IPSL programs combine academic studies and community service and full cultural immersion to give students a deeper, more meaningful study abroad experience.


IPSL, in collaboration with the Department of International Studies at Concordia University-Portland,

welcomes applications for the 

Master of Arts in International Development and Service (MA-IDS)

International Development Through Service-Leadership

Now accepting applications for the Fall (August) 2014 cohort

CLICK HERE to fill out the online form to get more information. 

Priority-Scholarship* Deadline for Fall 2014 is April 1, 2014. Final Deadline is August 1, 2014.                                                                          

 *Candidates whose applications are received by the Priority-Scholarship Deadline will be considered for IPSL relocation and need-based scholarship funds.

*Applications received after any deadline will be reviewed if space is available. Cohort size is limited, therefore, early application is recommended.

Apply Now! Access the online application

Download the graduate program FAQs

Download the graduate program brochure

Read Whitney's story as an AmeriCorps Alum 

Read Kim's story as an AmeriCorps Alum

Meet some of the students in the MA-IDS program

Reflecting today’s demand for graduates to understand a variety of perspectives and leaders to navigate complex partnerships, this graduate program is interdisciplinary in nature and requires both significant Service-Learning™ and international study activities.  Drawing from the fields of international development, global nonprofit management, global health, international education, human rights, sustainability, and international studies, the degree educates leaders for professional careers with NGOs, educational, and community development organizations with an international and/or diversity focus. 

The International Development and Service (IDS) graduate degree program is a multi-national, multi-institutional collaboration between IPSL, Concordia University-Portland, International Centre for Intercultural Exchange in Italy, The Institute for South East Asian Affairs at Chiang Mai University in Thailand, and Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador.   

The IDS program can be completed in four semesters and requires 36 graduate credit hours. Students spend two semesters in Portland, Oregon, on the campus of Concordia University-Portland, as well as two semesters at two different IPSL International program locations (Siena, ITALY / Quito, ECUADOR / Chiang Mai, THAILAND). Students choose any two of the three study abroad/international service-learning locations they want based on coursework, service options, academic and career goals, and access to regional learning and networking opportunities. 

While in Portland, students take courses at Concordia University in the Department of International Studies taught by Concordia University faculty members. Courses range on topics from International Research Methodologies; International Development in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Societies; Perspectives in International Engagement; Topics in International Non-Profit Leadership; Gender and Sexuality; Political Sociology; International Health Issues; Social Fallout from Globalization; Human Diversity and Global Perspectives; Conflict Resolution and Mediation; Global Perspectives on Mental Health; Fundraising/Grant-Writing, as well as extensive Reflective Writing.

Courses such as Perspectives on International Development, Introduction to Nonprofit Management, Development in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Regions, and Human Rights frame the program and ensure that students graduate with essential knowledge and skills. Students choose from a series of courses that fit their interests and career goals. The courses allow students to develop expertise and leadership skills that prepare them to work in many areas of international development including:  international education (e.g. in an international programs office at a college or university), global health, disaster relief, nonprofit management, international program administration, fundraising, government service, or international volunteer/service-learning™ management.


Service-learning™ is central to the IPSL/Concordia Master’s degree. Throughout the program, students engage in substantive service work at a local agency in Portland and in the host communities abroad. The primary purpose of the service is to meet a need in the community. In the process, we draw on service as a source of learning about organizations, leadership, social problems, diverse populations, and the role of service and service-learning in civil society. With a service-learning™ reflections seminar that runs throughout the program, IPSL students reflect on service and their role as civically engaged leaders in a multicultural society. Recent community partners domestically include MercyCorps, Planned Parenthood, AFS Intercultural Programs, Bikes to Rwanda, SMYRC (Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center), Catholic Charities of Oregon, Coalition of Community Clinics, OurHouse, ChickTech, Red Sweater Project, Carpe Mundi Foundation, any many more.


