International Affairs

About the School

Victor Romero, Interim Dean, School of International Affairs
Mitchell Smith, Director, School of International Affairs

The School of International Affairs (SIA) is uniquely situated to provide an innovative education for the next generation of global leaders. Our Master of International Affairs (M.I.A.) degree is a small, hands-on, customizable, interdisciplinary program with access to all of the resources of a leading public research institution. The SIA faculty is comprised of internationally recognized scholars and seasoned former officials from a variety of disciplines, which allows us to offer a curriculum that can be tailored to meet students’ individual career goals. Through our program, students can take advantage of myriad opportunities including internships in Washington, D.C., New York, and across the globe; and optional concentrations in focus areas based on the student’s personal interests. To further prepare students for a professional career, SIA offers a dedicated Office of Career Services that helps students identify goals and develop a plan for attaining them. Our Career Services team also coordinates career exposure trips, professional development workshops, and visits by recruiters. When our students graduate, they are ready to help shape the future of our complex world.


Mission and Goals

Offering a professional master’s degree in international affairs with several specialty areas of study, our mission is to prepare exceptional students for careers and leadership positions in both the private and public sectors of an increasingly interdependent world. The School of International Affairs fulfills this mission through:

  • A flexible degree program taught by elite, interdisciplinary faculty
  • Experiential learning, including internship and international opportunities
  • A dedicated Office of Career Services that works with each individual student



Academic Advising

Throughout the program, M.I.A. students will periodically meet with the director of academic advising to review their plan of study, intended concentration, elective course selections, and address any academic or student-related issues. In addition, incoming students are assigned a full-time faculty member who will help to guide their academic interests based on their professional aspirations.


The School of International Affairs has brought international experts from a variety of fields into the Penn State community. The current faculty include former ambassadors, senior government advisors, higher education leaders, senior officials of international organizations, and foreign policy experts, each of whom bring unique regional and subject matter expertise in addition to their other exceptional accomplishments. Together, they represent a unique combination of world-class scholars and highly acclaimed practitioners in their respective disciplines.

Office of Career Services

Professional career opportunities have the highest priority at the School of International Affairs. Students will work, from their first semester, with the director of career services. Career Services will connect students to the strongest possible network of opportunities prior to and upon graduation, through the resources offered by Penn State, its faculty and alumni worldwide, as well as a range of multinational organizations, institutions, and enterprises.


Elizabeth Ransom
Interim Director, School of International Affairs
253 Lewis Katz Building

Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 867-2242