Master of Arts in International Development & Service*

Master of Arts in Community Organizing & Social Activism

graduate programs

Why Go to Graduate School?
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International Program sites (click to discover the courses and service opportunities)

Students from other graduate programs interested in Graduate Study Abroad click here

IPSL ​Global Institute has joined the National University of Natural Medicine, the oldest integrative medical school in North America. Students planning on applying to IPSL graduate programs can now apply for federal financial aid.
Click HERE to apply!

We've done the research and similar graduate programs can cost up to $130,000 without the benefits of studying and serving in multiple countries. Apply today!
What IPSL Alumni are Doing

Our alumni find rewarding careers in government, higher education, State Department agencies, and non-profit agencies and NGOs addressing the world’s most pressing and challenging problems. IPSL alumni are working as:

  • Executive Director, NGO Fighting Human Trafficking (Washington, D.C.)

  • Event Coordinator, International Non-Profit (The Hague, Netherlands)

  • Field Director, Nature Conservancy (New Jersey)

  • Communications Senior Manager, Youth Development Nonprofit (Minneapolis)

  • Physician (New Orleans, LA)

  • Social Media Director, Nonprofit Specializing in Travel Development in Cuba (Portland)

  • Director of Communications, Disability Advocacy Organization, (Cambodia)

  • Grants Manager, International Education Non-Profit (New York, NY)

  • Program and Training Officer, Peace Corps (Washington, D.C.)

  • Service-Learning Program Director and Faculty, University (St. Louis, MO)

  • Founder and Director, HIV/AIDS Prevention NGO (India)

  • Program Manager, Non-profit Empowering Women (Minneapolis, MN)

Graduate Programs with a Global Impact!  

IPSL Global Institute at NUNM offers two international graduate programs: International Development & Service (IDS), and Community Organizing and Social Activism (COSA). Since 1994, IPSL graduate programs have been designed to meet the international demand for ethical leaders who can effectively engage and facilitate partnerships and empower communities. Students are prepared for careers with nonprofit, government, and community development organizations through an interdisciplinary program that combines rigorous academic training with hands-on skill development through volunteer service in several countries. 


IPSL programs are founded on international partnerships that eliminate boundaries between academia and society, and intentionally attune students’ learning experiences to the challenges and opportunities of today’s world. Our unique educational environment is characterized by intellectual rigor through scholarship and practice, openness, reciprocity, creativity, the desire to make a positive difference, and the skills and determination for empowerment. 


Alumni of IPSL graduate programs are leaders in:


  • Nonprofit Organizations

  • Social Enterprises

  • Government and Education

  • Corporate Social Responsibility 


In each term, students take the required service-learning reflections seminar, "Community Organizing & Social Activism" (COSA), which was designed by IPSL, the original founders of international service-learning. The course provides globally-minded students a foundation in the history and key practices of community building and civic engagement worldwide, from domestic and international volunteerism, community organizing, grassroots social movements, and activism.


IPSL strives to make volunteer service components more ethical, accessible, and sustainable by facilitating relationships and learning between students and social change agents around the world. Unlike internships, IPSL does not 'place' students in volunteer positions but, rather, offers opportunities for students to connect with our social change organizations all over the world. By doing this, students learn first-hand from seasoned professionals, develop intercultural competency and build professional global networks that can position them to launch meaningful careers post-graduation. Curriculum and service opportunities are interdisciplinary in nature so students from diverse backgrounds will find their own niche in the programs.


Recent graduates built their program focus on:
  • Disaster Relief,

  • Global Health,

  • Environmental Justice,

  • Food Justice/Security,

  • International Education & Exchange,

  • Peace and Reconciliation,

  • Indigenous Rights,

  • Sustainable Community-based Development,

...and other exciting fields within the broader international development context.




IPSL has an exemplary career placement record, and our students’ successes are self-explanatory; no other program provides students the opportunities to build their skills and professional network while they’re getting their graduate degree the way we do. IPSL provides students with significant support and guidance during the transition from school to career. This happens during the program, the Re-Entry Residency, and afterward. In addition, the IPSL team members often provide individualized career transition support. We do it because we care!