While abroad, students live with locals in the community, take classes at partner institutions in the consortium, and serve in local NGOs and other grassroots organizations. Using an Advocacy Research approach, IPSL graduate students conduct research for an organizational case study that applies what they have learned to a real problem in the field, thus benefitting the host community, the host organization(s), and providing students with an incomparable career development opportunity. For a current list of international volunteer service opportunities, please contact IPSL. Upon their return to Portland during the last semester, students focus on their culminating project, a theory-to-practice analysis that brings together their coursework, research, and service with a practical problem-solving approach.


Program Highlights

  • Four semester/20 month program as a full-time graduate student
  • First semester at Concordia University in Portland, OR
  • Second and Third semesters at two of the following institutional partners (students choose two of the three): 
    • International Centre for Intercultural Exchange (Siena Italian Studies) in Siena, ITALY
    • The Institute for South East Asian Studies at Chiang Mai University – Chiang Mai, THAILAND
    • Universidad San Francisco de Quito – Quito, ECUADOR
  • Fourth semester, students return to Concordia University to finish the culminating project.
  • (Optional Summer Opportunities NOT included in the program fee: Summer at the Concordia University-Portland TESL one-month certificate program / Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication - SIIC, at Reed College in Portland, OR / South African Study Tour with Concordia University-Portland Faculty Member Dr. Teri Murphy)
  • Students can choose to focus on their area of interest:  International Development Policy, Global NGO/Non-profit Leadership, International Education, Refugees/Stateless Societies, Global Health, Women's Empowerment, LGBTQ Rights Worldwide, Conservation and the Environment....this program accommmodates all of these interest areas, and more, with a unique and powerful blend of academic coursework and hands-on experience in three countries.
  • Approximately 15 hours of service work per week throughout the program. The service placements are generally in the area in which the students focus (see bulleted list above).
  • 36 credits total minimum required for degree. Students can take up to 40 semester credits with no additional charge.
  • Per Semester program fee is $16,250. Complete program fee is $65,000. 

Summer:  This graduate program is not in session during the summer, so students can spend their time as they wish. MA - IDS Students do a variety of different things during this time:  visit home, work, intern, remain at their service placement or do other volunteering, participate in a short-term international service trip, enroll in language classes, participate in the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC) in Portland, Oregon or enroll in the Concordia University-Portland TESL one-month certificate program (not included in the M.A. program fee). The options are endless! 

Program fee includes:  Tuition and most fees, academic advising, medical insurance (while abroad), room and partial board for the two semesters abroad, academic excursions in Portland and while living abroad, service placement administration, professional development and networking opportunities, arrival and departure orientations and retreats.

Fee does not include room and board for two semesters in Portland OR, books, personal spending money, international flights, passport fee, visa fees, and independent travel. Tuition is guaranteed for the full program length, two years, once a candidate is admitted and has remitted a deposit. Candidates must graduate on time with their cohort to receive tuition guarantee. Students are expected to secure their own visas, if required. 

General Assistance for students - The IPSL graduate program qualifies for federal financial aid (FAFSA). Students may also apply for Grad Plus loans through the federal government to cover tuition and living expenses.

  • IPSL is proud to offer the Charles Kunert Servant Leadership Award, a merit-based scholarship which will be awarded to one graduate student per cohort at the beginning of their 2nd year (3rd semester) in the program, who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in one's service placements and cohort during the first two semesters. 
  • See our Financial Aid page for more information.

AmeriCorps Alums and Peace Corps Returnees- The AmeriCorps Segal Education Award can be applied in full to the IPSL/Concordia Master of Arts in International Development and Service Graduate Program.

In recognition of their service, IPSL is proud to offer a $5,000 scholarship to all qualified AmeriCorps Alums and Peace Corps Returnees to be disbursed over four semesters ($1,250 per semester). This is effective Fall 2014. Due to eligibility for the $5,000 scholarship, AmeriCorps Alums and Peace Corps Returnees are not eligible to receive additional IPSL grants or scholarships other than the Charles Kunert Servant Leadership Award. Lastly, the IPSL processing fee is waived for all AmeriCorps Alums and Peace Corps Returnees.