Highlighting Policy Workshops and Experiential Learning at SPIA

Oct 21 2021
Graduate Admissions Office

Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) has resumed in-person teaching, learning, and research on campus. Over fall break, we are working to provide students with in-person learning and networking opportunities off campus.

One foundational aspect of our MPA program is the Policy Workshop. Policy workshops provide students with an opportunity to use analytical skills acquired during the MPA1 year to analyze complex and challenging policy issues for real-world clients.

There are many goals of these workshops. Beyond working to help solve pressing challenges, they provide an opportunity to understand a policy issue in detail. Students make policy recommendations to their client that are creative and realistic given institutional and political constraints.

Each workshop consists of eight to 10 students who work together in teams to evaluate a policy challenge.

Typically, students spend the first half of the semester doing a deep dive into the issue. During fall break, most students will engage in field research, interviews, and discussions with parties relevant to the issue being studied. By semester end, each policy workshop will produce a Final Report. Each workshop will also give a presentation to their client.

MPA2s work closely with clients to provide recommendations towards addressing policy challenges.

This year our students are travelling domestically focusing on issues like

  • Narrowing wealth gaps through homeownership opportunities (travel to Oregon, Washington, Illinois, and California)
  • Mitigating the effects of vaccine hesitancy (travel to California and Washington DC)
  • Diplomacy and Protracted Conflicts (travel to Washington DC)
  • Restructuring Puerto Rico’s Debt (travel to Puerto Rico)
  • Affordable Care Act (travel to North Carolina)
  • Global supply chains and geopolitical risks (travel to Arizona)
  • Climate adaptation and the coats: managed transition (travel to New York and Mississippi)

We are keeping busy on campus too, holding individual and group information sessions (and eating a bit of pizza from the food truck our dean ordered).

It is so exciting to meet so many exceptional prospective students. Your interest in our community is humbling. And it is precisely our community that makes this such a special place!