP120, our newest initiative aimed at collecting and sharing insights into development practice. Watch the video to find out why the number 120 was chosen, how practitioners can get involved and to hear Director Denning’s insight for the week- practice makes the practitioner!

Episode 1: Introduction, Practice Makes the Practitioner


Meet Columbia’s Libraries

The Meet Columbia series aims to expose prospective SIPA students to the larger university-wide experience offered at Columbia. In this post, we explore four of Columbia’s libraries on the Morningside Heights campus. 

It’s Midterm season, and you haven’t started your Conceptual Foundations or Politics of Policymaking papers?! Perhaps buckling down in one of the 21 libraries at Columbia or its affiliates would help! But which one? If you’re looking for a change to your usual study space, here’s a quick run-down of four of the most popular libraries on campus.

The Herman H. Lehman Social Sciences Library

Third Floor of the International Affairs Building (420 W. 118 St.)

Lehman Library


















Photo caption: Lehman Library sits below “the Fishbowl” of the International Affairs Building, the hub of the SIPA Community.

What you need to know: Lehman caters to the Departments of Anthropology, Political Science, and Sociology. It is also the “in-house” library for the School of International and Public Affairs.

What you should know: The library’s three Group Study spaces are wildly popular for students coordinating group assignments, TAs conducting office hours, and informal club meetings. Lehman also hosts a large computer lab, recitation rooms, presentation practice rooms, and scanning services.

What you didn’t know: Lehman houses an extensive map collection that began in 1912. Between over 200,000 geological, topographical, political, nautical, and aeronautical maps, you can find yourself lost in a room full of maps.

Butler Library

South Lawn (535 W. 114 St.)

Butler Library


















Photo caption: Butler 301, colloquially known as the Ref room, is home to soaring chandeliers and hard-working students. This room is one of many that remains open for 24 hours during the academic year.

What you need to know: Butler is Columbia’s largest library, containing over two million volumes works related to the humanities, religion, philosophy, and literature, as well as a large collection of government documents. It originally opened as South Hall in 1934, replacing Low Library as the school’s main library. Fun Fact: Staff used a giant slide to transport books from Low.

What you should know: Butler is the library that never sleeps, staying open for 24 hours during the academic year. There will be students working during all parts of the night. There are study carrels and offices reserved for graduate students on the library’s upper floors, with most students preferring to work in the reading rooms, large reference rooms, or the stacks. The entrance level has a Blue Java Cafe, a popular meeting spot for group projects. Should you need a break from Lehman, many group study rooms are available upon prior reservation.

What you didn’t know: The sixth floor is home to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, a massive collection of primary sources spanning more than 4,000 years of history. You can pay them a visit in their museum-style space featuring rotating exhibitions, and Columbia students are given access to documents for research purposes.

C.V. Starr East Asian Library

Third Floor of Kent Hall (1140 Amsterdam Ave.)

Starr Library


















Photo caption: The stained-glass window of Justice recalls the space’s former use as the Law School Library. Today, Starr is dedicated to Columbia’s East Asian studies.

What you need to know: Starr is home to one of the largest East Asian collections in the country, housing materials in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean to Tibetan, Mongol, and Manchu. The collection houses books, films, and many cultural artifacts from East Asia. Special search terminals in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean help students find electronic resources in these languages.

What you should know: Starr is known for its elongated study tables that run along the library’s length, as Starr was modeled after the library at Trinity College at Cambridge. Furthermore, the entrance level of Starr showcases many artifacts from East Asia including a large, gilded Buddhist statue of the Bodhisattva Jizo-sama.

What you didn’t know: The east-facing stained glass window depicts Justice, a remnant of the old Law School library that occupied the space previously. The window depicts the seal of Columbia University and the coats of arms of the thirteen original U.S. colonies.

Science & Engineering Library

Fourth Floor of Northwest Corner Building (550 W. 120th St.)

Science & Engineering Library

Photo caption: The Science and Engineering (S&E) Library is Columbia’s newest library. Nestled inside Northwest Corner Building, the space maintains a modern aesthetic, a stark difference from Columbia’s older design traditions.

What you need to know: The Science and Engineering Library is Columbia’s newest library, opening in 2011. It supports research in the fields of chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, psychology, and interdisciplinary works.

What you should know: The library houses the Digital Science Center, making its computers some of the most powerful and comprehensive on campus. There are more than fifty advanced workstations, all outfitted with course-related software (read: SPSS and Stata), and can be used at individual or group carrels. There are also group study spaces and presentation practice rooms available upon reservation. Additionally, Joe’s Coffee downstairs can satisfy your food or coffee fix.
What you didn’t know: Ever wanted to design something? Anything? Columbia offers free 3D printing! If you can design it, you can print it! No worries if you never had experience with 3D design. Columbia Libraries offer tutorials and beginner resources to help you start your project.

