Degree Requirements

The Graduate Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) strongly encourages our students to explore different areas in the field of public affairs. Besides course requirements, students at GIPA are required to participate in at least six academic conferences, speeches, or workshops hosted or co-hosted by GIPA. A master thesis is required to demonstrate a student’s ability to design and carry out an academic research in the field of public affairs. The time limit for completing the degree is four years.

As a rule, thesis supervisors are full-time faculty members at GIPA. Students also have an option to choose a thesis supervisor from outside the GIPA, with approval from the course committee. The topic of the thesis should be closely related to a student’s major, and approved by the thesis supervisor. After getting the approval from thesis advisor, a student can proceed to write and defense his/her thesis proposal, which includes an introduction to the topic, research design and methodology, chapter outline, and references. Thesis supervisors with consultation of the chair at GIPA invite two to four faculty members or experts to form a thesis committee. At least one of the committee members should be drawn outside the GIPA.  A thesis supervisor should not be the chair of the thesis committee. A student is required to defend their thesis proposal in an oral examination.  The proposal is approved if it is deemed satisfactory to all committee members. If the proposal is not approved or a student changes the topic, the student can only schedule another proposal defense in the next semester.

When the student and thesis supervisor are satisfied with the final thesis, a student can apply for the final defense. The committee members for the final defense should be the same with the committee for the proposal defense. If a committee member cannot participate for some reason, the thesis supervisor will consult with the chair to invite other faculty member of expert to serve on the committee. At least one of the committee members should be drawn outside the GIPA. A student is required to defend their thesis in an oral examination.  The final thesis defense is approved if it is deemed satisfactory to all committee members. The passing grade is B-. If a student fails, he or she can apply for oral examination again. A student should leave the program if he or she fails the thesis defense twice.