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Start Your Career in Social Justice Advocacy with an MPA

Posted by Cornell MPA Program Admissions Team on 1/17/19 9:50 AM

Although we hear most often about heroic human rights icons, it’s important to recognize that real social change takes place on a quieter, less dramatic level too: domestic policy making.

People who work in the social advocacy field do everything from passing safer labor laws and enacting criminal justice reform to protecting children’s rights and advancing gender equality. In myriad ways, these passionate, mission-driven individuals are the necessary cogs in the wheels of change.

Explore our digital resource page for MPA students — Enacting Change:  Tailoring Your MPA to Focus on Policy in the United States!

To enact meaningful policy reform, however, you need to have the relevant skills and background. So, how can you best gain the practical skills you need to turn your idealism into reality? Well, getting an MPA is one of the ways you can prepare yourself to inspire social change.

At the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, our MPA is designed to enable you to effect meaningful social change.

Particularly in today’s tumultuous and polarized political climate, a master of public administration is one of the most effective and results-oriented graduate degrees for students who are aiming to pursue a career in the nonprofit or public sector. This interdisciplinary degree places a strong emphasis on law, policy, and economics, allowing students to gain a comprehensive, nuanced, and detailed view of the social, political, and economic systems that shape our country.

A key component of CIPA’s program is experiential learning. Internships, consulting opportunities, and other hands-on experiences help to prepare students to take an active role in shaping domestic policy after graduation.

A career dedicated to social justice can come in many forms.

What are you passionate about? Your answer could be health care, economics, natural resource conservation, education, criminal justice reform, or something else entirely. Whether you’d prefer to work in policy on a federal or state level, fight discrimination through nonprofit advocacy, or dedicate your career to running an organization that raises awareness of important social issues, a master’s in public administration can provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to succeed.

Tiffany Jordan, a 2016 MPA graduate who pursued a concentration in Human Rights and Social Justice, notes that the experience she gained in internships and externships while studying at Cornell was instrumental in helping her land a legislative fellowship on Capitol Hill. Previous CIPA graduates have also worked and interned with organizations such as Amnesty International, the US Department of Justice, the National Organization for Women, and Human Rights Watch.

Cornell’s Human Rights and Social Justice concentration provides students with valuable insight and background knowledge on some of today’s most pressing social issues.

What are the underlying political reasons for inequality? Is there a correlation between poverty and health? How has globalization affected domestic economic development, and what are its ethical implications? You’ll get the answers to these questions, and many others, in the Human Rights and Social Justice Track.

Through your courses, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the political and economic frameworks that perpetuate discrimination while also learning how to advocate effectively for marginalized populations. Ultimately, you will learn valuable skills to enable you to shape policy in sustainable and impactful ways.

For students who are interested in human rights but are also interested in administration, the Public and Nonprofit Management concentration is another great choice for Master of Public Administration students looking to launch a career in social justice advocacy. In this concentration, students acquire a strong set of budgeting, investment, debt financing, and data-driven analytical skills as well as managerial skills including negotiations, leadership, staffing, and compensation skills. In addition to these specific skills, students will gain understanding of the broad political, economic, and regulatory factors that affect the sector in which they are working.

At CIPA, we are passionate about social justice and policy reform and we want to equip you with the skills you need to change the world. For more information on how getting an MPA can help you achieve your career goals, contact our admissions office or check out this resource for future leaders in domestic policy.

If you’re a mission-driven individual interested in effecting policy change, the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs’ MPA program may be an ideal choice to help you achieve your professional goals. We encourage you to request more information or apply online today!

Explore our digital resource — Enacting Change: Tailoring Your MPA to Focus on Policy in the United States — for advice and tips related to choosing a career in domestic policy-making.

Explore Domestic Policy Resource


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