School of Public and International Affairs

School of Public and International Affairs

Summary Also Department of Political Science
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The School’s goal is to focus Virginia Tech’s expertise in government, public administration, international affairs, planning, public policy, and urban affairs to help individuals and communities across the world understand their most critical problems and most promising solutions.


The School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) was approved by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors in 1996 as a collaboration of five departments and programs in two colleges to develop interdisciplinary instruction, research and outreach initiatives related to public policy, planning, and administration and globalization and international development.

SPIA is one of four schools in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies (CAUS). SPIA houses three programs:

  • Government and International Affairs (GIA),
  • Urban Affairs and Planning (UAP),
  • Public Administration and Policy (CPAP)


Center for Public Administration and Policy

The Center for Public Administration and Policy (CPAP) has three locations in Blacksburg, Alexandria, Virginia and Richmond, Virginia. CPAP integrates the challenges of governing with the scholarship of public administration and public policy. CPAP offers doctoral and master’s degree programs as well as graduate certificates. The majority of CPAP students take classes on a part-time basis, while working full-time in a wide variety of federal, regional, and local government positions, as well as positions in consulting and the non-profit sector. CPAP offers the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Ph.D. degrees. Certificates are available in three fields:Homeland Security; Local Government Management; Public and Nonprofit Financial Management.

Urban Affairs and Planning

The Urban Affairs and Planning program has locations in Blacksburg and Alexandria that offers an interdisciplinary, comparative, hands-on approach to instruction and research in two undergraduate degrees (B.A. in Public and Urban Affairs and B.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning), an accredited masters in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP), and a doctoral program in Planning, Governance & Globalization (PGG).

Government and International Affairs

The Government and International Affairs program has locations in Blacksburg and Alexandria that offers a Master of Public and International Affairs (MPIA) and a Ph.D. in Governance and Globalization with an international affairs and cultural geo-politics focus. The MPIA is a 36-credit academic-oriented master’s degree with a focus on international politics, critical geopolitics, international political economy, and cultural identity politics.

CLAHS Affiliated Departments

Affiliated Departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (CLAHS):

  • Political Science,
  • Geography,
  • International Studies,
  • Science and Technology Studies (joined in 2000)
  • Agricultural and Applied Economics (joined in 2000).


In research and outreach, SPIA members lead a number of interdisciplinary centers and institutes:

  • Institute for Policy and Governance
  • Metropolitan Institute
  • Virginia Center for Housing Research


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