Master of Arts in International Development & Service*

Master of Arts in Community Organizing & Social Activism

graduate programs

Graduate International Program sites (click to discover the courses and service opportunities)


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!

Employability - But can you get a Job?


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. 

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!
Alumni of IPSL graduate programs are leaders in:


  • Nonprofit Organizations

  • Social Enterprises

  • Government and Education

  • Corporate Social Responsibility

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's borders are OPEN!  COVID-19 updates:

While we are currently practicing physical distancing, our human bonds and the need and responsibility for social connection survives. Until travel is permissible again (and it will be), IPSL Global Institute at NUNM is offering its graduate programs in a hybrid online/onsite format. Once travel is permissible again, students may immediately shift to onsite study and service abroad.

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 with global communities. 
The COVID-19 outbreak has forced all of us to reconfigure how we live our lives. At the same time, we see this as an opportunity to rethink how IPSL supports our communities abroad, and we are excited to make you aware of some of the benefits of our recent pivot to a hybrid online/onsite program. Please note that IPSL is still offering the same, three terms abroad but with an initial online term. Four terms total.

PROGRAM FEES (includes four terms/quarters):

IPSL offers flexible program fees depending on the number of terms a student wishes to study abroad. Some students need flexibility to take coursework online and remain wherever they live; others prefer to travel and maximize their time overseas. You get to choose!


  • 1 Term Abroad / 3 Online:  $47,589

  • 2 Terms Abroad / 2 Online:  $56,589

  • 3 Terms Abroad / 1 Online:  $65,589

By the time the summer 2020 term starts (early July), we believe that travel restrictions will have been lifted for most, if not all, of our program destinations. That is when you would choose where to study and serve abroad. If travel is still impeded in July, then students can continue online or take a leave of absence until the Fall term starts (September). We have added a Summer (late June) start, as well. This means candidates can join a cohort in April, June, September or January of each year.


* 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 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.

Service-Learning in a Virtual Environment? Absolutely!

Learning about and demonstrating experience with indirect service is a highly valuable skill; most of the responsibilities that NGO leaders have are indirect in nature. The skills you gain are very beneficial when it comes to career placement.
Financial Aid for all terms – online or onsite – is available to eligible participants.


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. 


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. Learn from scholars, practitioners and leaders in social justice movements around the world.


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

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. Students typically choose one degree (and Title) over another depending on the focus of their ultimate career path.

Program Calendars

Choose Master's in International Development & Service (IDS)
or Community Organizing and Social Activism (COSA)

  • IDS and COSA are approximately one calendar year (12 months), with the terms spent online or abroad. Students must do at least one term online and at least one term abroad. Students begin the program with a 2-week ONLINE Residency, followed by four, consecutive terms in a hybrid online or abroad format. IPSL's partner communities are located in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Students finish the program with a 1-week ONLINE Re-Entry Residency 

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


AmeriCorps Alums - Take Your Service International!

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 either the standard school term, short term summer or a custom designed program to fit your needs (flexible length and time of year) with academic credit

  • Language Learning Opportunities (courses, tutoring, conversation groups)

  • Advocacy Research™ abroad for academic credit

Are you interested in a graduate or undergraduate program where you can continue your commitment to service while abroad? IPSL Global Institute at NUNM's 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):


Standard, Custom and Graduate* Program Locations:                       


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 for Graduate Programs only (even if you've already used your Segal Ed Award!)

  • Segal Ed Award(s) can be used for any custom, undergraduate or graduate program

  • Application Fee Waived

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; this can be direct or indirect service. 


IPSL and its partners assist students in identifying placements and opportunities, and support students in their service. 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

Accommodations (a variety of options) and partial board 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.

  • The deadline for a SUMMER (June) start is MAY 1st of each year. 

Admission Requirements & Application Checklist


  • 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 (waived for AmeriCorps alums, Peacecorps returnees and Veterans)

  • 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.

Complete applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

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

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

* IPSL is the founder of the International Development & Service and COSA Community Organizing and Social Activism graduate program.


Mailing Address:




Tel. +1.503.395.IPSL (4775)

Fax. +1.503.954.1881

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Instagram

© 2018 IPSL

A Registered Social-Benefit Organization