How do we know whether a higher education program prepares students well for the changing world of work in the 21st century? It’s a big question with serious implications for students and families who invest their time and money and for employers and communities that seek capable career candidates. We know from the research – and from our 37 years of experience -  that graduates who are most employable—that is, ready to succeed after graduation and over a lifetime—possess a set of essential qualities that include:


  • People skills such as collaboration, teamwork, and cross-cultural competence

  • Problem-solving abilities such as inquiry, critical thinking, and creativity

  • Professional strengths such as communication, work ethic, and technological agility 


Your IPSL graduate program is designed to provide all of these opportunities for you, and more. But as with all professional endeavors, it is up to the individual candidate to dive in, explore, examine, and make the most of these opportunities. 


Program Calendars



Both IPSL graduate programs are multi-national and multi-institutional and are offered through partnerships in the United States and abroad. Students spend the majority of the program abroad, studying and serving in multiple countries. The difference in the two programs is that the International Development & Service graduate program requires specific courses in Development Theory; otherwise, the two programs are substantially similar. 


Master's in International Development & Service (IDS)
  • IDS is approximately one calendar year (12 months), with the majority of the program spent abroad. Students begin the program with a 2-week ONLINE Residency, followed by three, consecutive terms abroad in IPSL partner communities in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Upon their return from abroad, students finish the program with a 1-week ONLINE Re-Entry Residency 

  • Cohorts begin in September (Fall cohort), January (Winter cohort), or April (Spring cohort). Students who pursue the IDS program take specific courses in development theory while abroad.


Master's in Community Organizing and Social Activism (COSA)
  • COSA is approximately one calendar year (12 months), with the majority of the program spent abroad. Students begin the program with a 2-week ONLINE Residency, followed by three, consecutive terms abroad in IPSL partner communities in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Upon their return from abroad, students finish the program with a 1-week ONLINE Re-Entry Residency 

  • Cohorts begin in September (Fall cohort), January (Winter cohort), or April (Spring cohort). Students who pursue the IDS program take specific courses in development theory while abroad.

Experiential Learning via Service Placements

Hands-on volunteer service lies at the heart of IPSL's pedagogy. Students in our programs perform 10-15 hours of required volunteer service per week during each of the terms abroad. 


IPSL students work in a variety of settings and students can choose their own agency (or multiple agencies) according to their interests. IPSL and its partners assist students in identifying placements and opportunities, and support students actively serving in the field. Some recent volunteer opportunities include:


  • International Intergovernmental Organizations (e.g. United Nations)

  • NGO Empowering & Reintegrating Women in a Post-Conflict Society

  • International Relief and Development Agencies (e.g. Doctors Without Borders)

  • Urban Public Education Service Districts

  • Sustainable Development in Coastal Zones

  • Refugee Assistance/Education Center

  • International Student Services/Study Abroad Offices

  • Orphanage for Children Living with HIV/AIDS

  • Residential Facility for the Disabled

  • GAP Year International Service-Learning Organization

  • LGBTQ Youth Advocacy Center

  • Arts and Theatre Group Working with Disabled Adults

  • Animal Welfare for Homeless Populations

  • Residential Facility Assisting/Educating Sex-Workers

  • Women’s Reproductive Health Clinics

  • Community-Based Clinics in Underserved Regions

  • Centers for At-Risk Youth

  • Nonprofit Promoting Fair-Trade



What Makes IPSL Graduate Programs Unique?
Career at Your Fingertips

The IPSL collaborative graduate programs are unique in the world. As you look to begin your career, your résumé and experience will help you stand out for career-track positions.


Cultural Literacy

Living and working in other cultures gives you an intimate familiarity with that culture, unlike any other experience can provide. You will be engaged with local communities as you study, live and serve overseas.


Professional Contacts

Your service and dedication in the field will provide you with devoted supporters, friends, and colleagues around the world who will take an interest in your future success.


Advocacy Research

Learn and advocate by conducting ethical research while abroad. IPSL students engage in critical thinking - from conception to measurement - with theory-to-practice, ethical IRB-approved, publishable research. Your compassion, imagination, and hard work will benefit vulnerable populations and organizations in need.


Social Justice

Since 1981, IPSL students continue to make a difference in the world. They do not just observe injustice. They do not just sympathize with injustice. They act thoughtfully and skillfully against injustice. We prepare students with the tools to make a difference in others’ lives.


Global Leadership

IPSL graduates pursue prosperous careers that fulfill their most noble values. You, too, will learn to communicate with diverse cultures, resolve conflict diplomatically, and bridge social, racial, and economic gaps with skill.


