What is the Master of Global Affairs?

The Master of Global Affairs is a postgraduate, professional, full-time, two-year residential degree program at the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs. The program includes four semesters of coursework plus the summer field experience between the first and second year.

Back to top

Why study global affairs at the Keough School?

Students who pursue a master’s degree in global affairs learn to understand, redefine, and address global problems with an integrated mindset. Through advanced coursework, professional fieldwork, and close engagement with practitioners and policymakers, students gain an understanding of the numerous domestic and international actors and factors that influence the policymaking process. Ultimately, students build professional competency in both the theoretical and practical skills necessary for an international career.

More about the Master of Global Affairs »

Back to top

What makes the Master of Global Affairs program unique?

The Keough School’s Master of Global Affairs is unique among graduate programs of international and global affairs in that it provides immersive, experiential learning opportunities for all students in the program. All students work alongside organizations to address real-world problems, gaining practical experience while pursuing an advanced degree.

Graduates often cite the international diversity of their classmates and the personal support of Keough School faculty as distinctive elements of the program and key contributors to success after graduation.

Back to top

What is the difference between international relations and global affairs?

The field of international relations typically examines the interaction and policymaking behaviors of nation-states with each other and with international organizations. The field of global affairs broadens the scope of this field of study to include not only interactions between nation-states, but also multilateral organizations like the United Nations and the World Bank, as well as non-governmental actors, including for example corporations, NGOs, religious-based organizations, and social movements.

Global affairs is a fundamentally interdisciplinary field because problems such as poverty, hunger, and war are multidimensional and not confined by national or disciplinary boundaries. At the Keough School of Global Affairs, we believe that solving these problems will require expertise from every sector of society, including those closest to the problem and most affected by it.

Back to top

What can I do with a Master of Global Affairs degree?

Master of global affairs graduates have gone on to work in the public, private, and international or domestic nonprofit organization sectors, demonstrating the versatility of the degree. Recent graduates work with foreign ministries, global think tanks such as the Migration Policy Institute, advocacy groups such as Open Society Foundation, and international organizations such as Oxfam America, Chemonics International, and Catholic Relief Services. The career outcomes of some of our recent graduates can be viewed here.

Back to top

What resources do you offer for professional development?

All students complete a professional field experience through the i-Lab or the Peace Studies internship to develop the skills necessary to compete effectively in the global job market.

Additionally, the Keough School offers a wide range of career development resources to help students discern their strengths, develop professional skills, and connect with employers. During all four semesters, students participate in a Career Colloquium to discern a career path, set goals, and meet global affairs professionals in a variety of sectors and fields. Throughout, faculty and staff provide personalized career support, tapping into the resources of a major research university, including Notre Dame’s global alumni network.

Back to top

What are the degree requirements?

The program requires successful completion of full-time coursework and a field experience during two full academic years (four semesters plus full-time engagement during the summer between the first and second year). More information about the curriculum and courses can be found here.

Back to top

What is the size of the Master’s class?

Small classes and a strong sense of community within the Keough School and the University of Notre Dame are hallmarks of the program. A typical incoming cohort ranges from 30 to 50 students for all three concentrations combined.

Back to top

What are the options for specialization (concentration)?

With guidance and mentoring from Keough School faculty and staff, master’s students craft their own, very personalized academic experience.

At the time of application, students choose one of the following concentrations — International Peace Studies; OR Sustainable Development; OR Governance and Policy.

Within each concentration, students can further specialize with elective coursework from Keough’s many elective offerings and from coursework across the University of Notre Dame’s various colleges and schools.

Back to top

Do you offer scholarships?

All qualified students are eligible for merit-based tuition scholarships and a stipend for housing and living expenses for two years. The level of support is variable. There is no separate application for scholarships, and all accepted students will automatically be considered.

Back to top

Who teaches the courses?

Students take classes taught by the Keough School’s core faculty of scholars and practitioners, faculty in other divisions throughout the University of Notre Dame, and distinguished visiting faculty, policy professionals, and practitioners.

Back to top

How do students get matched with a field placement?

During the first semester, students work closely with Keough School mentors to identify a field placement that aligns with their background, interests, and career aspirations.

Peace Studies students work with the concentration director to identify a partner organization and field site for their six-month internship. Sustainable Development and Governance and Policy students are grouped in student teams through the Integration Lab (i-Lab) and create a work plan with a global partner organization

Back to top

Can students study a language during the program?

In order to meet graduation requirements, students must demonstrate proficiency in a second language.

Applicants who already have proficiency in more than one language will be most competitive for admission to the program. Applicants who do not have intermediate proficiency in a second language will need to work with their faculty advisors to make a language learning plan throughout the program.

There are many resources on campus for strengthening language skills, including language classes as elective coursework, the University’s Center for the Study of Language and Culture, and small grants to fund immersive language study.

Back to top

When are classes in session?

Classes are typically in session from mid-August through mid-May. All MGA students participate in fieldwork during the summer between academic years.

Back to top

Where do students live?

Students have many options for living either on- or off-campus. Fischer Graduate Residences and The Landings are on-campus apartments specifically for graduate students. There are also off-campus housing options, including the Overlook at Notre Dame, which is available for graduate students. The Notre Dame Residential Life website has more information about housing for graduate students.

Back to top

What makes an applicant competitive for admission?

A competitive master of global affairs candidate meets the following criteria:

  • A strong academic background, including a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent from a four-year college or university, and at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale, upper second-class honors or a “B” average.
  • At least two years of professional experience in a global setting
  • Language proficiency in English and a second language
  • English language test scores (if applicable)
  • Strongly written application materials including a short essay, statement of intent, and resume or CV
  • Exceptional letters of recommendation

Please see our Apply page for details about the Master of Global Affairs application.

Back to top

Do I need to submit test scores?

Submitting GRE scores is optional and not required for admission.

Students who are not native English speakers or who have not studied for two or more years at a university in which English is the primary language of instruction are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Duolingo English Test.

The institution code for the TOEFL and the GRE is 1841. Please see our Apply page for more details about the Master of Global Affairs application.

Back to top

Are quantitative courses required for admission?

Students who apply for the Sustainable Development or Governance and Policy concentration will be better placed for admission and success in the program if they have taken introductory coursework in micro- and macroeconomics and statistics.

Back to top

Is work experience required for admission?

Competitive applicants will have significant work or volunteer experience in international or global settings related to global affairs, peace, justice, international development, or similar fields.

Back to top

How do I apply?

Please apply online. All the instructions and the link to the Notre Dame Graduate School application are available on the Apply page.

Back to top

When is the application deadline?

All application materials are due by December 15. Please see our Apply page for more details about the Master of Global Affairs application.

Back to top

Can I visit?

You are welcome to visit to learn more about the Keough School and Notre Dame. Students who would like to learn more about the Master’s program may do so by appointment. Email your request to keough-admissions@nd.edu. In addition, campus tours are available through the Eck Visitors Center.

Back to top