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Customize your MPA in Social Change degree program based on your interests and career goals.

Connect with Your Advisor

Your personal enrollment advisor is ready to help you navigate the application process, understand admission requirements, customize your program (see options below) to meet your career goals, explore options for financing your education, and connect with current students, alumni, career advisors, and faculty.

Connect with your enrollment advisor.

Program Duration

You can earn your degree in 12 consecutive months, 16 months (three semesters with a summer break), or over four semesters:

  • If you are starting the program in the spring, the shortest option available to you is 16 months.
  • If you are starting the program in the fall and want to accelerate your return to the workforce and you have professional experience (relevant to your field of interest), consider the 12-month option, which includes a January term and summer semester.
  • If you need to gain work experience while you earn your degree, consider the 16-month option, which takes longer but leaves the January term and/or summer open for internships or other experiential learning opportunities.
  • If you want to craft a niche career, you can add a specialization or a second master’s degree in our carefully designed joint master’s degrees. This will take up to four semesters for you to complete.
  • If you would prefer or need to spend more time in your program for any reason, we encourage you to add a specialization or pursue a joint master’s degree program for a four-semester program.  

You only need to finalize a decision on which path to pursue after you have enrolled—your career and academic advisor will help you make this choice.

Practicum Options

Your final semester practicum can be completed remotely allowing you to transition to your preferred location before you graduate and gain professional experience in a context that closely aligns with your career goals.

Language Study and Intercultural Competence

Bridging cultural and linguistic barriers is key to a successful career in public administration, so you will take several content-based courses in a second language and/or courses in intercultural competence (ICC).

In language classes, you will have the opportunity to develop specialized vocabulary and content knowledge for your field of interest, give presentations, and improve your professional writing skills. ICC courses give you the opportunity to learn about managing global and cross-cultural teams, addressing issues of power and identity, and improving communications.

We will work with you to align your courses with your evolving career goals.

Building Relationships Through Language

I am hopefully leaving for the Peace Corps next year. And, you know, with that type of experience you need to have a language. I am part of Tandem. It’s a project where students who are learning Spanish go to Soledad, California and visit an organization called Mujeres En Accion, an organization for women in Soledad who wants to learn English but also gain valuable skills for employment.

Yes, we were there to practice our language, but inadvertently I was able to create a relationship with these women, and knowing more about their cultures, and where they’re from, and their life style. I haven’t taken a Spanish course since high school. It was intimidating at first, but I was able to catch up.

Remember what I needed, you know, just like conversational phrases, and eased right back into it. We’re learning the language not just to learn the language but how to use it in conversations of what we would use in our professional careers. If we were talking about politics or the environment or any other aspect of social issues.

There’s just so many benefits and advantages with having a second language, especially in this globalized world where you’re gonna cross paths with people of different cultures and different backgrounds. And Spanish becoming more and more the second most used language across the United States, I think it’s gonna be very helpful to have that.

I’ve learned so much about how to go into the field of development. Things are changing, the world is changing. So the Middlebury Institute is taking us onto new approaches and to new methodologies and tools that we can use.

Career-Related Modules

Your core coursework is made up of “baskets” of courses from which you can pick the course that best fits your interests while satisfying the core requirement. You will also have electives to deepen your expertise in particular areas where our faculty have unique strengths. This flexibility allows us to offer modules of courses grouped around specific, high-demand, and transferable career competencies in areas like conflict studies, social change, evaluation, migration, program management, data analytics, and organizational management and leadership.


You may pursue an optional career-oriented specialization, which you can start using electives during your degree program and complete before or after your master’s degree program. Your options include:

Joint Master’s Degrees

You can earn two master’s degrees in just four semesters and 60 credits, setting yourself up for a unique career trajectory.

Online MPA in Sustainability

Build your expertise in designing, implementing, and managing sustainable solutions for governments, nonprofits, and businesses in this 100% online, asynchronous, 20 months, part-time. Learn more.

Peace Corps Connections

  • Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) are encouraged to apply for the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, earning yourself a guaranteed scholarship.

  • You can integrate Peace Corps service into your degree through our Options for Peace Corps Service, earning yourself a 50 percent tuition scholarship for your final semester.