Which library is your favorite? Is there anything you want to know about student life at Columbia? Curious about any history, traditions, or folklore on campus? Comment below, and we’ll write about it in our next blog post.


What you should know about SIPA’s International Dual-Degree Programs

As a member school of the Global Public Policy Network (GPPN), SIPA offers a International Dual-Degree Program to our MPA/MIA students. Students in this program have the opportunity to spend one of the two years of their MPA/MIA program to study at a foreign partner school. This program gives students the chance to study public policy from an international perspective with exposure to different academic, cultural, and professional environment. Here are some things you need to know about the International Dual-Degree Program.

Which schools offer international dual degrees with SIPA?
SIPA has a partnership with six policy schools around the world, including Sciences Po Paris, the London School of Economics and Political Science, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, the FGV-EAESP in São Paulo, the Graduate School of Public Policy (GraSPP) at the University of Tokyo, and the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.

When do I begin my study aboard if I am in this program?
Students in the international dual-degree program would spend one year at SIPA and another year at a partner school. For each program — except for the one with Sciences Po Paris — students are free to choose whether to  spend the first year at SIPA or at a partner school. The program with Sciences Po Paris is a fixed-track one, in which all students must spend their first year in Paris and the second year at SIPA.

If I want to start from SIPA, how do I apply?
If you plan to spend the first year at SIPA, you need to go through the regular SIPA admissions process. All the requirements are the same as the regular two-year MPA/MIA application, including the materials you need to submit and the deadlines. When you are matriculated at SIPA, you need to talk to your academic adviser about dual-degree program and apply to a partner school accordingly.

If I want to start from a partner school, how do I apply?
If you plan to spend the first year at a partner school, you need to apply through their website. The following programs has various application requirements and deadlines, so please follow the school’s instructions and contact their respective admissions offices if you have questions or need further information. More information for each program is below:

Do I get two degrees from both schools?
Yes, you could get a MIA or MPA degree from SIPA and also a relevant degree from the partner school. See the links above to confirm which degrees qualify for the program at each institution.

How do I pay tuition?
Students will pay SIPA tuition when they are studying in residence at SIPA, and the partner school tuition for the other year. For the SIPA side, you can find the estimated tuition, fees and cost here. For the partner school side, you will need to review the links referred above to find about their tuition and cost.

What is the language of instruction?
English is the language of instruction for all programs with the exception of the FGV-EAESP’s Master in Management and Public Policy in São Paulo, where the language of instruction is Portuguese (The language of instruction for the Master in International Management is English).  Therefore applicants to this program should know Portuguese, as well as English.

What courses should I choose when studying in a partner school?
If you study at a partner school during the first year, you are encouraged to satisfy as many SIPA core requirements as possible by taking approved equivalent courses. During the second year at SIPA, you will need to complete any remaining core requirements in addition to your concentration and specialization requirements. If you start at SIPA, you are required to complete all core courses  in the first year, with the exception of capstone workshop. The second year curriculum is determined by the partner school. You can consult with your academic adviser and the dual-degree coordinator to figure out which courses can be used to satisfy SIPA requirements, as well as the partner school’s requirements.

Who do I contact to find out more?
Please contact Alleyne Waysome, assistant dean of Office of Student Affairs for more info on the International Dual-Degree Programs at

I’m still confused.
Don’t worry. Just look at the chart below.

SIPA Degree
Partner  Degree
Enrollment Preference
Instruction Language
How to Apply
Fundação Getulio Vargas Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo
São Paulo, Brazil
Master in International Management
Start at either school
Apply directly to the school or to SIPA. Once matriculated at either school students can then apply for the dual degree program.
Master in Management and Public Policy
Portuguese/ English
Hertie School of Governance
Berlin, Germany
Start at either school
Apply directly to the school or to SIPA. Once matriculated at either school students can then apply for the dual degree program.
London School of Economics and Political Science
London, England
Start at either school, but if you start at LSE you can only pursue the MPA at SIPA
Apply directly to the school or to SIPA. Once matriculated at either school students can then apply for the dual degree program.
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
Start at either school
Apply directly to the school or to SIPA. Once matriculated at either school students can then apply for the dual degree program.
Sciences Po
Paris, France
Start at Sciences Po
Students submit a single “dual degree” application to Sciences Po. If admitted the admission decision is applicable to both schools.
University of Tokyo Graduate School of Public Policy
Tokyo, Japan
Start at either school
Apply directly to the school or to SIPA. Once matriculated at either school students can then apply for the dual degree program.

"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

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