Thank you for considering the School of Public & International Affairs (SPIA) and our two programs. Here are four key things we would like you to know about us:
Our faculty consists of prominent and highly respected academics with significant practical experience. Dr. Bilgin is a graduate of the Political Science Department at Johns Hopkins University and a long-term international elections observer and analyst. Dr. Uslu is a graduate of the University of Utah. He has published multiple articles and books on the topics of democratization, policing, terrorism, and social movements. Dr. Sheila M. Hearne holds a PhD in Public Policy from George Mason University and has spent 20 years as a researcher, analyst, and consultant in the government and non-profit sectors. Dr. Adams is a graduate of Catholic University of America and comes from a long career in the field of development and employment at some of the top institutions in this sector, including USAID and the World Bank.
SPIA’s average faculty rating for teaching is over 90%.
VIU’s location is extremely beneficial for the two SPIA programs. It allows the school to provide its students with access and exposure to the three main levels of American politics – local, state, and federal – in addition to key international institutions located in Washington DC.
VIU is located in the core of Fairfax County, Virginia, one of the richest, most efficient, and administratively innovative counties in the country. SPIA students intern at a number of county offices and are at times directly involved in some of the main policy-making programs and public initiatives at the local level.
On a state level, Virginia is a key swing state and a major political battleground for both ideas and campaigns during all local, national, and presidential elections. SPIA students have the opportunity to both observe and participate in these electoral campaigns and learn a lot about the ways media outreach, campaign organizing, and electoral procedures are organized in the state and in the US in general. SPIA students also visit the Virginia legislature in Richmond and learn about state-level policies and procedures.
During their studies, SPIA students also visit and learn about the operations of some of the top US political institutions, including Congress and the Supreme Court, as well as a number of top international IGOS, such as the World Bank and the IMF.
SPIA’s MIR and MPA programs are designed to provide students with intensive scholarly training as well as practical, hands-on experience and exposure to American public culture and the professional environment. All SPIA classes include a practical experience element which involves visits to Washington, DC for public policy talks, conferences and events, and engagement in public outreach events and initiatives. On average, about 3.5 of the 15 week-long semester are set aside for such external exposure for each of the SPIA classes. Students can expect to learn firsthand how to communicate with state and federal legislators, lobby on different issues, participate in and evaluate particular policy issues, and participate directly in political, social, and humanitarian campaigns. SPIA students also attend a lot of policy and ambassadorial talks organized by the VIU Center for Democracy and International Affairs.
All SPIA students are also eligible for the Public Policy Internship Program which places them as interns with different agencies in their third and fourth semesters of study.
SPIA boasts one of the most diverse, international, and exciting student bodies on campus! We have students from Russia, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Germany, the US, Nigeria, Turkey, Venezuela, Brazil, and many other countries. SPIA students had created their own club, Global Insights, which published a student magazine by the same name. Our students are very active in other clubs like VIU’s Latin American Culture Club and the VIU Student Government. In addition, they work closely with VIU faculty on a variety of humanitarian and social engagement initiates, such as a blanket drive for Syrian refugees in Turkey, a scholarship fundraising campaign, and the “International Sight” photo exhibit and contest. We are currently looking for students interested in working further on the magazine.