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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What programs are offered in the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) at VIU?

There are two master’s degrees offered by SPIA:

2. Who is responsible for admitting and advising graduate students?

The Admissions Office handles the admission process for new students. This office can be contacted via telephone at +1 (703) 591-7042 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please also visit Admissions on our website.

3. What are the admission requirements?

The general admission requirements can be found here.

4. Do I need to submit a TOEFL score?

Yes, VIU requires that all applicants must provide proof of English Proficiency through either IELTS, TOEFL, or completed English Credit Hours. See details and specific scores here.

5. Is there an orientation for new students?

Yes! Orientation is held prior to the first week of classes. In the orientation, students are familiarized with VIU’s policies, meet the faculty, and have a chance to learn about services they may need as students at VIU. For more information click here.

6. What is the fee structure and how/when do I pay for tuition?

Information regarding fees and tuition can be found here.

7. May I join the program at any time?

VIU’s on-ground courses are offered on a semester system which means that classes start four times a year: in the fall, in the winter, and twice in the summer. Enrollment is limited through the add/drop period for any given semester as specified in the academic calendar. International students must complete all application processes and paperwork at least one month earlier than the program’s starting date.

VIU’s online courses are offered on a term system which means that classes start every eight weeks. Enrollment is limited through the add/drop period for any given semester as specified in the academic calendar.

8. How many courses must I take to be considered full-time in a graduate program?

For on-ground courses of study, students taking three courses (or nine credits) are considered full-time. Below three courses in a graduate program is generally considered to be part-time.

For online courses of study, taking two courses (or six credits) is considered full-time. Below two courses in an online graduate program is considered to be part-time.

9. Do I have to have an undergraduate degree in order to be accepted into the MIR or MPA program?

Yes. You must have attained an undergraduate degree by the commencement of classes in the semester in which you enroll.

10. Do I have to have an undergraduate degree in political science or international relations in order to be accepted into the MIR or MPA program?

No. Your undergraduate degree can be in any subject. You must, however, provide evidence of sufficient proficiency in English in order to be accepted into the program.

11. How long does it take to complete a master’s program at VIU?

It takes four semester of full-time study to complete the program. All international students on F-1 visas must be enrolled full-time.

12. What is a typical schedule in the Schoolof Public and International Affairs?

Courses are offered throughout the day. Courses may be offered in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Consult the Registrar’s Office for specific days and times of courses being offered.

13. Can I have a job to help pay for school?

Yes, as long as you are granted permission to work in the US from USCIS. However, students with an F-1 visa are permitted to work only on-campus and for a maximum of 20 hours per week. On-campus employment is not always available or guaranteed. For more information click here.