- 80 (40 new students entering annually)
- % International:
- 50+ %
- Work Experience (in years):
- 2-4 (average)
- Employment sectors:
- Government; NGO and Civil Society Organizations; Private Sector
- Degrees offered
- Master of Global Affairs with three concentrations: International Peace Studies, Sustainable Development, or Governance and Policy—with options to specialize in areas such as economic development, human rights, international law, global religion, or regional or national culture or history.
- All qualified applicants are considered for generous financial support. Scholarships range from half-tuition up to full-tuition plus stipend for living expenses. More than 75% of Keough School MGA students receive significant financial support, and 100% of Keough School MGA students receive financial support for field placements.
Leverage all the resources of a major research university with global connections and small, diverse, engaging classes. At the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs, students find inspiration among a diverse group of scholars, practitioners, and visionaries who are driven by compassion and hope.
The Keough School’s Master of Global Affairs is a two-year professional degree that prepares students for leadership in government, nongovernmental and civil society organizations, and the private sector. All students participate in global fieldwork as part of the curriculum. Integration labs organized around real-world problems draw together theory and practice in partnership with international organizations.
MGA students can choose from one of three concentrations:
- International Peace Studies
- Sustainable Development
- Governance and Policy
The Keough School is committed to diversity, with a student body that includes many international, linguistic, and disciplinary backgrounds. A global network of University of Notre Dame alumni, scholar-practitioners, and partner organizations provides students with opportunities to make career connections and collaborate on global solutions. Graduates benefit from Notre Dame’s impressive alumni network, which extends across 11 international centers and over 270 alumni clubs worldwide.
To receive information directly from the Admissions Department, click here.
How have you adapted the i-Lab to enable student learning amid a pandemic?
We had to conceive a new plan for field research this year—research that masters students would have otherwise conducted over the summer in India, South Africa, Myanmar, Uganda, the Philippines, Chile, and the Pacific Islands. As our partner organizations and their field offices experienced the shock waves of stay-at-home orders worldwide, often without the infrastructure to undertake virtual modes of work, the second half of the semester was a time of considerable uncertainty for all of us.
We were impressed by the creativity that our partners and students brought to their relationships, accompanying one another and co-creating new ways to pivot their projects to a virtual mode.
How have students adapted their research methods?
For some, this meant collecting data in new ways through representatives on the ground, such as capturing photos that convey the concept of home in refugee settlements in Uganda. Other students facilitated virtual engagements with key informants around the globe, conducting Whatsapp interviews on sustainable natural resource management with communities in South Africa and convening virtual focus groups of educational leaders in rural Chile.
Learning to navigate this uncertainty and developing skills to do so meant that our students had to exercise new muscles, which will be increasingly important in their professional and personal lives.
What skills are needed to help students prepare to manage crises and global risk?
Undoubtedly, crises and global risks tend to trigger our survival instincts, which narrow our vision in decision-making, limit our ability to collaborate with others, and stifle creativity necessary to find optimal solutions and new opportunities. Yet, our students have found ways to be creative, effective, and mindful practitioners, engaging a systems thinking mindset and operating with empathy for themselves and others. That empathy ensures they can remain human-centered, flexible, and adaptive—traits that are essential in today’s reality.
How does the Keough School’s i-Lab help students develop these skills during the two-year Master of Global Affairs program?
The i-Lab focuses on learning by doing. We cultivate practice-relevant skills that our student teams will need to be effective with their partner organizations: managing projects with agility, working ethically across cultures, communicating strategically, and solving problems collaboratively. Students engage with partner organizations over several semesters to translate theory into practice, integrating knowledge gained in coursework and the i-Lab to have a meaningful impact on their partners and the communities where they engage.
As we learned this year, this skill building actually intensifies when crises require unexpected virtualization and rapid adaptation. With the resilience and creativity our students have shown, we know they are equipped to not just survive but flourish.
How does the Keough School meet the new challenges in international affairs?
Today, in the era of artificial intelligence and the internet of things, power—the ability to envision constructive change and leverage resources to foster it—must come from below and from across. On a given day, a young thirty-something innovator—or hacker—may wield more power than a head of state, and the architects of new technology think and act beyond territorial and political boundaries. How can this emerging dynamism be directed to serve the common good?
At the Keough School, our focus is forging effective partnerships with various state and non-state actors—including NGOs, private organizations, and local communities—to respond to cross-border crises and threats to human flourishing.
While mastery of new technologies is critical, it must be matched by appreciation of the diverse global communities bearing the brunt of rapid and often chaotic change; these peoples, the vulnerable of the world, are our stakeholders.
That is why we study cultures, history, and religions as well as treaties; social values as well as demographics; effective development practices and policies as well as geopolitics. Our mission is to advance integral human development: the flourishing of whole communities and the whole person.
How does the structure of the new school reflect the new international order?
Contemporary challenges to human development are interrelated: climate change may lead to food shortages, trigger mass migration, and incite resource wars. Health crises follow all of these traumas. Governments fail to deliver essential services.
In this environment, no single discipline acts in isolation. Accordingly, the Keough School is structured to encourage integration of multiple disciplines and practices, with nine multi- and interdisciplinary institutes, each focusing on several dimensions of a problem and in conversation with the other units.
Tell us about the Keough School community.
Our second graduating Master of Global Affairs (MGA) cohort includes thirty-four students from eighteen different countries. Similarly, our faculty come from a diverse range of backgrounds and disciplines. This rich array of voices animates everything we do at the Keough School.
How does the MGA program prepare graduates to lead?
We combine rigorous coursework with hands-on projects and immersive field experiences that provide on-the-job training. All students in the MGA program participate in global fieldwork, research, and development practice as part of our curriculum.
Students interact with prominent campus visitors, such as CEOs of nonprofits, diplomats, and world leaders. They also take full advantage of the Keough School’s center in Washington, DC, where they work with policymakers, government officials, and international organizations.
What does the future look like for graduates?
Graduates are prepared to compete for positions of influence, having held prestigious placements with the United Nations, U.S. Department of State, Brookings Institution, and Oxfam. Notre Dame’s impressive alumni network, which extends across eleven international centers and over two hundred and seventy alumni clubs worldwide, helps graduates succeed.
The Keough School is committed to ensuring that our students are not burdened by student debt following graduation. Generous funding packages and fellowships are available to all accepted into the MGA program.