Cornell Institute for Public Affairs

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The Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA)
Established 1984
Type Private
Director Sharon Tennyson
Location Ithaca, New York, U.S.
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The Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (also known as CIPA) is a two-year, interdisciplinary Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at Cornell University.[1] CIPA is part of the Department of Human Ecology, Cornell University Graduate School.[2] CIPA MPA candidates are classified as Fellows.[3]

History and Facts

Caldwell Hall serves as the headquarters for the CIPA program.

Though an MPA degree has been offered at Cornell since 1946 (originally through the School of Business & Public Administration), the CIPA program was established as a stand alone entity in 1984.[4] CIPA currently has 14 core faculty and 104 field faculty members.[5] [6] The program has an average total enrollment of around 240 students with roughly 50% of the class consisting of students from outside of the United States.[7] Currently, CIPA has 1,187 alumni.[8]


CIPA Fellows design individualized plans of study based upon academic and professional interests and take courses from throughout the university.[9]

CIPA Curriculum

CIPA Fellows complete three foundation courses in each of the following subject areas: Administrative, Political and Policy Processes, Economic Analysis and Public Finance, and Quantitative Analysis.[10] In addition to foundation coursework, Fellows choose a concentration for their studies. This concentration accounts for the remainder of their coursework. Fellows may choose their concentration from a range of options:[11]

  • Economic and Financial Policy
  • Environmental Policy
  • Government, Politics, and Policy Studies
  • Human Rights and Social Justice
  • International Development Studies
  • Public and Nonprofit Management
  • Science and Technology Policy
  • Social Policy

Practical Experience Requirement

Fellows without significant professional experience in the field of public affairs are required to undertake one or more practical experience projects. These can include an internship in the summer after their first year, off-campus study, or the Public Service Exchange course offered on-campus.[12]

Professional Writing/Analysis Qualification

All CIPA fellows must complete a professional writing/analysis project to graduate. The options to fulfill the professional writing/analysis qualification include:[13]

  • Academic Thesis
  • Professional Report
  • Capstone Project

Off-Campus study opportunities

CIPA offers its Masters Candidates numerous opportunities to study off-campus. These include:

  • CIPA Washington Externship Semester
  • Cornell-Nepal Studies Program
  • Cornell in Rome Program
  • IBEI/Barcelona
  • CIDE/Mexico City
  • CEU/Budapest

Fellows are limited to one off-campus study semester.[14]


For 2012, CIPA was ranked #37 overall by U.S. News & World Report. In specialty areas, CIPA ranked #24 in Public Policy Analysis.[15]


Every fall and spring semester, CIPA publishes the Cornell Policy Review, an academic journal focused on issues surrounding the field of public policy.[16] CIPA also publishes a newsletter each fall and spring called In Brief.[17]

Student life

CIPA fosters a vibrant and active student community. While pursuing their M.P.A., Fellows engage in a variety of co-curricular activities ranging from academic to purely social.

Co-curricular activities

Official student operated co-curricular activities at CIPA currently include:

  • The Cornell Public Affairs Society (CPAS)[18]
  • The Cornell Policy Review (The Review)
  • Women in Public Policy (WIPP)[19]
  • Point of View[20]
  • CIPA-New Orleans Professional Partnership (CIPA-NOLA)[21]
  • The Jade Moore Forum on American Politics[22]
  • CIPA Colloquium Committee[23]


Agriculture Quad viewed from Bradfield Hall, Ithaca's West Hill and Cayuga Lake in the background

Though not associated with the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the CIPA program is headquartered on the university's Ag Quad in Caldwell Hall. Caldwell is a historic building and the oldest on the Ag Quad. It is a Colonial Revival structure constructed in 1913.[24]


  1. "The Cornell Institute of Public Affairs".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Cornell University Graduate Degrees".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  9. "CIPA Course Guide" (PDF).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  17. "CIPA In Brief".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "CPAS".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "WIPP".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "POV".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "CIPA-NOLA".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Jade Moore Forum".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "CIPA Colloquium".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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External links