University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs

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The MGA Advantage:
Real-world Experience and the Latest Thinking on Global Affairs

Janice Stein

Janice Stein
Munk School of Global Affairs


How does the Master of Global Affairs (MGA) position students for careers on a global stage?

Professionals, industry leaders, employers, and students see what we see—that the world has changed. To become leaders today—global problem-solvers—students must move beyond the boundaries of academic disciplines. They require a deep understanding of the broader architecture and forces that shape the global system. The Munk School has created an environment that equips students to thrive in a world where working globally demands professional skills, strategic agility, and cultural fluency. This is what the Master of Global Affairs degree offers—a background combining analytical methods and leadership skills with an immersion in the latest thinking on global issues.

Can you guarantee relevant professional development for students in such a competitive field?

Absolutely. Our approach to professional development grounds itself in real-world experience. Similar Master’s programs in this field depend, in my opinion, too heavily on their faculty’s background in the field—the real competitive advantage is getting a student genuine professional
experience before they graduate.

The Master of Global Affairs provides this experience by having students complete a mandatory internship before their second year of study. Our partnerships and connections have created a ground-breaking program in this regard—including recent internship placements at the World Bank, NATO, Bombardier, the WTO, Shanghai Institute, Pan America Health Organisation, WHO, State Bank of Pakistan, and Global Financial Integrity.

MGA internships bring our students two keys necessary for success—authentic connections and experience with institutions they’re interested in working with after graduation—and a new perspective on the challenges, organizations, and ideas that are shaping the global landscape.

It sounds as though the professional core of the program is deeply entwined with its academic core. Does an MGA degree reflect a new perspective on international studies?

Economic and geopolitical realignment, as well as rapid changes in technology and media, have eroded core assumptions and orthodoxies in this field. Existing academic programs specializing in international relations, public policy, and business do not provide the integrative and practical approaches required to succeed. Our program thrives on bringing scholars and practitioners together to ensure our students’ thinking is informed by rigorous theoretical work as well as real-time, real-world experience.

The MGA is built on three pillars: global economy and markets, global institutions, and global civil society. Before students leave for their internships, they are grounded in coursework covering these themes with immersion in policy analysis, global security, international economics, development, and international law. After their internships, they are exposed to a range of electives that cover everything from international negotiation to the geopolitics of cyberspace. All of this is complemented by workshops, speaker events, and professional development sessions taught by leading practitioners and academics in the field. We go further by offering joint degrees that combine the Master of Global Affairs with degrees from the Rotman School of Management, the Law School, and a joint Master’s degree we are developing with the Faculty of Engineering. Our integrative approach ensures graduates are armed with the tools, experience, and strategic agility necessary to thrive and succeed as global problem-solvers.

Munk School of Global Affairs
Munk School of Global Affairs
University of Toronto
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