Housing / Meals

Room and partial board (breakfast and either lunch or dinner) are provided in both programs and included in the graduate program fee for all terms abroad. 


International Flights*

International flights between terms abroad are included in the program fee. (*restrictions apply)


Application Deadlines

Admission to IPSL graduate programs is competitive. Early application is recommended.  


  • The deadline for a FALL (September) start is AUGUST 1st of each year.

  • The deadline for a WINTER (January) start is DECEMBER 1st of each year.

  • The deadline for a SPRING (April) start is MARCH 1st of each year.

Admission Requirements & Application Checklist

Complete applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. IPSL Online Application


  • IPSL online application

  • An official, sealed transcript verifying a baccalaureate degree from an accredited post-secondary institution.

  • A recommended 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale, or the equivalent. Note that students below this recommended GPA will be provided with an opportunity to demonstrate the justification for a waiver.

  • Two confidential letters of recommendation. These can be mailed, faxed or emailed to IPSL from the recommender's email address.

  • $75 processing fee

  • Once the IPSL online application is submitted, candidates are contacted to schedule an Interview with the review committee. 

  • Valid Passport. U.S. applicants must have a passport that is valid for at least six months BEYOND THE END DATE of your last term abroad. If you do not have a passport, apply immediately.


The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is NOT required for admission.


Program Fees

IDS or COSA: Winter (January), Spring (April) Cohorts:  $62,850  total program*

* Study abroad site-specific fees are subject to change. The program fee is guaranteed for the duration of the program if completed on-time and in consecutive terms. IPSL graduate program fees include international flights (restrictions apply). 


Program fee covers all tuition, room-and-partial board abroad, international airfare (restrictions apply), most fees (including graduation fee), orientations, professional development, career guidance, and service-learning placement and oversight for each term. It also covers emergency medical/evacuation insurance while abroad, and most enrichment activities/excursions for the three terms students are abroad.


Program fee does NOT cover books, personal spending money, local transportation, and independent travel. Students are responsible for securing their own visas and any expenses related to obtaining visas or passports. Students are also responsible for any vaccines required for travel. Additionally, students must submit proof of insurance during the intensives in the U.S.


IPSL graduate students finance their degrees through a variety of channels. Please call or email us with your questions; we are here to help you. 


International Students

In addition to the requirements previously listed, international students must report a passing score of an English proficiency test and other pertinent information.

·      paper-based = 575    internet-based = 88     IELTS = 6.0





AmeriCorps Alums 


IPSL and AmeriCorps Alums (and now Service Year Alliance, too!) have partnered to provide opportunities for AmeriCorps Alums interested in service abroad, international education and development, and service-learning. Through IPSL programs, AmeriCorps alumni members can connect to unique learning experiences and apply and further develop their service-learning and leadership skills in an international setting.


IPSL programs support AmeriCorps Alums’ vision that a vibrant network of AmeriCorps alumni will be the leadership pipeline for the 21st century.


IPSL Opportunities for AmeriCorps Alums

  • Graduate Programs in International Development and Service (IDS) or Community Organizing and Social Activism (COSA)

  • Undergraduate international study and service-learning programs (semester or summer) with academic credit

  • Advocacy Research™ abroad for academic credit


Graduate Programs: 
International Development and Service (IDS)
Community Organizing and Social Activism (COSA)


Are you interested in a graduate program where you can continue your commitment to service while abroad? IPSL’s Graduate Programs offer a unique opportunity to take your service internationally!


Students have the opportunity to study and serve throughout the world in the following locations (subject to change): 




  • PERU




In addition to coursework, students also volunteer with a community organization each term, learning about different social issues in the U.S. and around the globe and applying them to real-world situations to help others in need.


AmeriCorps Alumni Benefits:

  • Priority Admission

  • Automatic Matching $5,500 Scholarship (even if you've already used your Segal Ed Award!)

  • Application Fee Waived


For more information about the IPSL Graduate Programs, please visit



For more information or to schedule a phone or Skype call with a representative from our Admissions team, email us at:

* IPSL is the founder of the International Development & Service graduate program.


Mailing Address:




Tel. +1.503.395.IPSL (4775)

Fax. +1.503.954.1881

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© 2018 IPSL

A Registered Social-Benefit Organization